How Do I Avoid Clingy and Desperate Men?

How Do I Avoid Clingy and Desperate Men

This may not seem like a problem to some women, but for me it is. When I am dating, I like to really take my time and get to know someone before I put any “name” on what we’re doing. It’s just having fun with someone, getting to know him, and see where things go. (I believe it’s called dating.)

There were a few men in the past several months that I liked. They were nice and I could see an eventual relationship coming of our dating. Here is the problem I’ve had…we go out once (maybe twice) and have a good time. There’s some kissing involved (but no sex). We make plans to go out again. Over the next several days he calls me constantly, starts talking about wanting a commitment from me, about our future together, and basically freaks me out from wanting to even go out with him again. (And yes, this has happened at least three times recently.) I understand liking me and wanting to spend time with me, and hoping that things will go further.  What I don’t understand is why they get so obsessive.

I’m a divorced mother with two young children, but I am not looking for someone to “rescue” me. I do want to be in a relationship, with the right person, and I do want to be married again. However, I am not going to jump into something so quickly that I am blindsided. Are these men just so desperate that they don’t understand the fundamentals of dating? Any way I can avoid this in the future? It seems to be happening to me a lot recently.


Dear Leah,

Yeah, it’s a drag when a guy says he really likes you and makes a supreme effort to see you. I’m sure all the women who are waiting by the phone for their dates to call are feeling particularly bad for you.

I kid, Leah, because it’s about as ironic as any dating situation can be. We want people to be real, authentic, and emotionally available, yet we cringe and we flee when they are.

I wouldn’t say this is the height of hypocrisy, because I don’t know how you get when you really like a guy. Maybe you never get excited and let down your guard. But imagine you did. It would be a shame if a man distanced himself from you precisely BECAUSE you said you liked him.

What it really comes down to, Leah, is timing. You keep finding guys who are ready to take the plunge, you dazzle them on a date or two, and you listen to them start gabbing about rings and honeymoons. That has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. They want to be married soon. You do not. That’s perfectly fair. But imagine the shoe was on the other foot.

Let’s say that you were 39, single, and childless. You meet a great guy. It wouldn’t be too unreasonable for you to get excited about him being the future father of your children. Of course, if he’s already a father of two, and also recently divorced, he might not be ready to dive back into a committed relationship. That’s nobody’s fault. That’s simply two good people who may be compatible, but are not a good fit at the time.

I’m particularly glad you wrote this email because it’s useful to hear from a woman who just not that into HIM. It goes to show that, as abhorrent as we find the concept of “game-playing”, sometimes a little game playing is exactly what is necessary to keep the fire burning.

When someone makes himself too accessible, too willing to jump into a relationship, we question him. We wonder how anyone could like us this much this soon. We immediately devalue those people. But when we’re crazy about someone and show it, we want that person to reciprocate. Can’t we just be REAL with each other? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Apparently, it’s not….

I remember a woman that I went on a date with about seven years ago. At the end of the night, she said to me, “I’m glad to have you in my life”. We’d had fun, but after three hours, I wasn’t yet “in her life”. So I did what most people would never do. I told her that I thought she was great, but that she might want to hold back on the big proclamations until we get to know each other better. I told her that because I liked her so much, I didn’t want to get scared off by her intensity. Class act that she was, she took it in stride, and we remained friends for years after dating.

Needless to say, that’s not going to work for everyone, but I think an authentic conversation is a lot better than dropping every guy like a hot potato the second he tells you he’s interested.

Let’s face it: It can be hard to keep your feelings below the surface when they’re just bursting to get out. But take it from readers like Leah: full disclosure is like polyamory. It may sound great in theory, but in doesn’t work in practice.


