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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5977
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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MaryAnn I would also like additional advice on the matter of

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Hi MaryAnnI would also like additional advice on the matter of relationships in general. I am finding myself meeting people and getting attached too quickly to someone I find attractive. I dont give chances to people I do not find attractive (physically). Also I expect too much from people I am just getting to know, and as a result end up getting hurt by my expectations. And to top it off if someone did like me, I am likely to go into panic mode and want to step back. The only times I been close to eg marriage my anxiety just made me feel so negative about the person I was with that I had to end it.So just wanted thoughts on how to deal with these issues e.g. How to expect less and and not get attached so quickly and maybe your thoughts on my commitment phobic tendency. And I feel that latter issue makes me more comfortable going for relationships I cant see going anywhereAlso another issue is I meet some guys recently from online and it seems they just want a physical connection.and then leave me with slow responses and clear hints they want no further contact which is also hard.

Hello and thank you for requesting my help.

Being fearful of commitment and experiencing anxiety around relationships can be a complex issue. Many times the reason why someone might be fearful of commitment or experience anxiety in relationships has to do with their childhood. For example, you may have experienced a lot of upheaval with your parents relationship. They may have fought a lot, there might have been abuse or you could have experienced a lot of conflict with one or both of your parents. An absent parent is also a huge factor in how you approach relationships. So you may want to start there in exploring why you feel as you do in your relationships. Therapy can help tremendously in exploring your past and how it affects your relationships now. It may take some time to sort out the reasons why, but within a few sessions you will have a direction to follow and to help you resolve the issue.

You may also want to use self help in your search for answers around your relationships. Educating yourself about how relationships work and what affects your approach can help you understand your motivations and how to change them. Here are some resources to help:

Sabotage: How To Stop Killing Your Relationships Because of Commitment Phobias

by Johanna Sparrow

Getting to Commitment: Overcoming the 8 Greatest Obstacles to Lasting Connection (And Finding the Courage to Love)

by ***** ***** and Julia Sokol

The reasons why you fear commitment and experience anxiety in relationships can vary. It may be that because of your past, you struggle to trust someone you have feelings for. Or if people in your life have left you through dying or leaving, then you may fear becoming attached just to have it happen to you again. Also, you may have been abused when you were younger, creating a difficulty in feeling close to someone without experiencing anxiety.

If you feel you become too quickly attached to partners, it may be that you fear that they will leave you if you don't create a bond immediately. You may also be dealing with poor self esteem, especially if you find yourself exclusively attracted to physically appealing partners and ignore other potential mates because of their appearance. Social status may be a factor if you have low self esteem. People often want to be with someone they feel is attractive so others accept them and approve of them so they feel better about themselves. Becoming attached quickly in relationships can also be attributed to wanting to control the relationship. You want to be sure you are the one to say how the relationship progresses so you attach quickly but then leave the relationship when you begin to feel uncomfortable. Feeling in control helps you avoid being hurt and having the other person do something that makes you feel out of control or hurt.

Wanting to change how you feel about relationships is an excellent sign. Knowing you have a problem and taking steps to address it shows insight, which is very important to overcoming any difficulty. Along with seeking answers through therapy and self help, you may want to begin to address your relationship issues by stepping back and looking at what you are feeling when you meet someone you are attracted to and about how you feel regarding relationships in general. Try identifying your emotions by writing them down and keeping track. Also, consider that you may be experiencing excitement about a new relationship that feels very close to anxiety for you, so you identify it as such. Excitement and anxiety are very closely related in how they feel physically and emotionally. Support is also vital in working through whatever is causing your relationship struggles. Along with therapy to determine the underlying problem, support groups online and in person are very helpful. Talking to professionals as well as others like you can give you new ways to look at the problem along with the support you need to overcome and find better ways to approach relationships.

Meeting others online is often risky because being online allows others to hide themselves and their true intent. Anyone you talk to is going to be able to tell you anything they want you want to hear and there is no way for you to confirm whether it is true or not. Therefore, online relationship sites are often full of people who are looking for quick and non committed relationships. Men in particular are driven to find a quick sexual relationship without emotional commitment and since online is a simple way to find that type of relationship, you are going to see more of those kinds of partners than any other. If you are looking for a better way to connect to a potential partner, looking in person is a good way to screen who you are truly dealing with. While that does not guarantee someone you meet is a good person, it weeds out a lot of people who want only a sexual relationship. Join groups that include your hobbies, social groups like church or sports or meet people through friends or co workers. That way, you will find people that are either known by others already (a way to screen out potentially bad partners) or you will already have a kind of connection with someone through a hobby or interest. It may be more difficult to find someone that way, but you also will not be wasting your time trying to determine if someone is only interested in a sexual relationship or a true relationship and risk getting hurt.


Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you are very much for all your help. Do you think the therapy you are recommending has to be face to face?

You're welcome! I'm happy to help.

No, therapy does not need to be face to face. It is more effective that way, in my experience, because the therapist can see your reactions and gauge your emotions better that way (body language is part of therapy), but any therapy is helpful. There are many choices out there online, including Skype which is close to face to face therapy. But either way, the support and professional input can help.


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