So, in February, I’ve decided to end my year long celibate and try going on a date or two. I had a chat online, picked a guy who seemed to have similar interests as mine and we went to a pub. Date went well, he complimented my looks, my hair, bought a drink (I got the other round) and was well mannered all around.
I decided I was going to see him again but the next time I was free was a Thursday – which also happened to fall on Valentine’s day. He got excited about the approaching date and started texting me that he can’t believe he has a date on Valentine’s. I found his enthusiasm endearing but I’m not at all into commercial holidays and told him as much. No gifts, no other things. Come over and I’ll cook dinner and we can watch a movie.
Well, he brought flowers, chocolates and a lovely card written in my native language where he told me he fancied me.
Sounds like a girl’s dream guy, no?
All my warning alarm bells were ringing. This guy was showing strong signs of attachment very early on and that’s usually a sign of emotionally unstable people. I hate psycho-analysing people 🙂
I cooked, we talked and he tells me that he’s already announced that he’s dating to his parents (with whom he’s living with), to his co-workers and can’t wait to tell them more. Plus he also quit said dating app knowing that he found the perfect woman. After one date.
Warning bells were still ringing. This is a massive red flag for me – trying to get too close too fast is a sign of a clingy boyfriend (or a future dread).
“Have you dated before?”
“Not much, just my previous partner” (he was separated)
I thought OK, being separated is only an issue if you want a long-time relationship with someone. For casual dating around, it’s not a deal breaker. Having been on other dates is a good sign, but why haven’t they lasted?
“I had an issue with being intimate, but with you I don’t have this issue”, he continues.
OK, what you need to know here is that he felt inadequate size-wise and was not able to get a lasting boner. I felt slightly flattered that I was there to help out with this “issue” but then I saw that the cause was pretty rooted in his previous relationship with his ex. He didn’t mention her a lot, but I could tell there was some previous abuse of the verbal kind that went on between them and which destroyed this guy’s ability to function normally and annihilated his own capacity to see himself whole. That deep-rooted insecurity made him needy and approval-seeking. Taking each compliment which I gave and going “AWWWWW” (shuffling in his chair) which weirded out (so I took another step back).
Emotionally unstable people are often insecure and have serious abandonment issues, which results in their neediness. When you first meet a guy, you’ll be more than happy to see that he likes you very much and that he doesn’t have a problem expressing his feelings. But actually, this guy sees you as a saviour and someone who will resolve all of his emotional problems.
Through the 6 dates we’ve been on before I pulled the plug, I started noticing other odd behaviour:
- Quick to jump into a routine. Had a sleepover at my place on a Monday which left me really tired so I had doubts about doing it again. Next Monday I tentatively suggested he could stay the night as long as I get to sleep and to my surprise he brought out a sleepover baggie which he had already prepared. He said he wanted to have a new tradition of Monday sleepovers at my place!
- He left his toothbrush at my place claiming he’ll take it next time when he sleeps over (I gave it back to him immediately after)
- He kept on saying how lucky he is to date me (I know I’m OK-looking but I wouldn’t consider myself God’s gift to men) so the constant praise started wearing me out
- He kept on telling me that he feels he’s not good enough for me and that I’ll leave him.
- I went on an international trip for a week and he kept asking whether I would return or not (return back to him as he phrased it)
- He started making plans for the two of us for the Easter Holidays and Summer ones (if you’re a guy, you don’t make long term plans with someone you’ve just met!)
- Would ask me where I’m going and what I’m doing and send me a “Good Morning” message every morning
All of these behaviours appear normal and cute in long term relationships but for me, they were warning signs and major turn-offs. The guy appeared extremely needy, clingy and demanding and it was exhausting me to the point I dreaded approaching my phone. I was just at the start of this relationship and already I was looking for a way out. I don’t want to offer people approval and emotional guidance in order to date them. I want my men to be as independent as I am and not be filling in gaps where their experience is lacking.
I knew I had to break up with him. But how?
The worst thing you can do is turn a clingy ex-boyfriend into a crazy stalker.
How to break up with a clingy ex-boyfriend
Go to a public space. Don’t go to your house to do this.
Tell him you need some space to function as an adult person. Tell him that while it’s lovely that he’s attentive and that he cares for you, some care might feel suffocating to some people who love their independence and their ability to be their own person. Actually, no, don’t tell them that. They might promise you to change and you don’t want change, you want the finished thing.
