A Partner with a Fear of Closeness and Commitment
One of the most confusing and difficult relationships we can find ourselves in is with someone who wants to have us, to retain us, without caring for us or the relationship.
This is not to speak of the sexual fetish. It is speaking of the type of psychological relationship where the person wants to be with us and have regular access to us, but not actually do anything to tend to us personally and to cultivate a loving and mutual relationship.
What Do I Mean?
The early days were interesting, passionate, and exciting. Things happened fast and they wanted it to be just the two of us, together and forever, to possibly even get married. Then something weird starts to happen. It takes a while to see it, but it does happen and we finally start to notice.
They seem to refuse, and quite possibly attack, any sort of logical and constructive measures that should be attached to their so-called emotional interest in you.
They don’t want to open up
They may even retreat into a cocoon at your attempts to get close
They show little interest in love-making
They get angry whenever we try to be fun-loving or have a moment of weakness.
Sadly, the warm, affectionate, and faithful fusion we thought was occurring on both sides seems to be skewed and unfair to one side. It’s almost as if they saw us as a child sees a toy. They had to have it, and now that they do, they would rather just keep it in the box.
A Child and Their Toy
So, we do our best and we try to talk to them about it. We are angry and hurt too, but somebody has to start the healing process and it always seems to be us.
Unfortunately, even leading by example, we don’t make it very far. It even seems to make things worse, as if they are using our compassion and patience as fuel for their fire to be offended. As if our attempt to make things better in the relationship only hurts them somehow.
Whatever our complaint is, they will take offense to it and conveniently avoid discussing it, and they will shun any attempts at finding a resolution. They will say we are imagining things. It is all in our heads and they are more than committed to the relationship. And truth be told, it is hard to prove that someone isn’t committed to a relationship.
There are no cameras we can go back and review for a fair call and anything can be explained away in a ‘common-sense’ way.
Ultimately, it leaves us feeling like the bad guy. My god, do I really deserve this? Maybe I am a horrible person? We begin to feel that we must be out of our minds, or simply mean-spirited, to question their lack of commitment to making things work. This lack of commitment that we fell so profoundly and strongly wounded by.
The Prolonged Suffering
We end up twisted and bruised on the inside. We love them so much. Our deepest desire is to be tended to by them, to have them give more to the relationship and to us. We begin to go a little crazy from their careless disregard, disrespect, and indifference to what we thought was good for both of us.
We are with someone, but the lonesomeness and heartache are real and unbearable.
We start to feel after some time, and after many times of trying without their mutual interest, that we are no longer meant to be. So we try to reject them. It isn’t that we don’t want them, but what they offer in exchange for what we give is just so obviously disproportionate. No creature that hasn’t become a zombie could allow anything less.
So we have to prepare ourselves to move on. Yet, they are clever and they see it coming. They realize they have tortured us long enough, so they start to play on our hearts yet again. Making us feel bad that we are leaving the relationship. When in reality, it was them that was never truly there to begin with.
The Final Straw
So they tell us that they want us. They finally decide they want to apologize and to try to make things work. At this point, we should answer (if we weren’t so hopelessly in love):
‘You say that, but it has to be in a way that is fair. That is mutual in cooperation. You want me, but you don’t want to take care of the needs of the relationship. I can’t do this alone. And compared to what I feel love should be, you have rejected me and the idea of us.’
Obviously, the first few attempts at trying to leave will be abandoned. They will hug us and open up to us. All the things we have always wanted to begin with. But as soon as they have us again, they will go back to their normal selves of inaction in building a better and stronger relationship.
With each time it happens, our logic begins to outweigh our sentimental hopes and desires. With great anxiety and torment, we become aware that we have to leave someone that we have no true wish to live without. Who, when seeing our intentions, tells us with immense dedication and seeming commitment that they want to make things work now.
Understanding and Compassion
Our dangerous lover is, regrettably, not being truthful with us or themselves. It isn’t that they are a bad person, it is that they have been emotionally-hurt before, like many of us, and have buried that pain deep inside and refuse to go back to that place or to a place they could be hurt again.
We aren’t being punished for our faults necessarily, though it may seem so at first. We are being punished for those that have hurt them before.
Where our lovers may be at fault is when they refuse to recognize, accept, and heal this inner wound for the sake of their current love that they are now destroying. Until they decide they want to heal and hopefully allow us to help them and be there for them as we wish they were for us, they will be unable to truly care for us or defeat their fear of being close and committed to someone.
They don’t want to lose us, we give them so much of the emotional needs we desire. Yet, they are unable to really use our patience and understanding and compassion, much less return it, until they are ready to heal their previous wounds and grow with us.
Ideally, it would be nice to know that the end of all this isn’t our fault. That we haven’t been too hard or impatient with them. Unfortunately, those types of comforts will be burned and left in the ruins of this fiercely complicated and upsetting relationship.
It isn’t bad to want all of someone - to, in a certain sense, want to possess them. And we are all guilty of being difficult, distant, and damaged from time to time in the relationship. All lovers disappoint and hurt each other.
The true offense here is to have someone that is unwilling, possibly even hostile, to offer an equal and mutual effort for the betterment of the relationship. The misdeed lies in someone giving their life to another and not getting the same respect in return, time and again.
In which case, it is a situation - albeit a terrible one - where we should consider it our role and burden to walk away.