Here’s what “intimacy overload” is, five signs you’re emotionally suffocating your boyfriend or husband, and eight ways to give him breathing space. I also share a link to an ebook called How to Let Go of Someone You Love – because the best way to stop suffocating your partner is to loosen your attachment.
Have you heard of emotional boundaries in a relationship? This is an important concept for women who tend to emotionally suffocate their partners. Boundaries are healthy, and offer space to move and grow. If you haven’t read any of the “Boundaries” books by Cloud and Townsend, read Boundaries in Marriage. It offers helpful advice for creating a strong relationship with your partner and being a healthy woman in your own right. The healthier you are, the better your relationship will be.
Connection is important in an intimate love relationship – but there’s a difference between connection and suffocation. Suffocation smothers relationships, and can destroy the love you’re trying so hard to protect. Focusing too much on your partner and relationship can contribute to its breakdown. This is where boundaries come in: too much togetherness and emotional meshing 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. After all, we know that talking about your feelings, thoughts, and past experiences is part of a healthy relationship. You don’t need psychologists, counselors, or doctors to tell you that strong relationships are founded on communication and trust!
However, there is a limit to how much intimacy your partner can tolerate before he feels suffocated.
What is Intimacy Overload?
If you depend on your boyfriend or husband for constant affirmation, unconditional love, and total protection – then you may be expecting too much from him.
This is intimacy overload, and it’s one of the warning signs of a bad relationship. If you rely on your partner to increase your self-esteem, fulfill all your social needs, and share every emotion with you, then you’re bordering on intimacy overload. Crossing emotional boundaries!
Excessive expectations in your relationship could also involve unreasonable demands for time, affection, or energy. You’ll suffocate your boyfriend or husband if you expect more than he’s willing or able to give.
Intimacy overload involves blurred boundaries. Sometimes, there is no line between two people — and this is suffocating. Blurred boundaries mean there are 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 emotional intimacy is unhealthy, and can break a relationship.
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.
How do you know you’re emotionally suffocating your boyfriend or husband?
If you’re searching for help with “emotional suffocation in relationships”, then you know you’re suffocating your partner. Maybe he told you that you’re crowding him, or you have a feeling you’re crossing boundaries with your husband or boyfriend. Somewhere deep down, you know you’re dealing with insecurity, anxiety, or low self-esteem.
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Your boyfriend or husband 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 Stop Being a Clingy Girlfriend. The tips will help you get healthy and pull back from your partner, which will help.
8 Ways to Stop Smothering Your Partner
Have you been trying to stop emotionally suffocating your boyfriend or husband? Here are several ways to ease up, and allow light and air to come into your relationship.
- 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,” said Rumi.
- Cultivate your own friendships, apart from your boyfriend or husband.
- Know who you are as a person, separate from him.
- Develop your own spiritual, personal, social, and professional self. Again, not being in touch with who you are contributes to intimacy overload.
The best way to stop emotionally suffocating your boyfriend or husband is to get as healthy as possible. How spiritually whole and centered are you? What’s your relationship with God like? How do you see yourself? Where do you get your identity and self-image?
Another important way to give your partner space is to mix autonomy and independence with interdependence and togetherness. When a healthy balance of connectedness and separateness exists, both you and your partner will feel happy with your relationship. You’ll have realistic expectations and mutual respect. You won’t struggle with “intimacy overload” and you won’t rely on your husband or boyfriend for your self-esteem.
A secret for giving your boyfriend or husband space is to let him go. I don’t mean break up with or divorce him! Rather, I mean creating spaces in your togetherness. Healthy space, room to move and grow.
How to cope when you miss him like crazy
In When You Miss Him Like Crazy I share Blossom tips for coping when you miss someone so much, you feel like you’ll die. I know that feeling! It hurts so much, it feels like it’ll never end and you’ll never be happy again.
This ebook will help you loosen your attachment to your boyfriend or husband. It’s about getting emotionally healthy and strong, and blossoming into who God created you to be.
I wrote When You Miss Him Like Crazy to help you get through the loneliest parts of missing someone you love. You’ll feel comforted and encouraged when you discover the 25 Blossom Tips in this ebook. Each tip highlights a different aspect of who you are — spirit, heart, soul, body, and brain. This holistic approach allows you to heal and move forward in ways that work for you, depending on your personality, interests, mood, and lifestyle.
You’ll also read several stories from me and a few “She Blossoms” readers. Our experiences with love and loss will bring you comfort and companionship, hope and healing. You may be missing him right now, but help and hope is here, at your fingertips.
What do you think about these signs of emotional suffocation, and my tips for giving your boyfriend or husband breathing space? Your big and little comments are welcome below. And don’t worry: I don’t give advice. It’s your turn to talk. 🙂
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.