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Stop smothering me!!! [angryface]

(80 Posts)
Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 15:08:47

We've been living together for nearly 2 years and I love him dearly. He treats me really well, would do anything for me, and he is a proper partner in my life.

There's just one thing... he won't leave me alone! I can't seem to have any personal space, he follows me around the house chatting and always wants to come with me when I go anywhere. He says he just likes being with me.

I like being with him too, just not all the time.... I can say I want an early night, so I can go to bed and read, and he suddenly decides he wants an early night too. He's not so keen on them when he's snoring on the sofa of an evening and I tell him to go to bed hmm

I just feel smothered, and it's making me resentful.

Is there a way that I can convey this to him so that he doesn't take it personally? It really isn't personal, I'm like this with everyone, it's nothing to do with him....

I just need to get this out really, so that it stops me from hurting his feelings, I love him sad But this is driving me fucking crazy!

nickelbabe Tue 05-Feb-13 21:19:40

you really needto tell him to butt out and let you have your space.

not pa muttering and moving but a straightforward "I love you. but it drives me fucking mental when you are constantly in my face. when I am home in the evening, I want to spend some time winding down. when I say I want to be alone for an hour I am not kidding. I am not asking for sex. I am asking you to give me some fucking time onmy own. you are not a stalker; stop fucking acting like one"

Lyceum: the fact that he wants more 'togetherness' than you do is not in itself a bad thing - but right now, he is getting his own way at the expense of your happiness and comfort. It is not wrong or bad or selfish of you to want some space. Another way to look at it: many couples struggle when one partner wants to have sex a lot more frequently than the other does. For the relationship to survive and be healthy, they have to work out some sort of compromise which acknowledges that both partners' wishes and needs and feelings are equally valid. Right now this isn't happening for you - his needs are being met and yours are not.

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:42:38

Brandy shock

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 03-Feb-13 22:40:57

I went put with a bloke who wouldn't let me read because he wantedy attention instead, I ended up in a refuge...

Nip it in the bud OP hopefully he can recognise what he's doing and makes a conscious effort to stop.

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:31:33

Bertie you speak so much sense. I do end up tiptoeing around an issue until it becomes a huge thing that I end up screaming like a fishwife about it.... It's something I've tried really hard NOT to do in this relationship, it's all about the communication. But this one's hard to broach, precisely because I don't want him to think that I have this opinion of him. He'd be horrified.

As much as I hate to admit it, me and his exw are quite similar. We're both bossy and control freaks, and I think he may be trying to claw some control back.

Man, this is hard.

BertieBotts Sun 03-Feb-13 22:29:04

Here - writing that out just now reminds me of this blog post that I linked to someone the other day.

From this, it sounds like he's still being a "passenger".

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:27:49

OneMoreGo - he does like things his own way. But not as much as I do wink

BertieBotts Sun 03-Feb-13 22:27:41

You see why I said it isn't helpful - because you are a considerate person, clearly, and you're worried about hurting his feelings, it means that you end up tiptoeing around the issue rather than approaching it which means that stuff ends up getting to a critical point rather than being dealt with early on. Or when you do discuss stuff, you minimise how important it is so as not to worry him unnecessarily, so again he's not likely to realise how important this is to you.

I don't know what the best way of dealing with it is - I guess maybe you just have to go for it and take the chance and then point out to him what he's doing by saying "Why do you think we're going to break up every time we have a discussion?" and turn it back on him to think about/deal with.

If his last relationship was controlling then it might be that he still has some issues from that which he needs to work on - it doesn't work just to brush them under the carpet and hope that it will be different with a different partner. You might be nothing like his ex-wife, but if he's reacting to you the same way that he reacted to her (perhaps because that's the pattern he's used to in a relationship) it's going to be hard for you to work with him as a team - you can't have an equal relationship on your own and that applies whether the other partner is trying to take too much control or too little.

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:27:01

I do get time away from him and from the kids - just not very much of it!

He's not sulky or angsty, I swear it. He's really easygoing! Especially in comparison to me... I'm just not sure that he understands the need for alone time, because he doesn't seem to need it.

SGB, I do love you, but you are wrong on this one. He doesn't paw and slobber over me confused He's just more comfortable living in each others pockets than I am.

