Love - that particular true love - is supposed to be dramatic, emotional, and passionate. But it happens that people strive for perfect relationships and the very idea of high feelings so much that they don’t even notice when their passion turns into pathology and slowly begins to poison their relationship.
Today, we’re going to talk about smothering – a phenomenon that can ruin romantic relationships and scare away even the most forbearing partner. So, let's get started!
Smothering in a relationship: what does it mean?
What is smothering in relationships? In simple terms, this is an excessive manifestation of love for a romantic partner. Such behavior is characterized by a strong and obsessive need for another person when one of the partners showers the spouse with love and care to find their true identity and feel loved and needed.
Of course, initially, such a relationship seems like heaven on Earth – euphoria, devotion in the name of Love, and similar stuff. One person gladly gives, the other joyfully accepts. It’s not without reason they say that in love, one always kisses, and the other only turns the cheek. But eventually, such a relationship is swerving, as if on a slippery road, leading to great relationships fail. The appetites of a partner who is used to getting the desired upon the first request are growing, and the one who sacrifices everything just stands the gaff and waits for the partner’s appreciation.
But at the same time, people prone to smothering strive for the object of passion so much that they forget about their own needs and desires. Neglecting themselves, they spend all their life energy on a spouse. All their attention, thoughts, and feelings are focused only on their partners. And as a result, a person loses self-respect, own self, and even health.
Why and when does smothering in a relationship appear?
In the early stages of love relationships, you are drunk on dopamine – a hormone that is associated with pleasure, strong desire, and even addiction. To say more, you are affected by a whole mixture of hormones percolating inside you that makes your partner incredibly attractive to you. Do you want to sense this inspiring feeling of love? Then you should visit the best single ladies website which is full of gorgeous women to meet!
But in the end, there comes a moment when the phase of infatuation “I don’t eat, I don’t sleep – I keep thinking about my beloved” evolves into the words “Now, I’m able to notice the shortcomings of my spouse”. Such dopamine-drug dependence on each other can subsist for several years, but the manic obsession with a loved one gradually disappears over time. However, some people continue demonstrating such “crazy love” and cannot help but smother a partner with their care. Why does it happen? Why do people start smothering a partner? There may be several reasons:
- control over a partner. In fact, recommendations and tips that are pronounced in a gentle tone can also be hidden orders and commands. Under the pretense of showing concern for a beloved, people can control almost everything:
- clothes, social circle, and even the life of a loved one;
- maintaining a sense of self-worth. Well, of course, it's very pleasant to be an indispensable person, at least for someone. "He won't even find his shirt in the closet without me!" – is a pleasant but dangerous illusion;
- gaining approval. Self-sacrifice in the name of Love is a rather socially approved model of behavior (though, mainly for women);
- the mechanism of psychological defense. It seems complicated, but in reality, everything is simple: in love, we act with others as we want them to act with us. When we give an expensive gift to our partner, we would like the beloved to shower us with gifts. When we brew tea for a loved one, we want this tea to be brewed for us. Show care for a spouse? Hence, we thirst for care.
True signs you are smothered by your partner
To deal with a smothering relationship, it’s important to know the signs that your partner is really prone to showing excessive love. Please, check out 5 sure signs you are smothered by your beloved!
1. Total control
If you notice that a partner constantly tries to control you in every possible way and takes great offense if you do not behave the way your loved one wants, this is the surest sign of being smothered in a relationship. In addition, such people are unconscious of their wrongness or guilt. On the contrary, they think it is you who behaves in an unseemly manner.
2. Your partner is always in touch
People who love too much are ready to change their plans or schedule at any time because of the fear of being out of reach when their loved one may need them. Maybe your romantic partner doesn't even make any plans with other people since wants to be available and ready to comply with any of your wishes or orders. Moreover, your partner always answers your SMS and calls without the slightest delay.
3. You told your loved one that you need more privacy, but they disregarded your request
Have you already made it clear to a partner that you need more personal space and some time to spend it separately from each other? Or maybe you have told your loved one that they need to find a hobby that is not related to you? But if your beloved just feel aggrieved or get angry at you instead of giving you the yearned-for space, this is one of the clearest signs of being smothered in a relationship!
