If you have been keeping up with Married at First Sight you would have seen Heidi talking about her relationship fears. She is wanting a relationship so much but finds it hard to let go of her fears…
Are you at a stage in your life where you think you are ready for a relationship?
Do you feel like you have moved on from a past relationship and have so much love to give?
Do you have relationship fears?
Dating and finding someone special is something many of us want, however this can be a challenge at times. You might be finding yourself more than ready to find someone, give lots of love and affection, and ready to plan your future.
Let’s say you come across someone who appears to be a great match for you. At times, they seem too good to be true! You want to embrace all of those romantic feelings, and you start contemplating a relationship with them. You may even imagine a future with them! At the same time however, you fear being too vulnerable and liking them way too much. What if they don’t like you back? The worry sets in, and over time it gets worse.
One day they say or do something that really hurts you, and you find yourself deeply wounded. This whole experience reminds you of all the times in the past where you’ve been hurt, abandoned, or betrayed by someone you loved. To protect yourself from getting hurt this time, you distance yourself. You become cold and aloof, or you stop talking to them all together without any explanation because bringing up your past to this new unsuspecting person will make you seem insecure, needy, and out of control. At the same time, your distancing jeopardises your chances of forming what could be a meaningful relationship. You then realise that this happens time and time again – that you engage in a vicious cycle of self-sabotage and have many relationship fears.
So how can you get out of it?
90% percent of our current pain is related to our past, and only 10% is linked to the present experience (Gray, 1993). Sabotaging your chances of a relationship can occur in many ways including running away, starting unnecessary fights, doing nothing, being defensive, holding grudges, denying your feelings, having high expectations, and avoiding the person all together. “What you resist not only persists but will grow in size” (Carl Jung). In other words, if you choose to avoid this time, your fears will be bigger and stronger next time in the same scenario.
Some healthy tips for you to overcome your self-sabotage –
- Identify the situations that trigger your painful past experiences
- Become more aware of your behaviour in these situations
- Distinguish between the past and the present
- Learn to share your experiences with someone you trust, and your new partner (they are not a mind reader!)
- Try not to continue to bring up the past all the time – it’s good to leave past relationships in the past
- Don’t avoid communicating with your partner – this is so important!
- Speak nicely to yourself, and don’t put yourself down
- Try not to take things personally
- Remember, our pains from the past can be overcome
It’s important for you to take some time to reflect on your relationships fears, and the ways you may be sabotaging your relationship. Try to minimise these behaviours with the people around you, particularly your new love interest. This process can be difficult, given that you’ve probably been doing this for long time to protect yourself.
If you feel like you need some additional support through these changes, and guidance on how to manage yourself in new relationships.
Written by Amelie Nguyen – Psychologist – www.creatingchange.net.au