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Withholding affection as 'punishment' and being cold and distant - emotionally unavailable people

(8 Posts)
perceptionInaPearTree Sun 16-Dec-12 11:39:57

Do some people do this? I recognise it in my dad's behaviour and also people I have dated (no coincidence?)

They also seem to have lots of time for other people and will win you over with attentive behaviour in the honey moon period only to become cold, distant, critical and rarely saying they love you or demonstrating it. Then when you try to talk to them about it, they turn on you and say nothing is wrong, I thought we were getting on fine - it is you who has the problem.

Has anyone ever experienced this?

Leverette Sun 16-Dec-12 11:59:39

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sun 16-Dec-12 12:45:35

You mean a manipulative tosser?.... yes I've met a few. smile If it were my parent I'd return the behaviour in kind. Their problem, not yours.

perceptionInaPearTree Sun 16-Dec-12 14:01:04

Behind closed doors my dad is awful, abusive, controlling and angry. Yet everyone who meets him thinks the sun shines out of his behind hmm He has all the time in the world of everyone except his immediate family.

I found that I am unfortunately attracted to people like this as well.

lovemenot Sun 16-Dec-12 14:58:54

Yep....am married to one!

Empath Mon 15-Apr-13 16:12:14

I recently went out with a young woman just like this.She told me at the onset how she had had problems with the men she had previously dated. I listened to her attentively over the course of the next six weeks. I felt that perhaps she was contributing to her unfruitful relationships in some way but I was unclear as to how.I discovered that my suspicions were not without merit. I noticed that after her initial charming period she became somewhat distant, less charming, and (ironically) seemingly oblivious to the fact that her withholding ways were a put off. I spoke to her about it and she told me that a relationship shouldn't contain this kind of stress (as if warmth were a crime). She then insinuated that I was asking too much and that I was making to much of the whole thing. It sounded to me as if she were minimizing and justifying her behavior. I wonder if she would have felt the same way if she had feelings for someone and instead of reciprocating them he merely shrugged them off.

Dahlen Mon 15-Apr-13 16:22:58

I think it's important to set this sort of behaviour in context.

Emotional unavailability is certainly considered to be abusive, particularly when applied to children. However, among adults, it's slightly more complicated.

If one of you has behaved badly, for example, or you've just had a row, it's not witholding affection as a punishment or being emotionally available if you don't want to have sex or cuddle or even just talk about it right there and then. It's ok to be distant while you recoup and garner your feelings. It's when it becomes a pattern and used to deliberately make the other person feel bad that it's a problem.

ComeOnBeANoOne Mon 15-Apr-13 16:36:39

I was married to someone like this.

After the initial honeymoon period, I was often informed that I needed to "grow-up" and that what I was after was a "teenager's relationship." As if wanting affection was some unrealistic demand. And of course if I ever did mention it the threat was "if you're so unhappy, why don't you leave?"

Some people just give you no chance, do they? I dunno, perhaps I should be thankful she ended it before turning me into a wreck.

But OP, the link you make between your Dad's behaviour and the people you date certainly doesn't seem a coincidence, as my DF is also exactly the same. In fact, after the break-up my DM said she thought I'd effectively married my Dad. Urgh! (then again, she has always enabled his behaviour, but that's a whole different story!)

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