How Do I Avoid Clingy and Desperate Men?

a man touching his face

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. 1

    I also had two men in the last year who were deperately trying to get me to commit sooner than seemed normal. They were controlling and basically losers in past relationships and life in general. At first flattered and then terrified, I ran away. My assessment was that they wanted a healthy normal person to validate their craziness. I knew tho that I would soon end up crazy too if I stayed. Had to head for more peaceful waters.

    1. 1.1

      Hilarious and agreed!

    2. 1.2

      Amen to what you said so true

      1. 1.2.1

        Only a desperate loser would try to assert pressure for a committed relationship prematurely. Chances are you have more to offer (children or not) than he could, whether financially, stability, maturity, etc. Some guys need another mommy in their lives. Beware of the weak so-called men. A real man is fine and secure in his own skin, with or without a partner, especially an instant one. If he has any wisdom and discretion, he would want to take time in finding the right woman. It’s called mutual respect and being smart.

        1. Ava

          Very well said, Kenny. I am glad there are some sane, reasonable, discerning people speaking up and contributing to the conversation here.

          Men (or women) who behave in this way are takers and they are unstable! It’s not benign or harmless or innocent, as some people may  imagine. Their behavior reveals their  selfishness and immaturity at best,because they are only considering their own wants, needs and interests.   People who do this and succeed in guilting, flattering, intimidating, controlling or wearing a person down enough to begin a relationship sometimes will raise the stakes of abuse and control to increasingly perilous levels. The only reasonable advice is to run  for the hills.

    3. 1.3

      Glad you ran Bev. I did too. I am finding that many of the men I have met are needy creatures. The last one told me he was “in between houses” when I first met him. Translation: I am looking for  a place to live and you have a house and room for me”…… Sure enough on the 2nd  date he approached me about moving in with me and “helping me” work in my house.   He thought he would just move right in, take over my life and my schedule.   I found out that he had been “in between houses” for 2 years.

      I finally had to stop seeing him, block him on social media, alert my family. The guy kept pushing and pushing.   He would leave his things at my house. He would conveniently “fall asleep” on my couch and snore the night away. I would tell him that he had to wake up to leave and he ignored my request. An opportunist.

      I cut him off completely. Had to. I am still concerned because he has stuff at my house that he conveniently left. I am boxing it up and placing it near the door.



    4. 1.4

      Bev- you articulated that very well.   I wish I had had enough insight to walk away from someone that was coming on really strongly in the beginning of our relationship…because guess what?…apparently, just as you said, he was attracted to my “light” and normalcy, which, are the very things that eventually scared him off, leaving me with a broken heart.   Turns out, he was looking to me to validate his craziness. Lesson learned!

  2. 2

    Leah, I am kind of in the same situation now. I am a divorced mother who is dating. I have met a really great man. We have been on two dates and we speak daily. We IMed each other for hours in the evenings, the week before we went on our first date. The issue is I have only known him for two weeks and I’m not ready to define our relationship. I am not planning on going out with anyone else right now, but I’m not mentally ready for that committment to someone either (not this fast). I have children to consider. I have my future to consider. It might end up being with this wonderful man, but I need time before I define…

    The other night I fell asleep early and received a text in the morning from this man(in a joking mannner) asking what happened to me last night, and if I had been out on a hot date or if I was up late on messenger(because he had called to say good night) and I didn’t answer). I didn’t like even responding to that that text message (assuring him I had fallen asleep), I guess because I felt like I was already having to prove myself…. when I technically don’t owe him that answer…. It’s seems like it’s all in the timing. You will know when it’s right for you.

    1. 2.1

      wow this guy sounds soooo insecure! he actualy reminds me of my X who was like this, i like many girld mistaked it for him being so keen on me when really he was seeing other women behind my back out of fear i was seeing someone or going to leave him! Nightmare! Any man that leaves little sarci comments like`were you on a date?? ha ha just kidding isnt, its a massive tell tell sign of his true colours! What comes next later on can be very ugly. You a smart girl as your gut is already telling you everything you need to know. He will be hard work and will need a lot of fixing, problem is he will never do it for himself it will be your job to constantly deal with his issues or needy possesiveness. I say get out now girl if im honest. Ive been there, done that and got the whole wardrobe! Learn from my mistake and please dont make it your own. x

      1. 2.1.1

        I should of walked, never put up with his rubbish. I wasted 23 years thinking I could fix it, or nature was trying to teach me and show me my weaknesses so that I can be strong, all rubbish if you’ve got any brains walk out of a bad relationship.

