The Mating Grounds

Are You Dealing with an Attention-Seeking Partner? Here’s What You Need to Know

Attention-seeking behavior can sometimes be difficult to understand. It can range from subtle gestures to blatant actions that are intended to grab another person’s attention.

This kind of behavior can be seen in individuals of all ages, both in personal and professional relationships. You may have experienced an attention-seeker’s behavior in your life, or you might even be one yourself.

In this article, we will be discussing what attention-seeking behavior is, its effects on relationships, and the causes behind it. Let’s get started!

Understanding Attention-Seeking Behavior

The desire to be seen and heard is a basic human need. It’s natural to want to feel valued, especially by those around us.

However, when someone starts to excessively seek attention, it can become problematic. Attention-seeking behavior is when an individual repeatedly does things to receive attention, even if it involves manipulation.

One of the most common effects that this behavior has on relationships is that the attention-seeker can come across as being needy. In a partner, for instance, the attention-seeker can feel ignored and unappreciated due to their partner not giving them enough attention.

This reaction can drive the attention-seeker’s behavior, leading to clinginess or other manipulative actions. Additionally, this behavior can cause resentment.

People can become frustrated when they feel like their partner is always drawing attention to themselves, sometimes even over logical or more important goals. If left unchecked, these feelings can fester and cause the end of a relationship.

Examples of Attention-Seeking Behavior

There are many types of attention-seeking behavior that people commonly engage in. The common ones include attempts to:

– Familiarize Quickly

An attention-seeker may try to get close to someone quickly to establish intimacy.

This behavior is displayed in a romantic partner or workplace colleagues. They may ask personal questions, get too close, and touch the person regularly.

– Never Wrong

Attention-seekers may also insist on always being right. In a conversation with others, they will always shift the focus back to themselves and try to control the conversation.

This can usually end up in conflict, especially when everyone shares different opinions. – Compliments

Another tactic attention-seekers use to get validation is complimenting.

They will frequently compliment themselves to establish their qualities to the people around them. – Bragging

Attention-seekers may also brag about their accomplishments repeatedly.

They may have a need to show off all the time, thinking that no one else can beat their achievements. – Absence

Some attention-seekers use the unsettling silence as a manipulation tool.

They will withdraw and display little to no emotion to provoke discussion, setting the stage for people to inquire and draw them out of their shell.

Causes of Attention-Seeking Behavior

Understanding the causes behind attention-seeking behavior is crucial to dealing with the resultant behavior. Their behavior may be induced by several factors, including but not limited to:

Past trauma

Past rejection can induce the desire to seek attention. Trauma has serious psychological effects on an individual, often leading to lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

In search of validation and acceptance, they may become attention-seekers to compensate for the underlying insecurity.


Insecurity is another significant cause of attention-seeking behavior. Not feeling good enough, not attractive enough, or not intelligent enough may drive someone to engage in this kind of behavior.

Those who suffer from insecurity often seek the validation of others to feel good about themselves.


Jealousy can also lead to attention-seeking behavior. Fear of losing a relationship or feeling threatened by others’ success can cause one to act in ways that may seem attention-seeking.

When they feel neglected due to a new friend or colleague joining the picture, or when someone excels faster or better than them, they may become dramatic to pull the focus back on themselves.

Feeling Alone

Sometimes, the need to feel seen and validated is a result of feeling alone. In a relationship, they may obsessively seek attention and validation when terrified of committing to the relationship.

They may also use manipulative techniques to attract partners, like flirting, maintaining distance, or producing false situations to get close to someone.

Mental Disorders

Mental disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD), and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are identifiable causes of attention-seeking behavior. It’s crucial to note that not everyone with attention-seeking behavior has a mental disorder, but it could be an important factor for some individuals.



Attention-seeking behavior can manifest in different forms and have various effects on relationships. Although it’s natural to want to feel valued and seen by those around us, excessive attention-seeking behavior can wreck relationships.

Understanding the causes behind it and how to deal with it can help the attention-seeker and those around them navigate these issues.

Dealing with an Attention Seeking Partner

Having an attention-seeking partner can be tricky. While they might be fun and engaging at first, it can quickly come to feel like you don’t get a say in things anymore.

However, it is possible to strike a balance where you both get what you need. Here are some ways you can deal with an attention-seeking partner:

Providing attention

At the core of an attention-seeking behavior is a craving for validation. When your partner needs attention, try to give it to them.

