This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

Has this happened to you? Two people fall in love with each other. But then one person runs away, pushes the other person away, escalates with anger or personal attacks, or withdraws. The person who has not withdrawn becomes enormously puzzled by this obvious change of heart and frantically attempts to charm, buy, entice, cajole, threaten, or seduce the other person back.

As it turns out, this is a common relationship experience that causes immense heartache and confusion for the person who is being rejected. “What happened?” they ask. This relationship is “The One,” so this can’t be happening. What can I do to rescue the connection between us? This bond is too important for me to lose.

If the relationship breaks up, there may be many answers to those questions. You may never know with any degree of certainty what actually happened—because the other person may not tell you the actual truth.

What is that truth? The following are some of the more common reasons:

  • I didn’t actually love you. I tried to, but I couldn’t get there—or I got there but I couldn’t stay there.
  • I’m afraid of being too vulnerable, too exposed, hurt. Intimacy is too close. You could reject me, leave me, or betray me. I can’t take that risk, so I run away from love or I push you away. Better to be safe than rejected, abandoned, or found to not be good enough. I’m very afraid you’ll nd out I’m inadequate and leave me.
  • I don’t feel worthy of love and/or affection, so I don’t let myself love—and I don’t give my heart.

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Tagged: disengaged   distance   what happened to the intimacy   why is my partner acting distant  

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