      2. 2.1.2

        Hi Emma,

        reading about your experience sent chills down my spine! The guy I’m dating has said the same thing. Please tell me more about your exs behaviours and characteristics, if it sounds familiar to me – I think I’m in trouble and will need to stop seeing my guy immediately! 🙁

      3. 2.1.3

        well said

  3. 3

    That’s a great answer Evan. I’ve always wondered what differences of opinons both men & women have on the definitions of these dating buzzwords like “needy” “clingy”, “desperate” and even “healthy”. The way I see it, it’s every one persons personal opinon as too what is “needy”, “clingy” etc. Why is it when a couple hits it off and
    immediately starts seeing each other 4 times a week and talking twice every day and they’re both loving it neither is considered “needy,clingy, or desperate” ? But if one of the two doesn’t
    agree with the pace or changes up the pace they cry “needy & clingy” if the other doesn’t follow !!
    Or if it was someone they were more “into” they wouldn’t even think of complaining. Just like when I hear of people trotting out “I love you’s” at 4-6 weeks. I think, huh ???
    On another note why isn’t wanting to be married considered “needy” ?
    Why is it healthy to want to be with someone every day for the rest of your life ?? Sounds clingy to me.
    As for you single moms. You barely have time to date 1 guy and try and have a relationship let alone more than 1. You have 1 night a week to see someone then complain when the guy who’d like to just see you goes out with other women because YOU don’t want to be exclusive !
    You can’t have it both ways.

    1. 3.1


    2. 3.2

      I agree with everything you said! EXCEPT for the exclusivity part towards the end. Just because someone isn’t ready for exclusivity early on, doesn’t mean they won’t ever be ready. That’s where being honest and upfront is extremely important. That’s one of the first things I find out about a guy since I move so slow. People move at different paces. I’m a single Mom and moving slow comes with the territory. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable with that, then we part ways.

    3. 3.3

      Because a little bit of mystery is nice. In any circumstance be it a man or a woman. If they start frantically texting you about getting married and how you’re the apple of their eye after a week, then they’ve got issues.

    4. 3.4

      JOHN< Some good points especially the one about if both are into it and it launches fast, that’s just hot. I dated a guy, we went out once. He finally called me after over a week. Fine, I’m cool with that. We were chatting about our siblings. I said my brother and I use to wrestle as kids, that it started out friendly, the turned into a war! He said “I like the idea of wrestling with YOU”. ICK. That is just so awkward, I never want to see hi again. If I was attracted to him, I probably would have loved it. Your point illustrated exactly. ha

    5. 3.5

      Having two people moving fast paced in a relationship means that they’re both in the same page. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow they are actually, what matters is that they’re seeing each other eye to eye. What I discover about clingy men is they usually only care about their needs, not their partner’s. If they really do care about the other person in the first place, then they would try pace the relationship halfway where they both meet. That’s what being in a relationship is about. Conforming to the others’ needs with yours.

    6. 3.6

      Hi John ~

      I think the key is when BOTH people feel the same way about each other. I was in a relationship for a couple of years and we spoke twice a day and texted all throughout the day, every day. Saw each other on weekends as we both worked full time with demanding schedules. We were always in touch. HAPPY. Mutually happy. Not needy.   We were on the same page in the relationship.

      I think the problem that some of us are having is we are meeting men/women where the feelings are NOT mutual and we don’t share the same vision. If a person is with another out of need, or in search of another out of need, that’s  not good.   If a person is being targeted by another for a need, like a place to live, needs money, laundry, a mommy/daddy for the kids, whatever, that’s bad news.

      Emotional and financial neediness is also not attractive. Not for a man or a woman. Everyone is lacking somewhere in their life or within themselves. You don’t rely on a human being to fix those issues.   I recently went out with someone that blamed EVERYONE but themselves for their sad position in life.   Needy people never seem to assume responsibility for their own actions.

      I have met men and women too that are very possessive, untrusting and seem to need to know everything all of the time. Not out of consideration or concern for another person, but because it’s a control thing.

      When you are a divorced parent or a single parent, it doesn’t mean you should be   trolling for a daddy or a mommy for your kids. It doesn’t mean that you need to be saved by a person.   It means that you want to have a romantic life and maybe more but only with the best match for you and for them. You do have to be careful who comes around.

      I honestly think that if the right person comes around,   they wont be perceived as “needy’ and I wont be either.


    7. 3.7

      I see what you are saying, and I will admit that I am definitely quicker to label a guy needy or clingy if I’m not interested in him.

      But I think for me what makes a guy needy or clingy as opposed to interested is their maturity level. The two guys in my past I consider to be needy/clingy didn’t have much going for them in life. They weren’t very independent, seemed like they were drifting or lost, and I quickly got the impression that they were looking for me to give them guidance and reassurance and lead them. It’s an imbalance, not in level of interest, but in maturity.

      1. 3.7.1

        Sometimes, there can be an issue of boundaries, say, when the guy can’t seem to decide if you’re the one while asking for sex and expecting you to play the role of guide/mother/guardian angel. It can be extremely confusing. I recall one particular occasion when I was left thinking the clingy male in question was either very immature, clueless or a sociopath.

    8. 3.8

      There’s a difference between hanging out with someone frequently and wanting to be in a relationship with them. If a person wants to hang out with someone it means that they enjoy the persons company. If a person wants a relationship with someone it means they like the person enough to make a commitment to them. Hanging out is the way two people get to know each other so it’s normal for two people who just met and think they might like each other to want to hang out. It’s not normal for someone to want a relationship with someone they just met because they haven’t had the time to hang out and get to know the other person. People who want a relationship before getting to know someone are either crazy or shallow. It’s impossible for a person to like someone for who they are and not just their appearance or what they can give the person if they never took the time to hang out.

