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The closeness of a couple has gone too far

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

However, many of these “good parts” become suspicious when other people in the couple’s life begin to feel ignored and unimportant, and when happy lovers (one or both members of the couple) begin to feel the negative repercussions. The isolation and restriction aspect of how they function as a couple. Couples who “get tangled up” in this way often distance themselves from pre-existing relationships to strengthen their bond and the “specialty” of their union. Based on insecurities, these isolating and entangling options create both self-alienation and social alienation, which will eventually lead to alienation from each other.


In the early stages of attachment, this couple operates in a self-centered and arrogant manner, neglecting everyone around them. The integrity of past relationships becomes a low priority for these people. Isolation, cuddling with each other 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 is safe to say that this type of initial part of a relationship is fundamentally unsafe.


People who feel attached to their romantic partners in this tangled way often have similar negative childhood experiences in common. Childhood abuse, neglect or neglect damages self-esteem and makes a person hunger for a strong and positive bond with another human being to feel worthy as a person. This need can become such a powerful longing that judgment and perspective on one’s precise needs and wants becomes confusing. Thus, choosing a partner is based on the need not to be alone and to be validated 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 anxious and disconnected and yearns for a bond in which they can feel loved and secure. Mature reasoning and deep self-knowledge do not evolve in this deprived environment.

So when people are in these psychological states, they quickly become close, seeking an intense and positive connection that they have never experienced. They then come together in an atmosphere of immaturity and emotional hunger, 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 ‘co-dependency’ and can cause a level of damage to the self that can lead to severe depression and anxiety. in the relationship it is functioning in this entangled and isolated way. ” This codependent state then becomes a place where two people who are not fully formed begin to feel complete in the codependent way they have defined their relationship.


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

These couples often state that their ties to others feel less important. That in their process of distancing they do not especially miss their friends and family, because they have each other. They will make room for other people and enjoy it, based on their terms, without much consideration of the needs or wants of others. The ideas of pleasing others and engaging in relationships apply exclusively to relationships with each other.

In a healthy relationship, the patterns mentioned above do not occur. Family and friends are considered 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 hurtful and threatening to the stability of their relationship. Even if one of the members of the relationship does not feel this form of intense insecurity, entanglement and pathological loyalty will not allow him to judge or disagree with the demands or expectations of his partner.


When feeling insecure, a partner will establish controlling and manipulative behaviors that will alienate others from their loved ones. Demands like seeing only friends and family as a couple are common. Other negative relationship patterns that occur are 1) badmouthing people, 2) faking physical illness, and 3) lying. Bad talking is an attempt to turn the partner against each other. It is intended to destroy any pre-existing positive perceptions and turn them into perceptions that cause others to be seen as a threat or disrespect to the relationship. Faking an illness is a strategy used to tie one partner next to the other. The goal here is not to create time for other people or to generate guilt or anxiety if they choose to see others. Lying behavior is related to both speaking badly and feigning illness, as it is used to control.

Attempts by friends and family to point out these negative behaviors often fall on deaf ears, until such time as one of the partners realizes their own emotional suffering within the restrictive and isolated construct of the relationship. Once your consciousness emerges, the relationship enters a state of destabilization. The emergence of a strong sense of self in a couple makes it impossible for the couple to maintain their old dysfunctional and isolated 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 the switch mode simultaneously. Patterns of arguing and distancing prevail, replacing the former mollified and entangled state of functioning. The couple who still want to stay tangled will fight hard to recreate the romantic bubble, but the couple will meet resistance that wants to break free. Patterns of denigration of family or friends will occur, to reestablish your image of the “ideal and unique” person of value in your life. However, if the partner who wakes up to their grief stays on course, one of two things will happen. The relationship will remain in conflict and eventually break down, or the resistant partner will open up to the possibility that the isolated and tangled way of functioning is unhealthy and will not be allowed to continue. If this acquiescence is made from a true and healthy understanding, positive change can occur. If 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 should 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 them to become entangled in the way they did, to exclude or turn against others, and to neglect their own personal needs for the sake of the relationship. They will have to learn constructive conflict resolution skills to redefine their bond from having to be a perfectly pleasant union to something more real and therefore more solid. They will have to negotiate and compromise in areas that they disagree on to ensure that both of you 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 their mother about a feeling or topic that they think will benefit them, they do not need their partner’s permission, nor do they need to reveal the conversation to their partner. In a healthy relationship, there is respect for privacy and for the meaning of other relationships in the lives of others.

A strong “me” leads to a strong relationship

Knowing and accepting yourself is the foundation of healthy self-esteem and self-worth. Any pattern of negative self-criticism, abuse, or deprivation lowers self-esteem, making you vulnerable to making a bad decision in your partner. A weakly formed self is drawn to a situation where it can follow someone else’s lead, without the ability to discriminate whether that direction is positive or authentic to who they really are. High self-esteem allows a person to set limits in their relationships because a person with self-esteem should not get carried away by the fear of rejection. Their self-esteem allows them to place their personal needs, wants, and values ‚Äč‚Äčabove whether or not someone will reject them.

Once tangled couples begin to destabilize, reevaluate, and reorganize their functioning as a couple, there is hope for a transformation toward a healthy and ultimately happier way of life. The couple’s ability to support each other’s individuality and separation, 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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