The reoccurring needy girlfriend scenario.

Attached girlfriend car

Prince Harry just broke up with his girlfriend of two years, reportedly because she was too needy, a common accusation of the overly attached girlfriend. Why is the needy girlfriend such a reoccurring theme? While men can also fall into the overly-emotional trap, it seems females are most often accused of this quality. Why does this happen?

The notion of the overly attached girlfriend is so integral in our societies’ portrayal of females interpersonal relationships, that it has become the butt of many jokes including this notorious blog. You know the stereotype –  the jealous, insecure girlfriend who assimilates to her boyfriend’s every opinion, while simultaneously taking over his life, constantly keeping tabs and planning his future. While the caricature of the clingy girlfriend is entertaining, the stereotype is misdirected, working to prop up the myth of male’s continual drive towards independence at the expense of invalidating female’s emotions.

couple dance

We are all lead to believe that men are turned on by the strong independent women type, we’ve even got all the pop songs to prove it! The emotionally dependent woman, is commonly made out to be a man’s worst nightmare, so why do they so often fall for them?

Current society seems to overlooks males ingrained desire to feel needed. It could be argued, that within contemporary culture, men are easily emasculated, unsure of their role and value within the modern independent woman’s life. However, an emotionally vulnerable female can reassert a male’s role as the hero, stroking his ego and making him feel important again. There are even recent studies that show men are more physically attracted to woman who appear vulnerable, as they are more approachable and suggest their need for a male’s protection. Consider what this male has to say on the topic, “Some guys can’t stand these (needy) types of women, and most female magazines tell women not to be this type of women. But I think it plays to a man’s narcissistic vanity, and frankly makes me feel like I’m in 100% control, which is a turn-on for me.”

Of course, this arrangement has been going on throughout human history, with the “Damsel in Distress” routine, in which a male rescues a female in need then becoming the hero, is eternally admired and praised by the woman.

However, while most men like the admired hero role, they also seem to be simultaneously afraid of the prospect of an overly attached girlfriend, a confusing contradiction for most females. There appears to be a certain subset of emotionally aloof males (maybe those that like to allocate time for their “bros” and “guys night out”) that appear to be absolutely terrified of obtaining an overly-needy girlfriend. This unwarranted anxiety over the clingy girlfriend is perpetrated with countless articles helping men determine whether a female is worth dating based on her attachment style. You just don’t see this level of unease from the female’s side. While woman judge men on a variety of factors, males appear to be most concerned with a woman’s psychological health, whether or not she will become an emotional burden to him.

(images sourced via two-color and rivulet)