  4. 4

    Hahahah great answer Evan! of course you’re the expert here!
    And John i’d love to get to know u .. how old are u by the way???

  5. 5

    Yes, it is all in the timing. I’ve also come to the conclusion that these men were not the right men for me, or I would have been “that” into them too. I figure it’s better to end things then lead them on when I know it’s not going to last.

    This last man in particular was what made me write. I had decided I didn’t want to see him again, so instead of being rude & ignore all his calls & emails, I responded to one of his emails & said that I didn’t want to see him again. I also gave him a reason. I thought I was being polite. He obviously did not, because he sent me a scathing email telling me I was immature, and a lot more. This response from him did nothing but confirm my thoughts on him, and I was glad I had decided not to see him again.

    Stacey–I too hadn’t planned on seeing anyone else, but I wasn’t ready to define things either. He kept pushing the issue though, which made me see a personality trait in him that I really didn’t like.

    John–I never said to anyone that I wanted to be exclusive. Yes, I am a single mother with little time to date, and I understand that. When he asked me if he should date anyone else & I said that wasn’t for me to say (after one date), he got upset with me.

    1. 5.1

      Leah, I’m into the “it’s not you it’s me. I realized I’m not ready for a relationship”lie. It’s easier and their feelings aren’t hurt. I now know that when a guy says he’s not ready for a relationship he just left off the last two words ….”with YOU”. I’d rather hear that than “you’re too weird”. Which I probably am, but please, sugar coat it so I can live for tomorrow?

    2. 5.2

      Wow, that actually happened to me as well. Well, a bit differently since in my case me and my ex had already broken up but we had decided to try stay friends. After a month I realized that I can’t fully move on if we’re still in contact and I wrote him a fb message  saying my thing, explaining my reasons (would have done it in person if we had been living in the same city but I live in Sweden and he in Canada so :D). I was honest and straightforward in my message but also polite and calm. The next day he sent me 37 fb messages insulting me (that I’m immature and hasty and a lot more) and ranting about how this is a wrong decision to make. The following day he wrote “oups I was a bit drunk yesterday” and “I really don’t have time for your messages.”

      The above happened last August. Since then he has sent me 2 e-mails (trying to convince me to change my mind), 1 holiday card and 1 parcel that contained a hand-written letter and 2 jars of honey (seriously?!) A week after the episode of 37 angry fb messages I decided to block him on fb, as I started to get stressed over him again writing  me stuff like that (I did the same with my e-mail.) Luckily we live really far away from each other and he doesn’t have my phone number so this situation could be worse (had to find smth positive 🙂 I just hope that he would leave me alone and move on with his life.

      Well, at least I have learned smth from this whole thing and I know now what kind of a man has to be if I’m gonna be in a relationship with him (and what kind of behavior I won’t accept and what are my boundaries.) Yes, now that I think of it, there were signs during those couple of months that we were together but for some how I didn’t thought of them as a big deal. Kind of like justifying myself with “he said he would never to that again” or “he said xyz to me but he was drunk and stressed” well now after 8 months from our relationship I firmly believe that his issues from his childhood and teen years affected our relationship. No, I can’t change his past, nor can he, but I can’t be his rescuer. During the time that we were together I started to feel more negative around him (well, he seemed like a pessimist), and that he was needy and clingy because he didn’t like when I was having a girls’ night or when I saw my friends without him (basically anytime when I was spending my free time without him.) And this kind of behavior even though we saw each other 2-3 times a week.

      1. 5.2.1

        Based on all the comments it just appears that women want everything on their own terms and conditions and at tbeir own pace, what the guy wants always comes the last. Men basically dont get to define anything.

        No wonder guys are going MGTOW and tired of all these fine printed rules set by women for womens own benefit.

  6. 6

    Leah & Stacy I didn’t mean to single you guys out as far as defining or asking for exclusivity etc…while being single moms. I just meant that in my dating experience (i’m 40ish btw Hely) of dating single moms I almost feel guilty for wanting to see them more than once a week because I know they don’t have the time. Thus causing me to ask myself “am I being too needy here because I want to spend time with this woman”?
    What do the single moms expect men to do the other six nights when they’re unavailable and don’t want to be exclusive ?
    Why are couples that have known each other for a week or 2 talking to each other EVERY day on the phone while at the same time emailing,texting anyway ? Obviously noone should be asking anyone anything about defining what “this” is after 1 or 2 dates . The point I was trying to make is it’s all everyones OWN opinion as to what’s too needy,clingy,desperate etc… and it’s usually ONE person in the “couple” that makes it and you know which one that is ?? The one that likes the other the least. Go figure.
    Sure timing has something to do with it but so does a persons options, what they might be looking for or realistically have time for and be able to offer not to mention where they are emotional health wise.Which of course is an OPINION…LOL

    1. 6.1

      John, wake up. If they were into you they would make time. Have you even read Evan’s column? He explains all this, it’s why I bail out when they can’t up the once a week sex date. It’s hot, but it’s NOT…..