OneMoreGo Sun 03-Feb-13 22:20:27

Agree with SGB - the introvert/extrovert is a red herring, IMO. I am a super hermity introvert - in fact, you sound just like me grin in all ways. But I have dated both introverts and extroverts and nice people, when they realise you need space, simply give it to you. This bloke sounds like he is behaving like a huge child.

He may well have issues but that doesn't excuse that his behaviour is making you fed up, and you are the one suffering as a result. You're suffering because you don't want to hurt his feelings, because he has you fretting about making him even more sulky and angsty than he already is! Strewth! And obviously you're also suffering because you have no fucking space at all.

Even if you don't agree he's controlling, you surely must be able to see that he has things all very much his own way? Which is uncool, no matter how little personal space he personally needs himself. And this doesn't sound like someone who has little or no need for time alone - it sounds like someone who is paranoid you will leave them and is feeding off you like an emotional vampire, who can't function without you around them all the time. Not healthy.

PretzelTime Sun 03-Feb-13 22:16:12

Yes Lyceum, introverts gain energy from being alone and extroverts gain energy from being with others.
If you never get to rest properly, it's no wonder you're feeling angry.

I also believe that everyone needs some sort of space and time away from each other in a relationship. His need for your attention doesn't sound healthy.

So you get no child-free, chore-free time without him slobbering and clutching at you?
This man is controlling. Whiny, victimy, needy people are controlling, they use their 'weakness' to get their own way. I bet you have told him, tactfully but clearly, several times that you need a bit of space, and he's whined and cried and ignored your needs in favour if his own. You need to tell him straight: 'If you don't allow me some time to myself I am going to leave you.' Because you cannot, cannot live like this without eventually starting to hate him. It's making my skin crawl just to think about it.

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:05:29

Ohhhhh. Yes, I get it now blush

That is absolutely true. He will think that I'm going to leave him over it, and that is not the case at all. I just need to discuss it with him and make him realise that it's not him, but that I just need to be alone quite a lot!

I never knew until this thread that introverts need time to be alone to recharge. That makes perfect sense. Sometimes I feel actual rage at the thought of not being alone at all for a few days.

BertieBotts Sun 03-Feb-13 22:01:14

I don't mean you, I was meaning him more really. As in if you're afraid of discussing something with him in case he then gets afraid that you don't want to be with him, IYSWIM? Sort of, I can't ask for space, because he'll think I mean "space" (aka, I'm breaking up with you). It's not conducive to a good discussion environment. (And I'm the one who finds it hard to discuss stuff in case it means we're breaking up blush I'm aware of it though and tend to push through the fear, but it really didn't help me in previous relationships.)

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 21:53:26

Ooooh really? I was reading about it and decided that I'm too much of a lardass and need to sort myself out. Sitting around the house eating is not helping.

MidnightMasquerader Sun 03-Feb-13 21:43:13

Try not to take posts too much to heart - it's only random individual's opinions, after all. smile

I can really recommend C25K, by the way. Great for some feel-good endorphins, which it sounds like might do you the world of good. x

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 21:40:20

Imperial I was thinking about starting that Couch to 5K thing.... I've been in a real slump for a few weeks now, and I need something to focus on to help me feel better. I can feel the Black Dog coming a bit, and I need to nip it in the bud. So that might be ideal to kill two birds with one stone.

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 21:38:20

And you're right too Midnight - I can see how people on the outside can come to certain conclusions by reading it laid out in black and white. And I almost wish I hadn't started the thread in a way, although it's useful and I'm grateful. It's brought up things that I'm probably ignoring that need to be dealt with in the relationship.

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 21:38:18

Could you take up an interest such as swimming or running that would involve him minding the kids, so that you get to go out on your own?

I do think you should be able to say at 9 pm, "I'm going up to bed. See you at 11" and he should understand then that you want a couple of hours alone.

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:29

Thanks for all these responses, by the way, I do appreciate it.

Bertie, it's not a fear of my relationship breaking up - I am a Coper, and am never afraid of being by myself, I just don't want to hurt his feelings because I love him. I do think he's insecure - his exw was, and still is very dominant, and I think he maybe feels afraid of history repeating itself.

