Clinging to your man on a motorcycle is great -- not so much in a marriage.

How to Not Be Clingy in a Marriage

by Elise Wile

Whether you run to your husband's side the second you notice he is talking to another woman at your cousin's wedding reception or insist on accompanying him on his bass fishing trip with his friends, you are doubtlessly aware that your clingy behavior is damaging to your marriage. Overcoming such behavior means that you must challenge your thinking patterns, examine your past and accept that you will feel uncomfortable feelings. Being willing to take these steps means that you are on the right track to making your marriage a happier partnership.

Address Your Past

The fear of abandonment that often triggers clingy behavior in adult relationships often has its roots in childhood complexes, says psychiatrist Mark Banschick in a July 2012 "Psychology Today" article. For example, if you had separation anxiety as a small child, you may find that you experience anxiety when you're away from your husband as an adult. Also, if you've experienced a loss as a child -- say your father left the home when you were five -- that experience could contribute to your feelings of insecurity in your relationship. A good therapist can help you to get to the root of the problem so that you can address the past to change your behavior today.

Change Your Beliefs

If you have the belief that the only thing that can possibly make you happy in life is the love of your husband, challenge that self-limiting idea. Although life is certainly much rosier when you have a happy marriage, knowing that you can survive and even flourish if something happened to your marriage can help you to stop clinging to your husband as if your very life depends on his feelings toward you. Know that if you choose, you can be happy with your life no matter what events happen that you have no control over.

Think Positive

A tendency to focus on the negative aspects of your marriage can increase your tendency to cling. For example, if you're thinking about how your husband always seems busy with his own projects after work and doesn't have time for you, you'll be more likely to become upset when he leaves to play golf with a friend on the weekend. Instead, think about how he never fails to give you a kiss before he leaves in the morning, his faithfulness or the fact he'd never think of attending a party without you.

"What if" Questions

If you're struggling with clingy behavior, chances are you are dealing with unwelcome "what if" questions circulating through your thoughts. For example, you may mentally ask yourself, "What if he leaves me" or "What if he meets another woman while he is traveling for work?" These questions do nothing to protect the relationship, and can even hurt it, says psychologist Jack Ito on his website. Instead of calling your husband every time he's ten minutes late getting home from work, respond to the what if question by challenging it. Reminding yourself that your husband has been faithful to you throughout 10 years of marriage can help you to put irrational insecurity to rest.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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