Just now everything was very nice. For months you meet, eat well and spend the night together. But the days after you need distance. Distance from his nearness, you build up distance. In you, you feel a fear of being fully involved with him.
No matter how in love you are with him, you are reluctant to commit yourself and let him into your life. You are afraid to give up your freedom. An approaching relationship is like a lengthy roller coaster ride between proximity and distance for you.
Does this seem familiar to you? Maybe you suspect a hidden relationship anxiety with you. Fear of attachment is probably more common than you think. There are some women and men who suffer from a relationship anxiety.
How to become aware of your fear of attachment and how to deal with it, we’ll tell you in this article. In addition, in this article you will find appropriate solutions, based on the causes of anxiety.
Finally, we would like to explain to you how you can best find your way out of this fear in 3 steps and share 4 tipswith you on how to help your (potential) partner should he suffer.
Relationship anxiety – a self-test
Here are a few things you can check for yourself about whether you may be suffering from a relationship anxiety:
- Can I allow and above all show feelings?
- Do I have enough self-confidence? What do I dare to do?
- Am I able to surrender to a partner and drop myself?
- Do I allow myself to cry in front of my partner, to get angry, to open myself completely?
- Do I feel self-love? Love and accept myself with all my heart?
- Am I worth loving?
- Can I allow others to love me?
- Do I still believe in love despite all negative experiences?
- Is emotional closeness something positive for me?
If you can answer most questions positively, then you are most likely not anxious to be relational.
People without attachment fears are able to fully indulge in the love of their partner. They are usually aware that relationships can also fail and some relationships diverge. These people usually maintain an unwavering basic trust in themselves and in love.
What is relationship anxiety?
Those who are not afraid of relationships probably suspect a lame excuse or a myth.
Maybe you’ve already heard these statements from your girlfriends or even used them: ” I think that’s an excuse. He just wants to back down. “Or” Admit that you want to keep your options open. You probably are not looking for anything solid. “
Indeed, attachment phobia can be a real obstacle for someone who suffers from it. Not infrequently the suffering is high.
The term broken down
Relationships involve social interactions, one of the most basic needs of human beings. Proximity plays a central role as the biggest factor. This includes physical and emotional closeness . In addition to the security and security in the family and friends, we are looking for people for a suitable partner. Evolutionary to propagate us. Emotionally, to share our lives with him.
Fear is something primordial. It is important for survival, sharpens the senses and gives the signal to the physical body : ” Danger in delay! Run away immediately! “
Binding anxiety is basically ” just ” a fear such as the fear of spiders or snakes. But while most fears are to a certain extent protective of life and rooted in evolution, the fear of closeness is unexplainable.
The fear of relationships is most likely to resemble those of ghosts – you can not pin them down to something concrete, but you may associate them with a situation. Typically, relationship phobics, with too much physical or emotional closeness, seek refuge in their apparent personal freedom .
Childhood experiences and recent separation stories may be possible reasons for the state of anxiety. The important thing is that you become aware of the complexity behind it and acknowledge it so that you can break it.
Is fear of relationships the norm?
We can reassure you: Doubts at the beginning of a new relationship are normal. Maybe you’re wondering if this man is really the right one or if he can give you what you need. This initial uncertainty is not yet a signal of a fear of attachment.
Think back to your last relationship: Have you possibly had bad experiences and are therefore a little burdened with doubts?
However, if you tend to get restless, can not really enjoy time together and long for distance, this may be a hidden clue to relationship anxiety .
Even if your relationships often break in the early stages, it is possible that you are suffering from attachment anxiety.
Feel inside yourself: Do you suspect that you may be afraid of attachments ? You may be aware of it now.
How does a person with attachment anxiety behave?
Right from the start, we want to clear things up with a cliché: women meet this kind of fear just as much as men do. In the evolutionary history of men, we attribute a more pronounced escape behavior to women, whereas women have a stronger family drive.
Here are some points how relationship anxiety can show with you:
- avoid too much emotional closeness.
- Maintains mostly entertaining relationships.
- fall in love quickly and flee shortly thereafter.
- In a strong relationship they are often aloof and need a lot of freedom.
- As a single you often have affairs or one-night-stands.
- are very picky – everything should be perfect on the potential partner.
- you are very perfectionist with yourself.
- a ” I love you ” is hard to beat.
