Smothering – Can You Love Too Much?

by Eharmony Editorial Team - May 1, 2018

Some people think that love comes in the form of frequent phone calls, text messages and joined-at-the-hip partnership. This isn't love, it's smothering. Explore the fine line between caring and stifling.

Truth: There’s no such thing as loving someone too much. Also true though: There is such a thing, though, as too much smothering. And smothering can definitely scare someone away. Whether you like to put yourself in the category of ‘women who love too much’ or not, the hardest pill to swallow is when you give a man too much attention he neglects you.

So what does it mean to really love someone, and when does love turn into smothering?

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 are smothering him, 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.

To determine the difference between love and affection and to know if you’re pushing too much, consider these signs you’re smothering him.

You want to be around them because you’re insecure.

Ever wonder ‘why do I love my boyfriend so much?’ It can be an overwhelming feeling to fall in love, but smothering takes. It’s selfish. Women who love too much are not considering the other person’s feelings and desires. You may feel like you’re showing love, but if you’re being motivated by your own insecurity about the relationship or your own fears about losing this person, then you’re probably more in the smothering camp.
The difference between love and affection is that love gives. It’s generous. It prioritizes the other person’s freedom and autonomy. When you love, you’re willing to do whatever is best for the person you care for, even if that means you don’t get exactly what you want, exactly when you want it.
Relationships need space and air to breathe if they’re going to survive and thrive. Smothering him can therefore kill a relationship by depriving it of oxygen. 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.

You always want reassurance of the future.

When you give a man too much attention he neglects you – especially if you’re constantly asking him about the future and insisting on specific answers and results. Women who love too much tend to exercise this practice because they demand attention or reassurance from the other person, requiring repeated statements of proof of their commitment level or feelings for you. On the other hand, when you love someone, you’re willing to patiently waits. When you love, you enjoy the present, allowing the other person and the relationship to progress at a comfortable pace. You might still question ‘why do I love my boyfriend so much’ – but you don’t apply pressure to him for the answer or the solution. You wait for both of you to become ready for a certain level of intimacy, instead of asking for premature answers or commitments that can put pressure on the other person and scare him or her away.

You agree with everything they say.

Part of smothering him – believe it or not – isn’t just physical, but verbal. How so? Do you find yourself adopting your significant other’s interests? If he likes NASCAR or he likes country music, are you instantly a ‘me too’ fan? It’s fine to check out and learn more about what your mate likes, but shadowing or following his hobbies is unbecoming. Women who love too much often give the impression they have no interests of their own.

It is definitely more attractive if as a partner you are stimulating and challenging, rather than the same ‘ole boring story all the time. Mixing it up with different hobbies, beliefs and preferences just makes things more appealing. The difference between love and affection is that when you care about someone, they might develop a newfound appreciation for something they wouldn’t normally consider is great. But first, you have to have the debate!

You’re always available.

Women who love too much often clear their schedule for fear of being unavailable in case your flame calls for a last-minute request for your time. Maybe you never even initiate plans with others because you don’t want to be busy but at your sweetheart’s beck and call. When you are giddy with love for someone new, the trick is to continue to operate as normal, which means you should not always be available. After all, when you give a man too much attention he neglects you – especially if you’re always at his beck-and-call.
In any healthy relationship, it’s important that you maintain your sense of self and that you actually enjoy your time by yourself. Relying on your significant other for a good time makes you come off as—pardon the word—pathetic. Plus, it’s very tiring for the person who’s been put in charge of entertaining you.

You can’t be alone.

Repeat after us: Not every activity must be conducted together. You are an individual, and it’s okay to step out on your own. When you’re smothering him, it’s likely because you want a companion for a trip to the drugstore or on your morning run. But why? Why can’t you take along your dog, an MP3 player or a friend? Women who love too much seem to attach themselves to their mate’s hip all the time, never giving them the opportunity to miss you. Let’s face it: that can be quite annoying. Kick back and give your partner some space and realize the closeness that is reaped from separation.

Ultimately, it’s a big sign of insecurity if you are constantly leaning on others to make you feel comfortable. When you’re thinking ‘why do I love my boyfriend so much’ – instead of thinking about what you actually want to do, you’re smothering him. This fact alone could make your partner resent the weight you are laying on him and pull away. Not only do your insecurities make others feel prickly, they might also remind them of their own vulnerabilities, creating bitterness. Neediness can rob energy from your mate, exhausting patience and depleting the warm fuzzies. Instead, start radiating independence and confidence in your relationship and get a life of your own.

You’re always anxious.

Listen to body language. How do you know when you’re smothering him? Ask your body. In the middle of texting, calling, driving past his house, or checking out her Facebook page, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Do you feel anxious? Insecure? Upset? Is your jaw tight? Stomach in knots? Is your breathing fast and shallow? These are good indicators that you may be in the smothering zone. Also, pay attention to your body when you don’t get the response you’re seeking, such as when he doesn’t pick up when you call or she doesn’t text you back right away. Does the urge to connect intensify? If so, it’s probably time to take a deep breath and take your foot off the emotional gas pedal. When you give a man too much attention he neglect you – and your body could be reacting because you’re so on edge about losing him.

Also remember your body isn’t the only one sending signals. Your partner’s body language says a lot, too. If you’re smothering him and your sweetheart is craving space, the signs include less eye contact, less physical touch, shallow or brief conversations and a ‘keep your distance’ posture like crossed legs or arms. The difference between love and affection here is recognizing that a bit of a breather can be healthy, especially for women who love too much.

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You give more than they give.

Give back what you get. A good rule of thumb is to match—not exceed—the energy, attention, and effort your partner is investing in your relationship. Don’t barrage your partner with ten texts to every one of his, or ten phone calls to each of his. That would definitely equate to smothering him. Even lavishing your partner with gifts or compliments that are out of proportion to what you’re receiving is a form of clinginess. The same thing can be said for being accommodating and flexible. You may think these are positive traits, but if you’re the only one giving or sacrificing, it’s time to stop asking yourself ‘why do I love my boyfriend so much’ and start asking ‘why is this relationship unbalanced and unequal?’

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