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You Asked: Am I Being Too Pushy?

Dear Sugar--

My boyfriend and I have been together for 1 year and 3 months, and although we love each other very much, recently it seems we have a blowout fight once a week where I nearly break up with him, and then he barely wants to speak to me for days while he’s getting over it. Ultimately, I think the problem is that he is very independent and enjoys his freedom, and I want to spend more time with him than he feels necessary. Therefore, he feels smothered and I feel abandoned.

This weekend he went away to the mountains with his guy friend, but planned to come home Sunday afternoon. He met me at the beach in the afternoon and we had a great time playing in the water for a few hours. After the beach, he went home to quickly unpack while I went to the store to buy groceries for our dinner and rent us a movie – he planned to meet back up with me at my place within an hour.

While I was at the store, I called to ask what he wanted for dinner, and he told me he just wanted to stay home and crash. I was obviously upset because we had made plans and he was gone all weekend. I offered to go to his place and cook dinner there and bring the movie, but that was even too much for him. We ended up arguing back and forth about it for 20 minutes when ultimately he hung up on me. And he didn’t call back. Yesterday he emailed me telling me that I make him feel like a bad boyfriend and that he doesn't like feeling like a jerk and that I should be more understanding.

My problem is that, although I want to be understanding, we did have plans. I hadn’t seen him in nearly a week, and dinner and a movie wasn’t exactly an “energetic night” – so even though he was tired, all he had to do was relax on the couch with me while I took care of everything.

Am I being too pushy about seeing him, or is he pushing me away? How much space is too much space? I’m worried that if we don’t figure this out soon, then this relationship is doomed. We love each other very much, but I am just starting to think that we want and need two different things out of a relationship – I need security and time together, and he needs his freedom and independence respected. What should I do?

--I Want More Mandy

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear I Want More Mandy--

It can feel horrible when someone you love pulls away from you when all you want is to spend time together. It makes you want to be even closer, which can in turn make the other person feel crowded and smothered. All relationships are different, so there's no "right" amount of space you should have apart or together. It all depends on what each person wants and needs. (I have to say that most guys tend to want a lot more space than girls do.)

It might sound lame, but maybe you two can come up with a weekly schedule and map out your time - you can both figure out which days you spend together, and which days you spend apart so you know what to expect instead of feeling let down by him. If it turns out that you want to spend much more time with him than he does, then you might want to think about how compatible you really are.

The thing is, people who care about each other want to spend a lot of time together. Being with your boyfriend isn't asking for too much. If you feel like your boyfriend would rather be alone than with you, you might want to consider looking for a new partner who shares your need for closeness. Good luck.