It seems that it is difficult for someone with anxiety to find the right balance between distance and closeness. They quickly feel alienated in a relationship and may break out after intimate episodes. They seek their freedom. It also happens that sometimes these people are not available to their partner for days or even weeks.
When we are in imbalance between closeness and distance, we may feel constrained in a relationship. We do not necessarily refer this directly to our partner, but to the situation itself. This can be painful for us, often even more so than for our partner.
Remarkably often people who can not get involved in closeness are very successful in their professional life. Mostly they stress that they owe their success to themselves. They’ve probably as effectively built a wall around their emotional world – to protect themselves and their hearts.
Are you familiar with that?
As soon as you feel more closeness and commitment, more love, intimacy and emotions in a relationship, you’ll probably most likely escape – the escape into your supposed happiness back into your defensive wall.
Escape as the only way out
Let’s compare relationship anxiety with fear of heights: If you’re afraid of heights, you’re unlikely to volunteer for a parachute jump. Just the thought of it would scare you.
Similarly, people with a bondage fear : Anything remotely related to a serious relationship brings with it enormous uncertainty.
In order to escape the ” danger “, they have set up unconscious defensive strategies.
Actually, we humans have been scared to protect our own lives. Under fear of relationship, we respond to an impending relationship as a threat to one’s life, comparable to an attack.
We think it best to be on our own, because a relationship with more closeness could be dangerous to our lives. After building a protective wall around us and our emotions , we’ll probably try everything to successfully defend them.
Deep down, we may wish for a close relationship. But we usually associate them with a danger. Sooner or later, we feel insecure in a relationship and strike the ” best ” way for us , which frees us from anxiety (even if only for a short time).
Below we have listed a few examples of trigger points for you :
- joint decisions (considered a restriction of freedom)
- high standards
- strong, sudden distancing despite intimate feelings for the partner
- steady re-assurance of the partner’s love, which can degenerate into control delusion
- Jealousy as an indication of exclusivity
- Talking about long-term plans in a relationship (for example, moving in together or having a holiday together)
- Loss fears of the partner
Most of the time, we are surrounded by the fear that we are too entangled in another person. We want to avoid co-dependency . And, above all, we are afraid of our own ideals. Relationships are for us mostly victims, which we are rarely willing to perform.
Bum in front of relationship – fear of closeness and its causes
The fear of closeness can have several causes. Often people with attachment anxiety have had several bad experiences. For one thing, the causes are far back into childhood. Sometimes so far that they are no longer aware of it. On the other hand, the cause may be in the last relationship.
We analyzed the most common causes:
Negative experiences in childhood
The defining image of a relationship is based on our childhood experiences, which are usually experienced within our first two years of life. Here is the so-called basic trust. In order for the basic trust to develop healthily, a child needs both security and clear boundaries . When these factors are out of balance, the chances of developing a fear of closeness are higher.
The connection to the mother (or to the first caregiver) determines the direction and time signature, how relationships are designed later.
A healthy mother-child relationship is usually characterized by security and security and the needs of the child are perceived as sensitive. But not only the mother is responsible, even a difficult relationship with the father can be a breeding ground for attachment anxiety.
Relationship anxiety – possible causes at a glance
Relationship anxiety due to emotional restraint
Do you realize that you control or even hide your own feelings and needs? As a child you probably had a very distant, repellent and dominant parent. As a result, you have learned to focus on externals and hide your emotional side.
You shine with good grades and won competitions. In all likelihood, even in adulthood, you will be careful not to allow too much emotional closeness.
The consequence of this emotional restraint of the parents in childhood can mean that we:
- the ability to admit love could not unfold.
- did not have the chance to learn to have an emotional relationship.
- Rather, these days are more rational and often ” married ” to our job .
Therefore, those who suffer from fear of relationship are more likely to associate security and security with outward success.
fear of loss
Another case is neglected children. They live in constant fear of loss. These often have caregivers who do not feel equal to the role of guide and watcher . In many cases, the parents are not aware of it. This unbalanced parent-child relationship can have many causes:
- for example, a separation or divorce of the parents,
- Time or money shortage
- or quite simply overstrain.
As a result, these children in adulthood are likely to lose their partner quickly.
The other extreme is overprotecting and patronizing the child. The parents have interfered regularly and excessively in the affairs of the child. The children are thus deprived of the opportunity to gain their own experience. At some point, a rebellion in the children, a protest against any kind of tutelage. They ” break out “.
