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Craving Affection

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  • #367110
    Ayu
    Participant

    Hi, I married my long time boyfriend and we are happily married for more than a year now. He is very loving but sometimes I feel like I crave so much more affection from him. I am scared that I might be smothering him. How do I stop craving his affection so much? I realise that everyone needs their own space many times and I am ready to give it, yet I can’t control myself sometimes.

    I am happy yet I cant stop feeling insecure and the fear of losing him and not being loved enough. Why do I constantly feel scared about this?

    #367193
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ayu:

    I will be able to reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 11 hours from now. I hope other members answer you before I return Feel free to add more details to your post.

    anita

     

     

     

     

    #367220
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ayu:

    “I am scared that I might be smothering him… I can’t control myself sometimes”-

    – first thing  to do is to aim at practicing self control over your behavior, not over your feelings. Figure out what behaviors are smothering and don’t engage in those behaviors. Example: if you ask him many times per day: do you love me? – change that behavior and ask him only once a day. You can tell your husband: I want to stop asking you this question many times a day, so I will be asking it once a day, every morning, or every evening, is it okay with you?

    “I can’t stop feeling insecure and the fear of  losing him and not being loved enough. Why do I constantly feel scared about this?”, “How do I crave his affection so much?”-

    – I am guessing that you felt insecure as a child, afraid of losing a parent, perhaps, and not being loved enough, I imagine you craved a parent’s affection so much. Am I guessing and imagining correctly?

    anita

    #367260
    Ayu
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you so much for your insight.

    You are right. I ask him a lot whether he still loves me like when we were in a relationship. I will take your advise and stop asking him so much about this. I am pretty sure I will feel good myself. I don’t think he has noticed that I ask him a lot but I will tell him that he won’t be hearing much on this from my side.

    To answer your question about childhood- Yes. I did not get much time with my father as he was unwell most of my teenage years. He passed away shortly before I could finish my grad school. I used to think it didn’t affect me much as I didn’t have any father daughter relationship with him. Do you think this is the reason why I am always looking for my husband’s affection?

    I would like to prioritize myself and make him sometimes comes close to me and not vice versa. Not like playing any game but I would like it if he initiates it.

    Thanks for taking out your time.

    #367283
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ayu:

    You are welcome. When we don’t like some of our behaviors and change those behaviors, we do feel better about ourselves. When next time you feel like asking him if he loves you, and you resist the urge to ask him, you will feel a sense of pride in yourself, a sense of confidence in your ability to choose your behavior no matter how you feel.

    Same with giving him some distance so that he initiates contact with you (“make him sometimes come close to me and not vice versa”)- if you resist your urge to come close to him, you will feel pride in yourself; confidence in your ability to resist and urge that leads to a behavior you don’t want.

    “I did not get much time with my father as he was unwell.. I used to think it didn’t affect me much as I didn’t have any father daughter relationship with him. Do you think this is the reason why I am always looking for any father daughter relationship with him. Do you think this is the reason why I am always looking for my husband’s affection?”-

    – your experience as a child with any caretaker at your home (it could be a father, a mother, a grandparent) can affect your experience with your husband. The quality of your interactions with one’s mother is as powerful in the context of a relationship with a husband, as is the quality of interactions with one’s father. Your relationship with your husband is not influenced only by your interactions (or lack of)  with your father (same gender parent). It is also influenced by your interactions with your mother.

    You wrote that you never had a daughter- father relationship growing up. How was your relationship with your mother?

    anita

    #367292
    Ayu
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I have a great relationship with my mother. We both felt responsible for taking care of father. I tried to be there for her when he passed away and used to take her out on dinner and movies so that she can feel good. I still call her regularly to check up on her as I live in different city.

    She was the one who made everything easy for me handle and never let me feel alone or stressed about father’s condition. I was able to focus on my studies and social life as she stood behind me.