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JessBear JessBear 8 years
Give him a taste of his own medicine. It's the only way guys understand ANYTHING. The more you nag him about togetherness (bc that's how he sees it), the worse the situation will become. You've both dug your heels in, and someone has to give. He obviously won't, so if you want to be with him, it has to be you. It sucks, but it's true. When my bf and I were dealing with this, it brought out the worst side of his personality. Inependence was important to him, and when he felt like I was monopolizing him (even when, like you, I OBVIOUSLY wasn't) he became pretty jerky. Chalk it up to him feeling just as strongly as you, and give him a chance to miss you.Now, if you DO give him his space, make yourself unavailable on occassion, and he STILL doesn't get it? Then you need to reconsider the relationship. But don't freak out just yet.
JessBear JessBear 8 years
Give him a taste of his own medicine. It's the only way guys understand ANYTHING. The more you nag him about togetherness (bc that's how he sees it), the worse the situation will become. You've both dug your heels in, and someone has to give. He obviously won't, so if you want to be with him, it has to be you. It sucks, but it's true. When my bf and I were dealing with this, it brought out the worst side of his personality. Inependence was important to him, and when he felt like I was monopolizing him (even when, like you, I OBVIOUSLY wasn't) he became pretty jerky. Chalk it up to him feeling just as strongly as you, and give him a chance to miss you. Now, if you DO give him his space, make yourself unavailable on occassion, and he STILL doesn't get it? Then you need to reconsider the relationship. But don't freak out just yet.
michelleyk michelleyk 8 years
I think people are inferring quite a bit from your question. Maybe you are isolated, and need to spend more time with your friends and get a more active social schedule, thus making you feel less dependent on the BF. But, if you have a full social schedule, and he's canceling plans with you constantly, that's not a healthy sign of a relationship, and neither is guilting you about your behavior. Take an honest look at yourself. Are you happy with him? What's good for you about him? What's bad? Now take a good look from his POV? How much time do you spend together? 1 year plus is a solid chunk of a dating relationship...has he always been like this? If so, you might need to reevaluate the direction of the relationship.It could be workable with compromise on both your parts, but not if you play guilt trips and fight abut it. If your relationship needs aren't the same, maybe it's time for a change. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you find happiness.
michelleyk michelleyk 8 years
I think people are inferring quite a bit from your question. Maybe you are isolated, and need to spend more time with your friends and get a more active social schedule, thus making you feel less dependent on the BF. But, if you have a full social schedule, and he's canceling plans with you constantly, that's not a healthy sign of a relationship, and neither is guilting you about your behavior. Take an honest look at yourself. Are you happy with him? What's good for you about him? What's bad? Now take a good look from his POV? How much time do you spend together? 1 year plus is a solid chunk of a dating relationship...has he always been like this? If so, you might need to reevaluate the direction of the relationship. It could be workable with compromise on both your parts, but not if you play guilt trips and fight abut it. If your relationship needs aren't the same, maybe it's time for a change. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you find happiness.
StyleB StyleB 8 years
I think that a lot of relationships go through this. My current boyfriend and I usually tend to argue the most because of this. I mean, we love each other very much so I know he's not trying to push me away. I just came to the realization that men sometimes just want to be...men. They need that time or time with the guys to do what they need to do. Instead of arguing about not seeing each other I just find ways to entertain myself so that we both have that sense of space. I joined the gym, I go shopping, and for some reason now he wants to spend more time with me, now that I don't argue or say "well I wanted to see you". If he starts watching sports center or something I'll just be like "ok babe I'll be back later" and I go hang out with the girls or whatever else. It's been a lot better. Understanding and being reasonable is the main thing.
Cher Cher 8 years
Sorry.. but get a clue. If he wanted to spend time with you - he would! Hes probably just scared to break up with you and is hoping that you'll do the dirty work of ending the relationship! Ditch him and move on!
Cher Cher 8 years
Sorry.. but get a clue. If he wanted to spend time with you - he would! Hes probably just scared to break up with you and is hoping that you'll do the dirty work of ending the relationship!Ditch him and move on!
awhdarling awhdarling 8 years
You need to find someone who is better suited to your own needs. Relationships are about compromise and obviously your boyfriend isn't really into that. It will be hard but when you find someone who truly appreciates spending time with you you will be thankful you ended this relationship.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I've been in a lot of shorter relationships like this. Until I found a guy who was on the same page, it was awful. It really sounds like he doesn't want to be in a relationship right now and is trying to guilt you into feeling bad for being "clingy". I don't think a year is too soon to want to have plans with your girlfriend once a week!
amybdk amybdk 8 years
I agree with cgmaetc. He probably feels smothered.
Brians-Girl Brians-Girl 8 years
i totally agree with all of this! my boyfriend and i who have been together for a year (his longest relationship ever) were having this same problem... he finally sat me down and said look i really care about you.. but sometimes i just wanna sit on my ass and play video games and talk about fart jokes without girls around haha.. soo slowly we are makin progress and now i am like ok i wanna stay at home and he gives me oooo you do... :( well maybe later you can come over... soo just try givin him his space.. guys seem to need it more then girls do.. makes them feel independent! hehe and we gotta make our men feel rugged and muscular lol
