Premium Podcast Help Contact Dr. Laura Dr. Laura Designs Return to
Join Family Premium Login Family


5 Mindset Shifts to Stop Loving from A Distance

by Kyle Benson

Being distant is rooted in life experiences. Here's how it works: If deep down I feel inadequate and fear I don't deserve love, then my instincts tell me that eventually you're going to find out about me, realize that I'm not good enough, and break my heart.

So I love you at a distance. I stay aloof and disengaged. I refuse to give you much of my time, because it won't hurt as much when you tell me you're going to leave me. I know it's coming. It always does. My parents. My exes. They've all done it. I know you will too.

I hold you at an arm's length because I've been flooded by rejection, sadness, and feelings of being unworthy before, and it's not something I can handle. In my core, I don't feel I deserve your love.

While half-hearted love does offer safety, it will always sabotage the opportunity to create a deeply loving relationship. People who are emotionally unavailable are called avoidants, because they avoid intimacy, and closeness. But they do this for a reason.

Their Mindset is this, "If I anticipate you rejecting me, then I'm going to remain less emotionally invested in you."

The feelings of unworthiness cultivate a feeling of insecurity. True security in a relationship requires the ability to be open to your partner's feelings while working with your partner to get your needs met.

Emotionally unavailable people don't like hearing what their partner thinks or feels if it goes against what they want to hear. And if for some reason their partner does say something, the unavailable partner doesn't like, the unavailable partner makes it emotionally costly for doing so.

This is why the other partner becomes needy, acts crazy, and will make massive compromises to make the relationship work, even if it is unfulfilling.

Emotionally unavailable people believe they don't have the capacity to devote time and effort into their partner's needs in the relationship. This is a false Mindset that prevents them from creating a passionate relationship. 

Below are six mindset shifts to become more emotionally available and creating a meaningful long-lasting relationship.

  1. Take a hard look at your Mindsets in your relationship.
    Explore why it is that you don't feel worthy of a close loving relationship. Is there a way both your partner and you can discover reasons why you are lovable and deserving of your partner's affection?

  2. Make your partner's needs and feelings equal to yours.
    Doing this requires developing empathy and compassion for your partner's feelings, needs, and requests for closeness.

  3. Stop the secret life.
    Emotionally unavailable partners often have a backup plan for when the relationship fails. They may have someone on the side to protect themselves because they believe rejection is inevitable. A secret life with others helps keep a safe distance in the relationship.

    Your relationship cannot afford your secret life or side person. Not keeping secrets is a vulnerable place, but it is the only place that allows you to invest into the relationship and get the returns you deeply need.

  4. Make time for your partner.
    Place your partner at the top of your priority list in life. This can only be done by your actions, not your words. Words might sound comforting to your partner but without actionable follow-through, they are meaningless.

    Often avoidants will avoid phone calls, ignore text messages, and reply only when they want. They focus only on their needs, which makes their partner even needier.

    If you give your partner the reassurance that you are there for them, they will turn their attention away from the relationship because you have given them the security that you are invested in the relationship. This is called The Dependency Paradox of Love.

  5. Commit to opening up.
    Share your deepest fears. Tell your partner what makes your spine tingle. Tell them your life's greatest disappointments and your biggest dreams. Love requires more than physical touch. It requires emotional touching. 

Your childhood and failed relationships may have been a great source of pain, but it is your responsibility to make the effort to change the undermining mindset that destroys your relationships. It's up to you to build the emotional skills required to create a meaningful and long-lasting relationship. 

Kyle Benson is a nationally recognized couple’s mindset coach providing practical, research-based tools to build long-lasting relationships. Kyle is best known for his compassion and non-judgemental style and his capacity to seeing the root problem. Download the Intimacy 5 Challenge to learn where you and your partner can improve your emotional connection and build lasting intimacy. Connect with Kyle on Twitter and Facebook. For more tools visit Kylebenson.netPermission granted for use on  

Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Marriage, Relationships, Sex, Values
< Back to Relationships Archives