# Topic: Consequences on partner of Alexithymiac?

English Alexithymia Forum > Questions and Answers

Consequences on partner of Alexithymiac?
26.04.2016 by ang24

So I was wondering, if you are with someone with little or almost no emotions, do you yourself become emotionless after a time period? What impact does dating or being married to someone with Alexithymia have on someone that is emotional and in touch with their feelings? Will accepting your partner and their "situation" cause you to change yourself in order to escape the loneliness of no affection?

If it helps...
05.05.2016 by Cease

I'm quite Alexithymiac,
My wife is hyper-emotional.
She has not become in any way less emotional with anything. I feel she makes up for a lot of what I lack there.
I try to be really affectionate, but a lot of time I feel that it's not enough for her.
I think a lot of me may have driven her away though, which does make me pretty sad.

Sorry this doesn't answer your question well. But ultimately no, I don't feel being with an Alexithymiac will change who you are or your feelings, although it's important to know we won't be as romantic as others would hope for. It doesn't mean we don't care, it's just a more baseline logical caring than others will go for.

If that makes sense. Anyway hope this helps in some way <3

wife of an alexithymiac
19.06.2016 by shayshay

My husband is alexithymiac, I am super in tune with my emotions and an empath. It is very frustrating at times. Sometimes I feel unloved, or that my needs are not being met emotionally. It has been taking its toll on me, I can't lie. It is very hard to live with, but I love him and I work on understanding that he isn't purposely trying to hurt my feelings, and he works on trying to feel what others feel, or express his feelings when he has them.

Shayshay, how long have you been with your husband? How long do you think you can go on?
19.06.2016 by Lilibet

I am speaking as someone who has been married for many decades to a man who I knew there was something strange about but didn't know quite what it was. I always thought things would get better one day but that day never came. Without realising it I became more and more depressed until I had a complete breakdown. I now live alone and for the first time in many years I am beginning to feel happy again. I don't see how it is possible to live happily in a relationship with an alexithymic person

Shayshay, how long have you been with your husband? How long do you think you can go on?
19.06.2016 by Lilibet

I am speaking as someone who has been married for many decades to a man who I knew there was something strange about but didn't know quite what it was. I always thought things would get better one day but that day never came. Without realising it I became more and more depressed until I had a complete breakdown. I now live alone and for the first time in many years I am beginning to feel happy again. I don't see how it is possible to live happily in a relationship with an alexithymic person

my thoughts and experience
22.06.2016 by evets12982

I am a 34 yo male. I think I'm in the more rare relationship in that my partner who is femal is the one suffering from Alex. We have been together for 5 years now and for the first 3 years I was using drugs as a way to cope with multiple issues and even then I noticed something was off about her. It wasn't until these past 2 years that I have been clear headed that I became fully aware of the situation. And in that short time I have gone through a range of feelings and emotions about the way my GF acts towards me and treats me. She has no problem saying "I love you too" but its always a response. That is just 1 example of many in which I am the one who has to initiate the the exchange. Whether is be a verbal exchange having to do with mental or emotional feelings or a physical one having to do with being intimate or cuddling/snuggling exchange. I ALWAYS HAVE TO INITIATE.

This has changed me. I feel inadequate and unloved. I feel like im not enough for her. I feel like I am not enough or I dont make her happy or sexualy aroused enough to get her to initiate the exchange. This has caused me to pull away. I used to just be the one to always initiate but once I became more and more aware of the fact that it was a one way street I stopped having those feelings myself. Or at least I became too aware of the issue and then I became obsessed with her having to be the one to initiate. This only further complicated the problem because now it became a standoff in my mind and her being an Alex sufferer she wasn't even aware of the tension going on in the relationship. Not only were the original problems still there but now I was further distressed by the fact that she didn't even have a response to the fact that I had completely stopped showering her with affection and initiating sex and cuddling. This added to my problems.