      1. 6.1.1

        “Once a week sex date” – seriously?   If I were a woman who had sex with her dates and our only dates were a “once a week sex date” I would think that you wanted sex but didn’t want to pay for a “professional” and risk getting a STD.   You might want to consider not having sex with everyone you date and just save that for someone who has committed to loving only you for their rest of their life.   You might be surprised by her reaction. 🙂

        1. Joy

          I remember when my child was young and I was single and couldn’t afford or find a sitter consistently, that it was so hard to actually go on a date more than one night a week. I remember a fellow I dated being annoyed about this, and I couldn’t blame him.

          I was lonely for another adult, a fella, but I had to just bow out of the dating world. It was completely off the table to see men I didn’t know well enough while my child was present.

          Also, it was hard to have one night without the child, where I wanted to be social. I found myself just needing quiet and a hot batch. So I’d say the single woman saying she can’t date often is probably being truthful. Maybe if one of these fellas had wanted to just meet me for lunch while little one was at daycare… it was HARD. And sad for the man who was annoyed, because I did like him. I was just stuck. I say this as an older lady looking back on those hard, lonely days.

  7. 7

    I think there’s a BIG difference in showing that you “are into” someone vs. pushing for a commitment after only 2-3 dates. I don’t see anything wrong with calling often to say “Hi, how’s your day going?” “Would you like to get together on Saturday?” That’s not necessarily clingy or desperate. But to start planning a future with someone you just met and don’t even really know yet? That IS desperate, and in a way, scary. I don’t think Evan’s blog really addressed that.

    I understand that people who use dating sites are in the main hoping to find someone to have a future with. But surely not everyone equates a couple of dates as an instant relationship, do they? I haven’t tried dating sites yet, is there an expectation in this venue to move exceptionally fast? I wouldn’t consider myself in a relationship until I had spent an appreciable amount of time with someone (in person) for at least a month, minimum. Anything less seems like one of those quickie, short-lived junior high school “relationships”. Is this kind of thinking now considered old-fashioned? Ridiculously slow?

    Truly I’m curious. I don’t want to join one of these sites if I were expected to be someone’s intended after only a handful of dates. Please comment.

    1. 7.1

      Lisa, If you join a dating site, expect everything from they want sex on a coffee date to they will disappear after declaring their love on the first date. It’s a real weird ride out there.

    2. 7.2

      I am mediately thought the same thing after reading the blog. It makes to light of something that looks like a red flag.    Knowing someone for 2 weeks or having only one or two dates and then asking for exclusivity is fast.   It’s strange when someone wants to keep tabs on your every move, an account for all of your time. A relationship should have time to let the woman fall for the guy and vice versa. How can anyone know a person in 1-2 dates, just 10-14 days?   I do know   instantly committing all your   time with Mr. Wrong means it’s keeping away Mr. Right.   People   are there best in real love with someone healthy for them.

  8. 8

    I totally agree with Lisa, and this is basically what I was getting at. This is the reason I didn’t want to see these particular men again–I saw what they were doing as a personality trait of being obsessive, which in my opinion, would most likely turn into being posessive. Telling someone you are going to *miss* them after a first date is totally different than saying you had a nice time and would like to see them again. How can you miss someone when you barely know them?

  9. 9

    I think it’s because these guys Leah dated aren’t exactly what she’s looking for..not her “type” and now that the guys are getting to “like” her and wants to get closer, she now thinks their clingy…lol
    Actually I’d react the same way but if I’m so into the guy and he tells me that he misses me already even on our first date, I would be like so high up the

    1. 9.1

      Yes Lyric thats exactly what it is and nothing else. Leah hasn’t met a guy shes into, so all these guys are just talking greek to her. I would be the same way. Lol.

  10. 10

    Hmmm … interesting… Im a woman, 39, single and childless, and ONLY NOW do I really feel relaxed enough in dating to really enjoy it moment to moment and not be a needy freakish lady myself- basically, I have just begun liking mysef enough to feel healthy and nonobsessive and not needy. Yes I d like to be with someone but no, I’m not desperate and I don’t feel like I need a man to complete me in a needy way.

