Many people wish to love and be loved to the moon and back. It is great feeling to know that someone cares about you that much. However, our relationship expert Ian Isherwood reminds us that too much of anything is bad. Too much affection and love – smothering – can actually kill your relationship instead of strengthening it, he writes. There is a fine line between love and smothering; get the difference.
These words should be ingrained into our heads from a young age, maybe then our relationships won’t be so stressful or complicated. When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal and healthy to want to spend a lot of time with your significant other. However, too much love and affection can suffocate your relationship. Being over demanding and expecting your lover to spend every free minute they have with you is what we call smothering; a serious and common relationship killer.
Set strong boundaries
The first three to six months are the key stages for setting the tone for the rest of your relationship. During these happy ‘honeymoon’ months we are more understanding, patient and willing to compromise. This is the perfect time to set boundaries and make sure we don’t kill our relationships by over stepping the mark and smothering our partner.
Too much affection and love is often referred to as smothering.
When you smother someone you overstep basic relationship boundaries, such as invading their personal and work space by calling or sending too many messages throughout the day. This might be cute at the start, but will soon get old and start to suffocate the relationship. In contrast, when you love someone you give them the space and freedom they need. You listen and respect their boundaries and help them grow. You add value in all areas of their life and you show your love through words and more importantly through your actions.
What’s the difference between love and smothering?
There is a fine line between love and smothering.
When you are in a smothering relationship, there’s not enough room for you or your partner to grow as individuals. Your independence is striped away, and your life is hijacked by a constant need for affection and attention. Let’s take a closer look at what the difference is between real love and selfish smothering.
1. Giving Vs. taking
Real love gives:
Love is generous and love knows no limits. It puts the other person first, giving them the space and freedom they need to grow as an individual. Love is giving the other person what they want and what they need. Love knows you can’t have everything right away and is willing to wait.
Smothering love takes:
Simply put, smothering partners are selfish. They put themselves first and take the other person’s time, money, energy and love without any thought of the other person’s needs.
2. Patient Vs. demanding
Real love is patient:
Love knows people take time to grow. Love is happy to enjoy the here and now, the present moment.
Love will patiently wait for things to happen naturally, not putting any pressure on the other person or the relationship.
Smothering love demands
People who smother are constantly asking questions and demanding answers about the future of the relationship. They rarely let anything happen organically. They need constant reassurance, commitment, attention and continuous contact to feel secure.
3. Secure Vs. insecure
Real love is secure
People who love are confident in themselves and their partner. They do not worry about what can go wrong and would rather focus on what can go right.Love is secure enough to give space and freedom to the other person, knowing they have done everything possible to build a strong relationship.
Smothering love feels insecure:
Feeling insecure in a relationship is the king of smothering. It’s a real burden for both partners as it brings fear and damaging thoughts into the relationship. When people smother, they require constant communication and reassurance from the other person, giving them no personal space or free time. Jealousy and anxiety are the two biggest insecurities.
Step back and breath
Smothering love can be looked at as nothing but an overindulgence of affection. You might also look at it as an emotional killer that suffocates a relationship. People who choose to smother do not take the time to ask, listen or look at their partner’s needs and wants. They are too focused on filling their own selfish cravings for love, attention and affection. They are insecure, demanding and constantly take what they can without giving back to the relationship. Often augmentative and short tempered, if confronted they will react aggressively and show no sign of wrongdoing.
God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen more than we speak. It takes five seconds to ask but a lifetime to fulfill. Remember you are looking for a “soul mate, not a cellmate”. Learn to be secure with yourself and with your partner. Learn to give them space and freedom and most importantly, learn to love yourself. Because learning to love yourself will bring more joy and peace than trying to love someone else. True love doesn’t mean being inseparable; it means being separated and nothing changes.