Ask Marwa: My Girlfriend is Suffocating Me!
Date posted: June 4, 2016
Published in Identity Magazine – April 2016
I have been in a relationship for a year now. I love my girlfriend a lot, but after 6 months into our relationship I felt I am suffocating; I need my space! She texts me every second and if she isn’t texting, she’s either with me physically or on the phone. I tried to explain to her that I need to see my friends for a couple of hours or do anything, but she suddenly gets insecure and it turns into a fight. Please help I want my girlfriend and my space as well, is this too much to ask?
Dear Loving Boyfriend
My advice could be summarized in one word: EMPATHY
Here is how to make this work:
Put yourself in your girlfriend’s shoes and see the world through her eyes. Pretend to be her until you can fully empathize with her.
Now what do you see?
You see a girl who has had first-hand experience with the feelings of abandonment, loss, negligence, and treason. Why am I assuming that about your girlfriend? Because these feelings are the reason behind her insecurities. Usually it starts from childhood and grows into her teens and adulthood. It also starts at home either directly through her relationship with her father or indirectly through the relationship between her father and her mother.
If your girlfriend has had previous experiences with other guys, then think of those experiences as reinforcement to her childhood scars I just highlighted. If your girlfriend has female friends who have been cheated upon, dumped, or abused, then this makes the scars deeper and scarier.
You can also widen your perspective to include her self-image and self-esteem issues; which parts of her body does she hate? Which parts does she always hide? Which parts is she striving to change? How does she think of herself? Is she worthy of being loved? Does she know that she deserves to be happy? Does she like herself as a person?
Thinking of all of these points will help you empathize with your girlfriend and understand why she is governed by insecurities and how her demons are haunting your relationship.
Be verbally reassuring and do not assume that she knows or she understands! Tell her that you love her, that you are lucky to have her in your life, and tell her that she is pretty, smart, and all the other things your love her for – tell her, in details, why you love her and why you chose to be with her.
Get her a pet! A kitten or a puppy are the best! A pet will help her with her self-esteem issues because she will experience unconditional love – probably for the first time in her life. She can hug them and kiss them all she wants and she will be a happier person!
If her family would not allow her to have a pet at home, take her to a shelter and help her emotionally and financially adopt one of their pets. She will be responsible for visiting the pet, spending time with it, paying for its expenses, and thinking of how to make it happy.
If she is afraid of animals, apply the previous step to an orphanage.
Do not just disappear – even for a couple of hours! Tell her where you are going, who you will be with, and encourage her to call you or text you if she needs anything.
Do not lie to get some time for yourself. If you are caught lying, the demons will rise!
Encourage her to work, study, do sports, or learn a new hobby. This should give her confidence in herself and will give you the space that you need.
Do not push her away, ignore her, or complain because this will make her clingier and more insecure.
If you need to go out with your friends, just tell her! “Tomorrow, I am going with X, Y, and Z to this or that place.” Use a matter-of-fact tone of voice and ask her how she plans to spend her evening.
Do not start acclaiming your space before you follow all the steps above and good luck.