Dating a Man with Abandonment Issues

It is only natural for a person to feel hurt and lonely after being abandoned by someone close. However sometimes, this kind of rejection – especially when it occurs in childhood or in impressionable years – can lead to chronic as well as intense feelings of insecurity and isolation, which make relationships problematic. If you believe that the man you are dating has abandonment issues, here are a few things to keep in mind.

What are abandonment issues?

If you are sure or suspect that your date has abandonment issues, it may be worthwhile to know a bit more about the condition. At its simplest, a person with abandonment issues has a perpetual fear of being abandoned by those close to him. Feelings of insecurity, low-esteem and avoidance are so deep that experts now consider it to be a kind of psychological condition. While well-adjusted individuals are able to reconcile with past instances of abandonment and move on, in some such experiences result in a consistent hypersensitivity to any and all perceived or actual distancing which eventually makes forming personal relationships very difficult. Thus your date may have suffered an abandonment in childhood, probably when a parent said that he/she would come back to pick up the child, but then never came back or perhaps a parent willingly  lied to him, sent him somewhere and never came back or rarely saw him again. Alternately his abandonment issues could also be the consequence of a painful heartbreak during teenage years. This is common in people who are extremely sensitive or emotional are unable to handle breakup or rejection and start having abandonment issues in relationships.

A needy partner

When dating a man with abandonment issues, you may eventually become aware of an extreme neediness at the heart of his personality. He will always want you to be near him, call him and go out with him ever so often. Any delay, cancellation or rescheduling on your part will probably be met with lots of drama, outrage, angry words or whining. Since people with abandonment issues live with a fear of being left alone they tend to cling on to a partner tightly. Sometimes this overwhelming neediness may express itself as wanting excessive reassurance for instance when he asks umpteen numbers of times, “Will you call me”, “Were you thinking of me”, “Would you like to go out with me again”?. These people need constant reassurance of love and affection from their partners which sometimes has the unfortunate and opposite effect of driving people away. Other instances of neediness are dreading, fearing or panicking over small indiscretions or issues. Thus your date may tend to get restless or upset if you fails to meet or reply to his message or call and automatically assume the worst. Possessiveness is another trait that you may notice in this guy. Sometimes when a person may be too emotionally dependent on a relationship, he tends to think of the partner as their “property”. So if they perceive their partners getting near to others, they take it as a violation of their rights to their partners and become insanely jealous.

An extreme form of this neediness sometimes takes the form of emotional blackmailing. A person with severe abandonment issues may force a partner to stay by saying something like 'I’ll end my life if you leave me' or other ways of threatening self-harm. Such people need therapy or at least counseling and if the man you are dating says something similar, he needs to get help and fast.

Avoiding intimacy

Sometimes people with abandonment issues may exhibit a radically opposite side, that of entirely avoiding any intimacy with a new partner. If your guy has been left hurt in the past, he would instinctively shy away from forming any relationship, no matter how sincerely loving you are. Such people reason with their twisted logic that it is better to stay emotionally aloof rather than leave themselves vulnerable to rejection and its pain again – unfortunately such an attitude often goes beyond simple caution and takes the form of emotional aloofness, lack of intimacy and even a tendency to breakup in a sorry effort to protect themselves from being dumped.

Low self esteem

Whether your date is clingy or emotionally distant, at the heart of his abandonment issues likes dismally low self-esteem. Since he has been rejected in the past, he believes that no one can ever love him again, he is not worthy of being loved. Unfortunately this weakened sense of self worth is not only harmful for the person in question – as it may eventually lead to depression – but nips any chances of forming a loving relationship. As even as you may do your best to compliment your date, he will probably remain insecure and doubtful.

Offer reassurance

Reassuring your partner in small ways will go a long way in helping him cope with abandonment issues. Since your partner’s insecurity springs from fear of abandonment, look for ways that will make you both feel more secure in the relationship. These can be small symbolic gestures like wearing a ring given by your boyfriend on your birthday or making it a point to call him every time you leave town on work. Above all, make it a point to keep your promises – if you have said you will call, make it a point to do so. Your guy’s abandonment issues is likely the result of broken promises and one way of helping him to overcome them is to show that you can be trusted.

Build your partner’s confidence

Take every opportunity to tell your date how much you find him attractive and why you wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. This is particularly helpful when your partner’s abandonment issues have led to feelings of real or perceived inadequacy. Be sure to give lots of compliments to your partner and talk about the great future you are looking forward to share with each other.

Talk to him

If you feel uncomfortable always been second-guessed about your commitment or dislike the lack of bonding with your date, consider having a chat with him. Select the right time and place bring up the issue of your partner’s insecurity and the way it is affecting your relationship. While your partner speaks, listen carefully since this will give you important clues to what triggers his fears of abandonment. Also talk about what why you need him to trust you more or be less clingy and mostly what you expect from each other and from the relationship in general.

Maintain boundaries

Dating someone with abandonment issues can make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells all the time. Avoid reacting to every complaint and demand of your date. Try to detach yourself from their psychological issues and maintain emotional boundaries. Avoid taking this personally when he accuses you of being late or neglecting him. Stay calm and business like. Do not let him control or steal your peace and tranquility. Ideally you should put in some space between you and your date but this strategy is fraught with complexities when dealing with someone having abandonment issues since he is even more likely to feel rejected as you seek some personal space. Even then establish and maintain boundaries between which aspects of your date’s behavior you will and will not respond to.

Seek professional help

Sometimes a person’s fear of abandonment can go to extreme lengths and be a source of perpetual anxiety for those close to him. If you find yourself living in dread of your partner’s next jealous outburst or yearning for emotional intimacy, it is time to look for professional help. People with deep-rooted abandonment issues are usually unable to resolve them on their own and if you are considering a committed relationship with him, it is best if he take steps to address his psychological issues first.