Being with someone who is constantly looking for validation of their worth is a very demanding job.
If your husband cannot function without your attention and feels threatened whenever he feels that he is not the center of your world, this can be a severe burden on the marriage, especially if you are planning or already have children.
At the beginning of a relationship, when we are under the influence of the cocktail of love hormones, we easily overlook the obvious red flags.
This is especially the case with traits such as neediness and clinginess. We are all a little clingy at the beginning of a relationship.
But when this kind of behavior does not diminish even when you have already entered the matrimonial waters and are leading a life together, it may indicate that your husband has some deeper issues.
Before you take any particular course of action towards your husband’s needy behavior, it would be very helpful to understand what underlies his neediness.
Reason #1 – Codependent Attachment Style
People who behave codependently in relationships usually have experienced some troubles in their attachment with their parents.
They grew up without ever getting their primary needs for attention and attunement met. Their constant craving for attention is an unconscious strategy aiming to ensure their attachment to you.
This type of man may also be very dependent on his primary family — he may insist on spending vacations with his parents, consult them about everything, etc.
To check whether this is the cause of his behavior, you can observe his relationship with his family, notice how he speaks about them, and ask him directly how he felt as a child.
Bear in mind that this is typically not a conscious strategy. Codependent men often have no idea why they behave the way they do.
They just feel the urge for attention. Even so, their childhood memories may not contain anything particularly alarming, so you may have to rely on your gut feeling.
Codependent personalities often have a deeply buried belief that they do not deserve to be loved. They also often develop a lot of people-pleasing strategies. And you can guess why, right?
By pleasing others, they hope to ensure you will never leave them.
Codependency is a deeply rooted issue, but if you are stable and mature and love your husband deeply, there is a great chance that simply by making him feel safe, you will improve your relationship.
Focus on the connection between you two. The more intimacy and closeness you share, the safer your husband will feel.
But, this does not mean you should replace the parental figure that he misses.
Define your boundaries, communicate them to your husband, and make sure you leave nothing to be second-guessed.
Codependent people react to the slightest sign that their relationship is threatened. They also often have abandonment issues.
If this sounds like too much work for you, don’t hesitate to consult a marriage counselor or other mental health and relationship professional.
Reason #2 – He Is Immature and Sees You as a Mother Figure
Men are often culturally allowed to have children longer. No matter how emancipated we are as a society, it is still considered normal for a woman to take care of everything related to the family and home.
Men often adopt this pattern of behavior from their homes without any thought.
If they are a bit spoiled, they will very easily project the same expectations on you that they had from their parents, more precisely, their mothers.
In this case, the reason for such behavior does not have to be some deep psychological problem but simply inertia.
The way such a man seeks attention is completely different from the previous case.
This guy will always put his needs before yours and act like that’s perfectly normal.
He won’t hesitate to interrupt you five times while you’re taking a shower because he can’t find his socks, shirt, or apartment keys.
If you have children, he may behave towards them more as a friend and less as a father.
What’s more dangerous, he may even perceive them as a threat or competitor. He will often require more attention from you than your children.
If you share home with his or your parents, the problem may even be worse.
You probably didn’t have or didn’t communicate your boundaries well at the beginning of the relationship.
The key in a relationship with this type of personality is to set boundaries for them, to make it clear to them what you expect from them.
They are often fully capable of being independent. Still, they are used to not using their capacities out of inertia.
They will behave like children as long as you enable them to do so. Make a list of household chores and ask which ones he will take on.
Explain to him that he must not interrupt you and that if he breaks the agreement, you will simply not respond to his request.
If you have been functioning for a long time in such a way that he completely relies on you, this kind of change in your attitude can introduce your relationship into a crisis, so it would be good to start gradually, step by step.
Reason #3 – Changes in Your Life Triggered His Insecurity
Suppose there have been changes in your life that have disrupted the balance of power in your relationship.
In that case, it is very possible that your husband will react by demanding more attention than usual.
Perhaps you received a significant promotion at work, became financially independent, or achieved any other success that overshadows him.
Maybe you have become more beautiful, and now you are getting a lot more attention from other men around you.
Such changes often make men insecure and can be the reason for your husband to start questioning his successes, worth, and role in your life.
When you see what exactly was the trigger that made your husband feel insecure and demand more attention, you will also understand much better what kind of relationship you two actually have.
This time may be the chance to achieve even greater intimacy with your husband, but only if you talk openly.
Don’t put your success in his face, but don’t hide your happiness about it either.
You can break the ice by sharing what this newfound success or change in your life means for you and ask him how he feels about it.
However the conversation goes, make sure you let your husband know how important he is to you and how much it would mean to you to feel supported by him.
Reason #4: You Speak Different Love Languages
Does your husband really demand too much attention from you, or is it simply too much for you?
This is important to distinguish. Some people are more inclined to a physical expression of love, for some, it means more conversation, for some, it means nice gestures, gifts, and the like.
Maybe the two of you simply have different definitions of what it means to be loved and how to express love to another person.
Opposites attract, and these are especially exciting relationships. Still, in the long run, all those differences require special effort to harmonize the relationship.
In this case, it all boils down to conversation. Perhaps you have never even thought about what attention and love mean to you. Many people take such things for granted.
This is by no means true, although it seems so when the partners are very similar.
To begin with, you can initiate a conversation with your husband. Ask him to make a list of the things he misses in your relationship.
You also make the same list. When you’re both done, exchange lists. You will surely be surprised how much you didn’t know about each other.
Then you can agree on how to better meet each other’s needs.
You’ve probably figured out that the solution is not to figure out how to deal with an attention-seeking partner’s behavior.
Dealing with it head-on can assist you and your partner or spouse much more than continuing this unhelpful behavior.
Bear in mind that even if you are a mental health professional, you can’t be your husband’s therapist.
Exactly 50% of the responsibility for the relationship is in your hands, not a bit more, however you may feel about it.
You can change many things simply by modifying your own behavior, but your husband needs to take responsibility too.
The more you postpone facing an honest conversation about your husband’s neediness, the more complicated your relationship will become.
There’s no quick and easy fix for issues of this kind. Accept it and work your way to a solution.
One conversation is only a start, and it will probably take some time until you see real changes in your husband’s behavior.