Listen to what they say and validate their emotions. When they feel seen and heard, they are more likely to focus less on their behavior.

You can also try counseling with your partner. A relationship counselor can help you both learn the skills you need to support each other more effectively and become more productive communicators.

Praising positivity

Rather than harping on negative behavior, focus on your partner’s positive qualities. Pay attention to what they do right rather than wrong and verbalize it.

Show appreciation for their good qualities as doing so will encourage them to repeat the desirable actions.

Protecting the ego but communicating

It’s hard to change behavior that someone sees as part of their identity. Be sure to communicate in a way that minimizes the risk of your partner feeling attacked or rejected.

Empathize with them, then help them see how the action may impact you. This way, they can begin to identify appropriate boundaries.

It is crucial to communicate effectively, honestly, and with compassion instead of resorting to extremes like fighting a losing battle. Be sure always to avoid belittling or criticizing your partner as this only causes more damage.


Showing appreciation towards your partner’s effort can make a tremendous difference. Celebrate their achievements no matter how small and find ways to compromise on issues to establish a balance.


If your partner exhibits the behavior to an extreme or feels out of control, it may be necessary to seek professional help. A licensed therapist or counselor can help you both identify the underlying issues driving the behavior and equip you with skills to manage it.

In some cases, diagnosis and treatment for mental disorders may be necessary.

Stopping Attention-Seeking Behavior in a Relationship

Sometimes, an attention-seeking behavior can be too draining to handle even with combined efforts. In this case, it’s up to you to decide when to draw the line.

Here are some ways to handle attention-seeking behavior problems that seem to be unfixable-

Walking away

While it may seem harsh, if your partner’s attention-seeking behavior becomes too much to bear or you are enabling their harmful behavior, it’s okay to walk away. Keep in mind both your mental and physical well-being.

Constructive Conversations

It’s essential to communicate with the partner in question regarding their attention-seeking behavior. Inform and educate them about how it affects you and how their behavior can ruin relationships.

Constructive conversations can highlight shared goals and values that can form an authentic connection, not merely an attention-seeking technique.

Seeking Professional Help

Suppose the behavior goes beyond your and your partner’s capabilities. In that case, seeking professional help like therapy provides structure and guidance to work through problems together.

It can also identify the root cause of the attention-seeking behavior and treat it. Ultimately, while seeking outside help should be the last resort, always be aware of the option to seek professional help to build a healthy partnership.



Attention-seeking behaviors can cause emotional stress on individuals or relationships when unchecked. It’s, therefore, essential to understand the root cause of the behavior.

From there, dealing with it can be done in numerous ways, including providing attention, constraining counseling, and praising positivity. However, when all else fails, setting boundaries and eventually seeking professional help may be necessary to maintain a healthier partnership.


In conclusion, attention-seeking behavior can be a challenging issue in relationships. The constant need for validation and recognition can drain an individual’s energy resulting in other stressors in their life.

However, it’s essential to understand the root cause of attention-seeking behavior to deal with it effectively. It’s vital for the attention-seeking partner to find effective ways to fulfill their need for attention without jeopardizing their relationships.

This can be achieved by providing emotional attention and by praising positivity. However, when these methods do not bring results, conversing in a way that protects the ego and communicates effectively is necessary.

At other times, it’s necessary to seek professional help from certified therapists or counselors who have experience in handling the attention-seeking behavior using constructive methods. Doing so can pinpoint the root of the problem while providing effective counseling strategies to overcome it.

In summary, acknowledging the underlying causes of attention-seeking behavior is crucial to a person’s recovery. Though it can be a challenging behavior to deal with, learning tools that help in regulating attention-seeking behaviors can be helpful in preserving the wellbeing of the people involved in the situation.

So, no matter what, it’s essential to point in the right direction and support one another throughout the challenging journey. In conclusion, attention-seeking behavior is a common trait exhibited by many people.

It can range from harmless actions to manipulative tactics that can strain relationships and affect an individual’s mental health. Understanding the causes of attention-seeking behavior and using effective communication strategies can enable individuals to manage their behavior better.

Seeking support from a professional counselor can be the turning point towards self-improvement and a healthier mindset. By focusing on identifying the root cause, addressing the issue, and engaging in effective communication, individuals can find a more constructive approach to move forward on a path of recovery and growth.

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