Do You Love too Much?
Do you love too much?
Are you the type who gives your all only to find yourself feeling unwanted, unappreciated and depleted? Perhaps your partner gets irritated when you love too much, and wants you to back off. Maybe you get messages that you are just too much – that you love too much and your partner is overwhelmed.
When you love too much for your partner’s taste, they nibble at the feast you put in front of them, and waste the rest. That feels awful to you – as if your efforts aren’t good enough, sweet enough, crunchy enough, salty, hot or cold enough. In other words when you are the ‘meal’ and your partner just nibbles, it makes you feel unpalatable. So you try harder to show your love in every which way possible. Not only are you complimentary about your partner’s appearance, sex appeal, way of managing work and home life, but you are always wanting to add some more spice, more sauce, more finger licking stuff to his or her life so that he or she will want to eat you up! But still your partner nibbles a piece of you here and a piece of you there, leaving you misshapen and out of sorts. You don’t feel taken in, tasted, chewed, swallowed and fully digested.
When you love too much, it’s because you are unsatisfied with the way you are. So you give more and more, thinking that you will eventually be enough for your partner. But it never works, and is in fact counterproductive.
‘Love Too Much’ Types Picks Nibblers As Partners
When you love too much you are destined to pick a partner who is a nibbler. You want to make that nibbler feel so hungry for you that they will be unable to stop eating what you have prepared – your aim is to change them from nibblers to gobblers!
‘Love Too Much’ Type is Ideal Match for Nibbler
If you are a nibbler you are destined to choose a person who will love too much. You want to know that something is always at hand – that you can always have a little nibble, and go back for more, just like squirrel. You want your stash of acorns in the form of a partner who has an abundant and constant supply of acorns. You want to feel that you can nibble at one and if it’s a bit dry, you can spit it out and take another. You want to bite into one and throw it out if it isn’t ripe. You just want the supply to be plentiful and unlimited. So someone that loves too much is your ideal partner. You never get really hungry – you don’t know what it’s like to feel like you are starving or ravenous. You are usually kind of “full” and so it’s nibbling that fits the bill for you.
‘Love Too Much’ Type is the Ravenous One in the Relationship
When you love too much you are actually the hungry one. You want to be savored and devoured. You are longing for your partner to gobble you up and keep you inside, to nourish both of you in that intimate connection.
Reuben a 38-year-old financial adviser loved his partner Ava too much. He was always around, ready to be counted on in any way that she needed. But Ava, a 37-year-old fourth grade teacher liked alone time – she wanted space to think for herself and not worry about Reuben’s feelings. As a child she rarely had that luxury. She was usually caught up in trying to deal with her mother’s intense need for closeness as and when she needed it. Ava was the ideal person, available and unable to refuse. Ava was “loved” too much as a kid in the sense that her mother was overbearing, overprotective and doing everything for Ava. So Ava never got a chance to feel hungry or ravenous about emotional food.
‘Love Too Much’ Type Doesn’t Feel Lovable
Reuben on the other hand never quite felt lovable enough. He had access to his parents, but they weren’t focused on interacting with him in an emotionally intimate way. He tried hard to be the one to excite and stimulate them enough to get them to want to interact with him, and take their attention off their own rocky relationship. He kept trying to get their undivided attention and feel ‘enough’ – and his way was to love too much. He was overly affectionate and quick to take care of each parent when they were upset with one another. He was the ‘good boy’ – never missed school, did his assignments and did weekend chores. He gave his parents everything they could ask for in a son, and felt worthy and loved as a result for short bursts of time.
‘Love Too Much’ Type Uses Excess Giving as Formula for Relationship Satisfaction
Reuben unconsciously sought out the same kind of arrangement when he got married. It worked for him when he was younger, so why not follow the same formula? He was fated to find a woman who could only take in small bites of him, just like his parents when they came out of their fighting binges. Ava fitted the bill, except that her background made her want to replicate her childhood. She wanted love on tap, as her mother offered – but she wanted to be able to turn off the tap when she wanted – something she couldn’t do as a child. Reuben who loves too much was the ideal match. He kept loving and giving and she could nibble, stay full but avoid the intrusion of her childhood. Poor Reuben didn’t get why his formula no longer worked. His ‘love too much’ nature became frantic – force feeding Ava, until she felt the same intrusion and discomfort she had when her mother related in that way. She could no longer turn off the tap at will.
‘Love Too Much’ Type Develops a Thermostat in Couples Therapy
Faced with this impossible situation, Rueben and Ava came to couples counseling, wanting to save the marriage. It was obvious that Reuben had no shut off valve and no thermostat that directed his flow of warmth towards Ava. He was just ‘love too much’ all the time. It was equally obvious that Ava had no sensations of hunger or peckishness, fullness or satisfaction, bloating or anything in-between. Reuben learned to read Ava’s needs and adapt accordingly – and share his frustration or sorrow when he felt unwanted. Ava learned to tune into herself and to read Reuben’s needs not as an intrusion but as a wish to be connected. The process was very challenging. Each of them had individual counseling to deal with their family of origin stuff that led to the emotional intimacy problems. They are still learning to adapt. The important thing is that now there is no ‘love too much.’ Now there is loving enough in the moment.
copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2017
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