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Emotional Unavailability and the Bedroom

Posted May 22 2009 11:55pm

The Sydney Opera
Much has been written about those individuals that we consider emotionally unavailable (they have difficulty being vulnerable in the emotional arena, and therefore tend to shy back from getting to that point). Much has also been written about the effect of this on their unwitting partners, who often remain blissfully unaware of the reality of their situation until years have passed, and much damage - both to them and the relationship - has been done.

Having said that, this is not meant to be a diatribe against the emotionally unavailable, as they themselves, are often unaware of what it is inside of them that continually causes them to hold those people to whom they are very close at hand's length in their lives, even after years of marriage. There is just simply a point at which they find themselves uncomfortable in certain conversations, or with a certain type of show of affection, and so they withdraw, and literally refuse to engage.

I have written a number of in-depth articles about this and several related issues:

Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction
I Need You...I Need You Not
Your Parents, Your Children, and the Marital Bed

Today's post is more about the fact that on occasion emotional unavailability can lead to difficulties in the bedroom, as the emotionally unavailable individual withdraws in that arena by withholding sex. Please understand that this is rarely done with premeditation and calculation. Nor is it necessarily done to be cruel (although instances of that do, of course, occur). The main reason why it is done - and this happens subconsciously - is because the emotionally unavailable person fears opening up to the partner on both the level of love and the level of sex.

This fear, which really translates into a fear of vulnerability, generally only occurs when the emotionally unavailable person feels secure in a relationship and that is when the othe partner begins to notice that many strange things are happening. Sex is coming to a grinding halt, and the refusal to engage in emotionally important subjects for the couple commences, partially due to the fact that the emotionally unavailable partner is now secure in the knowledge that little that he or she will do, would cause the other partner to leave...

As mentioned earlier, this is not generally due to manipulation, malice, or calculation on the emotionally unavailable partner's side, although on occasion it is, but rather due to a complete unawareness of these underlying issues of fear of vulnerability in the arena of love and sex.

If this sounds familiar to you, I suggest you read the above articles on my website in order to gain greater understanding into the dynamics of these relationships. Clearly, where there is an emotionally unavailable partner, there is another partner who somehow dances thistango with him or her, either because this other partner is needy, or has poor boundaries and all its ensuing issues such as poor self-image, poor self-respect, and a lack of self-love. Relationships - especially when they are still relatively unaware relationships, where neither partner has recognized his or her own issues, are almost always a dance of some kind, where each partner's issues fit beautifully and exactly into the issues of the other.

There is a way out of this huis clos. Inform yourself, begin to become aware, make new choices, and things can and will change.

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