If you identify with an overprotected child, the process of separation from your parents may have been successful but also painful. Through this process, patronized children often develop tremendous independence.
They usually compare a fixed relationship unconsciously with the paternalism of the parents and see them as a threat to their highly developed autonomy. Internally, they are afraid to slip into dependence again.
Think about it, did you perhaps experience something like that as a child?
The above tendencies in education may be in the way of developing your self-love . In adulthood, there is often a fear of either being abandoned, disappointed or rejected by others. Or the fear of not being able to develop because your partner could patronize you.
Role model of the parents
But not only how we were educated, how the way our parents perceive their relationship may also have a strong impact on our ability to bond. After all, this is the first love relationship we consciously perceive as a child. This determines how we later shape our relationships.
The blueprint for our later binding behavior
If our parents live a visible love relationship with a lot of security, tenderness and great understanding for the partner, a later fear of closeness is unlikely. However, if our parents are cold and distant, if both allow little emotionality and live more together than with each other, it can disturb our relationship image .
Likewise, the character and state of mind of our parents play a big role. Those who grow up with a suspicious and dissatisfied mother / father sometimes develop problems in engaging with other people and are sometimes burdened with many prejudices.
Good childhood experiences usually promote your happy attachment behavior in adulthood. Accordingly, you probably also have a good sense of self and have a basic trust in your partner.
Negative experiences in adulthood
Nonetheless, a happy childhood does not automatically seal a later relationship. Failed relationships and traumatic separations in the recent past can also lead to a fear of relationships.
If you could not find any signs of attachment anxiety in your childhood, but you are suffering from a kind of fear of closeness, the cause may be in a previous relationship.
Remember your past relationships. Why did they break up? How did the separation go? How did you break up?
Possible causes of fear of relationships at a glance
fear of loss
It may happen that you did not process a previous breakup and perhaps you can not get involved in something new. Maybe your fear is due to a loss of fear . This fear is closely related to attachment anxiety . Both fears have a similar effect of aloofness and emotional distance.
Have you been very jealous in the last relationship or have you possibly had a relationship with a jealous man? Jealousy is related to injured basic trust and may also create a kind of control mania that ultimately leads to separation .
These experiences have probably meant that you are slowly closing in on relationships to unconsciously protect yourself from re-injury.
Mental and physical violence
However, if you have experienced extreme cases such as stalking, abuse, or violence in a previous relationship, your self-esteem is likely to have shrunk. Before considering the next relationship, we recommend that you take time for yourself and work through these traumas .
Psychotherapy can be helpful in these circumstances.
I am afraid of a relationship, what can I do?
Could you possibly recognize yourself in the mentioned causes? We can calm you down, a relationship anxiety does not mean that you can not have a fulfilling relationship.
Here are two tips on how to handle it:
” The cause of anxiety is rooted in my childhood “
Do you suspect that something happened in your childhood that prevents you from establishing a stable relationship? Ask your mother (or first caregiver) what happened in your first two years of life.
Maybe your parents have been arguing or even breaking up during this time? Presumably, then has set in your subconscious mind, a negative belief . For example: An intimate bond leads to painful separations. Reasons for this are often quarrels about belongings, to children or to money.
Even (often banal) sentences of the parent like ” Never engage in a man / woman ” or ” We never marry again ” can reinforce your negative relationship image in the subconscious mind.
Our tip: talk to your parents about why it came to separation or quarrel . Please be aware that this is the story of your parents. This may be the first step in recognizing the formative relationship image in your subconscious mind. From your childhood experiences, you can see how well you’ve been developing from this formative time.
Here it is important: The love of a partner is different from the love that you have for your parents. Someone who truly loves you will hopefully not want to patronize you to the extent that it restricts you. He will probably show you his limits.
Working together to improve relationship anxiety strengthens and gives courage
Would you like to work on your or your partner’s relationship anxiety? All the better. Working together can strengthen your relationship . You can probably avoid future relationship problems .
It can lead you and your partner into a freedom that allows you to shape your relationships yourself.
Give him the time and space he needs. Give yourself the freedom when you need it. A fulfilling love relationship is a game of healthy distance and closeness. In particularly profound cases, it may sometimes be necessary to consider therapy.
Are you working on yourself and your fear, be patient . Even if your (potential) partner is already in the starting blocks. He will probably understand.
It pays to work on your fears, because then you will go through life with much more joy and courage. Your relationships are likely to improve abruptly and you will be able to bring more love into your life!