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  1. 91

    I am 60, and have not been dating for a while, my friend told me about a “friend” that did not want a relationship just a buddy to go to movies and just hang out. I thought I can do that, I too want to get to know a person before I leap into anything. The sad thing is I actually liked this person, we exchanged pictures but had NOT met yet, I explained that I understood he was looking for a buddy.  He began talking about there was a company trip in July and the benefits for his health plan at work, I told him why are you telling me this?  OMG, he told me that when we got married I needed to know and getting an engagement ring in 6 months.  That is not OK, if you haven’t even met the person and we spoke only one day, he really made me uncomfortable, I told him to back off he was too pushy…..   He flipped texting constantly, and calling, I went to bed early and did not answer his call and he kept texting until I texted back, I was sleeping and would get back with him tomorrow, he called me a liar, he had received texts like that before….  I just told him to stop contacting me, he was scary….

  2. 92

    Now, I know that many would say that we’re stupid for pushing the men who are attracted to us, blah3.
    If you havent experienced it, dont say it imo.
    I have let a guy walk all over my boundaries because i precisely think so, I should be grateful, shouldnt I be ?
    So that goes on, all the while I am feeling even more suffocated.
    He says he loves me before even knows me, says he’s going to spend the rest of his life with me, I am the only good thing in his life – expecting me to feel the same way too(all is almost immediately after we started dating) and that he didnt need anyone else, ever.
    And im “the one”, the most important thing in his life..its like he saw me as this perfect angel when im really not. It puts so much pressure on me. I mean I like him, but he dumps too much on me too soon. like im supposed to be his “true love” in life, while im still strugglimg to even comprehend what true love really is. And “true love” at first sight..really ?
    His expectations is way too high too soon.
    He acts extremely childish, expects me to baby him too almost all the time.
    Im tired of the constant attention seeking / demanding.
    Is any of this really sounds healthy ?
    Can you really be so into someone that all of this sounds appealing ? Sounds like a highschool puppy- imaginative love to me. 

    1. 92.1

      I don’t mean to sound all Carl Jung.  🙂
      He sounds like a strong INFP personality.
      See the MBTI and how INFP’s are in relationships.

  3. 93

    I feel the response from Evan on this one is not really fair. Yes, it’s great that some men are wearing their heart on their sleeves now, and yes it’s true the shoe is usually on the other foot. However, isn’t this more an age thing? Men are aloof and hard to pin down when younger, yet as they get older they want an immediate relationship. This has nothing to do with giving us what we’ve always wanted. No one wants someone who needs that much validation and commitment straight away. The answer to ‘why are men like this’ hasn’t  been answered. Are you saying ‘yes they ARE desperate?’. Are you saying that the only way around this is to spell things out all the time? No wonder people give up and don’t want to date? Surely there are nice men who have enough self awareness to realised how to date more politely and patiently? Perhaps we need a female reponse to this.

    1. 93.1

      this is another common myth women perpetuate, the old rushing things too fast when its a beta man, but when its an alpha man you cant get your clothes off quick enough to impress him, its nothing to do with commitment and everything to do with how smooth the male and how well he can mimick the PUA techniques required for sex.  Essentually what your saying is we don’t want what I say I want, wich is one of the main features o the PUA community, they have you mapped out really well, and there are techniques that one can use to literally make you take your clothes off as fast as possible. !

  4. 94

    I don’t think that she’s not that into him because she doesn’t want to move as fast. It is vital to take your time with anyone. I’ve had similar situations when guys were clingy and desperate. To make one thing clear I did have an attraction towards them that’s why we dated in the first place. No sex was involved but desperation was apparent. I feel that if someone is desperate the want for you is not as strong as there want/need to be with someone. You will be there fix to fulfill there need to be with someone, feel needed or ease there insecurity. The last guy I dated said that he NEEDS a girlfriend, that is a problem within itself. If you can’t learn to manage your life alone and be strong as a single person you will always be dependent upon others. That is why a lot of rebound relationships occur and most of them end badly leaving your heart (emotions) to be damaged even more. I completely agree people don’t know the proper concept of dating. You really need to get to know someone and not rush into things.

  5. 95

    My take as a man: tell him the truth, be honest, be direct, don’t be a woman! Women are used to drop hints and expect men to follow on them, even though they are often contradictory, like saying that they want sensitive men, but then getting attracted by the typical alpha-male who has no regards for women’s feelings.

