Q. Everybody around me is getting married and I feel that my life is a mess. I have always been an advocate of living-in because I saw my parents live a life of misery by being married to each other. I thought that finding a partner and falling in love would be enough for me, but even that seems to be a distant illusion. Should I just take the plunge like all my friends?
Living-in can be as miserable as a marriage or being single, especially when you are looking for happiness outside of yourself. Nothing to worry, most of us are and feel disappointed when we realise that others can’t really make us happy. There must be good reasons for you being single. Perhaps, you are not ready to fall in love. You are not ready for a partner. Perhaps, you have unrealistic expectations of what and who your partner should be. Or maybe your positive emotions are blocked because you have spent many years blocking your negative emotions. You are probably afraid of intimacy or too eager to latch on to it. Both extremes are strategies to insecure attachment styles you have picked up from your caregivers.
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You subconsciously send those signals to people you meet and this causes them to stay away. Those signals can also attract the wrong type of people and leave you wondering whether there is anyone ‘right’ for you. When we grow up in an environment where people are miserable, we often tend to become detached from our emotions because we don’t want to experience pain and discomfort. The hurt of parents fighting or even ignoring each other has been passed on to you just by living with them for a number of years. Emotional deactivation is a strategy to not feel hurt. When we deactivate, disengage or even distract ourselves from those negative emotions we are automatically shutting the positive ones as well, love included. It sounds strange but to feel the love you need to be open to, and okay with, negative emotions. Please do not take the plunge until you do that.
The writer is an Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)