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Parallax - Advice

August 15, 2005

Terms of endearment?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question! Lately, my boyfriend has been acting so needy that it is starting to get on my nerves. In a course of a five-minute conversation he says, 'I love you' five times or 'I'm so in love with you.' Then he taps me so I can say it back. He even forces me to hug him back. I mean, I can say it once but all the time? Where's the excitement? Not only that, but he expects me to stay everyday with him and even do food shopping and stuff. We only been together nine months, but I feel like I'm married and my friends are starting to say that I'm whipped, when I'm not. He always wants me to be next to him and makes me feel guilty. I have spoken to my boyfriend but he doesn't get it and sometimes gets offended. I don't know what else to do. I feel smothered and turned off by this relationship. Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Lovey-dovey,

He is needy and being needy is not the sexiest—especially in the beginning of relationships. You've tried, but he will not back down and refuses to take you up on your hints. Eventually you will come to the realization that he is just not that attractive anymore, and you'll leave...or you'll cheat and then leave.

You might try a broader discussion about slowing down the relationship versus a ban on the constant attention and affection. Perhaps he is moving too fast and you are not comfortable with words like love so early in a relationship. Let him know these antics leave you feeling smothered and trapped. Be direct and insulting if you must. If he does not back down, he will get dumped. It's just a question of which 'I love you honey bunny boo' finally breaks the dam. It is a matter of time until your watershed moment.

Try to head it off if you really want him around long-term.

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His view:

Dear Lovey-dovey,

Why don't you tattoo 'I love you, too' on your forehead? That way you can always show your love for him without having to think about it. Better yet, why not just marry him. Take him down to the nearest courthouse, find yourself a judge and seal the deal. That should placate him, shouldn't it?

Okay, if those sound like stupid ideas, let's try the obvious: get out of the relationship. What are you waiting for, anyway? Could it be that you're getting addicted to his his smothering? Could it be that—although it turns you off—it also makes you feel good to be so loved, and to have someone be so fully devoted to you?

You can't have it both ways. This guy isn't going to change and give you the perfect balance of attention without smothering. You're going to have to look for that somewhere else. So if you're really as sick of him as you say, stop whining about it and give him—as my colleague would say—the boot.

Relationships are about trade-offs and compromises. Get ready to make one more.

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