ATTACK OF THE CLING-ONS

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By Tashauna Reid

Gloria Clearly, the virginal red head is frolicking in the sand with the man of her dreams, Jeremy Grey. She is infatuated with him. She playfully says to him “Don’t ever leave me.” He responds: “Ever.” She says: “Good. Cause I’d find you!”

Wedding Crashers may have epitomized the term clinger when Grey found himself a “Stage five, virgin, clinger.” But clingers aren’t necessarily virgins or girls.

Architecture student Paul Murdoch describes a clinger as someone who restricts your activities to only involve them, a person that wants to be around you day in and day out.

“You can be as mean as you want, but they still love the fuck out of you. When you tell them it’s over, they just don’t get it,” Murdoch says.

Deborah Myers, who works as a family support co-ordinator and specializes in family counselling, says the term clingy is used lightly but it’s not always a light subject.

“Clingy is when a person feels they are unable to function without the other person. They may experience fear or anxiety over losing that person,” Myers says.

So if Gloria was a stage 5 clinger, here’s the rest of the progression.

Stage 1: Shows a desire to be around at all times.

Melissa, a Ryerson student who asked not to be named, had a clinger and noticed it quite early.

“He started to make me uncomfortable and it started to become a nuisance,” she says. Soon, she didn’t want him around at all.

Stage 2: Four consecutive phone calls or text messages a day.

“I started getting calls from him like eight times a day. I’m not even exaggerating. Two times in the morning, then four times at lunch,” said Melissa.

“It started to cloud my judgment because he became annoying and I didn’t see him as a person anymore.”

Myers has an explanation. “They might feel that they have found someone that makes them whole, and are afraid they are going to lose it. So naturally they cling to what they have.”

Stage 3: Your clinger shows up where you are pretending it was a coincidence.

Jonathan Morgan also had a clinger on his hands. “I used to always let this girl into the club I worked at and we started dating. She was really overprotective. She would come down and want to stand next to me while I was working, and if I let a pretty girl in she would be like ‘oh so you like her?’ ‘Do you think she is prettier than me?’” After two months he had enough.

Stage 4: Your space and their space become one space.

One night, Melissa had an assignment due and specifically told him she couldn’t see him. Yet, suspect clinger showed up at 2 a.m. without warning. The breaking point came soon after.

“I woke up one morning and he was sleeping on my couch.” She did not let him in. Finally, Melissa confronted the clinger. “He got mad saying I didn’t care or love him.” The two had been dating for only two weeks.

Morgan had a similar experience. “She would show up at my door and spend the day with me,” Morgan says. “After we broke up she introduced me to her parents and her mother was acting like we were engaged or something. We only dated for eight weeks. She even threatened to beat up my friend Lou. She is serious fatal attraction.”

Stage 5: Has embedded a tracking device under your skin.

Myers says has some solutions. “Get counselling. Encourage your partner to spend time with friends, and other people. Join the gym, go to the library. Point out the problem. But most importantly, get help if you need it.”

Dale Annin thinks someone has to like a clinger.

“I actually ‘clinged’ once. I can’t lie. I was really digging this girl so I would call her every night, go to her house at 12 a.m. and take her for dessert … I really liked her and in the end it worked.”

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