He’s Nice, But Oh So Needy: Are You Dating A Cinderfella?

The pedestal he's put you on is so high your oxygen's running out. Help!

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Thought it was only women with a rep for being needy and clingy? Oh, think again ladyfriend, because there’s a new breed of man about town, ready to hold your hand so tight, he’ll never let it go. This Prince Charmless goes by the name of Cinderfella, a man who is oh-so-ready to commit, and to begin with, you can’t believe your luck.

“I’d had a really crappy string of dating disasters,” recalls Audrey, 28. “And then I met Colm, and oh boy, was he different from all the other guys who seemed interested, but who were clearly only interested in the one thing,” she laughs wryly. After a series of fellas who seduced and skedaddled, Colm seemed like he was on course to being The One.


How to spot him

The behaviours of a Cinderfella in the wild.

  • He phones you five times a day.
  • He WhatsApps you one zillion times a day.
  • The heart emoji’s his fave.
  • He panics when he can’t get hold of you within about five seconds flat.
  • It’s date three and he wants to go sofa shopping.
  • His fave Sunday activity is looking at showhouses.
  • There’s nothing he likes more than a good wedding.
  • He loves babies. He’d like you to have some. With him.
  • Married with Children’s his fave TV show.
  • You’ve got a really, really sinking feeling in your stomach…

“He was just so nice. He showed his interest right off, and he was really steady and down to earth and didn’t play games or mess me about,” Audrey says. “I just thought, ‘God, this is great’.” And for a while, it was. “Okay, so I thought maybe he was a little on the quiet side for me, but the fact he was genuinely interested and always, always called was enough to keep my attention.”

But things started to go sour pretty soon. “I genuinely wasn’t doing that self-sabotage thing girls do,” she explains. “But like, he was a decent looking fella, he had a good job and his gaff was miraculously tidy, so after a few dates I was, like, wondering a bit why he hadn’t been snapped up already. And then I started sort of noticing that he didn’t really have any real mates, or things he was interested in.”

The rot set quickly in after that. “I mean, things were going well, but we’d only been seeing each other a few weeks, and he was phoning me constantly, I kept catching him mooning at me and we’d be in the pub and he’d be talking about where we’d be going on holidays next year. I just seemed to be the only thing he was focusing on, and to be honest, it was a complete turn-off. I had this horrible feeling he was going to tell me he loved me, and I just wanted to leg it,” Audrey says.

Colm was a classic Cinderfella, ready to jump in, feet first and declare his hand way before he should. It’s a mistake both sexes make, for sure, and the lesson to learn is there’s definitely a benefit to playing it a little bit cool to begin with. “There were loads of lovely things about him, but I think his vulnerability worked against him,” she muses.

Girl and a guy on a date

For Sarah, 33, her Cinderfella experience was a bit more passive aggressive. “I’d met this guy, Dan, on Tinder, and we’d graduated to flirty back and forth texts. I guess I should have known to begin with that something was up, because if I didn’t text back quickly – I might have been having my dinner – I’d get a message saying something like, ‘what’s up? Where are you?’”

Putting it down to initial nerves, she gave an IRL date a shot. “Yeah, he was nice, charming, flirty and we clicked. After a few drinks, we ended up back at his and did the bauld thing, and the next morning, I was absolutely dying of a hangover, so I made my excuses, went home, got into bed and lay there in bits.”

But when Sarah woke up, she was in for a bit of a surprise. “I’d missed calls and a ton of texts from him – my phone had been on silent – and they were increasingly hysterical, all sorts of ‘I thought you liked me’, ‘why aren’t you answering’, ‘if you don’t want to see me again just say, ignoring me is cruel’. I was in bits in bed with a hangover!” Needless to say, she didn’t see Dan again, and will note the signs of a Cinderfella for the future.

So what should you do if you spot one? This behaviour is rooted in insecurity, and it’s something he’s probably going to have to work through himself – unless of course, you like him enough to sit him down and explain where he’s going wrong. Otherwise, back off, and look for someone who has as much time for themselves as they do for you.

This article first appeared in the February issue of STELLAR. The September issue is on shelves now!

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