Emotional withdrawal can be a confusing and painful situation to deal with in a relationship.
You meet, the attraction is mutual, and trust is earned, so you let yourself fall.
Sometimes the honeymoon period lasts one year, sometimes only a month or two, but it doesn’t matter, you can fall in love with someone in any timeframe, and once you are in that next zone it becomes hard to walk away.
We all accept that relationships have hard times, when you don’t seem to communicate well or maybe your partner seems a little distant. We allow for these little disconnects, we know there will be miscommunications, and as long as you are both willing to work through these times with care and respect, you do your best and carry on.
But what do you do if your partner starts to withdraw more often?
Emotional withdrawal can be upsetting, frustrating and emotionally confusing. You will probably start to question whether it is actually happening, and try to work through it and figure out whether this is just a hitch in the road or something more permanent.
When you are on your own, you accept being alone. You know that if you need company you go and find a friend who is available and spend some time with them.
But in a relationship your partner is supposed to be there for you, someone you can come home to, talk about your day with, say goodnight to. But what if they begin to withdraw and become emotionally distant? What if you can’t find a reason for it and the distance just keeps growing and growing? How long should you wait until trying to confront your partner to ask what is going on? How long do you continue to put up with it after you express the hurt it causes and actions still don’t change?
It might start to feel like a slow starvation, like you’re standing in front of a buffet you’re supposed to be able to eat from, and every time you even try for a nibble your hand gets smacked away. Your confusion grows, you’re hurt by the false invitation, but you’re here now and you don’t know how far it is to the next meal and you’re hungry now, but you can’t have it.
If you feel you are in this situation, there isn’t one answer I can give you. Your situation and the details of it are unique to you. But you need to take care of yourself. Do what is right by others and ensure you are treated right as well.
We need to be prepared to walk away when we are not having our needs met in a relationship. It will be hard and it will most likely come at a time when we are at our weakest. When you expect someone to be there, and they are not, you will find that loneliness in a relationship can be loneliness far beyond being lonely alone. And if you are starting to think this is a reality for you, it may be time to accept that it is better to be on your own than be left hanging in such a difficult emotional state.
Photo: Ed Yourdon/flickr