So You’ve Got a Stage Five Clinger

By Laura Cohen

So you’ve met a girl or guy who seems pretty chill. You two hang out a few times, you’re hooking up and things are seemingly going well. But, soon you notice your inbox is completely flooded with texts from that one person. When you don’t answer within five minutes, they send something else. When you don’t answer within an hour, you get the frantic phone calls. They always want to know where you are, whom you are with and what you are doing.

It looks like you’ve got a stage five clinger on your hands. A stage five clinger worships the ground you walk on and typically thinks your relationship is more than it actually is. You may see this as a casual, non-exclusive hook up, while they see it as a more serious relationship. Your two different views make things a bit complicated.

People usually flee from these clingers as they begin to feel smothered and yearn for some freedom. The clinger is too available. For some reason, though, we like the chase. There is something exciting about the uncertainty when starting out a “relationship” with someone.

But, maybe it’s time we re-examine the clinger. Their infatuation with you is actually somewhat flattering. Let’s not blame them for their interest. You are, after all, worthy of the admiration. Instead of instantly writing them off, it may be worthwhile helping them tone down their need to cling. Try to target the reason behind their clinginess.

If he or she doesn’t seem to have many other people to hang out with, introduce your clinger to some new friends. New friendships lead to new social events, so you may finally get some nights where you each do your own thing—separately.

If they seem to have no other obligations than to hang out with you, encourage some new interests. When a clinger sees you pursuing your own hobbies or passions, they may be inspired to pick up some of their own.

While confrontation may be awkward, it really is the best way to let your clinger know how you feel. You should be on the same page in terms of your status. Whether you’re an exclusive item, together without a label or just friends with benefits, it’s important to know what the boundaries are. Get this out there now, before you end up hooking up with someone else and your clinger has a meltdown.

If all else fails, it may be best to detach the clinger. He or she will of course be crushed. They’ll be angry and probably will talk shit behind your back, or become depressed and launch a tearful stakeout near your house. However, their intense reaction will just be more confirmation that you did the right thing. Clingy isn’t cute, and it never will be.