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November 15, 2007 / missknowitall

Why Women Feel Suffocated or Smothered

Dear Little Miss,
Wow where do I start.  I have a very special lady in my life who I am engaged to.  She is 12 years younger than me (39 and 27)and we were planning a wedding in December of this year.  I have two daughters 15 and 9 who she loves and they love her very much.  For a period of about two months she has been pulling away from me.  I have tried to shower her with complements, flowers, gifts, to let her know how much I love her.  Well a couple of weeks ago we found out we are going to have a baby.  She was at first excited and and then just depressed.  She has told me that she is not sure what happened but the love that she once had for me has faded and she is unsure why.  She says she wants to love me and knows she did but is not sure if she will be able to love me again.

I love this lady with all my heart.  She is the light in my dark and warmth in my cold.  I know she is going through a lot of adjusting to my world with kids and the fact that she moved away from all of her friends and family to be here has been hard on her as well.  Then you put the fact that she is pregnant on top of it and I can understand why she is depressed.

I am trying to be there for her but she thinks I am smothering her.  How can I be supportive of her and let her know I love her without smothering her?  I want her and a family with her more than anything and am desperately seeking answers.

Dear Desperately Loving,

I love how we humans use code words.  We say one thing when we really mean something else and then we get all upset when the person we are speaking to doesn’t “Get it.”  When women say they need more space, or that they are feeling suffocated, or smothered in a relationship what they are really saying is, “I feel you are requiring too much of me.”  In other words, even though I’m sure this is NOT what you are doing, she feels that your actions are asking her to do something that she isn’t ready to do.  Whether she thinks you are asking her to be happy, to be intimate, to open up to you, to be kinder, etc, etc, she feels that you expect a certain action from her and she doesn’t like it.  This dates back, for women, to our early years when daddy would bring home a piece of candy and we knew our reaction was supposed to be a smile, a hug, and to say, “Thanks, daddy.  I love you.  You’re the best.”  Then we started dating and we were taught that when a boy spends money on you, you should let him kiss you to show your gratitude.  Then when we are married, or in a physical relationship, we find that when our man is especially kind it usually means he is hoping for intercourse.  Is it any wonder then, that we can easily interpret any act of kindness as a requirement for action on our part?  She doesn’t want you to love her less, or to be less kind, she just wants to know that you aren’t asking her to do anything.  Don’t try to cheer her up, let her be miserable.  Then tell her that you love her for being willing to go through the misery.  Don’t try to make love to her, just kiss her and that is it.  Let her tell you when she is ready. 

Here is a fun thing you can do:

Go buy her a lovely bouquet of flowers.  Write on the note: “You are going through so much right now.  I am constantly amazed at your strength and your beauty.  Please know that I love you, no matter what.”  NOW, take one pretty flower out of the bouquet, tie some strings to the bottom of it and clip off the ends of the strings.  Leave this flower on her night stand before she wakes up, or send it to her work, with another little note that says, “I just wanted to say I love you, with no strings attached.”

Giving room to breathe,

Miss Knowitall

P.S.  Was she pregnant at the time that she first started to pull away from you?  If so it is most likely hormones. That was how I found out I was pregnant with my third, I thought I had fallen out of love with my husband (I was so happy to realize that it was just pregnancy mixing up my chemistry).



Leave a Comment
  1. sad dad / Nov 28 2007 8:31 am

    when did you realise you did actually still love your husband? immediately or after baby was born? I am going through this now where me gf says she doesn’t love me. been like this since we found out. now 32 week pregnant


  2. cordieb / Dec 28 2007 9:48 am

    Dear Desperately Loving,

    Your fiance is depressed because she is feeling guilty about not loving you anymore. She wants out but feels guilty after making a commitment and after becoming pregnant. Your letter reads like a victim, a desperate victim at that–that’s a real turn-off for most women. I feel you started manipulating this young woman early in the relationship; she is living your life, not hers. You knew that as long as she was around her own friends and family, you would not be able to control her and mold her into your life. What changes have you made during the relationship? Probally not many. In your despiration, you have already smothered her and now she realizes her error in allowing it. Young people often fall in what they believe is love; but are not mature enough to understand infactuation is not love, even though the feelings feel stronger. Now that the infactuation is over, what do you two really have in common. Or better yet, what is it about you that she really likes? It certainly is not your ability to let her be herself. Did she honestly move away from friends and family because she chose to, or did you complain in some way that she was spending too much time with her friends? Did you in some manipulative way tell her you wanted to spend more time with her or needed her to by your side, even though she really wanted to remain where she was and still see you. When she told you that she didn’t love you, did she say that she still wanted to remain in the relationship. If she did, do you honestly, deep within your heart believe her? If you truly love her, you will have to let her go; and if she loves you, she will return. Don’t continue the manipulation by buying her flowers, telling her it’s ok not to have sex, etc. Manipulation only leads to more manipulation, on both parts of the relationship. She has told you that she does not love you. If you really love her you will respect her feelings and not continue to try to convince her that she does. Trust that no matter what happens, you will survive. Then and only then, will you be able to trust her to be the woman she wants and needs to to be.

    P.S. If you two did go on with the marriage plans, I suggest counseling.

    Peace, Love and Light to you and yours….


  3. yukondog / Sep 27 2008 9:31 am

    I like what CordieB has to say. I have to also agree with the hormonal comment. Hormones can do wicked things. Sometimes I feel smothered in my relationship, but I usually talk to my boyfriend, insisting I have some time off from him, and it works for us. At first he gets defensive, but then he calms down and realizes he is being controlling.
    Tip: Do not buy anything for her when she needs some space. Just leave her alone and find something to do without her. There is nothing more frustrating than getting ‘love-gifts’ when you are trying to sort out feeling. Try never to make this woman feel guilty. That ruins ALL relationships.

  4. Jerry / Jan 18 2009 2:43 pm

    I worry a lot about smothering girls. Especially when it comes to new relationships. If there’s a two or three day gap between text messages, instant messages or phone calls, I get worried that she’s off with some other guy having fun while I sit at home, usually exhausted from a 10 to 12 hour work day. If she doesn’t seem interested in talking one night, I’ll spend several hours worried I did something wrong. One girlfriend broke up with me in 2005, complaining I was smothering her. Another girlfriend broke up with me a year later, complaining I wasn’t smothering her enough (I’m not sure what the opposite of it is). I like independent girls who have their own lives and don’t depend on me for all their happiness and have something to do besides just hang around with me. However, I do want some attention. I want to matter to her because she does matter to me. I try to relax and just be myself, but I get worried that being myself will come off as smothering and drive her away.

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