And now we come to present day where the situation is that I no longer give her much attention and I rarely initiate sexual encounters unless my need becomes very great which is rare because the unhappiness in the situation has effected my sex drive and libido. I have performance issues not being able to achieve a full erection or unable to achieve orgasm even when I become fully erect. Again just one more problem added to it and compounding it multiplying it. It has become a "Domino Effect". One problem leads to another and another and another etc....So yes I have been effected and I have changed completely. But am I now an Alex myself? I don't think so. I know all of my wants and desires and the need to be physically, mentally, and emotionally involved are all still there. And I still am verbally loving and affectionate towards her, that hasn't stopped. I also continue to try and discuss all of this with her but its the same old song and dance each time. She will acknowledge the problem (although wouldn't at first) and reassure me she would work on it and sometimes although rarely she will change for a couple days. SHe has never made it past 3. Then it goes right back to the way it was before. Its not even gradual or something that happens over time. Just one day she is making an effort an the next its gone like...I don't know it just vanishes. Its like a switch flips in her head and she was there the one day and then gone the next. She even gets upset when she tries because she will reach out to touch me and I will flinch or jerk away for a moment because im just so used to her not touching me it startles me when she does and this definitely doesn't help although I of course acknowledge it and apologize and reassure her it's ok and to please not stop trying. Anyway im changed for sure but I know im still my same old loving cuddling self inside waiting for the happy day to come back again.

I hope this helps you and everyone else. Please feel free to respond with any questions comment or concerns. I am NOT a professional but am willing to discuss this with anyone out there as a peer and offer advice from one sufferer to another. I believe this is an issue where support groups would benefit many. Something like AA or NA support groups or even AL-ANON. AL-ANON may offer some help for those without Alex and who have a partner who is suffering from it because people who are involved with a family friend or loved one who is using drugs face many of the same issues we do. Their significant other or family member becomes emotionless and withdrawn. I'm not promoting anything just throwing out a thought I just had. "Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures". I hope I have not offended ANYONE with my long response which is full of MY opinions and comments because that's all they are. My problems and my issues and the way im handling it. Nothing I say is a reflection on any of you or me judging any of you or telling anyone to do anything. Good luck to all. Sorry for rambling a bit.

Married to a content Alex
18.07.2016 by mymainmanalex

I have been married to a man who I see all over this forum! He has not been formally diagnosed but I am sure he is an Alex. He is loyal, honest, and hard-working. I was married for 17 years to an abusive narcissist. I looked for, and found, someone who was good and honest. I thought his reactions were a little robotic and strange, but looked at his good qualities in comparison to my ex. I did not realize that he had this condition until I started looking on the internet in frustration and pain. I am struggling with the fact that he is totally content with his responses and seemingly unattached personality. He refuses help. He doesn't feel he needs it. I have asked him (years ago) to make a list of the qualities he liked in me and those he would like me to work on. At the time I interpreted his actions and lack of connection with me as my fault. (I think that is due to the first marriage). He never did it. I've bought books with workbooks for us to try to connect. He never read them. I am a very feeling person, and right now my greatest feeling is LONELY. If it were not for God, I would not survive this marriage. Being a Christian, I am aware that I have made a commitment to this man for better or for worse. I just can't "get in". I try, believe me. Just like in other posts, he never compliments unless I ask, never touches me tenderly, or at all without me asking. We talk superficially. We kiss perfunctorily. I once told him it was like being locked in a candy store at night and not being able to open any of the candy. I could only look and wish I could taste. I am trying to get my comfort in other ways, by helping others and serving God. I have wonderful friends. I love this man but feel no love in return.
Lonely

To Evets
18.07.2016 by mymainmanalex

I also am not a professional. However, I wanted to say that it sounds like you have put up a wall to protect yourself emotionally. I, too, have put up that wall. It hurts too much to have my heart open to someone who cannot respond. I am also changing, to the point where I only talk about superficial things since I know that if I try to talk about something deeper I will be disappointed. I don't have the solution to this, but think its unhealthy, for me at least, to have a wall up. I just don't know how to communicate in a way that doesn't leave me feeling unheard and invalidated. I've decided to pursue counseling
God bless you and I hope and pray you find a meaningful solution.
Mymainmanalex

Alexi
06.09.2016 by Ordo

I am very much alexithymic. I've been with my girlfriend for over a year, and has been becoming very difficult. She knows about the alexi, but she often questions how I can ever be sure how I feel about her. What others have said in this forum mirror her own concerns, such as feeling unwanted, rejected, unloved. We tend to argue over things and I just shut down because I easily become overwhelmed by the emotions. She gets so angry and hurt, but I never intend for that. I try to open up as much as I can. I try to be affectionate and all that, but it is never enough. It is not that she is unreasonable or even demanding, but I really have no clue what I'm doing, and when I ask, she becomes upset again. She also tends to doubt my honesty because what I tell her "doesn't make sense" or is too different from what everyone else is like, despite it being the truth. And I gotta say, these posts don't give me much hope, but at least it helps me know it's all me.

