Who doesn’t want to be in a loving and healthy relationship where your partner pushes you to do better? We all need to be social and have loving relationships since it is the key to our survival. However, with the recent pandemic, loneliness may be on the rise. Andrea F. Polard Psy.D. posits that individuals may not be choosing the right kind of partners because subconsciously, they feel that they are not ready for an intimate relationship. So what can we do when we crave intimacy and love? How do we counteract the fear of being abandoned? There are five ways.
Like any issue that we deal with, we first have to take responsibility. It is possible that we may be the problem and that is totally okay. Own up to your mistakes, recognize the pattern and learn to override it.
Understand you can override old patterns with help from others
Most human beings are capable of learning healthy styles of love. It is never too late. Pollard states, “Some of us must gain insight into our pattern with the support of a therapist.”
Take some time for yourself
Yes, even when you are in a relationship. Polard notes, “The avoider must learn to tolerate his or her discomfort, which is only possible when it is acceptable to separate.” She essentially says we need to be comfortable by ourselves in order to begin to override the intimacy avoidance issue.
Couples, she asserts, may “need to have extra support to negotiate the safety net for the avoider.”
Dive deep into intimacy
This is essentially the “Face your fear” step by charging straight at it. Polard recites attachment expert Karl Heinz Brisch who says “the fearful avoider must experience consciously and often enough that he or she will not get abandoned in a love relationship.” By consciously being loved and being loved often enough will help to put out, tolerate or reduce the fear — thereby extinguishing the discomfort that comes along with being intimate with another person.
Learn calming practices such as mindfulness
While sitting with the discomfort and facing our fears is incredibly scary, we must learn to observe. Polard notes, “When you have established a daily calming practice, you can find a way to access your calm mind when you begin to feel irritated, critical, or feel the urge to escape the relationship.”
As a lasting note, she advises that no one can change the other person. We can only change ourselves by taking responsibility for the actions we have caused and committing to choose love.