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I would say, give him his space. Get some hobbies, meet some new friends, have a some girls' nights.Make him miss you. Make him call you to set the date. Play hard to get again. If he doesn't miss you, there is your answer on what to do.The first or second year of my man and I's relationship we sort of went through this. He wouldn't break a date or what have you, but would tell me "I am tired and want to stay home this weekend; I haven't really gotten to see my family, I want to go fishing" etc etc. Once I understood it wasn't because he didn't want to be with me, he just needed time, I was fine. and, I already expected my alone time, why shouldn't he have some too?Now, he does whatever he wants and i whatever i want. I moved, so when i visit he and i spend all my visiting time together (the same when he visits me) and we are so much closer.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I would say, give him his space. Get some hobbies, meet some new friends, have a some girls' nights. Make him miss you. Make him call you to set the date. Play hard to get again. If he doesn't miss you, there is your answer on what to do. The first or second year of my man and I's relationship we sort of went through this. He wouldn't break a date or what have you, but would tell me "I am tired and want to stay home this weekend; I haven't really gotten to see my family, I want to go fishing" etc etc. Once I understood it wasn't because he didn't want to be with me, he just needed time, I was fine. and, I already expected my alone time, why shouldn't he have some too? Now, he does whatever he wants and i whatever i want. I moved, so when i visit he and i spend all my visiting time together (the same when he visits me) and we are so much closer.
7kimba7 7kimba7 8 years
I'm not a fly in the wall of your relationship and thus don't know the nitty gritty details... but just a general statement: if you are fighting all the time and he feels that you make him feel like "a bad boyfriend".. then he probably isn't going to want to hang out with you. No one wants to hang out with someone who makes them feel bad about themselves (even if it's not your fault that you're mad). You know, just like if someone leaves a pissy message on my voicemail, I don't call them back!
popB popB 8 years
Sounds to me like he's not nearly as in to you as you are him. Let's do the math. 1 yr and 3 mos, and he's already acting like he's not interested in spending time with you? Do you really think it's going to get any better? I agree, you should step back, and do your own thing for a bit. It may be the kick in the butt the guy needs to realize you aren't going to be there when it is convienent for only him. You're living by his schedule and that's not fair to you. If he's ok w/o seeing you for a whole week, then it sounds to me like he just doesn't really care. You say you love each other, but are you sure you aren't loving for the both of you? He sounds like a brat, and he gripes at you for not being "understanding" enough so that he still comes out smelling like roses. I smell a rat.
trendyindc trendyindc 8 years
i agree with cgmatec SO much and disagree with dear! I mean really your boyfriend sounds fairly nice. Sure he went away for a DAY with a friend but still came back to hang out with you. People need alone time and if every single time he wants to just chill out, you complain he is going to break up with you. No one likes to be made to feel like a jerk because they want to sleep in their own bed. A blow out fight once a week makes me think you have insecurities that you need to deal with yourself rather than your man. get a hobby and have less free time!!!
hope2be hope2be 8 years
Be careful, you may start making dates with you sound more like an obligation (just like the meeting he just HAS to attend) then a fun, casual thing.The bad part is, you've gotten all these groceries and probably have borrowed movies that you think he'd like.The good part is, you get yourself a yummy dinner (I'm sure you cook extra well for him too) and get to relax and watch some..decent movie by yourself. That's so awesome.Next time just say "Hmmmm...yum...too bad (his name), you're missing out!" Then just enjoy yourself. I agree with cgmaetc and lily3484 and some others. Really. You need to have your own life. The reason your bf is putting you at arm's length is because you're pulling at him and getting mad over things like this (believe me, gotta pick your battle wisely if not you guys won't last). I was like you and throughout my relationship with that guy, it was such a miserable time although we both proclaimed "love." So pull yourself back, turn to friends and start making dates with YOUR FRIENDS too and not drop them when he wants to see you. Honor your commitment with your friends too.Take care.
hope2be hope2be 8 years
Be careful, you may start making dates with you sound more like an obligation (just like the meeting he just HAS to attend) then a fun, casual thing. The bad part is, you've gotten all these groceries and probably have borrowed movies that you think he'd like. The good part is, you get yourself a yummy dinner (I'm sure you cook extra well for him too) and get to relax and watch some..decent movie by yourself. That's so awesome. Next time just say "Hmmmm...yum...too bad (his name), you're missing out!" Then just enjoy yourself. I agree with cgmaetc and lily3484 and some others. Really. You need to have your own life. The reason your bf is putting you at arm's length is because you're pulling at him and getting mad over things like this (believe me, gotta pick your battle wisely if not you guys won't last). I was like you and throughout my relationship with that guy, it was such a miserable time although we both proclaimed "love." So pull yourself back, turn to friends and start making dates with YOUR FRIENDS too and not drop them when he wants to see you. Honor your commitment with your friends too. Take care.
lily3484 lily3484 8 years
