Dear Barb – Smothered

Dear Barb:

For the last few months I have been dating this terrific guy, well almost terrific. He is good looking, intelligent and has a great job. Although at times he makes me feel uncomfortable, because he’s very physical and always seems to be touching me. He also wants to be with me all the time. When we’re not together, he wants to know whom I’m with and what we’re doing. My friends all tell me how great he is and I almost feel guilty for feeling the way I do. I can’t even be in the same room with him, without him being all over me. Even when we visit my parents, he wants to be with me and always has his arm around me. I find this a bit embarrassing. I just don’t know how to tell him to “back off” without hurting his feelings. Do you have any suggestions?

Smothered in New Brunswick

Everyone has a different opinion about what constitutes a good relationship. Some couples like to spend most of their time together, while others value their time apart. Likewise with affection, some people like to openly display their feelings, while others are more reserved. It sounds like you and your boyfriend are at opposite ends of the spectrum in this regard.

For someone like yourself, who is more private with her feelings, open displays of affection may cause you to feel uneasy. You didn’t mention if you have discussed this with your boyfriend. While it is not wise to try to change another person, it is possible to reach a compromise. For example, maybe he could agree not to be all over you while at your family home. At other times, you could attempt to be more accepting of his need to be close to you.

Nevertheless, I have some concerns about his need to know where you are at all times. This type of behaviour is indicative of a controlling, possessive nature. No one has a right to demand this of you. There is a difference between sharing your whereabouts with your partner because you choose to and having it demanded of you. However, you need to show your partner the same consideration that you expect from him in regard to his whereabouts.

In spite of your boyfriend’s many positive qualities, some of his behaviours could be a result of insecurities or low self-esteem. If this is the source of his behaviour, you could end up with additional problems in the future. Therefore, my advice to you is to proceed cautiously with this relationship.

Good luck and I hope I have been able to offer you some helpful advice.

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