Here’s what “intimacy overload” is, 5 signs you’re emotionally suffocating your partner, and 8 ways to give him some breathing space. Love is important in a relationship – but suffocation can smother and kill the love you’re trying to protect.
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If you haven’t read any of the “Boundaries” books by Cloud and Townsend, you should get Boundaries in Marriage. It offers helpful advice for creating a strong relationship with your partner and being a healthy individual. The healthier you are, the better your relationship will be — whether or not you are married.
Focusing too much on your partner and your relationship can contribute to its breakdown. Too much togetherness can lead to intimacy overload, which is as unhealthy emotional disconnection. Intimacy overload will suffocate your partner and destroy your relationship.
Intimacy overload isn’t discussed as much as lack of intimacy or fear of intimacy. Talking about your feelings, thoughts, and past experiences is part of a healthy relationship, according to many psychologists, counselors, and doctors. However an article in Psychology Today (“Back Off!”) reveals that there’s a limit to how much intimacy your partner can tolerate before he feels suffocated.
What is Intimacy Overload?
If you’re dependent on your partner for constant affirmation, unconditional love, and total protection – then you may be expecting too much from him. This is intimacy overload. If you expect your partner to increase your self- esteem, fulfill all your social needs, and share every emotion with you, it’s too much intimacy or intimacy overload. Excessive expectations in intimate relationships involve unreasonable demands for time, affection, or energy. You’ll suffocate your relationship if you expect too much.
Intimacy overload involves blurred boundaries. Sometimes, there is no line between two people, and this is suffocating. It involves too many emotional demands, too much togetherness, and too much criticism. Feelings of suffocation and control become are impossible to ignore, and neither partner is happy. Too much intimacy can break a relationship.
When intimacy overload happens, it’s not “intimacy” anymore. It certainly isn’t lack of intimacy! It may indicate a different problem such as insecurity, anxiety, or low self-esteem.
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Your partner may respond to intimacy overload by retreating and withdrawing. He feels suffocated in the relationship, and pulls away. Some call it going into his “man cave.” He’ll tune out when he feels like you’re suffocating him, perhaps hiding in his work, hobbies, or friends. How do you know if you’re suffocating your partner?
If you know you’re smothering your relationship, read How to Get Over an Addictive Relationship. The tips will help you pull back a little, which will help.
5 Signs You’re Suffocating Your Partner
- You feel like he’s withdrawn from you, emotionally or physically.
- Friends and family tell you that you may be smothering him.
- You don’t feel comfortable going to events or activities on your own.
- You never feel like you can get close enough to your partner.
- Your partner tells you he feels suffocated in your relationship.
Do you believe you’re suffocating your partner? Here are several ways to ease up, and breathe light and air into your relationship.
8 Ways to Stop Smothering Your Partner
Take time for yourself.
- Give your partner time, space, and room to breathe – both literally and metaphorically.
- Balance your need for intimacy with your partner’s need for space.
- Enjoy your own hobbies and interests. Stay in touch with yourself.
- Take time away from one another – “Let there be spaces in your togetherness.”
- Cultivate your own friendships, apart from your partner.
- Know who you are as a person, separate from your partner.
- Develop your own spiritual, personal, social, and professional self. Again, not being in touch with who you are contributes to intimacy overload.
Mix autonomy and independence with interdependence and togetherness. When a healthy balance of connectedness and separateness exists, both partners feel happy with their relationship – and realistic expectations and mutual respect are evident. Intimacy overload eases up when each partner is free and yet still feels loved.
What do you think – are you suffocating your partner? You may find 8 Secrets About Fixing Unhealthy Relationships helpful.
I welcome your thoughts on how to stop suffocating your partner below. I can’t offer personal advice or counseling, but writing about your thoughts and feelings is one of the best ways to figure out what changes need to be made in your life.