Confessions Of A Clingy Girl: How I'm Becoming More Independent

by Natasha Abadilla

If you asked my friends or family if I'm "needy," they’d probably say I'm the exact opposite. However, if you ask the same question of any of my ex-boyfriends, it will seem as if you’ve asked about a different girl. Their answer would most likely be a resounding, "Yes!"

So, why the split personality? My current relationship had me wondering the same thing.

My last serious relationship lasted for four years; I was with someone I remain good friends with to this day. He had big goals, but he wasn’t very busy with his education or career while we were together, which I think worsened my clinginess.

Whenever I was bored, having a bad day or craved a tiny bit of attention, he would always answer my texts and calls, often within the next minute.

I remember many nights during which he’d make the hour-long drive between our homes at 1 am, just because I “needed him with me.”

My current significant other puts up with none of that nonsense. He's an entrepreneur and the head of his own well-established company, so it’s impossible for him to wait on me hand and foot.

This by no means reflects how much he cares about me, though it took me a while to realize that.

By having to do without constant attention, I’ve realized I am “that clingy girlfriend,” and how silly it is for me to be like that.

I graduated with honors from one of the nation’s top universities. I have close friends who feel like family, and my relationship with my family has always been strong.

My current job is both rewarding and intellectually stimulating, and with medical school hopefully in the near future, I am nothing short of busy. I’m a people person, and I’ve never had trouble making friends or chatting up “that guy at the bar.”

So, why have I been so clingy in the past? And, why do I still feel hunger pangs for attention?

Everyone wants to be validated, acknowledged and loved by someone. And, the truth is, unless you’ve had no human contact whatsoever, you are loved -- everyone is. There is someone in this world who adores you.

Some people, myself included, allow doubts to creep close to their hearts about the people who love them, resulting in the dozens of missed calls and random text messages my current boyfriend has on his phone.

Others don’t let these doubts shake the fact that they know they are loved.

However, becoming part of the second group, I’ve realized, isn’t dependent on whether you think someone else loves you or not. Because someone does — end of story.

The way to stop being “that clingy girl” is to think — correction: know — and to truly believe you are a catch. Because you are -- end of story.

It sounds so clichéd, but at the end of the day, you’re always going to crave validation; you're always going to question whether or not someone is crazy about you -- that is, unless you are crazy about yourself.

Sounds great in theory, I know. You’re preaching to the choir if you’ve muttered, “Easier said than done.”

However, these mantras have helped me be more of “the girl who knows she’s a catch,” and less of "the girl who's clingy" or "the girl who needs validation that she's wanted."

Repeat these mantras, or daily affirmations, to yourself when you feel like you need someone to tell you you're wanted, loved and needed:

"The only people who deserve my attention are those who give me theirs."

It makes sense if you take some time to think of it: If you feel like the attention-giving in your relationship is unequal and you’re less on the receiving side of things, it’ll wear you down.

Respect yourself enough to give your time to people who will give you theirs.

"I’m a catch. It’s his/her loss if he/she doesn’t realize it."

This one is self-explanatory.

It doesn’t matter if you are a badass businesswoman or a free-spirited artist; you have so much going for you. If someone doesn’t realize it, well, that someone just won’t be lucky enough to have your awesomeness rub off on him or her, right?

"Don’t I have something more productive I could be doing?"

There is always something more productive we all could be doing. It may be tackling that to-do list item you’ve been putting off for so long, or it could be watching another episode of "New Girl" or "How to Get Away with Murder."

Anything is more productive than trying to force someone to talk to you.

"I don’t like to be suffocated, either. Why am I suffocating him/her?"

Taking care of even the cutest of puppies gets tiresome when the puppy is constantly licking your face and vying for more tummy rubs.

You know how it feels to just need some space. Don’t be that puppy in your relationship.

"Self-confidence is the most attractive trait."

Have the kind of self-confidence that makes others wonder what the secret behind your smile is. And, if you don’t think you’re at that point yet, fake it 'til you make it.

True happiness, and the same kind of confident people you’ll want to surround yourself with, will follow.

There’s a fine line between getting the attention you deserve and being clingy – don’t get me wrong; you are not in a good relationship if your partner gives you zero attention.

That’s where communication between you and your partner comes in. If you both care about each other, you’ll figure out a way to communicate your needs for attention and reach a comfortable place over time.

At the end of the day, the only way to stop being “the clingy girl” is to remember one thing: With or without a partner on your arm, you have so much to offer.