|"Stop stalking my life!"|
Question: I've been on a few dates with this guy and I really like him. The only problem is: I need some space. When we go out to dinner or to bars, he is all over me… and I mean ALL over me. Like, he will wrap his arms around me and not let me go. I'm not going anywhere so I don't know why he needs to be like that with me. We're not even officially together (though I'm not dating anyone else) but he acts like we are. How do I let him know I want a little more space without him thinking I don't want to see him anymore? (New Orleans, LA)
Social Shrink: ALERT! ALERT! STAGE FIVE CLINGER! Just kidding. But on ‘Jersey Shore,’ when Pauly D’s stalker was ‘stalking his life,’ that was a big red flag for him when she constantly needed to be with Pauly D, needing to know where he was, and clinging on to him like a needy girlfriend. We hope this isn't early signs of this type of behavior! This is obviously an extreme example and your case may be different since you like the guy.
It's always awkward when you first start dating someone. You don't know how to act - whether or not you should hold hands, hug, kiss, etc. He probably doesn't know how to act around you but wants to show how into you he is. He may be insecure about the relationship as well since you guys have not yet established what you are.
By putting his arms around you, he is showing the world that you are his - even though you are not officially all his quite yet. Since you do like him, you may probably scare him off by letting him know you want space. Set small boundaries with him without having a conversation about it.
For example, the next time you guys are out together, make sure there is space between you two. You can still show him little signs of affection like holding his hand. But once those arms wrap around you and don't let go, it's up to you to move away. Do it slowly, so he doesn't think you are scared away by his affection. Instead, show him a small sign of affection like grabbing his hand again to hold it. Eventually, he'll get the drift and understand that you don't like the extreme PDA. Once your relationship is more established and he feels more secure in it, he won't feel like he has to be all over you.
If it continues to bother you and he doesn’t get the hint, this might be a sign that he’s a Stage Five Clinger or overbearing. If he always needs to have his arms around you, he may be territorial and possessive. Does he make it a point of showing affection when other guys are around? Is he super clingy that he needs to be by your side and gets anxious when you're not around? That can be annoying and can be early signs of his territorial personality. If that’s the case, set him straight ASAP before things get too OOC (out of control)!
When you set the precedent and are upfront with him about what you like versus dislike when it comes to PDA, this will make it very clear to him what will set you off. If you never say anything and let him suffocate you, that is your fault for not setting boundaries from the get go. Tell him now what you expect and see if he follows. If he doesn’t and insists he needs to have his arms around you 24/7… that’s just annoying and you need to find someone who is NOT a clinger! Good luck!