For Many Women, Clinginess Is A Dealbreaker In Relationships, Says Study
Apart from all those fake news and unproven home remedies that do the rounds on WhatsApp groups, there’s this one thing that even the so-called non-sexist guys end up forwarding. I am talking about wife/girlfriend jokes. There’s one thing very common in all these jokes – the woman wants the man but the man feels rather trapped or would prefer being by himself. Oh, how conveniently they paint the man to be a bechara who just wants to escape the wolverine-like claws of his girlfriend or wife. Women are always shown as too needy and men too tired with our neediness. Turns out, most women find clinginess to be a dealbreaker, according to research.
No, if we constantly wanted weight around our neck – all day, every day – we’d all be like Bappi Lahiri, but are we? Women love space too and while we admire love and affection, dousing us in an overwhelming amount of it will only leave us short of breath. An ex of mine was so clingy, he’d come everywhere with me and if I didn’t take him along or dedicate all my non-working waking hours to him, he’d act like an asshole to me. I had no personal time, with myself or with my friends. Of course, that didn’t work out.
Researchers surveyed more than 1400 people to find out what factors posed difficulties in keeping a relationship alive. The most common factor that caused problems in a relationship was clinginess but more women cited this as a problem than men. The men reported bad sex as a major cause of strain in a relationship.
“Our study was designed with the purpose of identifying the most common sources of relationship strain among people who were actually in a relationship,” the report reads. How did they zero in on the most important factor to be a cause of strain in a relationship? It had to frequent and highly strenuous and not just fulfil one of these two conditions. “For a factor to be rated highly, it had to be both frequent and strenuous. If a factor was frequent, but caused little strain, participants would probably tend to disagree that it caused them difficulties in keeping their relationship. Similarly, if a factor was a source of considerable strain, but it was rare, most participants would disagree that it caused them strain to their relationship. Nevertheless, if a factor was both frequent and strenuous, many participants would agree that it caused them strain to their relationship. In effect, at the top of our hierarchy were factors that were both common and strenuous,” the report added.
The study found clinginess to be the most common cause of relationship stress, followed by long working hours, lack of personal time and space, infidelity as well as character issues. Menelaos Apostolou and Yan Wang, authors of the research said: ‘The plethora of factors we have identified testify to the complexity of the phenomenon [of dealing with relationship strains].’
So why do people get clinginess in their relationship? “Building on Alford’s article with what we know about adult attachment style, it seems that people with an anxious attachment style should be particularly prone to bad, mad love. They push their partners to become too intimate too soon because they fear the love object will slip away. When these relationships come to an end, the anxiously attached are driven almost immediately into another one, which they similarly pursue until it reaches its own logical, unhappy conclusion,” Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne writes in Psychology Today.
People with an anxious attachment style “are happiest when they are in a relationship. Their need for closeness and support may create frequent conflict and sow the seeds of their relationships’ undoing.”
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How do you balance this mad love with clinginess as the highlight of it all? Are you or your partner clingy? Calmly discuss the situation with your partner. If you are the torchbearer of clinginess in your relationship, identify the triggers of such feelings. It’s usually when you have a fear of abandonment that you tend to hold on tighter. So as a couple, try to figure what can be done to establish a more secure foundation for your relationship. Remember that you both care for each other and are capable of building a perfectly intimate relationship together, with just a little clinginess management.
“Calmly discussing your feelings, rather than acting on them, will not only reassure you that your partner really does care about you—it will also help your partner gain insight into what sets you off. Anxiously attached individuals may have rockier relationships, but because they actually do care about their partners, they are just as capable of intimacy as people with a more secure attachment base,” Whitbourne suggests!