    Men are simple. Very simple. Tell them EXACTLY what you mean, and call the police if they are psychopaths who can’t accept reality. You can call me if I live near you and you have the problem with the usual idiot doesn’t get the message “I don’t want to see you again”; I’ll break his neck if I have to.

    But it is time to accept reality: men need sex. Yes, like eating, breathing or avoiding fires. It doesn’t mean that they’d eat another person because they are hungry, and we won’t rape the floor because we’re horny. You don’t like it? Become a lesbian or avoid men altogether! Your choice.

    Men are confused about women’s behaviour and society in general. I know many women are too, but I am here to resolve this conflict: men mean exactly what they say, and if they are scared of saying it (which happens a lot, especially with feminists), their only option is to lie. We are easy creatures: our biology tells us to get strong, solve problems and fight everything and protect our female and our children, and die for them if necessary. These ideals don’t work in our modern society, and the “male dominant” figured is now “sexist”. Fair enough. The problem is that males now feel “useless”, biologically speaking. Men seek “little conquests” involving “problem solving” (see science, mechanics…),  seek challenges (even if they are “physical confrontations)  and “beat the enemy”. Modern feminism expects men to be gentle, respectful, considerate… but nothing like a man! Men need to fight to prove their worth, and when we don’t we feel like crap! But who cares about men anyway?

    Bottom line: if you feel like complaining about men, ask yourself what is the connection between men’s crazy behaviour and the absurd social impositions on society. If you don’t get it, please accept my apology and be happy, because you won your argument once more!

  6. 96

    Its obvious isn’t it I guess you’ve never dated beta men before, here is how the PUA have you documented, your an attractive woman, you only went for alpha males before who were good with women, you loved it and you got married to one, he was an alpha male so the relationship was doomed to begin with, you didn’t realize that, now you do you want someone nice, you date nice beta men, but you hate them for being beta men, you still want an alpha male like every other woman, but you want an alpha male who will commit and be nice, laidy, they don’t exist.

    Men have your type documented well, your actually very common, a woman says she doesn’t like game but we know if your not smooth our chances with you are low, the simple answer to your question is very easy to answer ” how can I avoid beta men” EASY if someone is really nice they are beta run a mile, hold out for antoher alpha to do you over, eventually you will settle for a bta man after many alphas have been with you from the PUA community, you wownt like your new beta man, you wownt respect him because your not mature enough to want someone nice who has no game,  if you want a marriage you have to marry a beta, you don’t want a beta so your going to be unhappy, I just hope you don’t settle for a beta man though because he will love you with all his heart that you will break, please for the love of god and humanity don’t ruin a beta mans life, ust hold out for those one nighters with alpha men, its the only thing that will kepp you happy !


  7. 97

    The problem with the guy talking about a relationship so fast is that he may just be saying that so you let your guard down and f*** him. There are dating advice sites out there for men who want to get laid and bail out in a couple months. I suggest everyone googles these sites, so they know what “strategies” they are up against. There’s advice for how to get a woman to sleep with you quickly, and how to string a woman along cheaply. There’s “the game” or how to be a successful pick up artist and love em and leave em. Hey, for what ever reason this struck her the wrong way, listen to your ‘antennae’. If something is right and authentic, it probably won’t freak you out. I told a guy I liked him after sleeping with him 6 months and he ran for the hills. I was good enuf for casual, but he wasn’t into the real deal. No timelines, but people should have an idea of what “plays” in the dating world and what freaks a woman out or feels like pressure. Keep your guard up.

  8. 98

    Maybe it’s ok to BE desperate, just not ok to show it. ??? I’m a better dater now that I have given up. I’m like “yeah yeah, blah blah”. And know what? I”m right! ha. Desperate? No. Detached? You bet

  9. 99

    This is really interesting. I love it when a guy tells me how much he likes me and most recently this happened and i was taken aback by his intensity and talk future plans so soon after meeting him.. which then sadly led to a complete disappearing act out of nowhere (even after reading ‘why he disappeared’) i’m still clueless as to why this happened… but it’ll come in a lightning moment one day i’m sure, i’m maybe a little too flummoxed by it still… i think that maybe some guys do this to lure you in, they believe it at the time but once you reciprocate flee onto their next fix

  10. 100

    These comments read exactly like a PUA caricature .

