Listen, no one wants to be smothered. It’s not a good feeling to live with someone always breathing down your neck, wanting to spend every waking minute with you and always needing to know what’s going on in your life. But the problem is we don’t always know when we’re doing the smothering.
To us, it might feel like we’re being loving and nurturing. We’re just caring and like spending time with our partners. What’s wrong with that? But to him, it may feel like he’s suffocating and the walls are closing in. Every good relationship needs space and independence. It’s not a bad thing to spend some evenings apart or to go a couple hours not talking or texting. It might not seem like it, but that space will actually help you grow closer in your relationship.
Worried you’re a smotherer? Check out these 15 signs that you’re suffocating your boyfriend and he might have one foot out the door.
15 You Have His Schedule Memorized
Okay, so just because you know your man’s work schedule doesn’t automatically mean you’re smothering him. Maybe he works a 9-5 and it’s easy to remember. Or maybe you just have an awesome memory. But if you know exactly what your guy is doing every second of every single day, we may have a problem. You’re not his probation officer! He’s allowed to make plans or do things on his own without running it by you. If you know it takes your man 22 minutes to get home from work but he shows up after 28 minutes, what do you do? A non-smotherer likely wouldn’t even notice. But if you’re all up in his face demanding to know what took an extra six minutes, that’s not cool.
14 He’s Always Agitated
A sure-fire sign that your boyfriend is feeling smothered is if he’s always agitated. Does he walk through the door and automatically seem a little tense when you start asking about his day? Okay, maybe he just works a stressful job or someone nabbed his parking spot. But check to see if he’s like this all the time or only when you’re talking to him. If you check in on him while he’s playing video games, is he irritated? When you call out of the blue to see how his day is going, is he on edge? These are all huge red flags that you are smothering him. You might be asking way too many questions or just showing up unannounced too often. Your boyfriend should be happy and at ease in your presence, not annoyed and irritated.
13 You Text Him All Day Long
Okay, we all know what it’s like to be totally infatuated with a guy where you’re hanging off of his every text message. In the early days of dating, those adorable texts come often and give us butterflies. Flirty texts are the best! And we’re not saying that sending texts is smothering. It’s when you send all of the texts all of the time – that’s smothering. If it’s a casual Tuesday and you’re both at work, how many times are you texting him? Maybe once at lunch to check in and once in the afternoon to remind him to pick up the dry-cleaning? That sounds totally normal. You could even throw in a third text if you see something funny on your walk to work and have to snap a pic. But more than that and you might be pushing it. Your man is at work. He doesn’t need to hear from you every ten minutes, especially if you don’t have anything important to say. Put the phone down.
12 He Pushes You To See Your Friends
This is one of those signs that can be a little tough to read. If your boyfriend is super into you going out for drinks with the girls or catching up with old co-workers, that’s totally great. You don’t want to be with a man who is possessive and tries to control who you see. But if he always seems to be pushing you out the door, that might be a sign that he’s trying to get rid of you. If a man is feeling smothered, he might try to get you to ease up by distracting you with other people. You can’t smother him if you’re out with your sorority sisters, right? So if your man is always asking when you’re going to go for brunch with Kim or why you haven’t seen Shelby in a while, check to see if he’s being supportive or if he’s being pushy. And if he takes it one step further and starts planning outings with your friends for you, that’s a huge sign he wants you out of his hair.
11 You Can’t Go A Day Without Seeing Him
So if you live together and both have similar working schedules, it might be unusual to go a day without seeing each other. But if you’re not living together, it’s totally normal (and healthy!) to not spend every day together. Heck, even if you are living together, it’s nice to take a night or two off for a weekend away with friends. If the idea of not seeing your man over the course of 24 hours sounds impossible to you, you might be smothering him. People, especially men, need their space. Just because he isn’t physically with you doesn’t mean he loves you any less. At the root of smothering is usually a lot of insecurity. We want to be with our men all of the time because we’re worried something could happen if we’re not. But remember that forcing him to stay with you 24/7 is actually going to drive him away in the long run.
10 He Stops Picking Up The Phone
Are you spending more time talking to your man’s voicemail than you are talking to him? Red flag! Of course, just because you always hit voicemail doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smothering him. Maybe your guy always keeps his phone on silent, has terrible reception or can’t answer his phone at work. But if he has no problem picking up the phone when his mom calls or his buddies call and it’s only you who gets voicemail, you might have a problem. If a guy feels smothered, there’s not much he can do to get away from you in person. But when he’s away from you and you’re smothering him with phone calls, he does have the option to not pick up. He knows he’ll have to make up some excuse later about not hearing the phone ring but in the moment, he’s valuing his freedom. If you find yourself calling “just to chat” when your guy is at work or out at the pub with the guys and you get voicemail, take the hint.
9 You Have To Be Together In The Same Room
So when you and your guy are home for the night after a tough day at work, do you feel the need to always be in the same room? If he’s in the kitchen doing dishes, do you decide it’s time to make a snack? If he’s in the living room playing video games, do you decide to read your magazine next to him? And if he’s in the bathroom are you counting down the moments until he’s out and back to being with you? Yes, this is smothering. If you and your man live together and are lucky enough to live in a home with multiple spaces, you aren’t required to be glued at the hip at all times. It’s totally fine if he wants to read in the bedroom while you do a work out video in the living room. It’s perfectly healthy for him to do some work on his car in the garage while you paint your nails upstairs. Your love will reach that far, we promise.
