Question of the week submitted by Alexandria from Arkansas:
“I just started dating someone after being single for quite some time. He is very affectionate and attentive, but so much so that I feel smothered. How do I address this with him without hurting his feelings?”
This is a great question. To me, if you feel uncomfortable that someone is smothering you or giving you too much attention this early in the relationship, that’s a fundamental problem. What I mean by this is that that person’s smothering is going to bother you, and it generally isn’t going to go away.
Unfortunately, if you think that it’s this bad now just wait 10 or 15 years – because as they become more attached it’s probably only going to get worse.
In relationships, certain personalities mesh and others just don’t. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that smothering isn’t something that you can just tell someone not to do.
If it’s kind of weirding you out now, it’s going to go to that stage of being creepy – they’ll be at your work all the time, always trying to give you flowers and be in your space …and it’s going to become really annoying.
The thing is, some people like to be smothered, whereas other people need a lot more space and independence. You’re obviously someone that doesn’t like his style, his intensity of smothering, so the bottom line is that you need to be away from him rather than hurting his feelings by trying to confront him on the way he naturally is.
Also weighing in on this question is Jen Gargotto, author of MsMorphosis.com, a self-improvement blog for modern women and author of the e-book, Navigating Dating: A Single Woman’s Guide to Dating Without Losing Herself.
I have to agree with Frank on this one. I believe that there are different levels of independence that different personalities inherently gravitate to. I, for instance, need huge amounts of independence in my work and social life, but enjoy the comfort of closeness (or perhaps “smothering”) in my family and romantic relationships.
Basically, as a person I’m incredibly independent, but need a small, tight-knit family structure to fall back on (which incorporates my relationship with my boyfriend). With friends and associates, I become uncomfortable with too much time and contact (contrary to the traditional “gossipy girl” stereotype).
Similarly, there are different levels of togetherness that women other than me, and that men, crave. It’s important to find someone that can satisfy those needs for you.
In my life, if my boyfriend was detached and found all of his comfort in “guy time,” rather than wanting to be with me, I would feel lonely and isolated. I need a partner with a compatible amount of independence as well as dependence, because without that mutual attention and space it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely or, on the contrary, smothered.
As wonderful as it is to have a man that adores you, I think you need to walk away. These feelings will only get more intense as the relationship progresses, and you will inevitably feel stifled by his attention.
In addition, he’s probably craving the attention he’s giving and needs someone that is able to give a larger amount of their time and attention to “smothering” him back. As hard as it is to walk away, I think it is better than running the risk of you feeling suffocated and him feeling lonely long term.
One of MMA’s most recognized personalities, Frank Trigg dishes on love and the male psyche in “Ask Trigg – A Dating and Relationship Blog for Women” featured exclusively on ProMMANow.com. Each week the mixed martial arts fighter, color commentator and MMA spokesman gives advice to female readers based on questions they have submitted. Ladies can send their dating and relationship questions to AskTrigg@gmail.com.