[Reblogged from Psychology Today]

Written by Mark B. Borg, Jr., Ph.D., Grant H. Brenner, MD, & Daniel Berry, RN, MHA

A truly intimate relationship is a deep, free, and responsive connection with another person who really matters to us. But when the other person matters a great deal to us, we also feel vulnerable to injury, rejection, and abandonment. Some people attempt to protect themselves from these experiences by forming what we call irrelationship.

Irrelationship is what happens when two people create and maintain a way of being that protects them both from love’s dangers. The couple unconsciously “agrees” to maintain rigid rules that keep emotions predictable. Irrelationships feel safe, but limit freedom. They are about control, not intimacy and mutuality.

Irrelationships seem to protect us from the risk of being left. Unfortunately, they actually limit our experience to that which we believe is expected and necessary to keep the other from rejecting us. We forfeit spontaneity, mutuality and reciprocity with our partner. We forfeit a full and fully satisfying relationship.

while relationship and irrelationship resemble each other superficially—they both provide some degree of care, security and esteem—they ultimately serve different purposes. The goal of a relationship is to establish closeness and intimacy, while irrelationships are constructed to minimize vulnerability through interpersonal distance and control.

If this resonates with you, make sure to read the full post here:  Why We End up in Bad Relationships