Dear Dr. Frankie, I'm too clingy!
Photo credit: Susanne M. Schwarzer
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I tend to have an obsessive personality and get clingy whenever I have a crush or am infatuated with someone. I can't help myself, and it just takes over, even when I know I'm starting to smother people. Right now, I am in love with a singer-song writer I met through a friend. She is super friendly and affectionate, and welcomes me with hugs. Every time I go her concerts I try to hang around her as much as I can, and record all of her songs with my phone. I can sense that I'm starting to become a little much, but I don't know what to do. I don't want her to freak out and push me away, but on the other hand, I hang on to every bit of attention from her - what can I say, I just want to be loved. Of course, she's straight and has a boyfriend. But, it makes me happy when I think of her and listen to her songs. Do you think I am actually getting annoying? What do you think she is thinking about me? Why do I obsess so much, and how do I get over it. Thanks!
Well the first and most obvious issue is that the object of your affection is not only straight but also has a boyfriend. Be a good fan with appropriate boundaries and move on. You’re barking up the wrong tree.
As for the big picture, it sounds as if the hardest part for you is figuring out when you cross the line from being flattering to annoying. I would recommend monitoring your behavior by keeping a journal. Set some limits and stick to them. Rather than going to every concert and recording every show, try going every other time and recording every third show. Don’t sit in the front row, try sitting in the middle. If you are sensing that you are becoming “a little much”, than you are probably right. You don’t want your crush to feel intrusive and overwhelming to her.
I can only speculate how your behavior feels to her. I would imagine that she feels conflicted. She’s probably flattered about having a super-fan, but perhaps also a bit intimated by your persistence. Be careful that your adoration and enthusiasm does not cross the creepy line. You don’t want to become the butt of the predictable Single White Female joke.
As for why you find yourself obsessing over people, it’s possibly a combination of anxiety and excitement. Who doesn’t love crushing out on someone? It’s exciting and feels great. The anxiety can stem from wanting your feelings reciprocated. Or perhaps anxiety arises because you believe that spending all your time together will create a stronger relationship. Remind yourself that smothering behavior will only lead to the opposite of what you are hoping for. You want to be loved so start with being liked and let the relationship unfold naturally. By rushing into something or pushing too hard for what you want, you’ll probably find yourself alone. Best of luck to you.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
It's been almost a year since my last girlfriend. I am super affectionate, outgoing, and seemingly doing all the right things in life. I have a constant influx of opportunities with very eligible men. However, when it comes to women, I constantly feel rejected and/or am imminent of rejection. It's very difficult being a lesbian. Numbers alone tell us only 2-5 percent of the population is lesbian, which is why we hardly encounter any potential mates in our day-to-day life. The other day, I passed a strip club on my way home and peered in. When I walked in, they asked me, "are you here to audition"? They told me I should audition, and that I have potential to make a lot of money. It's sad that I seriously considered it (and still am). I really just want to feel desired and valued. The idea of being wanted in a reliable way seems like a nice way to mask my emptiness. Being alone the majority of my life has been challenging and makes me cry sometimes out of anger. What should I do to keep myself from becoming a stripper?
Let’s start with the obvious point that pursuing a stripper career isn’t your only way to get “positive” attention and find fulfillment. It also seems to be kind of a drastic departure from what you are craving. It might be worth peeling back a few layers of the proverbial onion to see if there are other areas in your life where you might not feel appreciated or valued. A void in one area can often magnify the others. For example, if you aren’t satisfied with your job, it might make you feel even worse about your single relationship status. Another problem we face in the lesbian dating community is our ambiguous roles. In the hetero world the male/female roles are more defined. A man is taught either directly or from inference from an early age that it is his job to pursue a woman. Men are expected to be the dominant and more aggressive individual. As women we have not been taught these same expectations or skills. In the lesbian community I often find that even the most confident or butch women wait passively for another woman to express interest. Well ladies, how are we supposed to get anywhere if we are all standing around the bar like delicate lotus flowers, wishing someone else would make the first move?? Think about whether you are guilty of this behavior. Do you often wait for others to approach you? If you can honestly say that you take charge and approach women that you’re interested in, then kudos to you! My next question would be are you approaching women in your league? Unfortunately we live in a society obsessed with looks, weight and hair styles. As I always say, be the woman you want to date. If you want to snag a ten (and there is nothing wrong with that) then figure out how to (tastefully) showcase your natural gifts (looks, wit, humor, intellect, fitness level, style, etc) so you can compete in the big leagues. I say swing for the fences but also be aware of your audience. You are certainly not alone in feeling like it can be difficult to find a compatible match. It takes time, commitment and courage to step out of your comfort zone. By this I mean having the guts to strike up a conversation with a woman, while knowing she might reject you. Keep in mind that any normal, healthy woman worth dating in the first place would never snub you. Her response even if she isn’t available or interested should be one of kindness and appreciation that you put yourself in such a vulnerable spot. It is certainly a way to immediately find out about someone’s character. And stay positive! Positivity attracts positivity. Don’t get discouraged because our dating pool is smaller than the straight world’s – jump right in and see what the future holds! Fortune favors the bold!
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I came out of a three year relationship with an ex who was a substance abuser and bi-polar. I am now in a happy, loving relationship of five months. I hope I get to spend the rest of my life with my current girlfriend. However, I have one concern. While she isn't a big drinker, she does go to the bar by herself to meet up with people fairly regularly and has a few drinks at times. Though she swears she is fine to drive home, she told me about a time she drove home when she wasn't ok. Apparently this incident just happened about 9 months ago. My girlfriend had a bad day at work, went to the local bar, had many drinks, and thought she was fine. Drove home and then realized she wasn't fine. Luckily she wasn't arrested or in an accident. She swears she has learned from her mistake and will never do it again. She is fine with not having a drink, and we regularly go out to dinner and whenever and she will not drink at all. Should I put the past behind and move forward, or is this something I shouldn't ignore? Does she have a problem, or am I scared because of my last relationship?
Most of us have experienced episodes of poor judgment when we’ve consumed one too many cocktails (hence the basket full of car keys at house parties). Alcohol impairs our judgment and ability to make good decisions. Her bad choice to drive home does not mean she is an alcoholic. Going to the bar alone to meet with friends is normal, healthy activity as long as she is not drinking in excess or doing it every day. It is natural for someone with your dating experience to be cautious and extra sensitive to substance use. It might be helpful to know that there is a clinical distinction between alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse is when a person’s drinking leads to problems but they are not chemically addicted. Alcohol dependence occurs when there is a physical addiction to alcohol. An alcoholic will drink despite it possibly being the root of marital problems, job loss, or disease. From what you are describing it does not sound like your current girlfriend is dependent or an alcoholic. If you are still concerned you could both consider making a deal that neither of you will have more than two drinks if you’ll be driving home that evening. If you make an agreement but she drives home again after drinking too much then perhaps there could be a bigger problem. Her judgment lapse occurred nine months ago and doesn’t sound like it has happened again, let it go.
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