I think I fall somewhere in the middle on what is an appropriate level of affection.  Especially on that of a public variety.  I am all for holding hands when the desire strikes me.  I think that there is nothing wrong with a little flirty cuddling in public and sneaking in a little smooch every now and again.  I think a little PDA is cool for all couples.  It helps people to open up and be expressive about their emotions and it certainly makes people feel reassured that someone is really into them.  Now the extremes of absolutely no PDA or too much PDA just seem flat-out weird to me.  When couples hardly speak to each other when in public or do not walk side by side they just give off this cold vibe that makes them appear to not be enjoying each others company.  But those couples that are groping it up and tongue kissing at the car every time he opens her car door make me want to vomit!  Can you imagine seeing your parents feeling each other up in the Safeway Parking Lot?! GROSS! But indeed, whether you are one of the couples that is totally unaffectionate or over the top lovey-dovey, it’s all good as long as you are on the same page.  It just seems like a lot of people come to the table with different understandings.  Understandings of what is normal and what is creepy.  A difference  in what is considered legitimate affection and what is just someone being Clingy.

A lot of people get caught up into the whole super affectionate mold of a relationship at different times.  Sometimes you see it very early on or other times you see it after feelings have grown mutually and gradually.  But the main thing is that people have to gauge the response of how someone else’s feelings are growing.  It would be great if you were to meet someone who you just connected with so strongly that after a week that you felt comfortable holding hands, meeting parents and spending every available moment with them.  But the more common occurrence is that you are gonna freak someone out with that type of intense feelings after just 14 days.  The word Stalker is so overused by arrogant assholes who like to feed their own ego when it comes to describing how much someone else is into them.  And while some people carelessly throw the term around, the characterization does have some merit in some situations.

1.  If you can’t allow someone to go out by themselves without wanting to tag along every time they leave your presence……you might be a stalker.

2.  If you just happen to pop up someplace to say Hi where you know the person that peeks you interest will be……you might be a stalker.

3.  If you make it your business to introduce yourself to friends and family without the presence or approval of your love interest…. you might be a stalker.

Now being a stalker is not all you have to worry about.  More commonly than people being flat-out stalkers you have the overly clingy people who not only always want to be in your presence but they act like you are stabbing them in the heart when you tell them you need a little space.   The type of person who is completely ignorant to the concept of spending some time apart, so that you don’t entirely lose your identity and become just one disgustingly close one word entities like Brangelina or Beniffer or any of those other ridiculous names we give celebrity couples who are attached at the hip.  I can admit that I had to grow into the understanding of personal space being important.  I am totally fine being with whoever I am dating for and entire day and not feel cooped up or trapped by their presence. (Meanwhile she probably feels like I am crowding the hell out of her) But at the same time I do like to do things with my friends from time to time to stay in touch and I have learned to be really conscious of crowding the woman I am dating.  I have become so conscious, that I actually encourage her to do things with her friends.  Not really so much because I am tired of her but I don’t want her to get tired of me.

And like I mentioned, this was not always the case for me.  I can remember being with my first serious girlfriend at 21 and it seemed like we were always together.  We worked together, rode home together, spent weekends together, hung out with the same crew of people.  Just wayyy too much.  But I learned from that experience that not everyone is OK with that like I was and that I needed to respect that.  I put a lot of my perspective on this dynamic on the way that I was raised.  My parents never really took a lot of separate time to be away from each other that wasn’t work related.  When they went to the movies, they went together.  When they went to the mall, they went together. When they took trips, they went together. And I suppose that is where my natural understanding of relationships was born from.  There were no Guys trips to Vegas or Girls trips to the Bahamas. They did those things together.  The difference is that my parents got married at 18 and 21 so they have grown up together as oppose to being someone who has built all of their adult life as a single person with space and time to be…….unattached.

How many of us follow patterns of our upbringings to navigate us through the maze that is adult relationships?  Probably 85% of us.  The good and the bad.  But the trouble is that there are a lot of us that are much older singles than out parents ever were.  So when we call people at 30, who stay the night and it turns into a week…. clingy, it rings foreign to some people because those same people are used to seeing relationships (parents) spend all of their time together in close proximity under one roof.  And the thought of Clinginess is not even brought up because this is just life!  Have some patience.  A little understanding. Know that someone wanting to spend a lot of time around you is not the worst sort of situation in the world.  If you want some alone time, start by encouraging your unrequited love to do the same.  Start with something that is distinctly gender based.  Something that only a lady or a gentleman would be interested in doing.  Get your boyfriend football tickets or get your girlfriend a gift certificated to the day spa.  Anything.  We all know how hard it can be to tell someone that you need a break from them.  Those conversations rarely go over well.   But better to deal with the initial discomfort and speak on it tactfully, than having to blow up on someone because you feel like they are Stalking your whole life.