A suffocating relationship often involves a partner who wants to know where you are at all times.
If Your Relationship Is Suffocating, You'll Notice These 5 Signs

Non-stop texting is a major red flag.

Originally Published: 

Romantic relationships can be difficult at times. Occasionally, your relationships might require some mediation, a little bit of trial and error, and a lot of communication to work things out. This can definitely be the case after you and your boo leave the honeymoon phase, or as you and your partner face life changes. However, a partnership should never feel like a burden, and if you’re feeling smothered in a relationship, then there a few keys signs you’ll likely start to notice.

A suffocating relationship can take a number of forms. It can be a needy partner who craves your attention and leaves no room for friends or family. It can be a codependent relationship that demands all your time and energy. A stifling relationship can even turn toxic if your partner wants control over every part of your life. No matter how or why you’re feeling suffocated in a relationship, the end result is missing out on the joy and fulfillment a healthy romantic partnership is supposed to bring.

Feeling smothered in a relationship does not necessarily mean you’re being abused by a partner. Abusive behaviors include — but are not limited to — gaslighting, angry outbursts, and threats. If your relationship ever feels more unsafe than stifling, then it’s time to seek help. As Dr. LeslieBeth Wish — licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of Training Your Love Intuitionpreviously explained to Elite Daily, “If the behavior becomes verbally cruel or physically threatening, seek counseling just for you to learn about developing a safe plan. Never threaten to leave — that is most often when abuse gets worse.”

Here are five red flags you'll notice if your relationship is suffocating you — and five signs it's time to talk things through with your partner (or, honestly, break up!).

Your Partner Texts You Non-Stop
Nikita Sursin / Stocksy

Having someone to check in with throughout the day can feel great, but constantly having your phone bombarded with texts and notifications from your SO can start to feel like a bit much. Your partner may explain away their behavior by saying they're worried about you, and on the surface, that might seem sweet. But as NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter previously explained to Elite Daily, "This is to substantiate their position, making emotional manipulation look like affection. Don't fall for it. It's a ploy for control."

If your SO is blowing up your phone — especially in rapid succession and throwing a fit if you don't respond — this can actually be manipulation. And if your partner gets upset any time you want to take space, then that's reflective of some seriously controlling tendencies.

Your Partner Always Needs To Know Where You Are

There shouldn’t be a need for your partner to monitor your whereabouts at all times, and if they are, then they’re likely doing so in an effort to control you. As Winter previously explained, “Your partner's incessant need to know where you are at all times is a sign of deep insecurity." And even if their constant tracking is a result of feeling insecure, you shouldn’t feel responsible for instilling them with that confidence, especially if you’ve never given them any reason to doubt you.

It isn’t realistic or healthy to have your partner track your location at any given moment, and it's important you maintain your autonomy, even if you're someone's partner. If you begin to feel like leaving your apartment requires a sign-out sheet, then it’s usually a sign of being smothered in your relationship.

Your Partner Demands Access To Your Devices

Similar to the desire to know where you are at all times, another suffocating relationship behavior is your partner demanding access to all your communication. Yes, transparency about what you're up to and who you're talking to is good. But it's best when that happens in couples willingly and organically. As love coach Monica Parikh previously told Elite Daily, "A controlling partner may feel entitled to have access to your email, phone, or internet history.”

If your partner is pressed to see what you're looking at online or who you're messaging, either one of two things is happening: Trust has been broken, or your partner is trying to control you (and depending on your relationship, the situation could be a bit of both). Either way, your SO does not have a right to invade your privacy, no matter what they may think.

Your Partner Isolates You
Guille Faingold / Stocksy

Another classic smothering behavior is when your partner begins to isolate you. They might start with putting down your family and friends, and by casting your crew as untrustworthy, your partner narrows the scope of your reality and exerts control over you. According to Parikh, "The goal is to isolate you from your support network, making you an easy target for emotional manipulation and abuse."

Isolation tactics can be that subtle or more overt. Ultimately, it can come in the form of guilting you into not attending family functions, or berating you for enjoying wine night with the girls. And of course, being forced to deal with the trials and tribulations life throws at you without your support network will def lead to you feeling suffocated.

Your Partner Wants To Spend All Free Time Together

Spending time with a partner should always be a choice, not an obligation. If your SO insists on spending all your free time together, then this prevents the two of you from having space for yourself or to be with your own friends. As Kali Rogers, who founded Blush Online Coaching, previously told Elite Daily, "Having your own autonomy is so critical to not only your overall happiness, but for your relationship's, as well."

Having freedom is key to not feeling like you're drowning in a relationship. And while it’s totally fine to have a standing Saturday date night, there should never be an expectation that any free time you have should be spent by your SO’s side.

If you’re feeling suffocated by an SO, then it’s important to have a convo about your needs and desires. Talk frankly about self-care and taking time for yourself. Re-establish boundaries. You deserve a partner who's going to gas you up, be your equal, and nurture your well-being, and if your partner isn’t willing to change, then these red flags are grounds for breaking up.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit


Susan Winter, relationship expert

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of Training Your Love Intuition

Monica Parikh, love coach

Kali Rogers, founder of Blush Online Coaching

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.

This article was originally published on