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How to Love Someone without Smothering Them

how to love without smothering

Can too much love ever be a bad thing? Find out how to love someone the right way, without smothering them or stunting their individual growth.

When you fall in love with someone, it’s natural to want to shower them with love and affection.

But can you ever overdo the love?

Can you love someone so much that you make them dislike you or your affection?

Loving someone and smothering someone

Truth be told, too much love is never a bad thing.

And you can’t make your partner hate you just because you love them a lot.

But you can definitely make your partner dislike you when you start smothering them.

[Read: 7 secret signs of a bad relationship]

To many, smothering love is nothing but an overindulgence of affection.

You may think smothering excessive love is a true sign of your love for a special someone.

But in reality, smothering is a selfish act.

You don’t smother your partner because of love. You smother someone with affection because you crave for their affection, you want their attention, or probably because you may want to help them with their troubles, or you may want to protect them.

But are you doing it because you think it’ll make your lover feel better? Probably not.

Almost all the time, you may be smothering your partner for selfish reasons, either to reaffirm your relationship status or to feel better about yourself as a perfect example of a loving partner.

How to love someone the right way

No one likes being smothered. There’s a thin line between showing affection and smothering someone.

You may not want to smother affection on your partner, but have you ever felt like your partner tries to push you away or looks for excuses to get away from you now and then? You may just be an unintentional smothering lover.

Firstly, expressing love and smothering affection is relative and subjective. What’s smothering to one partner could be unaffectionate to another. When you take time to fall in love slowly with each other, these are little things both of you can learn about each other and each other’s expectations when it comes to affection. [Read: New relationship advice to have a perfect start]

If you feel like you’re smothering your partner or if your partner ever tells you they need more space, here are 10 things you need to do to take the stress off the relationship.

#1 Don’t use love to control someone. Don’t expect an equal measure of love from your partner right from the start of the relationship. Love needs time to bloom. Do you say โ€˜I love you’ often to your sweetheart because you feel like saying it, or is it because you want to hear your lover say it back to you?

Don’t use love as an excuse to control your partner or arm-twist them into doing your bidding. When you shower affection in excess, just to test your lover’s feelings or expect something back in return later, that’s definitely smothering and something that’ll piss your partner off sooner than you think.

#2 Give your partner their space to grow. Spending time with each other can feel great. But even if you’re having the time of your life in your partner’s arms, learn to back away and give space now and then. You may not realize it, but at times, constantly having you around all the time may end up annoying your partner. The adage, absence makes the heart grow fonder, exists for a reason. [Read: How to give space in a relationship]

#3 Don’t always be available. Don’t always be available at your partner’s beck and call, especially if it’s a trivial matter. Do you ever skip work or put away something important for later when your lover asks you for something trivial, like meeting for coffee because they’re bored or helping them clean the house even though it’s not your turn until next week?

Two things will happen here. One, you’ll feel like you’re sacrificing something important to be with your lover. That’ll make you feel like a martyr who places love above anything else. And you’ll expect the same gesture back from your lover. Secondly, your partner will end up taking you for granted and expect the same preferential treatment all the time. Do you realize just how shaky this arrangement could turn out to be in the long run?

#4 Don’t constantly call them. Keeping in touch is acceptable. But expecting an update on their life every couple of hours is just obsessive. Unless your partner and you like staying in touch constantly, avoid this behavior.

This is especially noticeable when your partner’s out with their own friends. Do you call your partner often or sending i-miss-you texts when they’re with friends and you’re alone at home? You’re bored. Your partner’s having fun. You want attention. This is just another case of smothering and misusing love.

#5 Balance your romance. Learn to better your relationship with the perfect balance of love, sex and friendship. If you want to love someone the right way, both of you need to feel involved in each other’s lives in more aspects than just love or lust. Learn to be a friend, a confidante and everything else. By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid feeling jealous of anyone else who gets close to your partner as a friend.

#6 Keep it exciting. Make your partner want more all the time. Be innovative and look for new ways to keep things exciting in love. Instead of forcing your partner to treat you better or like a princess all the time, do something that’ll inevitably make your partner treat you better. Almost always, we ask why our partners have become boring but we don’t realize just how boring we’ve become ourselves. [Read: 30 sexy ways to spice up your sex life]

#7 Have faith in your relationship. Feel more confident about yourself and the relationship you’re in. More often than not, lovers smother their partner when they feel like they’re not good enough for their partner or aren’t doing enough for the good of the relationship.

