When you are in love, those first few weeks are, well, spectacular. You can’t get enough of each other. You giggle at every little ping of your phone telling you your sweetie says “Hi.” You might even give them their own ring tone. But, what happens when you start feeling smothered? Does that mean the romance is over?
Every relationship goes through a natural course of stages. Lust is first, where you can’t get enough of them. The second, a cooling down period where you reconnect with the things in your life that fell invisible while you got to know each other. If you are ready to reintroduce reality back into your life, but the person you are with is not, it might feel more like they smother you. [Read: 9 relationship stages all couples HAVE to go through]
How to grow your relationship beyond feeling smothered
Fear not, just because you want your space, that doesn’t mean that it is splitsville time. What it does mean, is that if you let it continue without saying anything, there is going to come a time when you won’t want to be around them anymore. In relationships, honesty is truly the best policy.
You don’t have to hurt someone to let them know that you need a little breathing room. If you use these ten tricks, it won’t sound nearly as harsh as saying back off for a bit! But, I guarantee you if you don’t let them know and take some time off, you find yourself sick of them the way you get sick of your favorite song. Too much of a good thing is just too much, any way you slice it.
#1 Remind them of the things they used to do that they miss. If you are feeling smothered, there might be a chance that they are too and might not know it. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we forget about what matters to us.
Your significant other might be blowing off their favorite things so that they don’t hurt your feelings or thinking you want them around all the time. Remind them of the things they used to love to do on their own and encourage them to take the time to do them again without fear of losing you.
If you make it a win-win scenario that you both get what you want out of a little space, then they won’t view it as a negative or get nervous that you are saying adios. [Read: How to make the absolute most out of your alone time]
#2 Calm their nerves by letting them know nothing changed about your feelings for them. It might be that your partner is afraid if they aren’t in your sight all the time, you will find someone new.
Make sure to calm their fears when you ask for some space by telling them your feelings haven’t changed. You just need some room to breathe. Everyone needs some time and space alone, everyone.
If you let them know you still want to be with them, just not every waking moment, and that nothing has changed, they will probably grant you the time needed without fear or anxiety. You’ll both feel better and give them the license to take the same time without worry. [Read: The 15 phases of a healthy relationship]
#3 Make a schedule of your time, their time, and together time clear. If you want some time to yourself, then make it a regular thing. If you make up a schedule of your time, their time, and then togetherness time, you send a clear message that it isn’t that you don’t want time with them, it is just that you need some time without them.
Knowing you have a plan and that you will be back is a very important part of telling your partner you need some space. Making up a schedule says to them they are still important and you have no intention of getting rid of them.
#4 Don’t be sneaky or lie. If you are feeling smothered and without any freedom, the WORST thing you can do is lie to your partner. If they catch you lying, then they not only cling harder but are resentful and distrustful of you. That ups their anxiety and makes them fearful of you ever leaving their side.
When you lie to someone, you put them on guard. It makes them think, “Well, if they lie about one thing, they can lie about anything.” It is okay to tell someone you feel smothered and need some freedom. It isn’t okay to find your freedom through sneaking and lying. Not cool, man or woman-up and just be honest. [Read: 10 common reasons why all of us lie in relationships]
#5 Make it gradual. If you go to them one day and say “I want some space” they are going to wonder what went wrong and what they did. Small changes are much easier on someone highly attached. Maybe suggest that you are going to go out for the night and leave for a couple of hours.
The next time, stay out a little longer, and then consider vacationing or going away for an extended time. If someone clings to you, then they are dependent on you. If you take it gradually, they learn to lean on themselves a little more, and it won’t sound so harsh or be a shock to the system.
#6 The harder you pull away, the more they will chase, and then it is ON! If you aren’t honest about feeling smothered, what you don’t know is that the person who loves you feels it. They feel a change in you. Maybe it is an additional irritation, maybe just that you pull away to find some quiet time by hiding. Whatever it is that you feel, they feel in you.
And, it probably drives them to cling harder. Be honest, or you just create an atmosphere of anxiety. It makes your partner wonder if something is wrong or if you aren’t interested in them anymore. [Read: How to tell someone to leave you alone and get the space you crave]
#7 Know what you want so you aren’t leading them on. If it is more than just feeling smothered and you lost interest and need time to figure out what you want, then take the time. It is never easy to tell someone that you might not be into them and need the space to figure it out.
It hurts way more if you lead them on for another couple of months knowing what you already know in your heart. Rip off the Band-Aid and figure things out. Staying with someone when you don’t know how you feel about them isn’t doing either of you any favors. In fact, it hurts you both! [Read: How to make taking a break work for you]
#8 Explain to them why you need time apart. Explain to them why you need some space. If it is that you miss your friends, say so. If it is that you just are someone who needs “me” time, say that too.
The more you explain what goes on, the more they understand that it isn’t or is them. Whatever it is, telling them the truth is always better than leaving them guessing, that I promise you.
#9 Make the time you are with them more concentrated. If you don’t want them to be so smothering, stop making them fight for your attention. Take your time alone and apart. Remember when you have made the promise to be with them, make it concentrated time and time to connect.
Staring at a television screen with them after you spent four days with your friends having the time of your life isn’t a good habit. It only tells your partner they are your downtime. If you want them not to smother you, then give them the attention they crave. [Read: 10 fun relationship games for couples to feel really close]
#10 Cut them loose. Maybe you aren’t feeling smothered, maybe you just know that things aren’t right. Sometimes we know in our hearts that someone isn’t good for us and they aren’t what we want. We are afraid to be alone or to tell the other person.
If you tried the whole cooling off and backing away, and you still feel smothered, then the answer might be that you are with the wrong person, period. [Read: Breaking up with someone you love – 20 right reasons to walk away]
Feeling smothered is an awful feeling. Whether it is that your significant other clings to you like an octopus or they get upset if you want to do anything without them, be honest and find a way to create distance. You can’t go on feeling caged. You will just end up being resentful.
If you tell someone you need a little more freedom and it is true love, they will understand. They will find security in the fact that your love might just need to move onto another level.
[Read: Should you break up? 17 signs you’re past the point of no return]
But, that doesn’t mean that the love isn’t there. If it is meant to be, it will. Feeling smothered isn’t any way to live nor can you survive that way.
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A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...
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