    So here is a funny story that is apropos – I just stopped seeing a guy tonight who was too needy/ manipulative for me. On our first date he told me he had gone to a PSYCHIC who had told him he would meet me and we’d be married within a year- and he had just gotten out of a messy relationship with no real closure… On our second date, he said ” I wish you trusted me enough to let me come up to your place” – when I had a morning flight the next morning and I had to get up at 4 AM! Needless to say he didnt come up ( It was a total turnoff -creepy!) He didn’t like ” dating slowly” ( I.e. not immediate sex and reassurance and constant contact ) because it was ” torture” to ” play games”… Lets see, we had a third date when I bought movie tickets but he messed up his schedule and couldn’t come, then he got passive aggressively sulky when I used the ( nonrefundable ) tickets with a pal… So tonight, 60 seconds after we had the ‘let’s be friends’ talk he said ” Now we’re friends, I want to give you some feedback on your dating approach” to which I said ” No thanks I’m too vulnerable to hear that right now! ” ( dodging the passive agressive bullet!…) Then he told me I was the ” second woman who had dissed him that week “- some other woman he had slept with had also given him the air. I STILL didn’t rise to the bait ( I hadn’t known he was seeing anyone, obviously he was trying to get me going) but whoah ! All that anger and manipulation and acting out and unresolved feeling just sealed for me that he wasn’t someone who it was wise to date.I love my life, I love myself, I love men in general and people too ( I know, Im a dork!) and I feel like I have so much more to offer from sayng NO THANKS to the needy guys… so trust your gut, what underlies the neediness is anger, forget it.
    I guess the difference between unhealthy neediness and falling in love is subjective, one man’s meat is another poison, but IMHOP you should not have to be answering to someone too soon, or feel guilty for not assuaging some dudes’s random insecurities,he should deal with them on his own in early dating, othwerwise its a HUGE RED FLAG for me. I feel like he is then putting emotional stuff on me he hasn’t dealt with himself- and underneath that is the rage, yikes.

    If it feel like some big obligation and not fun after just 3- 4 dates, then what is the point, aren’t we supposed to enjoy getting to know each other? Dont get me wrong I love, adore, pamper and dote upon the men I love, but If I start getting that clammy sweaty icky needy ” be my mommy” vibe too early on I run for the hills! Even if I really LIKED a guy and he told me he missed me after one date – it would creep me out and make me like him MUCH LESS!

    1. 10.1

      I stopped reading your post after the first date and just skimmed through the rest. I have a friend who had been married 4 times to the same type of women—crazy!!!   Finally when he went back to the dating scene, he had one very important rule…the moment he felt or saw a red flag on the first date…it stops there!   No second or try again or contemplating a maybe, he moved on to the next date till he found this wonderful woman whom he dated for 8 yrs and they recently married. He is a wonderful guy and deserves to be happy. I say thats one hell of a rule!

    2. 10.2

      Oh holy fuck, you dodged a major psychotic bullett there. He sounds like someone who may chain you up in a basement

  11. 11
    Ryan H

    The truth is ladies these types of men are insecure and lonely individuals who just want sex and a very high chance a lot of them will do a disappearing act after. The reason you went on these first couple dates is the high probability that you told them you had kids and they accepted that fact AND Also the obvious reason you were interested in them in the first place. But what you might not know is what their motives are. Are they genuine in what they say? Do they ask probing questions to get to really know you or are they just playing mind tricks to get you in bed. Women like to be worked for to feel that exclusiveness but the truth these men don’t have enough experience to understand that. They obviously are not good in the dating arena or understanding women. It’s like rewarding a dog a treat for doing nothing but bark.

    1. 11.1

      Yes, that is the other thing occuring to me in the back of my mind when a guy is being “clingy”. He might seem really insecure and wanting to rush things but it could also be he wants instant sex. The alarm bells always go off when a man doesn’t answer questions properly, and also doesn’t ask any. Either he is illiterate, isn’t fussy and is desperate, is fussy but lacks self esteem, OR isn’t genuine and just wants one thing. Logically to me a man behaving a bit ‘desperate’ is only one of these four things. Nevermind the fact that women complain men don’t want to commit/are to elusive/never call etc, it’s equally as bad when they act desperate and clingy, and I don’t see why us women should feel guilty for having a problem with it. If a guy is genuinely interested, he won’t mind taking it slow, getting to know you, and respecting your space, surely? Otherwise it gives the message that he just wants to box you into his ideal. If that means being ‘ready to go’ then best you part ways asap. It’s just such a shame that as men get older they are so like this. A lot of women have their own lives – even if they do want children eventually – they expect a man to treat her as an equal and respect the fact that she is still her own person. I find dating completely exasperating nowadays. It’s like men can’t handle this.

      1. 11.1.1

        Right on, I totally agree.

    2. 11.2

      Yeah Ryan! The truth emerges. Trusting anything anyone says on an internet date is just plain STUPID. Sorry, but the internet attracts players, users and sociopaths, and while it’s ok to meet up with people on the off chance you will find a real live not so crazy, you better not give anyone the benefit of the doubt unless you like being played like a fiddle or you’re actually looking for property on the flood plains.

      1. 11.2.1

        Aye yai yai, or the guy could just be insecure and needs a bit of support like through therapy. I dated an insecure guy that was clingy. He actually had some really lovely qualities, but being insecure and being clingy was a huge turn-off for me and he needed to learn to love himself before  he could love someone else.   It all stemmed from family issues and needing validation through love.

        It doesn’t however mean the guy is just desperate for sex! Mine certainly wasn’t. I mean he loved sex, but he was very respectful and patient in  regards to that.

        I understand it’s very easy to just look at the person and go “oh my god, they are clingy and desperate, how awful”, but if you actually bother to dig a bit deeper and understand why a person might be like this, you might find a bit of compassion for the person. Yes it’s not healthy how they acting, but most humans don’t see thier own unhealthy behaviour.

