Why many are Scared of Love

fear of love

Why many are Scared of Love

Did you know that most divorces and breakups happen at the beginning of the year? January seeks the most separations of couples. Why is that? Speculations abound but no real reason has been pegged. It could be that people want to have a new life in the New Year. Or perhaps they see Valentine’s Day down the road and run off before it gets there. But this begs the question, why do so many breakups and divorces happen at all? One reason, lots of people are scared of an emotion that should instead empower them, love.

These fears don’t always surface at the beginning of a relationship. They may lay dormant waiting for the right trigger to bring them forth. They all come down to one thing, a fear of intimacy. And even though initially this fear is seen as a protective quality, it ultimately keeps us from the intimacy and closeness we desire most. There are lots of ways to be scared of love. See if any of these describe you or someone you know. First is fear of vulnerability. This usually happens at the beginning of a relationship. Love means letting someone else in. You are suddenly dependent upon someone else for your happiness, not just you. And this fear of vulnerability can often affect or even end a relationship, the fearful partner driving the other away.

Falling in love also brings up old scars from the past. Childhood traumas are often brought forth. Anger, resentment, neglect, rejection and fear can all resurface in conjunction of finding love in one’s life. Love can oppose our old perceptions of ourselves. We may think we’re unlovable or undeserving of love. There are those who sometimes mistake their inner critic for how they actually feel about themselves. They let those negative voices become their opinion of themselves. The inner critic is an amalgam. It is nothing but a collection of negative messages we were exposed to when we were young by our parents and others, or those which our parents felt about themselves which we internalized and made about ourselves. Other negative messages from bullies and other peers may become part of this amalgam. Eventually it gets ingrained in the individual. Falling in love, and being validated by someone who loves you, throws a wrench in that perception. And since our biggest fear is that of the unknown, the person who is loved but doesn’t feel that they deserve it doesn’t know what to do.

Some people fear inevitable pain from the elation of love. That the breakup will hurt just as bad as the love now feels. But how do you know that it won’t work out? Lastly, some people fear that the other person loves them more than they love that person. They’re afraid that this dynamic will never change. Love changes over time and moment to moment. Do not fear love. Let it be a transformative force in your life, not a blast that forces you to crouch but an updraft that makes you soar. For more advice read, Love Me, Don’t Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships by Michelle Skeen, PsyD.

Your Romantic Style

ATTACHMENT-STYLE

Your Romantic Style

Lots of people don’t know their relationship style, but it affects almost every aspect of your romantic relationships from how you select a mate to how you break up. Your romantic style, or style of attachment as it’s called in psychology, can help you understand yourself better and how you relate to another in a relationship. If you come to understand your style of attachment you can see what positive and negative effects it has on your relationships. Initially, our style of attachment is formed in childhood. But it’s an outline. It develops over time. Our attachment style speaks to how we interpret our needs and go about getting them met. There are many different attachment styles. See which one fits you and other people you know.

The first is secure attachment. This type is secure in relationships. They saw their parents as a sanctuary which they could venture out from to explore their world. This type supports a distressed partner and feels connected and secure in their adult relationships. This is an honest relationship with openness and support. There is an equality of power shared in this model. They provide their partners with a true sense of safety and display real acts of love.

The next type is the anxious preoccupied style of attachment. This style feels insecure and constantly seeks validation from their partner. They want their partner to complete or save them. This is the needy type that clings to their significant other. The anxious preoccupied type are often victims of a self-induced vicious circle. Their insecurity leads to clingy behavior that drives their partner away, validating their “See s/he doesn’t really love me” feeling underlying it all.

The next type is dismissive avoidant attachment. These people need emotional distance from their partner. This type wants to appear independent. They may come off as self-absorbed and overly worried about their own comfort. This semi-independence is a mental fixation. But in reality they need to connect and bond just like everyone else. This person puts less importance on the relationship and in fact pushes their significant other away. This person can shut down emotionally if pushed to open up.

The last type is the fearful avoidant attachment style. This person doesn’t want to be too far nor too close to their partner. They try to put their feelings aside but can’t. These people have episodes where they are overcome by their own emotions. They can be moody, mixed up and unpredictable. They believe you need people to have your needs met, but if you let them get too close they’ll hurt you. To learn more about different romantic styles and how they impact relationships, read the book, Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT.

When an Ego Battle Replaces your Relationship

Dispute

When an Ego Battle Replaces your Relationship

Relationships can do funny things to people. The feeling of attachment can also bring confusion, fear of intimacy and the need to guard one’s self. This is due to past traumas during childhood or in previous relationships. So to protect one’s self this person will often lapse into creating fights, sarcasm, vengeful gestures, passive-aggressiveness, resentfulness, over-the-top competitiveness, self-doubt, frustration and aggression.

This person is afraid of letting their guard down or letting someone in for fear of being hurt. If you yourself think you have become stuck in an ego battle that has replaced your relationship, take a look at these signs. Ask your significant other or consider whether you are experiencing these symptoms. This person has a need to control things and situations. They may have a constant critic going in their head. They may be full of put-downs, sarcasm, criticism or ridicule. The ego tries too hard to control the situation. It is doing so in order to protect itself from love and so ironically becomes the very obstacle to what the person desires most, bonding with their love.

Some people go completely the other way. They give up everything to be with their spouse, their friends, family, hobbies, education and everything they value, just to be with the object of their desire. They lose themselves and this becomes their obstacle to their own pleasure, equal love. The last sign that you are in an ego battle is when one person is “Flat-lining.” This is behavior where one person in the relationship tries to disappear in order to not raise the ire of the other, and avoid conflict. They withdraw from their partner and stay in the relationship in name only. There is no engagement or intimacy. If the right relationship skills aren’t learned, even if this relationship doesn’t last, the person with commitment issues will bring the same problems into their next relationships.

