It isn’t possible to love somebody too much. But there is such a thing as smothering, which can damage a relationship and scare somebody away. Whether you think you’re “loving too much” or not, relationships become difficult when you lavish too much attention on your partner. He may even react by pushing you away.
So, when does love cross the line into smothering him? When you love somebody unconditionally, you always want what’s best for him, even if that means that the relationship develops differently from what you had imagined. When you smother him, you’re selfishly prioritizing your needs for closeness or connection over what your partner needs or wants. This is a major reason why people get scared away.
Unconditional love is generous and makes your partner’s freedom a priority. When you love unconditionally, you do what’s best for your partner, even if it means that you aren’t getting what you want when you want it. Relationships need space to thrive and survive. Smothering kills relationships by depriving them of that space. If you want a healthy and enduring relationship, it’s important not to cross the line between loving and smothering. To discern if you’re crossing the line into smothering, here are six signs you might be scaring him away.
- You need constant reassurance.
Women who smother tend to require excessive attention because they’re insecure and they need reassurance. In a healthy relationship, you’re able to enjoy the present and allow the relationship to advance at a natural pace. You may wonder why you love him so much, but you won’t pressure him. You’re comfortable waiting until both of you are comfortable with progressing instead of demanding a commitment, which would put pressure on him and scare him away.
- You always agree with what he says.
One component of smothering is verbal. It’s fine to explore things your partner likes, but abandoning your own hobbies and pastimes and automatically adopting his is unattractive. Women who smother appear not to have any interests or opinions of their own.
Partners are more appealing if they’re challenging and stimulating, instead of the same boring old stories all the time. Bringing different preferences, beliefs, and hobbies into the mix keeps things interesting. When partners treat each other this way, they may develop a new appreciation for things they wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
- You keep your schedule free.
Women who smother often keep their schedules clear in case he calls with some last-minute plans. They don’t go out or spend time with other people they want to be unavailable if their partner calls.
It’s important to your relationship’s health to preserve your sense of self. Don’t forget how to enjoy time by yourself. Relying on your significant other to keep you busy appears pathetic. It’s also exhausting for the person who’s charged with keeping you entertained.
- You don’t tolerate being alone.
This sign goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. You’re an individual, and you need to be comfortable stepping out by yourself. Women who smother permanently affix themselves to their partner, which means they never have the opportunity to miss you. Step back and allow him some space. Appreciate the closeness that will naturally develop when you reunite.
Constantly leaning on him to make you feel appreciated is a significant sign of insecurity. When you think about why you love him so much instead of what you want to do when you’re together, you’re smothering. This alone may make him resent the expectation you’re placing on him and cause him to pull away. Your insecurities may even create bitterness by reminding him of his own vulnerabilities. Neediness robs energy from your partner and exhausts his patience. Get a life of your own, so you’ll radiate confidence and independence in your relationship.
- You react physically.
Pay attention to body language and ask your body if you’re smothering him. When you text him for the 17th time this morning, call him, drive past his house again, or look up old photos on his Facebook page, don’t ignore what your body is trying to tell you. Do these activities make you feel anxious, upset, or insecure? Does your jaw tighten, your stomach tie in knots, or your breathing accelerate and become shallow? These symptoms are reliable signs that you’ve entered the smothering zone.
Don’t forget about your reflexive physical reactions when you don’t get the responses you expected, such as if he doesn’t answer his phone when you call him or doesn’t return your text right away. Do these things intensify your craving to connect? If they do, you need to slow down, take a deep breath, and back off. When you give him excessive attention, he may react by neglecting you, and your body is reacting the way it is because you’re anxious about losing him.
Bonus tip: pay attention to your partner’s body language, too. If you’re smothering him, he’ll crave space, which will manifest physically as reductions in eye contact and physical touch, shallowness or length of conversations, and “keep-your-distance” postures including crossed arms and legs. A bit of a breather may be just what you need to ensure the health of your relationship.
- You give more than he does.
A good guideline is to match the effort, attention, and energy your partner is investing in the relationship—in other words, give back what you’re getting. Don’t overwhelm him with ten replies to every text he sends, or ten voice mails for each one of his. That definitely qualifies as smothering him.
Showering your partner with compliments or gifts that are in any way out of proportion to or exceed what he’s giving you is another form of smothering. These may seem like positives, but if you’re the only one who is sacrificing or giving, it’s time to step back and be honest about why the relationship is so unequal and unbalanced.