New love is grand – but how can you really tell when it’s too much, and when you’re encroaching on your love’s breathing space?
Are You Stifling Your New Love Interest?
When something feels good, we are naturally driven to want more of it. Romance is no exception. How do you know, then, when you’re crossing the line from mutual intimacy towards smothering, and if wanting to spend more time with your love interest is verging on unhealthy behaviour?
Why People Smother
Insecurity is really at the root of all smothering. It’s a powerful, negative emotion that makes us doubt ourselves, our decisions, our desirability and our abilities. We allow ourselves to become reliant on someone else for our sense of self-worth, and their reactions become the meter by which we judge ourselves. This is an enormous responsibility to place on someone else’s shoulders, particularly when you are still getting to know one another.
Are you Happy? Do You Love Me?
Requiring constant reassurance from a partner can be exhausting for them, and a lack of confidence and individuality can even kill the sense of intimacy. Regularly starting conversations around the state of your relationship and frequent expressions of doubt are tedious. It’s also reflective of your fear, and it tells your partner that you’re not happy and that they are responsible for your feelings. If left unchecked, insecurity can give rise to jealousy, anxiety and fear which will naturally stifle not only your partner, but your entire relationship. Tensions will increase and communication will suffer. If worrying about the strength of your relationship drives you to be unreasonable, chances are you will end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Love in the Age of Technology
Availing ourselves of modern technology is not an invitation in itself to make contact around the clock. Calling, texting, emailing and instant messaging is there to facilitate communication, not to pin someone to it. We don’t all wish to be in constant remote discussion, and too much is really an invasion of personal time and a distraction to other activities. It can also give the impression that you’re “checking up” on your partner, especially if you’re always probing for details on what they’re doing and who they’re with. Over-communicating can also be a controlling behaviour. Knowing that you have someone to answer to can make you overthink what you’re doing and second-guess your actions. Forcing someone into this position tells them you lack trust in their integrity and judgment. A real sign of danger in your relationship is when you find yourself pressuring your partner to withdraw from their normal social activities and hobbies so they can spend more time with you. If your partner is stepping away from their previous goals and commitments, ask yourself what role you’ve played.
Take a Healthier Approach
Love and trust are synonymous with security. You cannot force yourself to feel secure, but you can control your insecure behaviours. Real love places the needs of your partner alongside your own, or even in front, and their happiness should be as important to you as your own. It involves encouraging your loved one to flourish, thrive and fulfil their potential. On the flipside, compromise must exist in every relationship. If your partner is so committed that they have little left to give, you don’t have to accept that. You can discuss possible changes or you can move on. But insisting that things are always done your way places your needs at the forefront and ignores theirs. If your partner is the type that is destined to hurt you, nothing you do or say can change that. What you’re risking by expecting to be hurt or rejected is a healthy relationship. Build instead on a foundation of trust, loyalty and respect.