He's not wet, but he is needy, that much I realise. And I find needy people difficult to deal with, I think that's where the issue may lie.

Imperial, when he goes to his hobby, I have the kids, so there isn't a chance to be by myself. It's not time away from him, per se, it's time away from everyone that I crave.

It's daft really. We are good together in every way apart from this one, and I posted because I'm so aware of needing to be a bit diplomatic.

MidnightMasquerader Sun 03-Feb-13 21:31:42

The thing is, it doesn't look like a fairly innocuous problem to the uninvolved, objective reader.

It looks unusual, unacceptable, annoying, resentment-causing, and in your own words, smothering.

Someone coming up to watch you read is seriously weird. I know you said you put a stop to it and that's great - but that one example is just one symptom of a far bigger problem which still exists, even of that one symptom has gone away.

Because he still doesn't get it, does he? Plus, the various ways he acts out his neediness and, yes, controllingness permeate all sorts of different aspects of your life together. All the things Bertie has itemised in her post.

I think this is why is looks red flag-ish to we outsiders... Plus, factor in the very need to start a thread on it, means it's clearly an issue for you. People - generally - are only genuinely moved to start a thread about a problem if it's really, really getting to them. And 9 times out of 10 as the thread unfolds and more questions are asked, pandora's box is opened.

BertieBotts Sun 03-Feb-13 21:27:48

Imperial I think you are probably right.

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 21:22:00

I think you're just mismatched, rather than he's a controlling bastard.

He's out twice a week with his hobby. He goes to sleep on the sofa. Don't you make use of those times to be on your own?

When I was with my ex we were together all the time and both really enjoyed it. Everything was better if he was there. If that's how he feels, I can understand it. You're going to have to be quite tactful to deal with it.

BertieBotts Sun 03-Feb-13 21:05:58

OK red flags from my point of view:

- He wants you to pay attention to him instead of (e.g.) reading. I'm assuming that you do actually want to spend time with him when you're not reading (or whatever) and don't ignore him constantly! I realise you say this has stopped.

- Trying to initiate sex when you're clearly engrossed in something else, and in a really irritating-sounding, passive-aggressive sort of way. Again I realise this has stopped but it's a bit weird that he did it in the first place? (Unless he thought that your pre-warning him that you were going to read in bed was a secret code which meant "I want sex tonight")

- The fact you feel you can't talk to him about it without upsetting him. You need to be able to talk honestly to your partner. You say your relationship is "based on honesty" - but you can't ask him to give you some space? What do you think will upset him so much about that? If you can't talk without a huge fear of the relationship breaking up hanging over you (both/either), that's not healthy - although I realise that many people feel afraid of their relationship breaking up.

- He "doesn't like being by himself" which hints at some pretty major insecurity as I mentioned above. Be aware you're not trying to "cure" his insecurity by reassuring him - you're too close, and one partner trying too much to help the other with emotional/personal issues puts the relationship on an unequal footing, not an equal partnership. Plus if somebody is still this insecure in adulthood then they probably have some major work to do on themselves. Be careful - insecure people are often controlling out of desperation and fear.

- He "guilts" you into going out with his friends - okay, sometimes mixed gatherings are nice, sometimes it's nice to go out with your separate friends.

- Wanting to spend all your time together is a red flag too for control issues.

In all honesty he sounds a bit wet and needy rather than abusive and bullying, but it's still not a great thing in a partner...

Lyceum Sun 03-Feb-13 20:59:41

No. Wait.

I'm not sure I'm explaining myself very well here. The man you are describing is not my partner. He's not a whiny-arsed Klingon (much as I love the phrase grin) - he's just not.

He can be a dick, like they all can - but I am a strong woman who nearly always makes her feelings known.

He just likes spending more time with me than I do with him - but that's more than I do with anyone....

The thing with the meet with someone from another forum - I mentioned it, and he suggested that we could meet as families at the nearest Gullivers for a nice day out - but that's not what I'm meeting for, I want a day out AWAY from the kids! Once I tell him that, he'll understand and be fine, he always is when I say no to something.

But there are elements of control that I maybe hadn't seen. That much I will admit.

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