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How to Stop a Smothering Spouse
Just as fire needs oxygen to burn, your marriage needs a little air or it could suffocate and go up in smoke.

There are a few things you can do to get your husband to give you a little space.

My husband smothers me and I've tried telling him, and well, it doesn't work. I mean, he walks to the bathroom with me. If I get up off the couch he wants to know where I am going. If he takes the trash to the dump he won't go unless I ride with him. Even if I am cooking, cleaning or whatever, he insists I ride with him. I am feeling choked. Any advice?

Any healthy relationship needs to strike a comfortable balance between autonomy and connection for both partners, and it sounds like your husband isn’t giving you the space you need to achieve this. While many could argue that he wants to be around you 24-7 because he is so in love with you, there are many deep-seated factors that could be responsible for his smothering behavior; these could include a need to feel in control, insecurity, or even an indication of an obsessive personality type.

Controlling partners typically smother out of a need to attain or maintain power. They do not feel safe in a relationship unless they feel in control of every situation at hand. Insecurity, often, is also a factor; partners who are afraid you will leave them for someone else or betray them can also smother. They feel if they can keep you close they will know where you are at all times and protect themselves from betrayal in the process. In this scenario, it’s best to build confidence and trust in your relationship and you both may need to seek professional help to do this—especially if there was an indiscretion within your relationship in the past. If it’s an obsessive compulsive behavior, this is also something that will need to be addressed by a qualified professional.

Either way, it is very important that you communicate your feelings of discomfort as soon as possible, and that you do so in a positive way. For instance, you don’t want to wait until you become so irritated that you blow up and put him on the defense. Instead, communicate your feelings from a personal point of view; you can do this by using "I"-centered statements. For example, you could say, "It’s important that I have some alone time or personal space to be happy and at peace."

Let him know that this is true in all of your relationships, not just your relationship with him. Perhaps this will make him feel less attacked or rejected by the discussion. You could also gently let him know that while you appreciate his desire to always be with you, that your relationship will have a better opportunity to grow if you both don't have the independence to grow as individuals. He needs to understand that your relationship has a better chance to survive in the long-term if you are not burnt out on one another; "choking that romantic flame" will certainly be the number one way to put the fire out.

The situation you are currently in is definitely not a healthy one, and if he does not respond positively to a discussion about it, you may want to consider counseling. If he is not willing to go alone, you could encourage it by going together as a couple. Regardless of what you decide to do, action should be taken sooner than later in order to save your marriage.

Patty Brisben, is the CEO and Founder of Pure Romance www.pureromance.com. For more than two decades, Patty has been educating and empowering women all over the country about sexual health and relationship enhancement. Today, Patty speaks, lectures and writes about a wide range of issues. Drawing from extensive research in the industry and using her warm and engaging personality, Patty has become a noted expert in the fields of intimacy and relationships. Patty has been quoted in several magazines including Self, Women's Health, Glamour, Redbook, Men's Health, Details, US Weekly, In Touch and Life & Style.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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