By constantly feeling like you need to do more, you may end up making things worse than better. Start believing in yourself and know that you’re hot stuff.

#8 Do you really have a reason to feel insecure? Smothering is a sign of subtle insecurity. You feel you have to be the best partner in the world and you overdo it because you’re afraid your lover will think less of you, or gasp, leave you for someone else. You can’t constantly prove your love for someone else all the time. And the more you go proving your love, the more you’ll build yourself up for heartbreak. [Read: How to prove you love someone the right way]

#9 Don’t be threatened easily. Do you get threatened if someone at a party tries to catch your partner’s eyes? Do you hate it when you hear that some good looker has a crush on your sweetheart? If you do, then you’re probably insecure and may be subtly smothering your lover with excessive love.

If someone has a crush on your sweetheart, it doesn’t mean your partner will leave you. And if someone’s trying to make eye contact with your partner, that doesn’t mean your partner will ignore you. Instead of feeling insecure, see the bright side. Others can look and crave, but your partner is all yours!

#10 Stop craving for attention. Can you sit beside your partner for half an hour without craving for their attention? Do you find yourself trying to get touchy feely, or bursting into giggles or looking for other ways to distract your partner? This may be acceptable at first, especially when both of you are still young in love. But if you find it hard to just spend time quietly around each other, perhaps you’re someone who wants attention all the time. [Read: 10 fun games for couples to play in bed]

The more you crave for attention, the more your partner would shy away from giving you more attention. And the more your partner avoids giving you attention, the more you’ll start to smother them with affection in the hope of reciprocation. And this cycle would continue until both of you are confused, annoyed and bitter all the time!

[Read: How to be romantic without being cheesy]

Smothering someone with love isn’t a bad thing, as long as your intentions are selfless. If you want to know how to love someone without smothering them excessively, keep these tips in mind. After all, many of us are addicted to smothering without even realizing it!

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Cheryl James
Cheryl James
A lover of bad ideas and a true romantic at heart, Cheryl James hates excuses and loves integrity. She believes that one day can change everything and wakes up ...
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24 thoughts on “How to Love Someone without Smothering Them”

  1. need some TLC says:

    In my case I badly need some smothering… that would be a luxury. I’d do anything to make him smother me with frequent I love you’s, I wouldn’t mind him smothering me every second of every day. Love is definitely there in our relationship but I feel less prioritized. Maybe I’d get sick of it too… but man… if just for a little bit, it’s a nice feeling of security.

  2. Chris says:

    OK this is complex… I smother my girlfriend a lot, I buy her stuff, roses and all things. I call her lots and text her a lot. I text her with “I love you” “I miss you” msg. She tells me I make her feel loved. Then again I when I am out with guys, and there are no calls and very little small talk. She understands my situation and actually encourages me to go out with my friends. But then again she calls me and tells me how much she misses being with me right now, or that she was waiting for my call.
    I am just a bit confused.

    Purely my own opinion/situation, but I don’t know when you want to feel loved, or when you want space, let me know, or just let me smother you so you can feel loved. I am sure feeling loved is a better feeling than feeling like you are not loved. Or is she just trying to psyche me out!

  3. Andrea says:

    If an overdose of hugs, kisses, cuddles, holding hands, and talking at least 4,5,6,7 times a day is SMOTHERING, then i guess I would be considered a smothering type of women. I don’t call him every 5 minutes when he’s not with me but I don’t hold myself back if I want to tell him I love you. I am not going to change myself. The next man I get with will have to accept that about me too.
    Whoever heard of dying from too much of love or smothering.

  4. Kay says:

    Smothering can come across as being insecure or at the very least not being comfortable enough in your relationship to allow for some space between you two. That can run a relationship into the ground. I remember I had a BF who once told me that he cannot see a woman he is dating everyday. Maybe he had had a bad experience with women who smothered him.

