Do You Smother Your Lover?
Tips for Finding the Compatible Range of Intimate Behavior in Your Relationship
Dear April Masini,
When I'm in a relationship, I like to give it my complete all and be best friends and soul mates with my partner. While I know my current boyfriend loves me and wants to be with me forever, he also likes to spend some time apart. I try not to take offense when he wants to spend all day with his buddies or his mom, but I just don't understand why I can't come along too. If we're in a serious partnership, shouldn't he be sad when he has to spend any time apart from me? Isn't that what intimacy is?"
Sincerely, Intimate Love
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Intimate Love,
One person's intimacy is another person's claustrophobia. That said, intimacy is personal, and what is right for one person, may not be right for another, so the idea is to find a compatible range of intimate behavior that works for you and your partner.
When it's not working:
- If you take a night off from the relationship to read a book and take a bath or to go out with the girls if you're a woman (or the guys if you're a man) and your partner is having acute feelings of abandonment, you may not be compatible.
- If you want to know where your partner is every minute of every day, and you cell phone, page and e-mail him or her to make sure you know where they are and who they're with, you may have control issues that will sabotage the relationship down the line.
- If you get jealous when your partner is with anyone who isn't you -- a parent, a sibling, or a neighbor -- you may have issues that make intimacy too steep a challenge.
Making it work:
- Your partner does not have to be everything to you and you don't have to be everything to your partner. Understand that your partner is there to meet certain needs, and vice verse. In fact, make a list of those needs and ask your partner to do the same. This exercise helps to define the relationship. Understand that your partner will want to spend time with your children, his or her parents, and his or her friends and that doesn't mean he or she doesn't love you or want to be with you. It just means that they have needs that are best fulfilled by other people in their life.
- Mystery is good. Knowing everything about each other is not very sexy. Cheating and other types of infidelity are not sexy either -- but having your own life makes you an interesting and independent partner -- and that is what makes you attractive to your boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse.
- Don't ask him what he's thinking. He doesn't want to tell you. This is one area where women fail miserably and consistently in dating. He may not be thinking anything, and you'll make him feel like he should be thinking something -- which creates neurosis or insecurity -- or worse, he thinks you're nagging him to be thinking something. Or else he's thinking about what you look like naked, and he wants to keep that to himself. As he should.