  12. 12

    I agreed with Evan’s post and also, what many of you had to say. I also think many or all of these things apply to women who come off as to needy or clingy as well. Timing and how you feel about the other person (not how you think you SHOULD feel) make a huge difference in how you perceive them and their actions. But I also think you can look at their actions in terms of kind and degree. One is what types of behaviors just plain don’t work for you – kind. The other is what behaviors to what degree don’t work for you, creep you out or make you feel pressured or what-have-you. Often, both of these come into play.

    When a person pursues you pretty relentlessly and doesn’t seem to be taking into account what you want or how you feel, then you have to wonder if they came into it with a very strong personal (and maybe unintentional, but still real) agenda or goal. And also, likely some major insecurities.

    I think I have been needy to some degree and I have certainly dated a couple of men who were needy to the point that it canceled out their actually truly being “nice.” This would be the guy who is “too nice”. Or the woman.

    There is an awesome article I read after dating a guy like this for only about a week – about Nice Guys often being losers. Yes, sounds very harsh, but the article made some really well-thought-out points that clarified a great deal for me – both about nice guys and about being careful not to “be too nice” myself in an effort to connect or validate myself. Here is the link if anyone wants to take a look – actually isn’t a rant despite what the url says.

    This guy immediately acted like we were a couple. Actually asked me how many guys had gone out with on Match … and asked me to not date anyone else before the first of only two dates. Also asked if I already had a hot date when I turned him down for Friday night – Truth was, it was too soon for me. He seemed wonderful – always deferring to me, not even picking his own conversation topics. Though I couldn’t stand that. Who wants to not have a real give and take. And all that.

    What this article said is that “Nice guys” don’t have an opinion. Or they don’t express it. They always defer to you, but then you have to take all the responsibility if you made “the wrong choice” or picked something less than satisfactory. They also often come on too strong due to an insecurity and a need for you to think they are the cat’s meow, not because they are truly into you that lightning fast. How the hell can they be that into you if they don’t know you yet? This holds true for women like that as well.

    He decided he was going to wash my car after one date. He also used 7 exclamation points in one email – without an “I Love You!”, “Damn!”, “Ouch!”, “Curses, foiled again!” or a “Bif, Bam, Boom!” in site. I.e, nothing that was actually an exclamation that required such punctuation. I initially thought this meant he was either overly dramatic or immature. It turned out to be both.

    But I felt guilty about not giving him two chances despite red flags all over the place that he wasn’t right for me. These I expressed to friends and family from the get-go and they too thought I was too picky : ) – AT FIRST ; ) They thought my concern over the exclamation points was nuts. And people thought I should be less concerned since he wasn’t being an out and out jerk. Though he did criticize really little stuff like the crust on our pizza and the salt not being on the actual soft pretzel at the movies. And told me repeatedly how crappy and unsafe my aptmt. was – Yet, I pay for it myself whereas he had no job and had his rent at 36 paid for someone else. He wasn’t concerned about my safety – he wanted to make where he lived look better in comparison.

    The guy mentioned in this letter may have very genuine intentions – it sounds like he probably does or he has a lot of unresolved personal issues that cause him to do a full court press as soon as he meets a potential mate. And not see the warning signs on her end.

    This is what I believe happened in my situation and I just bit the bullet and wrote him an email and made it sound like he was just great the way he is and made it sound like it was my personal issues holding me back. I didn’t give real reasons, but if I did make any mention – they didn’t have to do with him. And they weren’t anything he could really refute. I didn’t care for the email I got back making it sound like I was a few fibers short of a basket-case, but hey – it didn’t diminish his self worth, it didn’t lead him on, and it got me out of a situation that was driving me batshit in the nicest way.

    The old me would have prolonged it because he was a “nice guy”. He was too nice. Like me baking cookies from scratch for a guy on a first date too nice : ) Part of it is the how someone is nice to you, but an even BIGGER part to me is the WHY. And the timing. If you find yourself having to frequently justify why you aren’t comfortable with someone’s actions, then something is off.

    How you feel is how you feel and there are usually ways to be fair to the other person but still extricate yourself if it isn’t working for you. Unless he or she is a true stalker – then must seriously proceed with caution and assume you can’t rationalize how they must be thinking.

    I do agree with Evan about the rational conversation – rather than just dropping the guy. But think you have to truly evaluate the situation, the person, and how likely he is to hear what you have to say and truly considerate it versus what he has in his head and heart already. Same goes for women who get too close or too involved too fast. TOO meaning for the other person in the equation. When is too much too much? When it is too much for you.

    1. 12.1

      Jessica, I can relate.   I recently went on one lunch date with a man who had already begun a full court press over texting before the first date.   He was texting too much and over complimenting me by text, telling me he was having a bad day over text, I had never met the guy.). I had already spotted a few red flags (career related and based on his demeanor , over talking and interrupting me during the initial phone convo we had).   When we met in person he was actually more appealing personality wise, but I could not shake the weird communications from before the date.   The fact that he was not too physically appealing did not help though.    But I was ready to give him another chance , as I tend to give the benefit of the doubt and allow a second date.   unfortunately   he began over texting again, sending one unnecessary text too late at night on a week night.   That was the final straw for me and I could not muster any interest after that.