  5. Aiyana says:

    I fully believe a true healthy romantic relationship requires the i love you’s etc if someone is not doing these things and withholding affection that is classed as abuse.
    I have been called insecure before for doing all the things that are expected in a healthy loving relationship but it was actually from someone who doesn’t understand what affection is so i don’t think i am insecure at all i am well balanced and quite the romantic type.
    Although i can understand why less affectionate types would see me as insecure they are just incompetent and don’t understand how to be affectionate themselves and are insecure about being ”Showed up” against someone else who can be all that.

  6. AceJen says:

    Holy shit my exboyfriend did this to me and I had to make up excuses for not responding to every little text because he literally wanted to text “<3"s all day and night, he'd get pissy when I didn't. Stfu and let me play Skyrim for a few hours, boy! You said you liked a gamer girlfriend, but she didn't have time for her games with you smothering her!

  7. reena says:

    For me in a relationship, its important to have all that, i mean love, hugs, cuddles, be affectionate etc as it helps in building the relationship strongly.
    Actually, my husband is like that, got loads of texts and calls and at the end of every call, i got the “i love you” and i am used to it, if one day he forgets or whatever i always remind him, i feel loved and feel good to know that when i got a text from him any time during the day, i know am in his thoughts. when we are together, even in public, he is still very affectionate. He always tell me if one day i will stop loving his ways of taking care of me, WELL NO… almost five years we are together. If that is smothering then i love my husband like that

  8. MB says:

    I met him through a friend and didn’t want a relationship. We kept it “natural” but it was perfect, i’ve never clicked with anyone so much. We told each other everything, for a month or so. We never labeled it, never wanted too. Then, something happened and he pulled back. He was the one driving the “relationship” though. I found out he had ADHD, and perhaps that came into play. He was always on the move, used to being “single” and didn’t want me around anymore. I probably became clingy for a few reasons…1) I noticed his new “hands off” approach to me 2) The sex fell off, originally because I had a medical “issue” 3) Once I was able to have sex again, he had already transformed. It was like night and day, suddenly, the guy that was the most lovable and snuggly was reserved and stand offish. He told me I stressed him out, I constantly wanted attention. To the point where he couldn’t even have sex with me anymore, wouldn’t hold me anymore. What made it worse was, I missed him and I still do. Truthfully, I didn’t want a relationship either but I was willing to let life unfold. Basically, I think I became a distraction from his lifestyle. He was into his career, drugs etc. I regret “smothering” him…I should have just addressed his change in behavior/our issues. I just figured he would tell me anything I needed t know, he always blamed his job etc. ๐Ÿ™

  9. Mark says:

    Play it cool guys jesus. Telling them all these things, may be overwhelming, may kill the challenge for your partners (all girls like that).

    So realise that what you’re doing isn’t right, sure you should be able to say I love you all the time and for it to be fine, but don’t annoy them. If you want to keep them love yourself a bit too, and let them grow into you, without it being so boring.

    Tell them once a week for example or tell them with your kisses instead of your words!

  10. Doty says:

    Here’s the thing… if you tell your partner “I love you” repeatedly and they don’t respond with as many “i love yous” back do you feel unloved? Are you constantly asking “do you love me?” If so you are acting insecure and clingy. This is not going to make the person love you more, it’s only going to lead to resentment.

  11. marduk says:

    Great article! Just what I needed to read and improve my relationship with my girlfriend. I feel like I’m greatly smothering her and being a bit clingy. It needs to stop now!!! Yes I said it, I need to stop! It’ll be a constant personal battle of myself, but it’s worth it in the future even if my girlfriend and I now are not gonna work out or go through further.


  12. kinmgsley southbank says:

    i am having a problem with my girlfriend on that.i need to stop loving her too much.

  13. Ivy says:

    I don’t know how to tell my bf that I’m soo annoyed. We’re engaged and seriously I’m to the point where I don’t want to see him or kiss him even less have sex w him ugh. He constantly tells me I love you. He holds my hand while i drive, at the mall, he hugs me all the time. In bed he dont let me breathe! I was in a relationship where my ex never was affectionate and I longed for this but now that I have it I hate it!! I wish my bf would read this article!