Tell him that he’s a great guy, that some woman out there would love to have him but you feel that you’re incompatible deep down and this relationship is not going to work.
Be decisive. Don’t be nice and try to sugar-coat it. Don’t spare his feelings as any sign of weakness on your behalf will be seen as hesitation and he’ll be pestering you soon asking to give him another chance and will see that being friends is having a foot in the door.
This is the type of friend who will be texting every waking hour and then get angry when you don’t respond on time and whine that you’re mean and ignoring them after you’ve broken their heart.
Don’t bring up any of their insecurities. I know it’s tempting, but it’s not going to be worth wounding them.
If he takes the hint, he’ll back off and leave you alone.
If he doesn’t – block his number and block him on social media. Don’t reply to his messages – he’ll think you’re still interested and he’ll try to worm his way back into your life.
How I’ve done it
Went to the local cinema and I felt really bad when I saw him. He bounded towards me like a puppy dog trotting towards the executioner. I told him that I need to tell him something and that it’s not great news. I told him that recently my work got really busy and I don’t have the same amount of time available to go out and I’m tired most evenings. I told him I was anaemic and that I need to take care of my health (true).
Told him that he’s perfect and it’s not him, it’s me. I just don’t have enough energy to expend on other people, be they lovely as they are. I told him that he’s a perfect gentleman and great in bed (he went AWWWW again and shuffled) and he’ll find another woman ASAP that will love to be his GF and give him all the love and attention he deserves.
I told him I made a mistake thinking I was ready for a relationship and I can’t have one right now.
I told him I want to watch a movie with him and have fun tonight so that the last memory I have of him is a pleasant one.
How he took it
He took it well, watched the movie, split ways in a friendly manner, gave me a squeeze and a long kiss and texted me that he’ll be there for me if I need it but he totally understands it… I was over the moon! No heartbreak, no scene, no crying. The thing is, I made a mistake and I left him a hole to squirrel back in.
Three days after, just when I managed to get the spring back into my step, I get a text. “Good Morning beautiful“. Ummm … Should I answer? Should I not answer?
I ignore the text. Got another one in the evening. “Did you have a nice day?”
At this one I did respond. “Sorry if I seem a bit snappy, but I had a really long day. I’m very tired and I’m going to go to bed now. Bye”
3 Days pass: “Hey, just wanted to check on you and see how you’re doing? How’s your iron levels?”
I ignore it. My hand goes to the block conversation button. He sees me online and quickly types: “Hey, I thought we should go out as friends when you have time, nothing else“.
“Sorry, I don’t want to give you any false hope and I’m definitely off the market so to speak. I don’t want to keep you tied in, and you’d be better off dating again.”
3 minutes later he starts sending me a very sexual text of all the things he thinks about and what he would like to do if he meets me again.. He got blocked immediately.
That’s basically how you deal with the breakups.
Is your boyfriend (or girlfriend) clingy?
- They want to be with you every second of every hour of every day
- They don’t have a lot of other hobbies (if any). This free time allows them to think about their favourite subject: you.
- They don’t have any friends. They want YOU to be their friend (and mate).
- They want YOU not to have any friends other than them. If you have a good social life, you’ll be made to feel guilty for spending time with other people.
- They want to know your daily/weekly schedule in advance (so that they can plan when to “steal” your time)
- When you want me-time, it’s going to turn out to “us”-time
- They are literally clinging on to you when you meet (hands around the neck, always cuddling when seated, can’t break free as they are physically attached to you)
- They don’t go home when (subtly and not so subtly) asked and find reasons to stay longer (despite you having other plans or being tired)
- Your phone blows up with messages everytime you two are apart.
- The messages are along the lines: “I Miss you”, “I can’t wait until I see you again”, “Thinking of you” – all of these are extremly dangerous especially in “young” relationships as they force a sense of intimacy which is not real.
- Self-sabotaging – If he is thwarting his own career goals for the sake of being with you, whether taking time off university, or dating you when he should be studying. This is a ‘lack of perspective’ that is skewing his values.
- Deep-seated insecurity which leads to constantly asking for validation / approval.
- Jealousy – usually noticeable in the later stages.
Some guys are worth enduring for – if they have a genuine sense of self-worth or efficacy. They might not be confident in their relationship, but they show genuine excitement and desire to learn. If they don’t, they they will pull you down, as they attempt to derive a ‘worth’ from ‘being with you’.