Instead of using negative means to interact in your relationship, see the pattern and learn to dis-engage it. If this is your spouse or lover, teach them that they don’t have to act like this, that this isn’t what love is about. Whenever a problem arises, each side should take a deep breath, relax and manage the negative emotions that come to the surface. Both parties should consciously reach deep down inside and bring out the skills they need to make this relationship work; patience, understanding, openness and the desire to come to an understanding. Counseling or couples therapy may also be necessary. The first step is realizing the problem. The next is working through it. For more advice read, Why You Do the Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Gary Sibcy.

How to Deal with a Spouse who is a Sex Addict

cheat

How to Deal with a Spouse who is a Sex Addict

There is a divide on where sex addiction comes from among psychologists. Some believe it stems from a trauma endured during infancy or early childhood. This trauma creates an intimacy disorder. The disorder surfaces later in life in the form of an obsession with porn or taking part in infidelity and other high-risk behaviors. Another camp of psychologists believes sex addiction isn’t a compulsion at all but a coping mechanism. Just like with drugs or alcohol, it is taken part in to relieve pressure, pain or an emptiness felt deep inside. Drug addicts need a fix and, in this view, so do sex addicts. The fix here however is sex. No matter where it stems from, a spouse with a sex addiction takes a heavy toll on a marriage. The person should seek individual therapy with a counselor experienced in such matters. What’s more, they should also attend a support group in your area as part of their treatment plan. When they enter recovery, they will hopefully cease their destructive behaviors, and work through whatever trauma they’ve endured with the therapist. The marriage will also need significant work to get it back on track.

A remediation strategy is needed to address the pain, hurt and trauma the spouse of a sex addict has endured. The couple should then meet together with the therapist during periodic strategy meetings in order for the partner to assist in therapy. The spouse can be a valuable resource, helping the therapist to evaluate the addict’s recovery, provide other information on the spouse and help the spouse work through their problem. Trust at this point has been obliterated. It has to be rebuilt from the ground up. Still, the healing process has to be conducted in such a way whereas it heals both parties, rather than causing more harm. Usually, the recovering addict either wants to clam up, recoiling at the very thought of revealing details about their previous activities, or to show their sincere desire to change, blurting out their betrayals regardless of setting or present company. Neither one is helpful when trying to repair a marriage stretched to its limit. There are a few addicts who practice a strategy of “staggered disclosure.” This is letting out just enough information to dismay their partner, without getting to the heart of the questions the partner most wants answers to.

None of these patterns ensure a healthful recovery. Still, all therapists agree a certain amount of disclosure is required for the healing process to take place. One survey found that 93% of partners wanted full disclosure for intimacy to be rebuilt. Disclosure however must only be done in a very tightly controlled way. Usually, three to six months is the period where psychologists believe full disclosure can finally take place. One method often used is when the addict writes down all the lies and infidelities in a timeline. Then the spouse is asked to write down their “deal breakers” that would discontinue the marriage. The person in therapy is given this to work into their completed disclosure essay. When a sex addict is in the full throes of their addiction, they will do anything to cover up their trail. They may lie about where they were. They may erase texts, calls, emails. They will lie about the relationships they are involved in and the hookups they’ve had. But in the recovery period a spouse has a chance to talk about how they feel and elicit empathy and regret from the addict. If done correctly, this can be a powerful moment, lifting a tremendous weight off of each person’s shoulders. It is a good place to start from, in terms of rebuilding intimacy. If you are in a marriage with a sex addict, get them to seek treatment. For more on this topic pick up a copy of, Before the Dust Settles (Advice from a Sex Addict’s Wife): 8 Mistakes to Avoid Immediately after Discovering Your Partner’s Sex Addiction by Margaret Stone.

Harsh but True Reasons not to Have Kids

baby

Harsh but True Reasons not to Have Kids

Everyone knows all the good reasons to have children. From carrying on the family name, to bringing a completely new life into the world, to seeing the most beautiful parts of your partner and you developing in a new human being, it can be a pretty incredible experience. Lots of people get caught up in these lofty ideas however and ignore the harsh reality, the sad but true reasons many people chose not to have kids. One reason is that they are so expensive. You can go broke trying to pay for a child. One study found that having a child in America in the end costs the same as a new home. If you and your sweetie are barely squeaking out a living consider the cost before having a baby.

A psychological reason is that you will likely cause some sort of trauma to the child, like it or not, that you and they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. No one is perfect. And in fact the harder you try to be the perfect parent the more overbearing you’ll be, and the more likely to hurt your child. In this, a lot of children grow up to resent their parents. So you put all of your time, money and energy into someone who grows up to resent you? How is that even close to fair?

If you are planning to have a prosperous career or follow your passion, your energy won’t be on your kids. Likewise if you are too career minded your kids will suffer. It’s hard to have complete focus and energy on something. But when your energy is so separated than you can’t throw everything you have into something and see the most success. Another problem, you won’t have any privacy anymore, at least until they move out. And the way this economy is going that can be decades later. Everything will have to be planned around your kids. Your life as you know it will cease to exist. You can’t exactly have a life of your own anymore.

Your kid will act poorly at some point, even the best behaved. It will reflect poorly on you. Yet you will still be required to love your child. Certainly it’s important to evaluate your desire, maturity level, and the desire and the maturity level of your partner, and even your financial and living situation before deciding to have children. You have to be ready to give your everything to them. Your first concern has to be them, or else they won’t turn out right and everything will come crashing down. Certainly there are no perfect parents. If it’s the right path for you, you just have to try your best. For more advice read, Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance by Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D.