Why do men and women dive into relationship, then do everything to avoid intimacy?
Q: What are intimacy breaking behaviors?
A: They are behaviors that get in the way of you and your partner feeling connected.
Q: Why do we indulge in intimacy breaking behaviors?
A: Often, we engage in these behaviors because the movement towards intimacy can be confronting and bring up internal experiences that are uncomfortable.
My experience suggests that we can stand only a certain level of intimacy based on our sense of self. As the level of intimacy rises toward our set point regarding self-esteem, we become uncomfortable and will unconsciously sabotage the process of increasing intimacy.
“But I love being intimate.” Yes, many of us say this, but what we say and what we do are often contradictory. I have some friends who do not even know what it means when their partners’ say they want more intimacy.
For those of you who do know what it is, but notice they or their partner sometimes feel disconnected, being able to identify intimacy breaking behavior is the first step in re-establishing the bridge towards intimacy.
Here are ten common intimacy breaking behaviors. Which ones do you use?
1) Getting lost in thinking about work, success, or just getting down on yourself and being in a bad mood. These are preemptive actions that block connecting before it even gets started.
A variation on this is being connected and then bringing up topics that you know (when you think about it) your partner is not interested in.
2) When your partner is sharing with you something that is emotional or makes you uncomfortable, you change the subject.
3) Getting into an argument with your partner. This is a guaranteed intimacy breaker for most of us. And since it is so common, being able to work through arguments in a constructive way is essential for the long-term health of your relationship.
On the other hand, it is possible to argue and increase intimacy. Arguments can make you appreciate your partner’s intellect, tenacity, and wisdom. Arguing can lead you to a deeper understanding of the other person.
4) Criticizing your partner (and you think you are helping). If you have ever been on the receiving end of “helpful” criticism, you know that it is building walls and resentment, not bridges.
5) Complaining about your partner. This is similar, but different than, criticizing, as in the above case, where you genuinely think you are helping. When complaining you are not trying to help, you are venting your anger and trying to modify your partner’s behavior.
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