These are people who maintain control & power by making distance into an art form. This means they do very little they don’t want to do. Their pleasure is being in charge and not really being vulnerable to anyone else. Vulnerability costs them too much.

This is the guy you’ve been dating, then you find out he’s engaged to some one else. This is the woman who keeps secrets. This is the husband who is married to two wives. Secrets are their way to stay in charge.

Everything stays on their terms & then they feel safe from the messiness that relationships require.

Withholding information is something they are expert at. They don’t really share anything about themselves. They listen to you to understand you. They don’t really want to be understood. Things are much less confusing in a relationship that is only really about one person.

If you feel like you are banging your head into a wall, you probably are. The wall is most important. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will be special enough to bring the wall down.

The walls are who they are.

All their relationships are kept separate. Their family is one circle, their friends are another. Their work circle is another separate circle. The circles never intersect or touch each other. This is a defense system & a way to stay safe emotionally.

Ask them a question about what they’ve done to add to problems in a past relationship & they will deflect. Most of what they share is really artful dodging. They know you really well & listen to you but there is a true lopsidedness in the relationship.

Lopsidedness is a tricky business because sacrifice & compromise are part of the work of relationships. Hopefully, you will notice over time when the lopsidedness goes in one direction. It really never benefits you.

Often emotional distancers are really unable to do anything different. Intimacy is really a complete mystery. Intimacy is not possible without vulnerability. These are people who are hyper vigilant.

Stop going to a dry well. Try to see them more accurately and have no expectations. Let them be who they are. They aren’t doing anything to you that they’re not doing to themselves.

Safety is more precious than escaping loneliness or making connections. They have to be the ones to decide that’s not true anymore.


About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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