  14. mgm says:

    My exboyfriend of 4yrs broke up with me because I was smothering him. Always calling and texting. He needed space and I became more clingy. I know we love each other. It has been exactly 7 days I have not contact him. I want him to miss me and give him space to rethink our break up. We have history together. He is my first love as I am his. After 30+ yrs we reconnected and been together 4 yrs now. I really want him to give us a try and I understand what I did smothering and all and omg I will never do that again. Please do u believe I have good chance working it out with him?

  15. jb says:

    Bottom line: everyone is different!
    Some people are affectionate, some enjoy receiving affection, and some are both. Physically loving someone doesn’t necessarily make you insecure, reading that made me sick. Until i met my husband i never wanted to be touched or affectionate, but when you find the right person, things change. And either way, being affectionate or not. Don’t waste your time on a relationship with a problem like this. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine but there is more suitable out there. Just look at the variety of posts from men and women…

  16. Sel says:

    I am a woman and I like the affection, cuddles, kisses, cute texts and phone calls but when is it all too much?!

    I have been in a 3 year relationship and my partner is way too clingy, needy and high maintenance…geez one would think I was dating another woman but I’m not lol

    He overdoes everything and gets the shits if I don’t respond all the time, he overdoes the physical affection even in the presence of other people, this make them very uncomfortable (which I totally understand) and my mother and a few others have quietly spoken with me about it because they know me well and can see that I do not like the excessive physical touch.

    I have discussed this with him in the nicest possible way on several occasions only to have him continue the same behaviours, in my opinion once someone speaks up clearly and you continue the same behaviours then you are being disrespectful and I feel he is being disrespectful of my physical space boundaries.

    This along with a few other good reasons have now led me to make the decision to end the relationship, I feel sad that it’s come to this as I have spoken up about it but I have gotten to the point where I have really had enough!!

    My advice to anyone who is being smothered, speak up and if your partner doesn’t respect you for it drop them ! My advice to those who are guilty of smothering, please try and taper it back otherwise you will eventually drive your partner away and I’m sure you don’t want that?!

  17. Still confused says:

    I don’t think this article is very helpful… It only tells u what ur partner may be thinking & why they’re reacting the way they do… Ppl who feel insecure can’t up & decide “you know, I’m not going to act that way anymore” because the behavior is fueled by a feeling and probably some pretty ingrained habits… So from the article it suggests you just stop what ur doing, which if possible seems more likely that the person would just be holding their breath just long enough to see if it worked… What we need are real tips to changing theyway we think feel and as a last step how we act would naturally change…

  18. Konnect Life says:

    Sucks…. the same people who love to preach the silly “just be yourself” advice are the FIRST to tell you how you’re *supposed* to act, love, interact socially, or feel.

    But this article is pretty much spot on. Most of the leading dating gurus and experts in the psychology of human behavior and relationships (along with a lot of real life experience) will tell you that being too nice is not good, ESPECIALLY if you’re a male seeking a female.

    My best advice if you’re a male who is naturally sensitive, sweet, too caring and loving is to FIRST, STOP LISTENING TO ANYONE WHJO SAYS THAT THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT and STOP LISTENING TO ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU “JUST BE YOURSELF.”

    I capitalize those entire two phrases because I cannot stress them enough!

    After all, if “just being yourself” really worked, here are three things that would’ve never happened:

    1 The phrase “nice guys finish last” would’ve never been created
    2 This article would’ve never had to be written
    3 You would’ve never been in a situation where you had to be told to just be yourself in the first place!

    Sometimes in life, you must stop doing what you naturally feel (especially if it hasn’t been working for you all along or has caused you to maintain a very low success in dating or whatever you’re trying to succeed with) and instead, take the time to learn new techniques and strategies from people who are more experienced than you and people who tend to get more (dating/relationship) success than you.

    Then you take everything you’ve learned and make it a natural part of your personality.

    Once you do this, THEN you can start being your BETTER self.

