Your new love is such a delight! What passion, what wonderful desire to be with you, only you, day and night, night and day! What a refreshing change from the last few men you’ve dated whose idea of commitment was dinner and a movie on Saturday night, maybe. Since that first blissful day you met, quite by accident, when your dog and his got all tangled up in their leashes outside the local Starbucks, you’ve been joined at the hip. How your life has changed in 3 short weeks! You’re positively glowing.

Of course you’ve been ignoring your friends, forgetting about yoga class, and excusing your way out of your usual visits to family, but so what? You’re much too happy to bother with anything but him, him and him.

A few more weeks of this, and you’re beginning to float back down to earth. As much as you adore him, you miss your friends, are beginning to feel flabby, and are getting a serious case of the guilties over not checking in with family. So you say “Hon, I’m going to spend the evening over at Helen’s – we’re getting together, just the girls,” expecting him to say “Oh, that’s nice – have a good time, I’ll see you when you get in.” Instead, you get “Why? I thought you were going to spend the evening with me,” when indeed you had no such plans. “Uh, well, I’ve kind of been neglecting my friends,” you say, “and anyway, it’s just for a few hours.” “I see,” he says, cold as ice. Your heart plummets, “What’s wrong?” you panic, watching your love disintegrate. “Nothing,” he says, “Nothing at all. You just go on and have a good time with your friends.” Now he is not only icicle tongued, he’s not looking at you. He’s dropped onto the sofa and appears to be taking great interest in Architectural Digest. Your Architectural Digest that he’s never even glanced at before. “No, go, really” he says, finally looking up at you, with a sort-of smile. “OK,” you say, unsettled, but off you go.

Exactly 1 hour later you get the first call. You answer your cell, surprised it’s him. He wants to know when you’re coming home, he misses you. Surprised and somewhat confused, you tell him you’ll be back in an hour or so. In an hour, you get another call: are you all right? He’s worried, you said you’d be home by now. Somewhat embarrassed, you leave your friends. You get several more calls on your way home, all protestations of missing you and “can’t wait to see you.” On the one hand you’re flattered, on the other it feels kind of creepy. And when you get home, he holds you tight and says “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t make me worry like this. Promise you won’t do it again.” “But I just went to spend a little time with friends,” you protest. “You don’t really love me,” he says. “I do!” you cry. “Then you won’t leave me alone like that,” he says, and his kisses melt you into agreeing, yet all the time you wonder what spending time with friends has to do with you loving him.

Absolutely nothing. It does however, speak to a major control issue. Controlling individuals want you to spend all your time only with them, or, put another way, they want your total and complete attention. Even when a controlling individual doesn't want you around, they expect you in some way to be giving them attention (thinking about them, doing for them) and they don't want you giving your time and attention to anyone else unless it is part of - doing something for them.

Don't fall into the trap of "if you really loved me you'd spend more time with me," or any variations on that theme. Someone who tries to guilt you into spending more time with you isn't being loving, they are being manipulative. As the relationship grows and develops over time, your respective activities and interests naturally integrate into the relationship, and your time together will naturally shift and change accordingly. The key word is time, not "time" as in "more time with the new person," but "time" as in take the time to see how the various parts of your lives shift and change to fit well together before you give heart and soul away.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent book is "The Power of Appreciation in Business (MindLab Publishing, 2005). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives--at work, at home and in relationships. Dr. Noelle welcomes your comments via email ( You can visit Dr. Noelle anytime at