Are You Avoiding Your Partner?

Date Posted: November 09, 2015
Are You Avoiding Your Partner?

Don’t get me wrong. I know everyone is working hard these days to keep his or her boat afloat in the morass of life. Many recovering people work long hours at their jobs, have children to raise, elderly parents to attend to, and recovery programs to work. All of these demands are very real, but it’s important to know whether you are creating a lifestyle to avoid dealing with unresolved intimacy or sexual issues, or if your lifestyle is actually the culprit squeezing out all opportunity for connection. Obviously, the demands of raising a child with consciousness leaves partners feeling depleted by the end of the day. Who has time to stop and gaze into his or her partner’s eyes when homework needs to get done, dinner needs to be made, laundry needs to be folded, and phone calls need to be returned to sponsors or sponsees?

I get it. I get it. I get it. But, regardless, I have found that as much as partners say they want intimacy or swear they yearn for more affection and eroticism, when push comes to shove, nine times out of ten, the recovering couples would rather work around the clock than face the anxiety that crops up when trying to make real connection happen with their partner. The well-hidden fear of intimacy consistently drives partners to hide behind an over-scheduled lifestyle. This avoidance can result in folks justifying filling up their time with anything but the sticky, uncomfortable, and scary work that needs to be done for their recovering relationship to have a running chance at the full expression of love and eroticism.

News flash: I’m no longer buying into this so-called problem. I’m committed to helping recovering couples take off the mask of a busy life. I refuse to let them scapegoat their lifestyle. Instead, I help them get to a place where they can be accountable to their fear and inability to engender connection with no shame.

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you are wondering whether you lifestyle is high jacking intimacy with your partner, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Now that my partner is in recovery, do I feel anxious at the idea of being left alone with him or her?
  2. When I have the time and space to make a deep connection with my recovering partner, do I find myself keeping that a secret and quickly filling my life with busy work instead?
  3. Now that I am in recovery, do I feel insecure in my ability to create true, heart-bursting connection to my partner?
  4. Do I feel secretly relieved when my partner needs to stay late at work and I know I will be sound asleep by the time he or she gets home? 
  5. Have the kids been sleeping in our bed more often since recovery came into the picture?
  6. Do I break out in a sweat when my partner suggests taking a vacation away from it all, just the two of us?
  7. Would I rather get a bunch of errands done than take my partner up on the suggestion of making love while the kids are at school?
  8. When I think of “self-care,” do I think of that as a day of doing things solo?
  9. When my partner starts to come toward me, do I suddenly remember a million little details that still need to get done?
  10. Am I afraid to face unresolved feelings of resentment, hurt, or fear I still feel with my partner and would rather sweep under the rug?

If you answered yes to many or most of the questions above, you are likely being held hostage by the part of you that is avoidant of intimacy. That is your underlying problem, and your lifestyle is just a symptom of it. The good news is that you don’t need to fix this overnight. In fact, you can take as long as you like to overcome it. What’s important is that you recognize what you’re doing and admit it to your partner. Ask how he or she has been doing the same thing. Because, trust me, that’s what’s happening.

Regardless of the roadblocks between you and your partner that naturally get exposed on the recovery path, know there is also a beautiful vulnerability lurking inside you waiting to be seen and known. All it takes is a brave attitude and a commitment to building, rather than avoiding, greater intimacy in your recovering relationship.

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