      1. 12.1.1

        Listen to your instincts. Men who can not follow social protocol….red flag! You can google this stuff on the internet: how many times should I text, how often should I call. If they can’t even follow social norms, it’s not going to get better.

    2. 12.2
      Karmic Equation

      Good article. I’ve only ever met one man like that.


      If you change the gender of the article, you’ll see this article could be about clingy women.


      Particularly this part (genders reversed for effect):

      “More than loving the <man> in <her> life, a Nice <Girl> NEEDS <him>. “<He> is my Life, my only source of happiness…” YECH! What kind of a burden is that to place on <him>? That <HE> has to be responsible for YOUR happiness? Get a grip! ”


      Refrain from being the Nice Guy OR Girl this article is talking about. You’ll have much better luck in maintaining relationships (if you’re the girl) or getting dates (if you’re the guy).

  13. 13

    Re: my previous post…

    The aforementioned blind date was probably also a nice guy in the good sense of the word, but was “Too nice” for me in ways that were very specific. Ways that I could articulate in both thoughts and feelings that did not make me as happy to speak with him or be in his presence as he said he felt about me. But he also told me he’d rather be with someone and not be that happy than to be alone. So I do think he had set a course for action that had more to do with what he was determined to have – with someone – than with me. It was right to let him go – for him as much as for me. Just wanted to clarify that I was not meaning to use a public forum/dating advice site to bitch about him or try to make him look bad. I learned from this and hope someone else might too.

  14. 14

    Interesting posts from everybody – and this is as much a problem to women as it is to men, it seems.

    As Jessica correctly intimates, the basis of all this is wishful thinking (the power of which should never be under-estimated: one thing old Sigmund got right!). The giveaway in her story is her would-be partner’s confession that he fears being alone. Such a fear leads to desperation, which in turn results in clingy behaviour, which as many others in this string conclude, means ‘too much, too soon.’

    And Jessica’s right: he probably is a very nice man – as kind and considerate as she herself sounds, as her manner of divesting herself of him was certainly impeccable in these terms. But she is equally correct in listening to her gut reactions, which were warning her off him. These were telling her that this particular man wasn’t interested in Jessica; just the idea of her that his longing for love had formulated. And, sooner or later, disillusion would set in as he realised the real woman wouldn’t fit the narrow blissed-out confines of his mental construct … and then what?

    Hm. Food for thought: been there, done that – and had it all done to me, to boot! Thank you, Evan and co.


  15. 15

    And traditionally aren’t women suppose to be the clingy ones? I’ve never been in a serious relationship (it’s ok though, I’m only 17) because every time a guys liked me he gets obsessive. They text you 24/7, want to know what you’re doing every minute and want to go out all the time. It’s worse if you’re a fierce free spirit like me, an ENFP and a Type 7 Enthusiast. We have a perhaps irrational fear of being tied down. If you go out with this clingy person, they’ll think you like them back as much as you like them and I see it as getting stuck in a web.

    Why are men so clingy these days? My friend can’t do anything without her boyfriend because he’s clingy and obsessive and jealous. People my age in relationships spend every minute with their boyfriends, sometimes living with them like my friend. And then like my other friend, whose relationship with her boyfriend ended because they got sick of eachother. Well go figure. If people gave eachother lots of space and separate time they wouldn’t get sick of eachother and be much happier. It comes down to the fact that people don’t trust eachother. They worry that their spouse is cheating on them or something if they aren’t under their constant watchful eye. But without trust there’s no love so these relationships are so fake.

    1. 15.1
      Claudia Thomoson

      Jessica, I read a really interesting article online about this very subject of why men are so needy these days. It is as if the tables have turned since it used to be women who were needy.

      The answer they gave is that since women have become more independent and more choosy etc., this sort of triggers the response in men to chase after these independent women. Like, people tend to chase after someone who is running away. But if they are clingy then they tend to want to run away themselves because the person is chasing them.

  16. 16


    At 17, you have more insight than most of us. You are spot-on about trust issues. Good luck to you as you continue to grow from a young lady to a wise and lovely lady!

  17. 17

    Hmmmm, makes one wonder if all this fear of being seen as needy and clingly will lead to people never being able to be themselves and being honest about their feelings. A friend from work has set me up with her brother; she’s already sent up an initial red flag by telling me he can’t stand to be without a woman. Meanwhile, there was someone special to me; I was honest that I felt a connection, and that I had hoped something would happen but I was also honest that I was working on a degree, raising kids, etc. Evidently, even that was too much. We can’t win for losing, can we?

  18. 18

    Leah asks, “How can you miss someone when you barely know them?”

    Try spending a few months… even years ALONE. Once you know what hopelessness feels like, what constant rejection feels like, how it feels to truely be alone in this world… once you know what it feels like to be scared of dying alone and unloved… then you’ll know how it’s possible to miss someone who gave you a glimpse of what being loved, wanted, and needed is like.