8 You Interrogate Him The Moment He Walks Through The Door
Imagine this: Your man comes home after a long day at work. Before he’s even got his shoes off you’re right there in his face, demanding a kiss and barraging him with questions. “How was work? Was there much traffic on the way home? What did you do today? Are you hungry? How was your lunch? Did you go to the gym? Did you have that meeting with your boss? Well, answer me!” Give your man a minute! He just got home. Chances are he’s exhausted from his day. And if his job involves speaking to people, he’s probably really tired of answering questions. He might need some time to just decompress. Let him take his shoes off, put his stuff away and get changed. Give him a second to relax and then maybe ask a question or two, not an in-depth interview.
7 He Doesn’t Have Hobbies
…or at least he doesn’t have hobbies that don’t involve you. Do you suddenly find yourself part of all of your boyfriend’s hobbies? Are you in on the fantasy football draft or taking up salsa lessons because he’s a pro? Or does your guy just not have any hobbies anymore? Think back to when you first met and how interesting and attractive you found your man. One thing we love is when a guy is passionate about something. It’s awesome to see a guy who is super into soccer and plays twice a week or is the reigning darts champ at his local pub. If that used to be your man but now he hasn’t seen a soccer pitch or dart board in months, there’s a problem. Are you smothering him so much that he doesn’t have time for his hobbies anymore? Not good!
6 You Don’t Like His Friends
All right, this one isn’t totally on you. If you don’t like your guy’s friends, you may have perfectly legitimate reasons not to like them. Maybe they’re rude and like to belch loudly at the bar. Maybe they don’t seem to value personal hygiene. Maybe they don’t look up from their video games long enough to greet you when you walk into a room. Yes, these are all bad habits. But think about it for a second – is it the friends you don’t like or is it the fact that your man is spending time with them when he could be spending time with you? If his friends’ faults are minor but you still have a serious dislike for them, it could be the latter. If they stopped burping, started showering, and looked up from their video games, would you start to like them or would you still be upset when they take up your guy’s time?
5 You Stalk Him On Social Media
Okay, we’ve all been there. A casual Facebook stalk and scroll through Instagram is totally natural. Especially when you’re first dating someone new, it’s totally normal to check out their social media profiles and do a little digging. It’s not even that weird if you find an ex’s page and have to do a little snooping there. But if you’re in a committed relationship and you’re still snooping on social media, that’s when we have a problem. If your man is late for dinner, do you immediately jump on his social media and expect the worst? If he’s being cagey, do you attempt to use his phone and scroll through it when he goes to the bathroom? It may not feel like it to you, but this is total smothering behavior. Even if you’re doing it innocently, always being up on his social media can feel suffocating. You don’t have to be the first one to like all of his posts and comment “love you forever, cutie! xoxo” on each one.
4 You Feel Anxious And Stressed
When your man is at work, out with his friends or even just in the other room, do you start to feel anxious? If he only cuddles with you for two minutes before turning around to go to sleep, do you stress out about it? A huge sign of insecurity, which leads to smothering, is when you attach yourself to another person so much that you feel distressed when you’re not together. And it’s not a healthy way to live. You should feel totally at ease and comfortable in your relationship, even when you’re not side by side in each other’s presence. If you feel anxious, you need to get to the root cause of it. You might think you can fix it by just making sure the two of you are never apart but that isn’t the answer.
3 He Displays Negative Body Language
Our bodies give away a lot more than our words do. Not very many men would feel comfortable telling their girlfriends to their faces, “You’re smothering me. I feel like I’m suffocating and I need it to stop.” But their bodies will be shouting that message loud and clear. Does your man always cross his arms when you’re having a conversation? That’s a sign that he’s feeling defensive and closed off. Does he avoid making eye contact? That shows that he’s uncomfortable. Are his feet pointing away from you when you’re talking? That’s literally his body trying to get him to go away from you. If you think you might be smothering your man, take a moment to read his body language. If he’s engaged and comfortable, he should have no problem making eye contact, leaving his body open, and facing you. Otherwise, something bad is likely brewing.
2 You Control His Social Life
Your man is with you because he wants a girlfriend, not a party planner. You’re his partner, not his assistant. You shouldn’t be in charge of his calendar. Sure, it’s one thing if it’s your job in the household to make the appointments. Maybe you schedule the meetings with your financial advisor and call to make dentist appointments. But it’s a totally different thing if your guy can’t go for drinks after work without getting your permission first. And worse – if his buddies come to you and ask if he can hang out. You’re not his mom! He shouldn’t have to ask you if he can go out and play. If he checks in and gives you a heads up, that’s great. But he shouldn’t have to get your permission or run his calendar by you before making plans.
1 You’re Both Unhappy
We always focus on all of the negative feelings that come up when someone is being smothered. A guy who is being smothered by his girlfriend feels like he’s trapped, like he’s suffocating and like he can’t break free. Obviously, he’s not happy. But you know who else isn’t happy? The girlfriend doing the smothering. No one wants to smother another person. You may think you’re doing it out of love and care for your partner but really, deep down, it’s about your own insecurities. Maybe you’ve been cheated on in the past and you think by keeping your current boyfriend close, he won’t be able to hurt you. Or maybe you felt neglected in a past relationship, so you want to make sure that doesn’t happen to your boyfriend in this relationship. Whatever it is, no one is happy when smothering takes place in a relationship. You both need to find a way to communicate your needs and choose a healthy way forward or else your relationship isn’t going to last.