There’s no such thing as loving someone too much. There is such a thing, though, as too much smothering. And smothering can definitely scare someone away.
"So when do I get to meet your folks? And friends?"
A common theme of any type of smothering is just too much, too soon. Allow the relationship to grow naturally, and don't rush things like wanting to meet family or friends until it feels right for both people. It's probably also better to wait for an invitation from your partner -- which means they are ready for that step.
"You love me?"
Someone who needs constant reassurance is insecure. Ultimately, this is the root of smothering. It can be produced by jealousy, fear, and anxiety, and it’s one of the surest ways of driving someone away.
On the flip side, love is secure. Love is emotionally strong enough to respect another person’s space and to trust that what’s meant to happen will happen.
"It's my way or the..."
Smothering disregards what another wants. Everyone wants to have a voice and a say in things - whether it's what movie you are going to or where to eat. If it always has to be your way, it is likely you are stifling the other person's desires. If you tend to be the more vocal one in the relationship, make sure you ask your partner for their opinion as often as possible.
A Present a Day...
...may have them running away! In the category of "coming on too strong" is the person who bears gifts every time they see their new love interest (It happened to someone we know recently!). This generosity can backfire during the early dating phase, where both parties should be testing the waters and not necessarily proclaiming their affections so soon. No one wants to feel pressured to be in a place emotionally they haven't reached yet.
"Just checking in. Call me back."
Smothering oppresses. It pesters and desperately grasps. It calls too often or sends too many text messages. It always wants to know what the other person is doing - and with whom. Resist the urge to engage in this behavior. This comes from fear and other negative emotions, and can end up making the relationship feel like a prison to the other person. A healthy relationship offers space, respect, and trust.
Multiple 'State of the Relationship' Talks
Do you constantly feel the need to talk to your partner about where the relationship is and where it's going? It's great to be on the same page - but if your insecurities are driving constant conversations looking for reassurance, beware.
Smothering, ultimately, isn’t about love, but about selfishness. When you love someone, you want what’s best for the person, even if that means the relationship looks different from what you had in mind. In contrast, when you smother, you prioritize your own needs for closeness or connection, as opposed to what the other person wants or needs. This is one reason people can get scared away and run from a relationship.
'Hey, I was just in the neighborhood - again!'
When dating someone new, it's tempting to want to see them as often as possible. But unannounced, frequent visits might not be so exciting for the other person, who may like their personal space. They also might get the sense you are checking up on them. Give the budding relationship room to breathe.
"I just want to be alone with you."
Relationships need space and air to breathe if they’re going to survive and thrive. Quality time with your partner is important - but so is healthy separateness and time with friends. There can sometimes be a fine line between loving and smothering, but if you want a healthy and long-lasting relationship, it’s an important one not to cross.
In your efforts to find love, be careful not to make another person feel as if he or she is being imprisoned. Remember, you’re looking for a soul mate, not a cellmate!
In what ways have you felt smothered? Did it ultimately kill the relationship or did you find a way to work through it?
This St. Valentine’s Day eHarmony is proud to be working with Cartoonist Hugh MacLeod to bring you a collection of funny and touching cards that you can personalize and share online, via Facebook.