Q: I really want to have a committed relationship with someone but every time I like a guy and I express it; they get frightened and back off. I know it’s a pattern because it has been happening to me for a while, but I don’t know if this is happening because of me or men in general. I am looking for an outsider’s perspective here.
Ans: Committed relationships make many people back off, not just men. Why would anyone already dealing with so many life responsibilities want more baggage to carry? We all have limits to how much commitment and responsibilities we can take. If we cross those limits we end up with resentment.
As humans, we all desire connection, support, companionship but some need it more than others. Your pattern sounds like there is you expressing your ‘anxious attachment style’ on one hand, and your men exhibiting an ‘avoidant attachment style’ on the other. You probably need more reassurance, touch, communication and commitment because that’s the way you would get attention from your caretakers when you were a child.
We learn how to relate to others intimately from our caretakers, and you must have picked up this strategy to manage your needs back then.
Perhaps you also find people who are more independent and autonomous attractive because you are trying to solve a childhood conflict with one of your caretakers. This could be a parent who was for whatever reason very busy at work, an ill caretaker or someone who came from a family where emotions were not expressed. In this case asking compulsively for commitment and connection is a strategy to fulfill your unresolved conflict. Remember that most men are expected to perform from a younger age in every aspect of life. Many also struggle to understand their own feelings because they have been socialized to suppress them. Asking them to commit too quickly or just because you have strong feelings will make them run away.
Take it slow next time and try to support them to express how they feel about the relationship. Listen to their fears instead of pressurizing them. Even if the relationship doesn’t work out you would have made a couple of friends on the way.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)Candid Corner: Fantasy and the fuss
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