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Seeking Sensibility: Growing Pains And Dealing With Clinginess

Morgan Summers |
September 27, 2013 | 8:00 p.m. PDT


I recently started dating someone new, but now I don't seem that into the relationship. She seems much more interested in me than I am into her, and is into "cutesy couple" activities. I can't tell if she is just being clingy, or if I am just not used to the relationship. Is this normal...?

Feelings don't develop equally in all people. (daniellehelm, Creative Commons)
Feelings don't develop equally in all people. (daniellehelm, Creative Commons)

Normal might not be the right way to describe the situation, but this is certainly not unheard of. I dated this guy once who texted me cute good morning and goodnight texts every day, and then would start hyperventilating when I didn't reciprocate. Because I didn't express my affection in the same way he did, he assumed I was disinterested or not involved.

We broke up after three weeks.

Relationship imbalances are a pretty natural occurrence, especially when you're just starting out. You don't know each other that well yet or how each other functions on a daily basis, and quite likely the boundaries of the relationship haven't yet been set. People often behave differently once you get to know them intimately versus simply on a casual basis.

So does this make her clingy and you disinterested? Yes and no. Relationships should be mostly equal if possible, and if you feel that there is something off, then there probably is. However, feelings don't develop equally in all people. Some fall in love the moment after they go on a first date with their significant other, and others don't even consider a relationship important until they have been dating for a long time. 

In short: some people fall in love, others grow into love. It seems like your girlfriend is in the "honeymoon phase" of the relationship. Everything is new and exciting, and she wants to express her affection for you by doing "cutesy" things. You, on the other hand, seem more reserved and not quite involved enough for that level of attention.

This is a classic example of how people behave differently once romantic feelings develop. Since this is a new relationship, I am going to give both you and her the benefit of the doubt in every manner. In time, it's possible that the excitement of the new relationship will die down for her and things will get more normal. It is also possible that the longer you date her, the more you will grow to care for her.

I think it is best to give the relationship some time and see how you feel about her once you have gotten to know each other a bit better. Growing pains in the beginning of a new relationship always take some time to sort out before things plateau. If you still feel like she is being clingy, or that you are still not that interested, it might be time to pull the plug. 

One-eighty opinion? Another more immediate solution is to make it clear that you wish to proceed with a committed relationship, but also try telling her you'd like to take things a bit slower. Let her know that in this time of your life, you want dating to be a more fun, laid-back experience.

However, if you really feel that you both want different things from the relationship, then it might be in both of your best interests to move on.


"Seeking Sensibility" is a weekly relationship column by Morgan Summers. Going through relationship problems? Just got into a fight with your best friend? Caught in the middle of an awkward situation? Morgan wants to hear about it! Write in with stories or questions and you may be featured in next week’s column.



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