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How to Love Someone without Smothering Them

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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. By Cheryl James

how to love someone

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 ‘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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Have your say!
  • need some TLC
    March 26, 2012 | Permalink |

    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.

  • Chris
    March 26, 2012 | Permalink |

    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!

  • Andrea
    March 26, 2012 | Permalink |

    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.

  • Kay
    March 26, 2012 | Permalink |

    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.

  • August 4, 2012 | Permalink |

    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.

  • AceJen
    November 7, 2012 | Permalink |

    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!

  • reena
    November 28, 2012 | Permalink |

    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

  • MB
    December 23, 2012 | Permalink |

    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. :(

  • Mark
    December 27, 2012 | Permalink |

    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!

  • Doty
    January 10, 2013 | Permalink |

    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.

  • marduk
    February 22, 2013 | Permalink |

    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.

    Thanks!

  • kinmgsley southbank
    April 3, 2013 | Permalink |

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

  • Ivy
    October 19, 2013 | Permalink |

    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!

  • mgm
    March 29, 2014 | Permalink |

    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?

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