How To Stop Being Needy (Secure Attachment)

There is no question that neediness is unhealthy and damaging to a relationship. The solution however is not to avoid your ex or stop any and all contact.

If you avoid the person you want to connect with, there is going to be no relationship. And if you avoid connection, then well… there is no connection.

Relationships are about connection. You need connection to have a relationship.

These four steps will help you seek connection in a healthier way:

1. Embrace your need for connection

You are human, and that means you are wired to need and seek strong connections with others. The need to contact someone you love is therefore natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

Understanding this need for connection and working with it instead of fighting it is probably the biggest single step you can take towards being able to regulate and manage your need for your ex’s attention, time and space.

The more you understand it, appreciate it, accept it and embrace it, the more comfortable you’ll be with needing contact, communication and connection with your ex in a healthy way. The more comfortable you are with needing contact, communication and connection, the more comfortable your ex will be giving it to you.

2. Share your need for connection in small doses

The best way to avoid not saying or doing anything to scare off your ex is NOT “not saying or doing anything”, but learning to express your emotions in small doses that your ex can take.

Most of the time it’s not that your ex doesn’t want to hear that you miss them, love them or that you want them back. It’s the other things that accompany the “I love you” or “I want you back” (desperation, anxiety, pushiness, frustration, resentment, guilt, mind games etc), that make you come across as needy and drive your ex further away.

So pay attention to when your other “emotions” take over and become the main focus. If you are a generally “emotional” person, find alternative ways for constructively channeling your emotions. Call your best friend/confidant, find a worth course or passion to invest your extra time or energy, adopt a pet or volunteer to work with people who need extra loving and attention.

The more of your love you share generously, the less you will overwhelm your ex with your “feelings” and need for attention, love, support etc.

3. Connect on a more deeper and meaningful level

Saying “hi ” or “what’s up” every now and then helps keep the lines of communication open. But you have to go deeper than that if you want to really connect.

If you are just reaching out every now and then, just to maintain contact, there comes a point when your ex starts wondering what exactly it is that you are trying to achieve. The more pointless and meaningless your contacts are, the more you come across as needy.

So make sure your contacts or conversations are making sense (to your ex). This also includes knowing what time of the day is best to reach out, what type of things to text about and what type of things are best shared on phone or in person etc.

4. Learn to separate what FEELS good right now from what IS right long term

I know, this is like telling a dog to leave that bone alone. But as I say elsewhere in my articles and also in my Dating Your Ex eBook, if things between you and your ex feel like you are back in a relationship when you are obviously not back together, it’s not good for your chances long term.

In other words, even if it feels so good to be sending each other texts throughout the day and/or spending hours and hours together, think long term. If there is no room for things to grow or improve, those contacts will soon come to an abrupt STOP — and there will be nothing you can do.

Even when contact does not completely stop but slows down for reasons that have nothing to do with you and whether or not you will get back together, or your ex pulls back to re-evaluate how they feel about where things are, you will get alarmed and may say or do something and set back the progress you have made. In your mind, things have been going so well, the change must be a “bad sign” when in fact things are adjusting to a healthy pace.

So move deliberately and strategically, instead of just going by feelings and emotions alone.

Can one maintain contact without scaring off one’s ex? OH YES! Absolutely. (Also See: Exes and Attachment Styles – What You Need To Know)

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20 Comments

  • Dear Yangki,
    So very grateful for all the wonderfully inspiring articles, you are a star! Could I please ask one question? Every time I see my ex my stomach hurts for days after. I desperately want to keep in contact with my ex and create a better relationship than the previous, but with this pain, it is making life difficult.
    Is there anything you can suggest?
    Many, many thanks.

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    • Have you tried to talk to a trained therapist? The stomach hurting for days is not normal (or at least the experience of many). There may be some underlying anxiety issues or some other condition that you need help with.

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  • I bought your eBook because my ex has said he is not ready to come back but wants a close friendship (not sexual). Recently I have not contacted him on and off and have pulled back and I know he misses me. I want to stay close friends with him and get him back someday but wonder if it is worth trying to talk through the hurtful things he said to me after we broke up.

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    • I don’t think bringing it up will help you at all. You already said you have communication problems, I think that it may just create more tension and your ex may even decide that close friendship is not possible. So let it go, for now. Focus more on creating positive feelings and emotions and memories.

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