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
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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.