  11. 101

    I disagree with you Evan, there needs to be some middle ground.  A guy who wants you to commit so early on is at one end of the spectrum, and is likely a needy man, and at the other end of the spectrum is the guy that is a player or does not want to commit.   I am 38 and single and I have had both.    To be honest the over eager guy freaks me out more.  Who wants to commit a week in, etc.    Give it time. It scares women too.  You can’t be too careful.   Show your interest yes, but don’t push too much.

  12. 102
    Amber Gardner

    Seems you simply trivialized her concerns.

    She has two little kids to protect, let alone herself.  If a man is trying to jump into her home, it is her responsibility to stop them.  She is a target as it is being a single mother.  My mom was targeted by a pedophile because she had a child.  He was not interested in her but pretended to be, and moved the relationship along quickly.  Ladies with children especially, need to be very cautious, and if you don’t trust them, listen to yourself, and not men who respond to your concerns in deeply insensitive ways.


    1. 102.1

      Completely agree! Please see the comment i posted as well.

  13. 103

    I don’t agree that it is about timing.  I think that needy men are just really unattractive.  It has been awhile since I encountered a needy man but I had a doozy a few weeks ago.   It was so bad I thought I would have to get a restraining order, and that’s a big part of the issue.  Men that come off as needy also have stalker potential and that scares women off.   I was very attractive to this guy in the beginning he is good looking, was sweet and honest.  But after the second date he wanted to be exclusive and just kept asking when I said no.   He texted me repeatedly all day, and got angry when I did not answer.  We were both on the same dating site where we met and everytime I logged on he would email me “what are you doing now?”  Wanted me to get off the site.  Wanted to spend the entire holiday weekend with me after date three.  Ditched his friends for me was also available, needed me to check in with him every night I got home.  Constantly asked me about other men.  On date four when he bought me a very expensive necklace I was done.  I ended things with him and as predicted he went pretty crazy and I had to block him.  MEN this is very unattractive and it scares us.  Even if you feel this way, stop just stop, control yourselves or you will surely scare the girl away.

  14. 104
    j.r. clark

    Men should be straightforward and blunt about their expectations.  Before I even ask for a date, I make it clear that I am highly motivated to be in a relationship and I am looking for a woman who feels the same way.  If the woman I’m talking to doesn’t enthusiastically agree, then that’s a sign things aren’t meant to be.  I find that if you make your motives explicit, you won’t waste time on women who don’t know what they want.

  15. 105

    This is all very interesting. I thought women are attracted to needy men. Women like the idea of being in a relationship where the men loves her more than she loves him.

    A friend of mine, Helen told me that it is better to date a needy man than a guy who has too many options. She said a “needy man tends to treat a girl like she is a princess.” She is currently in a happy relationship with a needy guy who is 6 years younger than her. This guy would constantly shower her with gifts, constantly check up on her, and go where she goes.  On the second date,  he said,  “I want to be the father of your kids and I love you.” Helen loved him more because of his neediness. I am not kidding you. Mind you,  this was his first relationship.

    So lesson of the day: not all women are turned off by needy men.  They appreciate their attentiveness and desire to be in a relationship.

    1. 105.1
      Michael Ejercito

      It does make sense, as women are diverse in their sexual preferences.



      If that were not the case, all women would be straight as an arrow.

  16. 106

    I completely understand where Leah is coming from, and quite frankly I found Evans response as condescending. It likely was not intentionally made to come across that way – I understand.

