All relationships need affection in order to grow. Yet some people are naturally more affectionate than others. What you see as healthy, normal affection might strike your partner as too much of a good thing. While showing affection is never a bad thing, how you channel it makes a major difference in how it is perceived.
According to KidsHealth.org, attraction, closeness and commitment are all vital elements in a love relationship. Closeness builds, in part, through the demonstration of affection. Whether you show your affection through physical gestures such as hugging and cuddling or by verbal means such as using pet names and sharing your secrets, affection can build a bond between the two of you.
Sometimes affection can go overboard. Like chocolate cake or fresh-baked cookies, too much sweetness can make people sick. While it might seem cute to tell your girlfriend 20 times a day that you love her, she might feel like you have gone too far. The eHarmony.com staff points out that smothering comes from a selfish place rather than from genuine love. When you love someone, you put her needs ahead of your own. Smothering occurs when you prioritize your need for connection and reassurance over her need for space and autonomy.
Clinginess is a common cause of smothering. People generally become clingy because of past trust issues, says psychiatrist Mark Banschick in his article "Clingy Intimacy" for "Psychology Today." You might have been a particularly needy child, or you might have developed clinginess after a bad relationship. Regardless of the reason, clingy people have a strong fear of abandonment. Overindulging in affection is a common way of trying to convince yourself that your partner will not leave you.
Trust the Relationship
In her article "Courage to Build Space in Your Relationship" on eHarmony.com, life coach Megan Raphael explains that creating space in a relationship takes courage. Yet the relationship cannot thrive unless both people have the freedom to live their own lives. Raphael suggests that you remind yourself how much better your relationship will be when both of you indulge in the human need for space. When you learn to trust the relationship, you will no longer feel the urge to overindulge in affection. Let your partnership evolve organically, rather than using affection as a crutch.
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