What causes us to hurt when our partner withdraws their attention

Love April 14 2021, Galina Singer

We chase love as if it will come from the outside, delivered by the person who fits our long list of requirements.

Since we are so mistakenly tethered to the behavior of the other for our emotional well-being and self-appraisal, we think that when they turn their interest elsewhere that it means that something is now wrong with us and we proceed to wilt from neglect. What causes us to hurt so much when our partner withdraws their attention is simply our misguided suspicion that we are no longer worthy. What we need to understand is that behavior of the other is a reflection of their own internal process, one of continuous change and evolution. Because we take it personally, it returns us to a state of lack and “not-enoughness,” reactivating our own suspicions of unworthiness and inadequacy.

Not only do we expect love to be delivered to us by another, we want it to be delivered in a very specific way, in our preferred love language. We are only really satisfied if love is offered in a particular setting, with a particular word combination, and an accompanying theme song. Any detail that does not fit our conjured teenage-worthy dreams and the whole episode feels disappointing. That causes great frustration and inexplicable longing that never seems to be quenched.

As long as we rely on others for that feeling of love and abundance, it is unsustainable. We become playthings of fate because human beings are notoriously unpredictable and therefore unreliable: they fall in and out of love, they change, they lie, they age, they die.

Read my article on Elephant Journal: Love from Another is Unsustainable: We Change, we Lie, we Age, we Die.