How To Avoid The ‘Suffocation Relationship’

Samantha Hearne
By Samantha Hearne,
updated on Jan 29, 2018

How To Avoid The ‘Suffocation Relationship’

This new coupling trend shows we expect way too much from our partner. But real love is all about balance

couple holding hands

The phrase “happily ever after” has been misinterpreted over the years to create an unrealistic version of our everyday lives. Living “happily ever after” looks, feels and behaves very differently for each of us. Relationships can be hard, involving compromise, conflict, honesty and pain. American therapists, however, have noticed a toxic new trend – the “suffocation relationship”. This is where we set ridiculous expectations on our partners, and impossible goals, in order for them to satisfy our wants and demands. Why is this happening? Possibly because we are living our modern lives at breakneck speed.

It seems that once we have found love we will do anything to keep it that way, even if that means making extreme demands. Before I got married, I was told “love is not the passion, the butterflies in your tummy, the endless smiles and romance that comes at the start – it is what is left, when all of that has faded away, and you are left with two people, sitting on the sofa, holding hands in silence. That is what true love really is.”

Focusing on the Hollywood fairy tale just reinforces how different real relationships can seem, and creates automatic disappointment when it doesn’t come true in our real lives. We, at Happiful, want to keep the real in your relationships, and give you some tips to give you and your partner a genuine balance.

You are only human

We all have down days. Times when we just want to sit and watch a film under a blanket; not entertain or be our best self. When you embrace this, and be 100% you, you’ll more often than not find that your partner wants the exact same! It will make the time you spend doing new things and going to new places even more genuine, because you’re both allowing that much needed “down time” in your lives.

couple walking

Go outside together

Technology is an amazing addition to our lives, but sometimes we all need time away from our devices. Agree some time together for a walk, or eating out, or just a sit down in the park. This quality time doesn’t require fireworks or huge gestures of love, but a simple focus on being present for one another – this is true love.

Have your own hobbies

We all need time to be ourselves and do our own things. So, go out with your own friends, enjoy your own hobbies, and spend time just expressing yourself as an individual. By doing this, you will have new things to talk about with your partner, a new burst of energy, and new levels of excitement. Agree in advance which nights or days you are busy and make sure you pencil in time for you as a couple as well. Love is all about balance.


Love is equality and choice. We don’t want to “trick” our loved one and not tell them when our birthday is to see if they remember. This sets them up to fail, not succeed. Plan events in advance – make sure you are both free to spend time with one another’s friends, family events, birthdays, celebrations, and anything in-between that will involve both of you. This clear communication allows you both to have the freedom to plan around these events and also enjoy the other aspects of your life that you enjoy – apart and together.

Have perspective

When you have conflicts and disagreements, it shows you are both passionate, both willing to argue your point and share it with the other person, and express emotions. Conflict is a healthy part of any relationship and is needed to prevent a situation escalating, festering resentment. You are individuals. Your “happily ever after” comes when you’re back where you started, cuddling on the sofa, and are reminded of why you love the other person – for their passion, drive and honesty. This is the real in your relationship

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