Ask Scarlet: Clingy Lover Triggers Insecurity & The 5 Love Languages



Dear Scarlet,

I adore my new lover and yet I also feel she’s a bit too clingy. I’m not sure how to tell her I need space without hurting her feelings. Any advice?

~ Smothered


Dear Smothered,

Smothered much? My hunch is there are two sides to this story… and both are leading down the slippery path of insecurity.

1495455_538278479624796_1414301531_nFirst let’s address your girlfriend. Instead of making her wrong for biding for your attention and affection, get into her world. Have a sit down and be compassionately honest.

Share your trigger, “When you cling onto me in public I feel smothered. I have a need for personal space, but I am afraid if I say so I will hurt your feelings. I am curious to understand why public affection is so important to you?”

And if she is game, dig into her earliest memories of when she first felt “clingy” and starving for affection and attention. There is a need of her’s that is not being met. Once you both understand the core issue, then you can take actions to address her basic needs as a partner.

Another approach is to look into “The Five Love Languages” (TAKE THE LOVE LANGUAGE TEST HERE).

Perhaps her way of expressing love is through touch and affection, but your love language is acts of service or words of appreciation? She may need touch to feel secure in her love relationships, so she is smothering you with the kind of love she desires… which obviously is not your love language. Find out what your love language needs are so she can fulfill them, and learn to respect her need to show physical affection. From there you can step out of your own self-righteousness and give your lover the affection she desires so both of you can feel whole and complete.


If you are still getting triggered by her “clinginess”, then the problem is not just about her. There is something deeper going on here that lingers deep in your psyche. Your lover is offering you a gift right now!

Go have a talk with your mother. You heard me right, call your mama. Ask her how you acted as a child… were you clingy and attached to your mother’s hip? Did it annoy her and she had to push you away? Or maybe it was the other way around, that your mom smothered you with so much affection that it felt embarrassing and you had to fight for your personal space.

Have a long, deep look at your triggers and take responsibility for your reactions. Why is it so important for you to “have space” and not “hurt her feelings?”

The door swings both ways here buddy. Love brings up all our triggers. The success of the relationship depends on how willing both of you are to dig deeper into your love languages and personal needs to feel secure.


* Originally printed in the Make Art Not War Online Journal: READ IT HERE