A man aggressively confronts his partner, who looks away from him

3 signs you might be smothering your partner

by Eharmony Editorial Team - May 16, 2012

As wonderful and exciting as it is to find a new relationship it is a fragile thing at the beginning. Too much fuss and attention can stop it from growing – here are 3 tell-tale signs that your attentions may be smothering rather than loving.

Take away the ‘s’ and the word ‘smothering’ becomes ‘mothering’ with all its connotations of being fussed over, controlled and questioned about where you have been and what you have been doing. Here we examine some of the signs that you may be crossing the line

It’s all about you

When you are smothering someone the whole relationship is about your needs, your desires and how you want things to be. Even if your partner is tactfully trying to get a bit of space for themselves their voice is probably being drowned out by yours – you have a picture of how it is going to be and anything that contradicts that is simply overruled because you know best. When the pressure gets too much they will probably do a disappearing act because it is unlikely you will be able to hear what they have to say or what they want.

This type of controlling behaviour doesn’t mean that you are a selfish person. It usually means that for whatever reason you are feeling particularly insecure and full of fear about the relationship. Maybe you have been hurt in the past or perhaps you are struggling to believe you are worthy of love. Whatever the reason, the sad news is that the tighter you hold on the more likely it is that you will drive the person away rather than bring them closer to you. Love must be given freely in order to flourish.

Try backing off a bit and asking your partner what they want or need – maybe let them take the lead in contacting you for a while e.g. only text or contact them in response to them contacting you first, that way you will know that they are in touch because they want to be rather than because you contacted them. Ultimately this will make you feel more secure because you will get a real measure of their interest in you rather than having to live with the fear that if you let go of the reigns the horse would bolt – if they do it may be better to let them go.

Checking in or checking up?

It is completely natural to want to be in touch with your partner regularly – after all you are building a life together – but are you really checking in with them or checking up on them because you are feeling insecure and want some reassurance from them that they haven’t forgotten about you, gone off you or changed their mind about the relationship?

There are so many ways of being in touch with someone these days with email, text or calls as well as social networks it is quite easy to keep tabs on someone 24/7 but it really isn’t the best thing for the relationship.

Constant contact doesn’t allow any time for you to miss each other or to reflect on the time you have spent together. It also carries with it the subtle implication that you don’t trust them. Only you will know in your heart if you are doing it out of love or fear. In order for yours to grow into a healthy relationship you need to be able to cope with the times when you are not in touch; you don’t know where your partner is or what they are doing and get on with your own life until you see them again.

Wanting more than they are willing to give

Sometimes there is a mismatch in terms of what one person needs and what the other person has to offer. When you are smothering someone you are generally demanding more than they can give to you.  Some partners may give everything they have but you still feel frustrated and hungry for more – like it will never be enough. In other situations people may be giving a lot because they want to receive the same level of attention back and feel angry and frustrated when their affection isn’t returned.

This is love with conditions attached and your partner is unlikely to be able to make you feel secure no matter how hard they try – it is your responsibility to make sure your needs are met in other parts of your life so that there isn’t too much pressure on your partner to be your all and everything.