Busyness—the first characteristic of Intimacy Anorexia

Intimacy Anorexia (IA) is a primary relationship disorder that affects marriage and long-term relationships. Those who have IA actively withhold and remain distant from their spouse emotionally, spiritually, and/or sexually. Click here to find out the eleven characteristics of IA and see whether you or your spouse have at least 5 of them.

A person who is struggling with IA can appear to be one person in public and a very different person at home. They don’t seem to have issues engaging with others, only with their spouse on intimate levels. They don’t have to have anti-social characteristics to be IA. In fact, the person with IA can be very outgoing and charming to the outside world. It is once they are alone with their spouse that they “check out” and “disengage.”

The first characteristic of IA is being too busy to have time for their spouse. The IA can disguise busyness by being really involved in church or a particular hobby. It is hard for the partner of the person struggling with IA to complain about lack of together time when the spouse is being so “good” and “productive” for the church. Other examples of busyness are overworking, extending work-related travel, and spending excessive time online. When the person with IA is too busy, they are creating a strategy that maintains distance. The spouse can feel rejected, over-burdened with child-rearing responsibilities, alone, unimportant, and disrespected.

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