Fear of intimacy among dating couples
Our culture provides for meeting all other needs, especially the need for autonomy, but not for intimacy.
Unlike in more "primitive" cultures, most Americans no longer live as part of a large family or community where we develop a sense of comfort and safety, a network of people to confide in, to feel at home with.
This, I have come to believe, is what has drawn many people into cults--the need to feel part of a bonded community, There is a sense of being at home emotionally as well as physically.
When I brought the boys together with their families, through processes I had not learned about in graduate school, it transformed the therapy. For the adolescent boys, their problems were typically rooted in the often-troubled relationships between their parents.
They lacked the nurturing environment they needed for healthy growth.
It is only in the last 20 years that we recognize that infants need to be held and touched.
We know that they cannot grow--they literally fail to thrive--unless they experience physical and emotional closeness with another human being.
What we often don't realize is that that need for connection never goes away. And in its absence, symptoms develop--from the angry acting out of the adolescent boys I saw, to depression, addiction, and illness.
In fact, researchers are just at the very beginning of understanding the relationship of widespread depression among women to problems in their marriages.
We choose a partner hoping for a source of affection, love, and support, and, more than ever, a best friend.
Finding such a partner is a wonderful and ecstatic experience--the stage of illusion in relationships, it has been called. She didn't welcome you home; she was too busy with something else; maybe she didn't even look up.
They maybe afraid that the relationship will never change but may not even know what they are afraid of There is so much chaos that there is usually despair and depression. Both may decide to stay with it but can't function. Over the years of working with couples, I have developed an effective way to help them arrive at a relationship they can both be happy with. I find that what couples need is part education in a set of skills and part exploration of experience that aims to resolve the difficulties couples trip over in their private lives.