Is it possible to smother your spouse? It seems the answer is yes. I watch some couples struggle to stay connected in the midst of their busy lives. Interestingly, others drift too far in the opposite direction. Some expect their spouses to provide all fulfillment, happiness, and identity. They become irrationally jealous of friendships, hobbies, or anything in their spouse’s life that doesn’t directly involve or benefit them. Some unintentionally cut themselves off from similar outside relationships and interests and feel isolated as a result. It can feel like suffocating for the more well-rounded partner and cause serious marriage problems over time.
If both of you are content with your relationship, you’ve found the sweet spot in the middle—a balanced marriage. So how do you know if you’re guilty of either being too clingy or too distant? Here are the warning signs.
4 Ways You Might Be Too Clingy:
- You’re never truly content to see your husband head out the door to play a round of golf or go to the game with his friends. Sure, you may “allow” him to go, but you do so with your teeth clenched, no matter how infrequent it is. Even when he’s investing in those relationships in a measured and reasonable way, you feel slighted.
- When he does have plans to work late or spend time with friends, you are completely at a loss as to how you’ll entertain yourself and resentful of what’s taking him away.
- You need constant affirmation that your spouse is still into you. Granted, we all need regular affirmation that we’re still the one—but if it’s never enough, or you don’t believe it even when he says it, the problem really might be what you think about you.
- You have few if any other relationships from which you draw contentment and companionship. Your husband has to provide it all or you do without.
5 Ways You Might Be Too Distant:
- When you have the opportunity for leisure time, you’d rather spend it with friends than with your husband or kids.
- When you get really good or really bad news, your first impulse is to share it with someone other than your spouse.
- You routinely go weeks or months without a “date night” or designated one-on-one time.
- You have completely separate sets of friends from your spouse rather than lots of friends in common—including other couples with whom you enjoy spending time.
- You spend a significant portion of your time at home engaged with social media rather than with your spouse.
How can a clingy or distant partner become less so?