Building a strong emotional bond is about emotional intimacy.
Intimacy! Now, that’s a word that scares many of us, including the “experts”. Why? Because you can’t talk about “intimacy” without talking about vulnerability and the possibility of hurt.
When we ask for advice, we want someone to tell us how to avoid getting hurt. The last thing we want to hear is that we will get hurt and that it’s okay to be vulnerable and risk hurt. Many of us “experts” know what you want to hear, and since some of us are afraid of vulnerability and the possibility of hurt ourselves, we will tell you exactly what you want to hear:
1. Don’t call him, let him call you first (Translation: He might not be interested, don’t put yourself out there to get hurt);
2. Play hard to get, she’ll become more interested (Translation: Don’t let her know you dig her, she’ll exploit your feelings for her — and you’ll get hurt);
3. “No Contact” is the best way to go (Translation: If you don’t contact him/her, and she doesn’t contact you, you’ll both move on. No one gets hurt).
I could go on and on. What I find really sad is that the fear of vulnerability and the possibility of hurt is so much more common in North America than in many places in the world. That’s why don’t call first, play hard to get, No Contact etc, seems “normal” to most North Americans and “weird” to many non- North Americans.
When avoiding vulnerability and the possibility of hurt is your “normal”, your efforts at emotional intimacy are all about avoiding vulnerability and the possibility of hurt. Everything you do is about not getting hurt and little to do with connecting effectively or efficiently.
In your heart and in the depths of your soul, what you really, really want is to love and feel loved no matter how the other feels or acts, and no matter what they say or don’t say. You want to know you can count on each other no matter what happens. But your actions, habits and the way you behave say, “I can’t allow myself to love you so much or count on you because I fear I’ll get hurt”.
Guess what? That’s exactly what happens! YOU GET HURT.
But instead of recognizing where the REAL PROBLEM is. We wrap it up in “we have/had communication problems” and continue with the same mentality that got us where we are in the first place.
We still fear to make the first contact or call first because the other person might not respond/answer, and we’ll GET HURT. We still play silly mind games because we fear the other person will exploit our feelings for them, and we’ll GET HURT. We do “No Contact” because, hey! we don’t want to GET HURT.
If you want to love hard and deep, and feel truly loved, you have to get comfortable with being vulnerable and getting hurt.
Be the first to call, tell someone how you feel about them, keep in touch just because you enjoy having that person in your life, stop calculating every move and over-analyzing every word etc. In other words, stop being over-vigilant about getting hurt.
Will you get hurt? Possibly! But so will you if you are all the time fearing that you’ll get hurt or trying to avoid getting hurt.
— Experience deep love and get hurt OR never feel really close to anyone and still get hurt?
— Take the risk and contact your ex OR not contact him/her at all and for the rest of your life wonder what might have been?
— Tell your ex you want him/her back OR pretend you have moved on and have him/her think you have when you haven’t?
— Learn “good communication skills” OR learn to connect more effectively and efficiently?