This story sounds oh so familiar. My boyfriend and I have been together for 6 years. In the begining, we went through the same exact thing. I would feel that I was making him my number one priority all the time. If I was tired, I would hang out, if I was sick, I would be there, whatever he needed I would do. As time went on, I realized that by being so available all the time, I had made myself feel like a burden in the relationship. The key to my successful relationship is allowing space. I think its so essential to have your own friends,love yourself, and be able to function on your own. I know it may seem like he is blowing you off, but the more time you spend apart the greater it will be when you are together. I think women become too dependent on their partners and constantly make them their one and only priority, then when your boyfriend doesnt put you at that number one spot all the time you end up feeling hurt. Trust me, it will be hard in the begining, but try occupying yourself with new hobbies or get in touch with friends that you havent talked to in awhile. He will realize that hes not always number one all the time and crave your attention. You will feel so much better.
cgmaetc cgmaetc 8 years
the problem, dearsugar, is that her boyfriend WAS with her... all day on Sunday... but she's just focusing one what he DOESN'T do and not what he DOES do.girl, did it ever occur to you that your man was JUST TIRED? he had been in the mtns all weekend, came straight from the camping trip to see you sunday, frolicked on the beach with you all day, unpacked all his gear, and then was supposed to hang at your place all night and get up for work the next morning? he spent the whole day with you... maybe he DID just want to crash and it HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.girl, you need to stop trippin'. do you have friends or other interests? when you are not with your man, how do you fill your time? are you just waiting for him to be free so you can be together? that's probably why you get so disappointed when he cancels/changes plans. you need to stop making you world revolve around this guy, and get a life of your own. why don't you change up the plan at the last minute? be a little unavailable and disinterested. and don't even start an argument (i know you think you are "expressing how you feel", but all men hear is "whine, bitch, moan, compain, you suck!" when he cancels, say "great, i really needed to catch up with my girl Susan". give him some of his own back, and see if he doesn't come around.
cgmaetc cgmaetc 8 years
the problem, dearsugar, is that her boyfriend WAS with her... all day on Sunday... but she's just focusing one what he DOESN'T do and not what he DOES do. girl, did it ever occur to you that your man was JUST TIRED? he had been in the mtns all weekend, came straight from the camping trip to see you sunday, frolicked on the beach with you all day, unpacked all his gear, and then was supposed to hang at your place all night and get up for work the next morning? he spent the whole day with you... maybe he DID just want to crash and it HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. girl, you need to stop trippin'. do you have friends or other interests? when you are not with your man, how do you fill your time? are you just waiting for him to be free so you can be together? that's probably why you get so disappointed when he cancels/changes plans. you need to stop making you world revolve around this guy, and get a life of your own. why don't you change up the plan at the last minute? be a little unavailable and disinterested. and don't even start an argument (i know you think you are "expressing how you feel", but all men hear is "whine, bitch, moan, compain, you suck!" when he cancels, say "great, i really needed to catch up with my girl Susan". give him some of his own back, and see if he doesn't come around.
Random2 Random2 8 years
This guy sounds like kind of a jerk. Yes, he could have been tired and wanted to crash, but like you said, what's so taxing about having dinner in and a movie? Talk to him about how you feel and how his actions make you feel (corny, but it works). Then, start leading your own life where he isn't the center of all your plans and activities so he can see that he can't take you for granted any longer.Unfortunatly, if his attitude doesn't change, you might have to consider that he's not 100% ready for the type of relationship you are.
Random2 Random2 8 years
This guy sounds like kind of a jerk. Yes, he could have been tired and wanted to crash, but like you said, what's so taxing about having dinner in and a movie? Talk to him about how you feel and how his actions make you feel (corny, but it works). Then, start leading your own life where he isn't the center of all your plans and activities so he can see that he can't take you for granted any longer. Unfortunatly, if his attitude doesn't change, you might have to consider that he's not 100% ready for the type of relationship you are.
clarapl clarapl 8 years
It doesn't seem like the issue is really different needs or ideas on closeness--to have a relationship with someone, you need to be spending some time in the same vicinity as each other, and his need for "space" sounds a bit extreme... But anyway, this seems more like an issue of respect to me. Hanging up on someone is extremely immature and disrespectful. Canceling plans at the last minute is also pretty rude, particularly when it's something so undemanding, as you said. He seems to only be concerned with his own comfort and convenience. I'm sorry to say this, but I don't think his behavior is going to change, no matter how much space you give him.
clarapl clarapl 8 years
It doesn't seem like the issue is really different needs or ideas on closeness--to have a relationship with someone, you need to be spending some time in the same vicinity as each other, and his need for "space" sounds a bit extreme...But anyway, this seems more like an issue of respect to me. Hanging up on someone is extremely immature and disrespectful. Canceling plans at the last minute is also pretty rude, particularly when it's something so undemanding, as you said. He seems to only be concerned with his own comfort and convenience. I'm sorry to say this, but I don't think his behavior is going to change, no matter how much space you give him.
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