    1. 18.2
      Karmic Equation

      This person needs to move and develop new hobbies. Sounds like s/he doesn’t have much of a life and is depending on another human being to make his/her life better.


      Doesn’t work like that. This person needs to go out and get happy FIRST. The Mr or Ms. Right will come along. Happy people are attractive people.

    2. 18.3

      After i separated from my ex husband i   have spent   over 3 years alone trough divorce and a couple after, i can tell you that   nothing has been as GOOD as learning to be with myself, love myself, love MY life, i am not desperate for a relationship I am     dating now figuring out what and whom is the right man for me if i see red flags I dont stick i am reading this forum because   this guy i just met and went to two dates with doesnt seem to understand i cant see hime very day i cant text message all day long i have a bussy happy life and what i want   is not somebody who completes m e, not to complete anyone, not somebody who needs me but somebody who is happy and who likes ME enough so we can share   our happy together not a dude who needs to learn to enjoy his life and love himself.   I was married 16 years just turned 40 have 3 teenagers and a job and go to school full time If i am going to make time to see somebody I want it to be somebody special not just a body to fill a void or a man who cant understand my boundaries.


  19. 19

    I was just searching for clingy me and came across this article. It was totally what I was looking for. I’m 18 and I’ve never been in a relationship before. I’ve met this guy through a friend about 2 months ago. We’ve hung out with a group of friends and text quite often. After a while, he asked me out on a date. Impressed, I agreed and we’ve been going out since. It’s been about a month. On top of that, we text and talk on the phone a lot. However, he likes to talk about having a future together, growing old together, not having kids (coz I don’t want any) and going on a trip together. At first I thought it was just me being afraid of commitment. Afterwards, being introspective, I realized that I’m just not ready. I’m not ready for all the commitment and activities that he is proposing (like wanting to come over in the morning to wake me up). He’s had 4 past relationships and I’ve had none. But even so, I think that knowing someone for less than 2 months does not warrant such behavior. The extent of his ‘love’ that he feels for me is scary. I don’t know if it’s just me. But I have to end it soon.

  20. 20
    Rob StGeorge

    Its a common discussion… from both sides, it ends up that men are not attracted to needy women, and women are the same when it comes to needy men. From my experience when two people are into each other it doesn’t seem to matter. So as others have alluded to often seems to stem from one person not being as into the other.. however in saying this obviously if someone exhibits too much needy behaviour at an early stage of the dating game they are probably going to put off whoever they are obsessing about. So the secret I guess is to take it easy.. give a little sometimes and wait to see what you get back. Don’t keep texting or calling someone if you are not getting anything in reply, patience folks and understanding that everyone is different, some have busier lives than others and by playing it cool.. you may be surprised at the success you can have.

    1. 20.1

      Exactly.   When a person presents as super attentive, needy or clingy in the early stages of dating, it evidences an unhealthy attachment style.   It may be that the person is desperately insecure, or ( in the case of one ex ) a narcissist or PUA who is saying what he believes women want to hear.


      In either case, I prefer men who match my measured, friends-first pace.

    2. 20.2

      I’m beginning to think that it’s more about interest level than if the person is really being needy or not. I recently met a man who within a few weeks has become increasingly needy. He texts me all day, non-stop and when I don’t text back fast enough, he questions why I’m not responding or if I’m ignoring him.   Now naturally, this is a turn-off no matter what but the truth is that it’s a bigger turn off because I don’t really like him that much. My main issue with him is actually that he seems to be very narrow-minded and judgmental due to his religious beliefs and that is what really   freaked me out. His perspectives on a few things seem like real deal breakers but I kept talking to him in spite because I wanted to give him a chance. He’s very attractive and successful and very attentive so I figured I can maybe see what happens. But then he started getting clingy, and when I cancelled a date due to work, he seemed to be really annoyed about it and that was a huge turn off. Just before I met him, the shoe was on the other foot. I met a man I was really into, at first he chased me but then I started liking him back…probably too much so our communication got lopsided and he went cold on me, I started to chase him   and he finally cut it off and said that we should only be friends. The truth is that he was never really that into me to begin with. Then there was that magical and rare time that me and a man were perfectly in sync. The man I fell head over heels in love with,   I was kind of clingy with him but he didn’t seem to mind it at all. The more I showed interest in him, the more he showed interest in me and vice versa. We just flowed really nicely and with such ease. So the moral of the story is……. wait for the person you flow easily with!!

      1. 20.2.1
        Emily, the original


        He texts me all day, non-stop and when I don’t text back fast enough, he questions why I’m not responding or if I’m ignoring him.

        I had one like that. I met him at a party and gave him my number. He texted me from 8:30 a.m. to about 11 p.m., all day long. About 30 texts a day. And if I didn’t respond to the last text, he’d call the next morning to find out why. (By then, I was usually in bed!)

        This lasted just a few days with me. We didn’t even make it to the first date.   And he was, like your new guy, attractive. I was completely turned off.

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