How comfortable are we being close in our intimate relationships? Do our internal alarm bells go off frequently as we feel our partner pulling away from us? Or is it the opposite – we begin to sweat when they seek to be too close. Do our partners describe us as “clingy” or “aloof?”
Many of us struggle to one degree or another with connections. We often repeat the same dramas and frustrations in our relationships, if we allow ourselves to get close enough to risk the pain or aggravation to begin with – a risk that we willingly take for the love, comfort and companionship we gain. As with so much in life, there is nothing inherently wrong with our tendencies in one direction or another. The trouble, and pain, often arise when, as we so often will, find ourselves bonding with someone who has a contrasting style. Our need for space will feel to our partner like heartlessness and even contempt. (It’s hard to feel contempt from our partner and not freak out.) On the other side, our need for assurance will feel to our partner as clinginess. (It’s hard to feel that intensity and not close up and withdraw.) However, as is usually the case one person is not contemptuous and the other isn’t clingy. It’s the terribly painful cycle that gets triggered. There is an interesting test available on the web here: Adult Attachment Style which can give you and your partner some insight into your tendencies and where the gaps may be which you can fill in with understanding and compassion.