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
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.
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.
#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, s*x 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.
#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.
#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.
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!
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