Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar. After days, months, years of online dating, you’ve finally met someone who seems really amazing. They never make you wait for a text reply, they lavish you compliments and they’ve made it clear they have no qualms about getting into a serious relationship with you. They almost seem too good to be true. The question being: are they?
When you’ve been suffering from romantic starvation, it can be hard to differentiate at first between someone who’s just really, really into you and a person who is just very needy and clingy (a “velcro person.”) Dating someone clingy may seem tolerable at first. If you’ve been single for a long stretch, the influx of attention and the feeling of being needed can be really flattering. However, being in a velcro relationship gets old fast.
Not sure whether you’re in a velcro relationship? Here’s some signs to watch out for.
They text you multiple times an hour, every hour, all day.
A few years ago, I dated this guy who we’ll call Everett. One of the things I liked about him initially was that he was great at communicating. He sent me a text when he got up, when he went to bed and many others throughout the day. After dating a string of guys who were emotionally and textually unavailable, Everett’s communication style made me feel secure and wanted.
Everything seemed to be going well, until I realized that I was spending huge swaths of my days responding to Everett’s messages. I still liked him, but I also had things to do. So, I created some boundaries and told myself that I would only respond to him once I had finished a set number of tasks. However, this backfired. If I didn’t respond in an hour or two, Everett would send me a flurry of crying emojis asking if I “had forgotten about him.” To which, I wanted to reply, “Dude, it’s been an hour.” Everett was a velcro person. If any of this sounds like deja-vu, the person you’re dating is probably one, too.
They want to become exclusive right away.
You’ve only been on a few dates and they already want to talk about being exclusive. I also once dated a man who declared on date #2 that he’d like to be exclusive and if I “wasn’t willing to see him at least 2-3 times a week then the relationship would probably lose it’s momentum.” It was our SECOND DATE. We barely knew each other.
Having someone ask you to be exclusive can be super flattering – especially if you’ve dated a string of non-committal weirdos. However, if someone asks you to be exclusive before you’ve had a chance to really get to know them – or worse, they tell you they’d like to be exclusive before asking you how you feel about the matter – this is a huge warning sign that you’re headed to Velcro-ville.
They insinuate themselves into situations with your friends and family and don’t understand your need for time apart.
After politely declining his invitation to become exclusive on the second date, the man I mentioned above — we’ll call him Jack — started to show up places where he knew he’d have a chance of interacting with my friends and/or family — for example, instead of meeting me at the restaurant we’d agreed upon, he’d pick me up “early” at home when he knew he might bump into other people in my life that I had yet to introduce him to.
If your date tries to meet your friends and family before it feels appropriate or inserts themselves into your plans, then you’re likely dealing with a stage five clinger who doesn’t respect your need to spend time alone or with other people. Mission abort! I repeat, mission abort!
They happiness seems completely dependent on you.
If they’re only happy when you’re together and sad when they don’t hear from you (see above re: crying emojis) – that’s not romantic, that’s needy.
You feel smothered.
You’ve tried to create boundaries but it doesn’t work. Whenever you carve out space to hang out with other people or tell them you’re busy they pout and become mopey. No one should ever make you feel guilty about spending time alone or with other people — especially not someone you’ve just started dating! If you’ve told them how their actions make you feel and things haven’t improved, it might be time to tear this velcro person away from your life and heart.