I’m really good at sabotaging relationships. I wish I wasn’t, but I guess it’s just how I’m wired. Usually it’s because I overthink it, but there are many ways to sabotage a relationship, all of which I’m equally gifted in — except for one, and that is, the art of pulling away when you feel you’re getting too close. Perhaps you’ve experienced it.
Psychology Today reported on this way that people close themselves off in relationships, thus self-sabotaging themselves:
I can’t tell you how many people pull back the moment things get close. Caring about another person deeply is a truly painful thing. It makes us value them more, ourselves more and our lives more. Inevitably, it reminds us of time and loss. On another level, love challenges an old and familiar identity. It thrusts us into maturity and forces us to separate from our past. When we get close to someone, it shifts our tectonic plates. It is a poignant and powerful thing that can erupt a dormant volcano of underlying emotions—things we’ve buried and sat on for years. In order to not let these emotions demolish a flourishing relationship, we have to face these deeper scars. We have to recognize the ways we’ve been hurt and understand how those wounds inform our current behavior. This means being willing to feel pain without trying to numb ourselves or gloss over the feelings that come up. We cannot numb pain without numbing joy.
Personally, I’ve never done this, because my problem is, I get too close. But I’m reminded of an ex who did this to me.
It’s textbook, really. We got close, and he pulled away. Was it because of the closeness? You could say it was for a million reasons, but I’m going to say, yes, it was because we got too close. We got too close, and he sabotaged the relationship by pulling away — a form of protecting himself, I guess. But is there really such a thing as “too close”? What does that mean exactly, anyway? And why is it a bad thing?
I think people pull away because they get mind-numbingly frightened. I like to believe this was the case with my ex, because it’s the “happiest” thing for me to believe. We got incredibly close incredibly fast. We exchanged “I love yous” soon, and without regret. I worry if I sabotaged the relationship by saying “I love you” too soon, but he said it first, and I felt it, too. What could be relationship-damaging about saying “I love you”, right?
The problem is, once you say that, you can’t take it back. Like Harry of When Harry Met Sally… said, “It’s out there.” And since it’s already out there and you can’t take it back, the next thing you can do is disappear. And people who get too close are fond of disappearing. It’s the one magic act they’re really good at. They do it to protect themselves in the long run, thinking, if I go away now, I’ll save myself pain later. It doesn’t make the most sense and it’s hurtful as hell, but I, on some level, understand why they do it.
Do you do this? Why do you sabotage your relationship in this way? Why are you afraid of getting close?
All things I wish I’d asked my ex. For closure more than anything else.
Photo by wilB via Flickr.
Almie Rose is a writer from Los Angeles. She has a blog, Apocalypstick. In addition to Dating & Hookup she also writes for Hello Giggles, The Frisky, Thought Catalog, and Genlux Magazine. Her book, I Forgot To Be Famous, is out now. You can follow her on twitter @apocalypstick. Her favorite pastime is eating and drinking and sleeping and then eating again.
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