    I took Leahs question about men becoming obsessed, as a question to understand if her putting up a boundary and not having to give a commitment before actually taking the time to know someone is reasonable? And YES it is. Women tend to apologize way to often for people overstepping expectations. Yet, if it makes you feel uncomfortable – trust your instinct. Too often people ignore this internal red flag alert, and make excuses for others behaviour. If you do not like it – tell them so. Being a single mother with children to think about gives you every reason to be cautious, as it is not just your own life you need to consider. If the men are aware of this – then they should respect your space and direction on how you want the timeline of the relationship to be. No apologies. For Evan to respond that this shows that “the game” is needed to keep a spark, deminishes her general concern. It is not about “the game” at all. It is all about someone not respecting another persons boundaries and trying to have a person commit before they are comfortable. Women should never do this to men either.
    “Let’s say that you were 39, single, and childless. You meet a great guy. It wouldn’t be too unreasonable for you to get excited about him being the future father of your children. ”
    I am 39, single and childless (I will also stop anyone right now from sterotypically assuming something must be wrong with me – please realize that 44% of women approaching 40yrs old are now single and childless). I do NOT get excited about a man being the father of my future child until i have taken the time to know them – that assumption is insulting, sterotypical and immature to think otherwise. There are many 39yr old single childless females that are not puppy dog peeing from excitement the minute a potential suitable mate appears to “potentially” father their child. Many other factors come into play to decide if the relationship will be sustainable and healthy to then decide to have a child together. Men are not just sperm donors.

    I want to be clear here that i am not stating that people should not be open and honest with their feelings at the beginning of dating. My concern is when we tell women that they are defining “hypocrisy ” by not being comfortable when a man is more emotional than expected. This is NOT the case. This is about balance and personal boundaries. If someone is dating, and open and honest like Leah – about where she is in her life (divorced with children), then the other person should respect her space and have a open conversation about what they are looking for. If someone is excited, that is understandable – but keep that instinct Leah if they are not respecting your boundaries and making you uncomfortable. This tells you something is not right and in NO way are you being hypocritical for recognizing that.

  17. 107
    Karmic Equation

    It could be that the OP’s dates were indeed desperate and clingy.

    However, if he wasn’t, but instead was genuinely excited and interested in her, then I think this video explains why she may have gotten freaked out by those men:


  18. 108

    It seems to me Leah, that it’s a lot like wanting what they can’t have. I have heard in the dating world that when you don’t want them that’s when they chase. See telling them that you like them is easy and they’re not interested. So, it looks like focusing on your own life and not wanting a man works.

  19. 109

    This is quite stupid.if the shoe was on the other foot and a woman was being too clingy…you’d tell her to relax and stop being so clingy, to focus on her life and not the guy! A guy coming on too fast is the same. She doesn’t need to open up to their feelings until she’s ready and they need to calm down.

  20. 110

    I have dated a lot of guys. They seemed so clingy and needy. Also they just wanted to get with me for sex. All the signs where there. They all pretended to care about me and such . They said it but they didn’t mean it. I was in the wrong too because I said I loved a guy and that’s my problem I loved him because there was some chemistry but I did it too soon. I liked him a lot at first but after a while I changed my mind and he got upset with me when I broke up with him. I tried to be nice about it but it still didn’t go so well. Also he said I hurt him but I didn’t mean to. He said I hurt him because I didn’t talk to him every minute and every time. Every time I didn’t talk to him, he would say we need to talk like I did something so horrible. Then after a while I got sick of him and had to break up with him. He also was very critical of me and judged me even though he said he doesn’t judge. I felt bad about myself when I was with him and i became really insecure. He always complained about me and always blamed me for things. He bullied me a lot too and I confronted him about all these things but he denied it. It’s how I felt. He even made fun of me in front of my face. He also begged me to be his friend when I didn’t want to. Also he says sorry me but I know he doesn’t mean anything he says because he doesn’t show it. He is all talk. He never takes a hint he keeps bothering me still and it’s frustrating me. Also I had to give him the cold shoulder because I tried communicating to him I’m not interested anymore and he didn’t get it at all. He is so desparated after I broke up with him that he wanted to keep in contact with me but I didn’t want to . He of course got mad but jeez is is the most frustrating guy I ever met. I feel sorry for him and I’m going to say a prayer for him. I don’t like when guys don’t take a hint.

  21. 111

    Why are her thoughts and feelings somehow not as honest as his?

