Why Don’t I Have Real Feelings in Relationships?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’m 19 and have been experiencing strange emotions this past year. The deep connections I felt with friends are suddenly forced and it is almost painful to be around people. I have also had strange spells of depersonalization. My ex boyfriend died a couple years ago which led me into a spell of depression and I don’t know if I ever made it out or if I’m just used to it. I’m constantly annoyed and tired and prefer to be alone most of the time. Yet I told my best friend what has been going on and she had no clue, she said I’ve been normal but maybe a bit distant, but the differences I see/feel are blaring. I also have short bursts of rage for really no reason. My relationships are what really make me question my growing issues. To sum it up, I go for the guys who can’t be tied down and have emotional issues usually sociopathic tendencies, I hate it but no one else interests me. This is what concerns me most, I don’t think I really have feelings. I feel like I just talk myself into being “in love” with them just to prove that I could get them. In the end, all I really want to do is win them. I don’t miss them when we break up, I just can’t fathom the thought of someone else taking my spot. I go insane with texting and calling when something goes wrong and can’t control myself. I show up at their house unannounced and the next day think “was that even me, I’d never do that”. I also feel like I can’t emotionally connect with anyone and I think it’s because they sense some thing is off about me. I constantly want to fight with them and pull them back when I think they are going to leave, I am always the one who gets left but it’s almost like I ask for it. If I even date someone I feel like it’s always going to end in them prying me off of them or either marriage. I get so into one person that no matter what I will try to make it work but ruin it as well. I’ve gone to a therapist but couldn’t say this all I just said I had anxiety. Please tell me what this could be or what I should do.

A: Thank you for being so brave to explain all the statistical reactions. I admire your honesty. I think it may be two things that are happening simultaneously.

I would begin by looking at the unfinished grief from your boyfriend’s death. I think working through that in therapy would be good. Additionally, the fact that you preselect partners that can’t commit and then wobble back-and-forth when the relationship fails suggests that you may want to explore this pattern of attachment in therapy as well. While I believe grieving plays a big part I think this other dynamic maybe be very important in understanding why you feel the way you do. I would encourage you to bring these two points: the unresolved grief and your attachment process into therapy. Since your profile showed you are at a university means you have access through the counseling center to highly qualified counselors. They are usually very proficient in helping people sort through these types of issues, and I think talking to them about this will help.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Why Don’t I Have Real Feelings in Relationships?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/06/why-dont-i-have-real-feelings-in-relationships/