If you display these 8 behaviors, you’re high-maintenance in a relationship

We’ve all encountered an overly demanding person before, whether it’s a needy friend, perfectionist boss, or a “Karen” screaming at a cashier for messing up their order.

But do you ever wonder if you are a little too high-maintenance?

Perhaps your partner is much more chilled out than you, and it’s got you questioning if your behavior is sometimes “over-the-top”…

Or maybe you feel a lot of frustration when your plans get canceled, or your partner doesn’t do something exactly how you like it…

To help you understand if you’re potentially sabotaging your relationship with unrealistic demands and expectations, I’m sharing eight common signs that you might officially be a high-maintenance partner.

Let’s get started…

1) Expecting your partner to ALWAYS be available for you

One of the most common behavioral traits of a high-maintenance person is neediness

High-maintenance people expect the world from their partner.

They are not content with seeing each other a couple of times a week and are not good at respecting their partners’ other commitments.

Is this you?

Well, have you ever tried to talk your partner out of going to the gym to spend time with you instead?

Or do you make your partner feel bad for going out with his friends instead of staying in with you?

If so, there is a pretty high chance you are high maintenance. 

Here’s another common tell-tale sign…

2) Getting upset if your partner takes too long to reply

Not only do high-maintenance people want to see their partner every day, but they also want to be in constant communication whenever they are not together.

If you have high standards like this, you will probably get annoyed if your partner:

  • Doesn’t answer your phone call
  • Takes too long to reply to you
  • Doesn’t text you as soon as they wake up/get home, etc
  • Sends you one-word replies

But why do high-maintenance people behave like this?


According to Jeff Hancock, a professor of communication at Stanford University, it is a combination of insecurity/anxiety and the 24/7 digital availability of modern-day life. 

Because we are all so connected to our phones nowadays, we naturally expect a timely response to our texts. So, if someone doesn’t reply within a few hours, this can trigger our anxious tendencies, pushing our minds into overdrive.

So, when they don’t get a swift response to a text, high-maintenance people who have a lot of anxiety will think things like:

  • Maybe they are mad at me…
  • What did I do wrong?
  • What if something terrible has happened to them?

Here’s another similar behavior…

3) Wanting to do EVERYTHING together

Think about this for a second…

Do you and your partner have separate hobbies that you pursue independently? 

Or have you purposely developed an interest in their hobbies so that you can spend more time together? 

Or have you stopped pursuing your old hobbies because your partner isn’t into them?

The need to do everything together comes from the anxious attachment style, linked to codependency.

According to the UK Counseling Directory, a codependent person is someone whose thoughts, actions, and behaviors are determined by and organized around another person. 

As codependent people fixate so much on others and their lives, they become under-involved in their own lives

As a result, they neglect their own needs and struggle with making decisions and establishing a sense of identity. 

4) Wanting things your way, ALL the time

According to psychologist Les Parrott, one of the most common types of high-maintenance people is “The Control Freak.”

So, if you’re high-maintenance, you might find you get incredibly frustrated whenever something doesn’t go your way. 

For example, you’re likely high maintenance if you get FURIOUS in these situations:

  • Your favorite restaurant is fully booked
  • Your partner has to work late on date night
  • A traffic jam makes you late for your movie

High-maintenance people are not good at going with the flow and dealing with changes. 

They strive for structure and organization, so they like to make a detailed plan and expect no hiccups. 

If there is something that ruined their perfect plan, they essentially freak out.

And how do high-maintenance people act when they don’t get exactly what they want? 

By doing this…

5) Complaining… a lot

mistakes men do in relationship If you display these 8 behaviors, you’re high-maintenance in a relationship

Yes, a high-maintenance person will always tell you if they are unhappy about something. 

Whether you, the waitress, or the taxi driver have done something wrong, they will express their annoyance verbally.

If you’re guilty of complaining, know this…

Not only does this behavior make your partner feel like they can never do anything right. Your constant complaining is an energy drainer and mood killer for everyone around you.

According to Les Parrott, this behavior is associated with ‘The Critic,’ one of the 15 types of high-maintenance people he discusses in his book “High-Maintenance Relationships.”

Parrott states from his research that the most common sign of a problematic partner is one who excessively criticizes and complains.

So if you’re high-maintenance, there is a good chance you’re hard to please and are not afraid to express your dissatisfaction. 

6) Desiring big gestures 

High-maintenance people love to be fussed over. 

Their ideal date is something extravagant, and if you dare to propose, your proposal better be ten times better than all their friend’s proposals!

A high-maintenance person doesn’t do low-key. They are not content with a takeaway and movie at home. 

Instead, they want their partner to pull out all the stops…

…cooking an elaborate 3-course meal from scratch, lighting candles, and buying an enormous bouquet of flowers to place on the dining table.

If you love being treated like a princess and believe the more extravagant the date, the better, you are probably pretty high maintenance!

7) Needing frequent compliments and validation

Along with big gestures and expensive gifts, high-maintenance people need near-constant verbal validation. 


Well, although they give off the impression that they have high self-esteem, their behavior actually shows they are pretty insecure

So, in many cases, it is not simply the case of them having the Words Of Affirmation love language. 

Instead, they believe it is their partner’s job to make them feel better about themselves rather than their own.

Because of this, high-maintenance people need to hear from their partners:

  • That they love them
  • That they find them attractive
  • That they look pretty/slim/sexy, etc

They often also need words of encouragement to take action and do things. If they do not get the necessary validation, they may feel unloved and not good enough.

8) Getting easily jealous 

Another common behavioral trait that high-maintenance people have is jealousy.

And I’m not talking about a little bit of envy now and again.

No, high-maintenance people have a severe case of the green-eyed monster.

Because they want everything to be about them, if their partner prioritizes anyone (including their mother) over them, they will feel a rage of envy.

This leads them to extremely possessive behavior that can be destructive for their relationship and their partner’s relationships with their friends and family.

Jealousy comes from perceiving something or someone as a threat.

But here’s the thing…

Many high-maintenance people possess ‘suspicious jealousy,’ which stems from anxiety and insecurity. 

People with this type of anxious jealousy will overreact to minor signs of threat, like seeing their partner texting someone (but not knowing who). 

This is very different from healthy envy, known as reactive jealousy. This is an emotional response to concrete events threatening a relationship, such as seeing someone try it on with your partner.

Three different research studies have found that suspicious (unhealthy) jealousy lowers the quality and satisfaction of a relationship, while reactive (healthy) jealousy can actually increase it.

Final thoughts

If you relate to most of these behaviors, it may be time to make a change.

It is totally possible to change these damaging and sabotaging behaviors.

For example, if you complain and criticize a lot, I recommend starting a gratitude journal, shifting your focus from what you don’t have to what you already have.

Or, if you struggle with spending time away from your partner, cultivate self-care practices, develop new interests and hobbies, and reflect on what you want from life besides a relationship. 

Picture of Gemma Clarke

Gemma Clarke

I am a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher and an experienced content writer in the spirituality and personal growth space. I’m passionate about sharing my expertise through the power of words to inspire and guide others along the path of personal and spiritual development.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.