    She is ready for a new hobby. She wants to try something and, fingers crossed, it might wind up being a fun way to spend her time. Who knows? It might end up being the new passion in her life. She won’t know unless she tries. And so she browses the aisles at the library. A cookbook takes her eye. It is a French cookbook. It seems interesting to her. What the hey, right? She has always thought cooking enjoyable. She takes it home, the first few recipes go well and it encourages her to try some more. She works her way through the entire book over a fair bit of time. She winds up discovering that she has grown from liking to make each dish into being very much passionate about the whole cuisine…

    So she signs up for a course to see how much further her new passion will take her!

    Now, the man:

    He has, for some time, wanted to learn to cook. He has been sitting on this desire for a couple of years, if not longer. Every so often, he would think of it and what it is like to be a great cook or chef. He begins to shape his dream more and more often until he knows that the French cuisine is what takes his fancy and that the way to start, first of all, is by setting out to the book store and searching the cooking section. He does just that… his hand lands on a book. It is the book he has been imagining! He flips through it and thinks that yes, it does indeed contain everything he believes he wants and needs. He buys it and cooks up two recipes in one night! Wow! That’s it; he knows now, after sampling something he has thought and felt so intently about for so long, that it confirms his desires and the only thing left to do is commit…

    So he signs up for a course to see how much further his new passion will take him!


    They have taken different paths to their strong convictions but each has wound up in the same place. Nevertheless, the important part is how comfortable one is in one’s own and another’s approach.

  22. 112

    All of these experiences are spot on I can’t even get past page 1. I think that it is about being the right person because I feel us women already have a reputation for being needy so its nothing strange and out the ordinary especially when we are over thirty with kids we can’t afford to waste time. Its either one extreme or the other; they usually don’t want to commit ect.. But to have it the other way around is unbearable. Maybe I like unavailable men but I know I like a challenge and if its that easy to get I don’t want it. Looking back I now realize how needy I was. Ironic coming from a hopeless romantic but it doesn’t make me desperate.

  23. 113

    You didn’t post my comment which was unbiased, inoffensive and good advice for anyone. Your blog now probes to be unfairly filtered. Get real. This is not a PC issue in the dating game…or maybe I hit a nerve?


  24. 114
    Marie F

    I don’t think it has anything to do with a person not being into someone after 1 or 2 dates.  I think it more so has everything to do with the fact that we’re living in a time where everything is instantaneous and very little is genuinely cultivated – such as letting things develop naturally.

    Social media, online dating and casual sex has changed everything – most guys are used to being able to move quick, so it has become a norm.  Many females have lessened their standards, so that plays into the factor of most guys not wanting to be a little patient and letting things develop.  


    When a genuine connection is cultivated based on more than just superficial, but a mental and emotional connection, most women will be all in,  That type of mutual connection isn’t established in 1 or 2 dates and it’s not about going out, but spending time and genuinely getting to know one another without rushing, but that’s an old fashioned notion now most everyone is in a rush. 

  25. 115

    My advice is to just be up front and honest. If a person truly wants to get to know you, they will do so at your own pace, out of respect for who you are. A relationship is generated by two people. It is not up to one person to force a relationship onto another. This can happen though, as unfortunately some people see the supposed ‘end game’ of a relationship, marriage, as an aspiration, rather than recognising that the entire point of a relationship is what you create each day in each moment with a person, together. I’m much like you, preferring a slower pace and having met men who start to label or control me, telling me that they expect to see someone ‘5 times a week’ etc. What I see in that is someone trying to force their idea of the relationship onto me, rather than seeing me for who I am and building something with me. I’m happy to negotiate with someone else’s needs but will not be forced into anything. The gentleman with patience and who sees my soul is the person who I will give my heart to and more of my time to as we build a relationship. Of course I agree that levels of ‘neediness’ are subjective but what I truly feel is that you’ll know when you want to give more of your time to someone and commit to them, but it should never be because you feel forced or pressured into it.

  26. 116

    Every website about abusive relationships mentioned RUSHING a relationship (when you barely know someone) and fast-forwarding it as HUGE red flags. I don’t know what you were smoking when you wrote this article but it’s not normal to have three dates and have the expectations these guys have. There is something wrong with them.

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