4. Constant bouts of jealousy
Jealousy is one of the most difficult and unpleasant experiences in the realm of human emotions. And excessive jealousy of a partner can definitely make you start feeling smothered in a new relationship. It isn’t so difficult to recognize it. A jealous partner often checks your phone and reads your private messages, asks who it was after each incoming call, wants to hear how your day is done in great detail, etc. Also, the spouse may even demand you of taking them to your business meetings, corporate parties, and so on.
5. Requests to prove your love
If your loved one constantly needs reassurances of your love and harbor doubts about your relationship, this can drive you to feel smothered in a relationship. People who love too much are always afraid of losing their beloved. Everything they do for a loved one is aimed at pleasing and keeping a hold over a partner. Thus, they want you to prove your love over and over again.
How to understand you are smothering your partner
Where is the line between care and obsession? The problem is that you may not even realize that your behavior is smothering. So, meet 5 signs that will help you to identify this!
1. You set your heart on a loved one
One of the surest signs you are smothering your partner is that you are constantly tormented by obsessive thoughts about your beloved, whose attention and love you want to get in spite of everything. You may even neglect your own affairs, interests, friends, or hobbies because your thoughts always hinge on the loved one.
2. You "cling" to your partner
When you are together with a loved one, you can behave too obtrusively: you need to know everything about how your romantic partner feels, what he/she thinks about, and so on. You are constantly fighting for the attention of your loved one, even in those moments when it is completely inappropriate. Also, you intend to move heaven and earth to keep your romantic partner in the relationship with you.
3. You wish to have full possession over your partner
It is distressing for you when your partner mentions the name of a person of the opposite gender in a conversation with you. It is even worse when you notice that your loved one communicates with a representative of the opposite sex in a laid-back manner. Thus, you can try to make your partner cut off all social contacts with other people because you are afraid that your beloved might conceive a passion for someone else besides you.
4. There is a clearly defined hierarchy of family roles
In healthy relationships, everything is very simple – they are built on an equal footing, from the "adult-adult" position. Most of the time, people in such relationships manage to respect their partners and negotiate with each other as two independent adults. But in a smothering relationship, there is clearly defined polarization – lovers assume the child-parent roles. That is, one of the partners takes the role of a defenseless and weak child, the second becomes a strong, protective adult.
5. Frequent mood swings
Smothering relationships are also characterized by "emotional rollercoaster" – a sharp transition from euphoria to despair, from the sense of your own irreplaceability and specialness to the feeling of worthlessness and abandonment. This is a kind of "burning in the flame of feelings." Moreover, you can sometimes experience disrespect, unjustness, or even humiliation towards yourself on the part of your partner.
How to deal with it?
The most important (and maybe the most difficult) thing in dealing with smothering is to switch the focus of attention from a partner to yourself, to realize your own value and the value of your life. Do you remember the saying "Self-love is a lifelong romance"? So, you are the only person who will stay with you come rain or shine. But a relationship, in which you so persistently invest your resources – nerves, strength, time, money – may cease to exist one day. Especially if it comes to a dead-end and turns into something inverted and one-sided: after all, romantic relationships need reciprocity.
It’s quite natural that you want to love someone. But love is a feeling that should first arise inside you before you can give it to someone else. This doesn’t mean that you need to perfect yourself to be worthy of love. It means that you can conditionally disengage from the relationship and learn to value yourself regardless of what happens between you and your partner.
Love relationships are just one of the life spheres where you develop yourself, but there are other things that can make you happy. For example, your family, colleagues, friends, hobbies, interests, etc. There is no need to knuckle under to anyone – nobody will appreciate this. It’s no good, no use.
A romantic relationship is a voluntary decision of two loving people to be together. At the same time, the lack of the necessary "dose" of attention does not prevent each of the partners from feeling happy, independent, and full of vital energy.
Psychotherapy of too strong love applies the principle of the medieval physician and alchemist Paracelsus: everything is poison, everything is medicine – both are determined by the dose. In other words, moderate use is beneficial, but abuse is disastrous. Love, but do not smother your significant other. Remember that no other person in the world can make you happy. It’s only in your power to fill your life with happiness, joy, and inspiration!