Resentment. The inability to forgive your partner for past behaviors or hurt will contribute to resentment towards him or her. Time after time, the resentment grows and may stay quietly in your heart but can drive you to act in ways that will protect you from further hurt. This only makes it more difficult to open up emotionally to your partner and eventually lead to isolation.
Jealousy. Believe it or not, but jealously occurs frequently between partners in an intimate relationship. Although you may not recognize the jealousy you feel towards your partner, often times it comes out in your behaviors. Jealousy usually occurs when you believe your partner is more successful, popular, or healthy than you. This contributes to feelings of inadequacy, and subconsciously drives you to criticize, mock, devalue, or emotionally withdraw from your partner.
Unresolved intimacy issues. When you have been emotionally abandoned by others (ie. a parent, ex-partner) your fear of being abandoned again may contribute to your inability to open up to your current partner. This fear of intimacy is driven by your need to emotionally protect yourself and makes it harder for you to genuinely express your feelings. You may be able to show superficial emotions, but your inability to share deeper feelings will drive you to disconnect from your partner and/or engage in self-destructive behaviors outside the relationship.
Emotional abandonment can be present in a relationship for many years before any complaints or problems are addressed. That's the danger of its presence in relationships. Sometimes you may go many years in a relationship feeling empty or alone, but distracting yourself by work, children, or community involvement without realizing the toll it has taken on your relationship. But there is hope. In next week's blog I will share some ways to address emotional abandonment in your relationship.