Withholding Spiritually

In previous posts we listed the other characteristics of intimacy anorexiabeing too busy, blaming, withholding love, withholding praise, and withholding sexually. This post concerns another characteristic of intimacy anorexia: withholding spiritually. Dr. Doug Weiss, Ph.D. coined the term “intimacy anorexia,” which he defines as the active withholding of emotional, spiritual, and sexual intimacy from the spouse. Dr. Weiss states that the word “active” in the word in the definition that’s the most eye-opening aspect of this relational disorder. When the partner realizes that their spouse, who is struggling with intimacy anorexia, is making the choice to withhold spiritually, the partner then becomes frustrated and unhappy on a new level. They then notice more and more how their spouse is actively disengaging and they’re unwilling to continue to excuse such behavior.

Perhaps when you met your spouse, they appeared actively involved in a spiritual sense—they attended church, prayed, participated in fellowship with others, and were able and available to engage spiritually with you. You likely felt very connected and that you’d met someone with you were spiritually compatible with and could build a spiritual foundation that would stand the test of time. Once you married, did everything suddenly change? Perhaps your spouse no longer attends church and you go alone. Do you find that they no longer relate with you intimately on a spiritual level that you once shared? Such behavior can point to the intimacy anorexic characteristic of spiritually withholding. If you’re a spiritual person, this character trait can cut deeper than the others because you now no longer have an intimate spiritual bond and lack the ability to share deep, connected feelings. I want to encourage you that there is help. You can receive counseling as a partner of someone who has IA or you can enter counseling as a couple. If you live in northern Colorado (Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor, Loveland, Johnstown, or Severance), contact Mending Hearts Counseling at 970-545-1111 today to get more information.

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