She says I am smothering her

-- Question for John --

My girlfriend and I are very serious and talk of getting married next winter. We moved away to college this September. I have a problem with “smothering her” so she says. She says she needs her space. It’s hard though, because the only friends that she has made are guys. and all I can think is what most college guys want from a beautiful girl.

I get jealous all the time, but I am understanding that she loves me and she only wants me. She just wants to establish her self at college. Also, when we get into small argument. I don’t know when to say when. I keep asking her if she is okay. I need to let it go, But I don’t like that feeling of her being upset.

I worry about her meeting someone else. I have no reason to not trust her, I just am scared of her leaving me, so I get jealous. At this current time we are taking a few days off to think about what we want. We both know we want each other, but I need to change my attitude.

-- Answer from John --

At this point in time, you need to become very proactive if you want to improve things. You have to prove to her in no uncertain terms that you are willing to change and that you are taking real steps to do so. You cannot afford to have her ask you to change one more time. You simply have to change what you are doing. You have to take control of these jealous feelings. You have to show her that she is in relationship with a man who can emotionally afford respect her individuality and space, and not a jailer. You can invite her to be a soulmate — not a cell mate.

The good news is this: You can work with your own jealous feelings and you can work with your attitude. You can create a shared vision with her that will give both of you the strength to overcome these challenges and keep improving your relationship. You can definitely change these patterns that are not working for you.

You need to immediately demonstrate to her that you are taking real responsibility and taking positive steps to change — no matter how small they are. Getting a self-help book can be a first real demonstration that you have chosen to work on yourself and make improvements to the relationship. It is a rather simple way to show her you are stepping up to the plate and being proactive.

If you choose to do this, then say to her: “We gotta make some changes, I agree, and I would like to improve things. I commit to changing and doing things different with you. I plan to go through these books and get this information into our relationship to improve it. I want to change things and I want to work this relationship out with you. You are the most important person in my life. You deserve great love and a happy loving partnership. I want to be that loving partner. I have heard what you have been saying to me and I do want to grow and address these issues. I am willing to learn and change in myself in order to become that loving partner you deserve. I really hope you choose to stay with me and work on this relationship together.”

Then give her some time to think about it. Don’t pressure her. You may have to go ahead and demonstrate to her that you are going to do this work on yourself — before she trusts the situation enough to join you full-heartedly. Let me know how this works for you…