    #367304
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ayu:

    I am glad to read that you have a great relationship with your mother. I am trying to figure out why in the context of being “happily married” to a “very loving” man, you “can’t stop feeling insecure and the fear of losing him and not being loved enough”. I am trying to find the answer to “Why I constantly feel scared about this?”

    It is my understanding that in most cases, if not in all, if a child has one consistently attentive, affectionate, loving parent, the child will grow up to be secure-enough as an adult. I  may be wrong about this, and you may prove me wrong.

    Clearly, your father was not consistently attentive, affectionate and loving toward you, if at all.

    Regarding your mother, you wrote: “We both felt responsible for taking care of father. I tried to be there for her… so that she can feel good.. She was the one who made everything easy for me to handle and never let me feel alone or stressed about father’s condition. I was able to focus on my studies and social life as she stood behind me”-

    – Reads like perhaps you and your mother were.. more like two sisters trying to deal with a difficult father, helping each other… ?

    anita

    #367345
    Ayu
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi Anita,</p>
    I think the reason why I feel little scared is I feel really happy after a long long time and before this relationship, I really thought I was not capable of being in a loving relationship. I was used to shutting my emotions out that before this relationship i never really cared for another guy. I remember having breakups and never feeling bad about it. With my husband, I started realising what a functional relationship actually meant. He made me understand empathy and how to express myself.

    With my mother, I started to realise how much caring for father must have affected her. I really wanted to support her emotionally so I started thinking of her more like as a friend. Again, I have to say that once I started relationship with my husband all these changes start to happen around the same time. In a way, he really helped me deal with my situation.

    Maybe, I just need to believe and be happy without worrying about what might or might not happen. Carpe Diem right?

    #367350
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ayu:

    Carpe Diem if you are able, absolutely. The movement of Mindfulness in modern psychotherapy and elsewhere is about seizing the day, or seizing the moment. Problem is that when we have a troubled past (and too many of us do), that troubled past keeps replaying itself in the moment, removing our attention away from the here-and-now and keeping it in the there-and-then. We often keep re-experiencing the troubled past.

    “My father.. was unwell.. We (your mother and you) felt responsible for taking care of father. I tried to be there for her… so that she can feel good… I started to realise how much caring for father must have affected her. I really wanted to support her emotionally so I started thinking of her more like as a friend”, “I was used to shutting my emotions out that before this relationship.. With my husband, I started realising what a functional relationship actually meant. He made me understand empathy and how to express myself”, “I feel like I crave so much more affection from him.. craving his affection so much”-

    At this point, this is my limited understanding of your past as it replays itself in the present: when you were a child/ teenager, your father was unwell. But your mother was unwell too in that she was very much burdened by caring for your father. So, there you were with two unwell parents, two parents who needed help. So you placed yourself third, behind your father and mother, for the purpose of attending to this family emergency.

    You teamed up with your mother, a team of two friends, aimed at caring for your father and surviving the emergency. The teamwork succeeded: your mother and you survived the challenge and made each other’s lives easier. You were able to study and even have a social life.

    But this successful team work came with a price to you: you didn’t get to be the child looking up to her mother, or father, as a strong figure, a source of strength and emotional support. You didn’t get to be a carefree, dependent child that is well taken care of. Your emotions and needs were shut down, so to be available to your parents’ needs and emotions.

    Fast forward, you meet your now husband, a very loving man, and you get to be First. Finally, or suddenly, it is okay to have your emotions, it is okay to receive affection. Like a hungry person who didn’t eat for the longest  time, you crave the food (affection) that is suddenly available to you, you want more and more of it, as if to make up for the years of lack.

    Just as you shut down your need for affection, you also shut down much of the fear that you experienced growing up, the fear of being left with no parent at  all (your father dying and your mother succumbing to the hardship of caring for him). Fast forward, the need for affection awakens, and so does the fear of losing your new object of attachment, that is, your husband: “I can’t stop feeling insecure and the fear of losing him”.

    Let me know what you think of my understanding, and we can continue to communicate.

    anita

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