    It took me a few decades of being rejected by women and bullying and teasing to realize I had to change. After a while, I discovered that being a nice guy gets you no where in dating and not having social skills will earn you a lifetime of no friends. I still struggle with not being nice sometimes, but I’ve drastically improved my social skills to the point where I have quite a few friends, dj gigs and other exciting things going on in my life. I am even in a relationship!!! But I managed to find someone who can appreciate someone who isn’t necessarily a “bad buy.” It is extremely difficult to find, but those women do exist… I guess what also helped to attract her was the fact that I’ve changed a lot and am no longer as nice as I used to be in the past (but I will warn you that jerkish behavior can also have some major consequences if you are dealing with a female who has unresolved personal issues of their own… but those consequences aren’t as lethal to your dating life as being a nice guy).

    Interesting thing is once I started sharing my story on how I changed, how I overcame social anxiety and how I learned to reformat my personality, act normal and lead a social life, a lot of people have different opinions regarding my change. I found it interesting that a lot of people who read my stories online, especially those in the autism/aspergers community, were unhappy with the fact that I chose to work on change and self improvement. They felt that I should “just be myself” and not change (which, of course, was a dumb idea to me since I was the one paying the consequences for just being myself most of my life…) I also found it interesting that many people,especially those of the opposite sex, started tossing around words like “manipulation” to describe my change because they weren’t happy with the fact that I learned the “laws of attraction” and what psychologically worked and didn’t work. That was funny because it was almost as if people preferred that I kept doing all the wrong things that never worked for me and kept failing, getting rejected and being bullied and teased. It was almost as if people were incapable of understanding that if I could just be myself and be the way I wanted, then I wouldn’t have to adapt to the rules of majority society or change in the first place! I could be as caring, intellectual, nerdy, affectionate, nice, kind, sensitive, etc. as I wanted without any rules imposed on me about how I should be. But I’ve learned to accept that that just isn’t the way things work in this world. Some people have the natural skills / ability to be naturally attractive or be how they are “supposed” to be, and some people have to learn (or relearn) those skills. People can accuse me of manipulation or not “just being myself” or whatever they wish, but the FACT REMAINS that I am simply learning to do the SAME EXACT THINGS that those with the natural skills do naturally without even thinking.

    Just because I had to learn and apply those skills, that that somehow suddenly make it wrong?

    Well, there are two choices:
    1. Learn to accept people for who they are and let them be – WITHOUT rejecting or ridiculing them or trying to tell them how they are supposed to be, or

    It’s already enough having to act a certain way just to be accepted by hiring managers, religious people, gangstas and thugs, apartment rental / housing managers, dates, etc. The last thing I want is more rules on how I’m supposed to be imposed on me.

    Turns out that my girlfriend is developing schizophrenia, but… I still believe that dealing with this is better than having to start over in a new relationship and deal with people who will reject me or cheat on me because I still “come across as” a nice guy. My girlfriend is very loyal and blatantly loves me, and her loyalty alone, even when she has other options, is one of the BIGGEST things I appreciate about her. She isn’t interested in bad boys. She is interested in the REAL bad boy here, who may seem nice and soft and sensitive and intellectual and caring to others on the outside, but remains strong enough to deal with her and stick by her side regardless of how tough things get.

    Do I smother her? No. I used to be the smothering type, but that’s one of the behaviors I was able to change and eliminate from my personality. Now, I’m ore of the “walk away and give you space” to think about what what you want type person, and since I don’t have time to waste, I will explore other options if I am pushed away or asked to give space (because the way I see it, while I’m being pushed away, there could be someone else out there who might just accept whatever you’re needing space from). Interesting how my girlfriend always wanted me more whenever I walked away and started hanging out with other women. Before I learned to do this, I used to try to be nicer, more caring and attempted to pursue a woman more (which NEVER works, by the way, so don’t try).

    As far as those folks who are always complaining about their boyfriends and what they are not getting from a guy, my advice to them is STOP SEEKING THOSE TYPES OF MEN and start seeking the type of people everyone claims to want – someone who will “be nice, make them laugh and respect them.” With the amount of people who say I want someone who is nice and funny, I expect to see more clowns getting laid and more appreciation for good guys at a much higher rate of success than the bad boy / jerks that everyone complains about but continues to seek.

    Accept or reject what I said, but it is what it is. If anyone feels offended, just remember what I wrote here could’ve been worse…. I mean, it could’ve been a sweet romantic poem!!!!

    Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Richa says:

    hello sir,

    me and my boyfriend is in relationship from past 8 year..initially it was running great..then he started possessing me not to do this n that..on that we had lot fights..initially he use to cry not to leave me..i and he are totally different ..m very extrovert independent and modern…he has grown in a very orthodox family and very introvert..he doesnt lyk to share things..widout his sharing i am not able to understand what does he wants..and in my case i do share..thn he say not to argue..not to repeat things in front of me… thatsy our views doesn’t match…from past one n half year he is saying he dont want to b wid me…because we cant b together..but whenever he leaves me it is hard for me to survive i am not able to eat and not able to sleep..thn i do cry infront of him beg for being back…again we use to b back together it happened thrice in past one n half year..he has completely lost interest in me..he stopped valuing me always says i will do whatever i want u r nobody to ask..thn i try to slowly move on coz i know i cant force anybody to be wid me…whn i try to b away from him thn he usually do back nd again starts pampering me ..bt it remains for sometime..again he says i already told u i dont want to b wid u..if he suddenly says this thing after pampering showing love to me again it is hard for me to move on suddenly..i m in big dilemma..what to do?? i dont want to loose him..is their any way we can live happily together…i dont want to keep him forcefully wid me…will he start again valuing me……:(……can u please help …initially he told about me to his family that he want to marry me & his parents doesnot agreed over that but that time we were studying..then they just ignore.. now everytime when i ask him to talk to your parents..he always make some excuses…

  20. Taha says:

    This is a good article. Ive been doing all these things and Im in my first relationship so I know Im still learning. Me and my girl were in a long distance relationship about a month after we met. I would be on the phone with her for hours everyday. I didnt realize what I was doing and it became habitual. Soon I just felt her drifting away from me and I would try even harder to talk to her instead of giving her her space… I became jealous and paranoid about everything and she was eventually so turned off that when I finally saw her she wanted to break up with me. I said I would change and it took some convincing but she gave me a chance and reading this showed me what I was doing wrong. Will try and implement these tips. Thanks!

  21. Aaron says:

    Really, guys. You really don’t want to be available all the time for your lover. Whether you’ve been in a committed relationship for years or are just starting out with a new girl (especially important at the beginning), then you need to have your own things to do and get on with, just as she needs to. Now, you shouldn’t neglect your partner’s needs at any point, but you’ll need to learn how to prioritize things that are truly a call for help and just another favour. It’s a delicate balancing act for sure.

  22. somegirl81 says:

    You missed the point entirely. It is not being a nice guy to overdo the love and constantly expect the same in return. I’m tired of hearing this nice guy crap from hostile men who think women are obligated to feel a certain way. Love is not a transaction. I want a nice guy. Not someone who makes me feel like I am not a nice girl because I want other thins in life besides his affection and attention and I need time to feel stable and secure through steady normalcy rather than front-loaded intensity. I am a human being first, and I want someone to share my life with, not to become my life. Indulging every pleasure is not being yourself. It is not healthy. Your identity should be an entity on its own. Hobbies, interests, friends, meditation or prayer or whatever is your preference, continued growth and development as an individual are part of a normal adult life. Expecting another to compromise that on behalf of your lack thereof is selfish and somewhat pathetic.

  23. Robert Gallegos says:

    Interesting article. Putting aside the physiological differences between men and woman, I think a few things remain constant:

    1. Everyone wants/likes to feel loved and appreciated. Regardless if your the most independent and secure person.

    2. No one likes to be annoyed with too much texts, calls, nicknames, pressure or expectations.

    3. Understanding what type of attachment style you have can do wonders to you current/future relationships.

    I have learned that my attachment style is “anxious.” My mind needs to hear affirmations by my girlfriend. That is unfair to her because I am putting pressure for her to be “perfect” for me when that is not how it works. Once I understood all the games I play in relationships and how many of my strange anxious feeling manifested themselves, I started to correct any internal issues I had.

    In regards to this article I do feel it is crucial to the success of a relationship to tell your partner “I love you” while at the same time showing them. It’s true that words are not as strong as actions. Give the relationship space to grow in the beginning. Anything you feel you have to say or anything you feel you must do you can, but sometimes patience helps to take care a lot of the over analyzing.

    Just my thoughts.

    Love you all.


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