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The couple’s closeness has gone too far

The couple’s closeness has gone too far

Is it possible that wonderful experiences like marriage and romantic intimacy go terribly wrong from being too close? Can being loved and loving someone start to feel like a noose or an isolation chamber? The answer to both questions is yes. There is an insidious process involved. At first, the typical couple is ecstatic and in a bubble of romantic love. They finish each other’s sentences, they like the same things, and it seems to others that they are the perfect couple.

However, too many of these “good parts” become suspect when other people in the couple’s lives begin to feel ignored and unimportant, and when the happy lovers (one or both) begin to feel the negative repercussions of isolation and isolation. restriction. aspect of how they function as a couple. Couples who “get involved” in this way often distance themselves from pre-existing relationships to strengthen their bond and the “specialness” of their union. Based on insecurities, these choices to isolate and entangle create both self-alienation and social alienation, which in time will lead to mutual alienation.


In the early stages of attachment, this couple operates in a self-centered and arrogant manner, shutting out everyone around them. The integrity of previous relationships becomes a low priority for these individuals. The isolation, the wrapping around one another to the exclusion of others, feels like a warm security blanket. Because other relationships can be seen as a threat to a couple’s bond, it’s safe to say that this kind of early stage of a relationship is fundamentally insecure.


People who find themselves attached to romantic partners in this tangled way often have similar negative childhood experiences in common. Child abuse, abandonment or neglect results in damage to self-esteem and makes the person hunger for a strong and positive attachment to another human being in order to feel worthy as a person. This need can become a longing that is so powerful that one’s judgment and perspective on one’s precise needs and desires become confused. Thus, the choice of partner becomes based on the need to not be alone and to validate yourself as a person because someone wants to be with you.

When early bonds with parents are weak or abusive, emotional and physical needs are not met, a child grows up anxious and disconnected and longs for a bond where they can feel loved and safe. Mature reasoning and deep self-knowledge do not evolve in this environment of lack.

So when people find themselves in these psychological states, they quickly reach out, seeking an intense and positive connection that they have never experienced before. Then they come together in an atmosphere of immaturity and emotional starvation, and the pattern of isolation and entanglement is established and personal identity is lost within the formation of the relationship. Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Jack Soll, MFT, explains that “this loss of self within a relationship is called ‘codependency,’ and it can cause a level of damage to oneself that can lead to severe depression and anxiety. A A relationship cannot reach a healthy state if either person in the relationship functions in this entangled and isolated way. This codependent state then becomes a place where two people who are not fully formed begin to feel whole in the codependent way they have defined their relationship.


Friends and loved ones feel the estrangement immediately as these couples establish their place in the family. The needs and desires of the partner begin to assert themselves constantly as the most important over all others. Less time is spent and interest shown to family and friends. Conflict often arises when people confront the partner with their feelings of hurt, anger, and confusion. The couple will usually bond and label everyone who confronts them as needy or disrespectful of them as a couple. They will often “lay down the law” that each of them will always be “number 1” to the other, which often means that the needs and desires of pre-existing intimate relationships are no longer a priority, especially if it involves commit. in the way that either member of the couple prefers.

These couples often state that their ties to others feel less important. That in your distancing process, you don’t particularly miss your friends and family, because you have each other. They will make space for other people and enjoy it, on their own terms, without much regard for the needs or desires of others. The ideas of pleasing others and compromising within relationships apply exclusively within the relationship between them.

In a healthy relationship, the patterns mentioned above do not occur. Family and friends are viewed as enhancements, not threats, to the life of a healthy couple. But for the insecure person, seeing their partner meet the needs of others can be painful and threatening to the stability of their relationship. Even if one partner does not feel this form of intense insecurity, entanglement and pathological loyalty will not allow him or her to judge or disagree with the partner’s demands or expectations of her.


Feeling insecure, a partner will establish controlling and manipulative behaviors that will alienate others from their loved ones. Demands like only seeing friends and family as a couple are common. Other negative relationship patterns that occur are 1) talking down people, 2) faking physical illness, and 3) lying. Talking badly is an attempt to turn the couple against each other. Their goal is to destroy any pre-existing positive perceptions and turn them into perceptions that cause others to be seen as threatening or disrespectful to the relationship. Feigning illness is a strategy used to tie a partner to each other’s side. The goal here is not to create time for other people or to create guilt or anxiety if they choose to see others. Lying behavior is connected to both bad mouthing and feigning illness as it is used for control.

Attempts by friends and family to point out these negative behaviors generally fall on deaf ears, until such time as one partner realizes his or her own emotional distress within the restrictive and isolated construction of the relationship. Once her awareness comes to the surface, the relationship enters a state of destabilization. The emergence of a strong sense of self in one partner makes it impossible for the couple to maintain their former isolated and dysfunctional balance.

Friends and family should continue to keep their distance from the couple during this time, unless the couple begins to grow closer in an emotionally welcoming way.

conflict patterns

The level of conflict will be high if both partners do not switch to switch mode simultaneously. Patterns of arguing and distancing become predominant, replacing the previous tangled and high state of functioning. The couple who still want to stay entangled will fight hard to recreate the romantic bubble, but will encounter resistance from the couple who wants to break free. Patterns of denigration of family or friends will be produced, to restore their image as the “ideal and only” person of value in their life. However, if the partner who realizes their pain stays the course, either will happen. The relationship will remain in conflict and eventually break up, or the resisting partner will open up to the possibility that the isolated and tangled way of functioning is unhealthy and not allowed to continue. If this acquiescence is made from a true and healthy realization, that positive change can occur. If it is done out of fear of abandonment and insecurity, the relationship will have little chance of survival.

New communication patterns inside and outside the relationship

The couple will have to develop new ways of communicating. They will need to include the expression of honest feelings, wants and needs. They will have to strike a balance between being empathetic to each other and making sure that what they need is not minimized or ignored. The new pattern should include discussions about what led you to become involved in the way you did, excluding or turning against others, and neglecting your own personal needs for the good of the relationship. They will need to learn constructive conflict resolution skills to redefine their bond from needing to be a perfectly nice union, to something more real and therefore more solid. You will need to negotiate and compromise on areas you disagree on to ensure that you both feel equally important and empowered.

Each partner will also need to allow the other to have conversations with others that do not always involve their presence or knowledge. This ties into the issue of maintaining a certain level of healthy privacy within the relationship. For example, if someone wants to talk to her mother about a feeling or topic that she believes will benefit her, he does not need her partner’s permission, nor does he need to disclose the conversation to her partner. In a healthy relationship, there is respect for privacy and for the significance of other relationships in each other’s lives.

A strong “me” leads to a strong relationship

Knowing and accepting yourself is the foundation of healthy self-esteem and self-esteem. Any pattern of negative self-criticism, abuse, or deprivation lowers your self-esteem and makes you vulnerable to making a poor partner choice. A weakly formed self is drawn to a situation where it can follow another person’s lead, without the ability to discriminate whether that direction is positive or authentic to who it really is. High self-esteem allows a person to set boundaries in their relationships because a person with self-esteem should not be swayed by fear of rejection. Their self-esteem allows them to place their personal needs, desires, and values ​​above whether or not someone will reject them.

Once entangled couples begin to destabilize, reassess, and reorganize the way they function as a couple, there is hope for a transformation toward a healthier and ultimately happier way of life. The couple’s ability to support each other’s individuality and separateness, and to tolerate and enjoy the re-entry of friends and family into their lives is a sign that security, not insecurity, will now define the relationship.

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