How do I Avoid Being a Clingy Dater?

Alyssa from St. Johns asks…Lava365 Ask the Expert

I dated a guy from [an online dating site] and it was nice. He has 3 kids and a good relationship with his ex-wife. He left me because he thought I was too clingy. I accept that and have learned to do better about getting too close to men. But what should I do differently if I’m looking for a relationship and fulfilling my “needs” as a woman? Men take that as a hook up and I’m not in college anymore, how do I find a man and not seem too clingy if that’s what I want?


Dear Alyssa,

There are a few things I would like to address with you.

First, take a look at who you are choosing to date. There are usually things like trust, or low self-esteem that cause a person to be more needy and clingy. The last person in the world that is going to have time to deal with a co-dependent relationship would be a single parent.

It is already a lot to deal with going through their divorce and the side effects that their children are going through, so it is way too much to think they can have enough energy to deal with your time demands.

Dating a single parent is totally different from dating someone without children. The time constraints are so different than when you are party of one.

I often recommend to my clients to even be particular about dating someone whose kids are in a different rearing stage i.e…my daughter just went off to college probably, so I probably wouldn’t be as compatible with someone with small children.

That being said, regarding your last man- it says a lot about his character that he has a good relationship with his ex, which is not always the case. Being able to be civil after a divorce is only benefiting the children, so it shows he is dedicated to his kids.

Single parents should discuss their (realistic) timeline of when you will meet their children however, if you are being selfish and taking away time from his role as a parent, he won’t respect you because a supportive mate will encourage a healthy, involved role with their children.

If he can’t introduce you to the kids, then be patient! Even if that means you have to come 2nd until the kids are mentally & emotionally ready and willing to meet Dad’s new love interest.

It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you if you aren’t around the kids yet, you just have to understand that divorce, even as common as it is now days, is still a very traumatic thing for a child to go through.

On the other hand, if it’s not selfishness or kids pulling away time from you, it sounds like you may be co-dependent and have a low self-esteem. You never get your worth from anyone. You have to do some soul searching and find you.

The answers to your happiness are within and until you completely love yourself, and believe you are worthy of love, you will continue to be clingy and needy and push guys away. Men like a woman with confidence who has her own life, and not someone that smothers them to the point they feel they can’t breathe.

It’s okay to be a relationship person, but just make sure that you are okay alone first.

A few tips to use when dating…

1) Go Slow

Let him lead. Even with women’s lib in full effect, most men still want to LEAD in the relationship, so when you are smothering him and demanding, it makes him feel like you are trying to boss him around and control the relationship- or worse don’t trust him.

2) Find a Hobby 

What are the things that you used to enjoy? Do you have a secret desire in your heart to sing- Join a choir! Start focusing more on your own happiness and stop obsessing over getting validation from your mate. You will find that men are hunters, so when you are busy doing your thing, it will bring him right to you!

3) If you are Lonely, Don’t Be!

Ever heard the saying, “An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop”? It’s true! If you are lonely, force yourself to get out of your comfort zone and join a community group, activities club or volunteer your time.

That way you aren’t only focusing on what is missing in your life, but you doing something that makes you happy and helps you make new friends in the process. Neediness often comes from a lack of trust or a fear of abandonment.

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