As the saying goes, too much of something, even a good thing, is not a good thing. That certainly applies to spending time together in a relationship. It’s quite natural to want to spend a lot of time with your beloved, but that’s not always a great idea because you can smother them, or feel trapped and resentful yourself, and burn out your passion before your relationship really gets going. So be careful.
Maybe you’re worried that you might be spending too much time together. How can you tell? Here are a few things that you should pay attention to if you are concerned you are overdoing it.
How new is your relationship?
How long you’ve been together is important to consider. It’s best to take it slow at the start. New relationships often burn out quickly if the partners overwhelm each other with exciting, but exhausting, levels of attention. This is especially true if it is their first ever major relationship, or if they haven’t been in a relationship for some time. If the intensity of a passionate relationship is new to you, or you’re out of practice, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or smothered, even subconsciously. Check in with yourself about how pressured or irritable you feel.
How accustomed you and your partner are to overwhelming attention is a big part of it. If both of you are used to spending lots and lots of time with another person, then the adjustment to a new, intense relationship may not be such a problem. But if either of you are out of practice, then take it more slowly.
How healthy are your boundaries?
Do you feel like you are becoming too intimate too fast? There can be a tendency early in a relationship to over-share, to ask too many questions, particularly personal, probing questions. If you feel like your relationship is progressing too quickly, it might be a sign you are spending too much time together and you need to slow down. Learn to pay attention to your own emotional signals. If it seems too soon to be spending the night at somebody’s house, or moving in together, or taking a trip together, then slow things down. If you aren’t ready to spend the holidays with your new boyfriend or girlfriend instead of with your parents, then you aren’t ready. Don’t force it.
Do you feel guilty when you say no?
Pay attention to your own reactions to requests from your partner to spend time together. If you are spending time and going on dates with them because you feel obligated or guilty about saying no, it is time to adjust your boundaries. Don’t be hesitant about saying no to a date or spending a night alone if you need to recharge your batteries. Your guilty feelings may be coming from a subconscious conflict – part of your brain wants to spend time with your partner, but another part knows you are tired and need some down time. Listen to the messages you are sending yourself. If they are conflicted, ask yourself why, and take a bit of time to think things over.
Are you neglecting your friends and family?
This is an age-old story. Boy meets girl and boy’s friends never hear from him again, or hardly ever. Girl falls in love and stops calling home. If your friends are wondering where you are, and if your family’s grumpy because they never hear from you, then you may be spending too much time with your partner. Remember that in order to have a healthy love relationship, you need balance. That means you need outside people — friends, colleagues, family – to be involved in your life, too. Even after you get married, when it might seem you should spend all your time together, you need time away from your spouse. You need different perspectives and opinions, different experiences. They make you a better person when you get back together with your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife.
Are you bored?
This is not always easy to tell, but if you’re getting signals that you might be bored, then you may be spending too much time together. Variety is important in keeping life interesting, and that applies to time spent in and out of relationships, too – you need both. Boredom can show up in many ways – as irritation or anger, or as a diminished attraction for your partner. If you are fighting, look for the reasons underlying the conflict. When you feel angry, ask yourself what emotion you are trying to avoid feeling by being angry. Anger is an easy emotion to feel, and it makes us feel powerful. Other emotional states, like boredom or resentment, are more subtle and hard to recognize. Sometimes they show up as anger because it’s just easier for us to feel angry.
Are you less attracted to each other?
Sexual attraction is a mysterious process, based on things like chemistry and even the symmetry of the two halves of another person’s face. If you find your sexual interest in your partner diminishing, that could be a sign that you’re seeing too much of each other, and spending too much time together. Add a little mystery into your relationship to spice it up again by not seeing so much of each other. If you haven’t seen each other all week and you go on a date on Saturday, you will have much more to talk about and will likely be more attracted to each other because of the time that has passed while you were apart.
Remember that relationships are dynamic things. They change all the time; they don’t stay the same for very long. So it can be difficult even to figure out your own feelings, let alone those of your partner. But if you learn to listen honestly to the subconscious signals you send to yourself, you will have a bit of an advantage.