I think it's easier if the woman is Alexi....
07.09.2016 by DXS

Men don't really care that much about the emotional thing and don't require it.

Women do. So if the man is Alexi, and the woman is not, BIG PROBLEM.

If the woman is Alexi and the man is not, probably not even an issue.....

To Lilibet, Shay Shay and others
12.10.2016 by Coffeemaker

I know exactly how you feel. I have been married to an Alexi for 25 years, but am in the process of ending the marriage. The lack of emotional validation, lack of conversation, lack of intimacy -- it was doable for a time, particularly because I had the distraction of children. As years went by, however, I felt myself sinking, unable to feel joy, not recognizing myself, feeling more and more unlovable and critical about myself. I felt myself becoming less emotional to protect myself against his seeming inability to love me back.

My husband is a good man. I know he doesn't understand why I feel the way I do. But I believe it's either him or me, and it has been him for most of my life. Gotta save myself now, and trust that he will be ok.

New member here.
23.11.2016 by Huytongirl

I'm autistic, and somewhat aleithymic. I came here to learn about my new boyfriend, who is much more so than I am. The test clarified my own alexi.

So far (and it has been brief) I do find it somewhat less stressful than my few past relationships. He likes me and is kind to me. I get scared in case there's some big secret under the silences of his. But I have had other lovers who chatted away about their lives and their feelings, and still concealed bombshells. You can say to someone, "Tell me how you feel about me and about this," and they'll say all sorts of lovely, lovely things and yet be lying. I would reckon that if someone sticks around they probably care about you.I do hope it works. I care about him a great deal and I'm scared he'll leave me and that'll hurt.

Also I feel very wary of "I love you." Because if I say it, and then five minutes later I feel like I'd rather be alone for a day, doesn't that make it a lie? Shouldn't it be love all the time, for "I love you"? Should I say, "I love you at this moment. My feelings are a crazy mess but on average, I like you and enjoy being with you and I'd hate to lose you"? Also where one person says I love you and the other person has to as well, or feelings are hurt. That seemed so phoney in the past.

Anyway it's only been a few weeks. See how it goes.

This likely sounds like I understand my emotions pretty well. I do to an extent. But there's a layer that eludes me.

Thanks!
25.11.2016 by Twommy

thank you guys very much. this really explains a lot

To coffeemaker
25.12.2016 by Lilibet

Thanks for your reply coffeemaker. Just like your husband, my husband is a good man and it feels terrible to be saying these things about him. It felt wonderful to read your post as what you described of your experience of your marriage exactly parallels my experience of mine. I was married ALOT longer than you though, before the day I came across 'Alexithymia' when googling. I had a complete mental breakdown within weeks.

I can't believe I didn't see all those years I was married to him that it was HIM who had the problem, not me. I was already damaged emotionally as a result of my childhood within a dyfunctional family and my husband always had the excuse "Oh you just have endogenous depression, there is nothing I can do". Little did I realise that I could have come out of my depression after leaving my original family and marrying. What happened was though, by marrying him I just got further and further into depression.

I can't help thinking now of all those wasted years thinking somehow he would change and wondering how I could have been so blind. So now whenever I read of someone currently in such a relationship I just want to scream "You owe it to yourself to get out now, you will never change them, if you stay you will just spiral further and further downwards"

HPD
28.12.2016 by Z

I can't believe I didn't see all those years I was married to him that it was HIM who had the problem, not me. I was already damaged emotionally as a result of my childhood within a dysfunctional family and my husband always had the excuse "Oh you just have endogenous depression, there is nothing I can do". Little did I realize that I could have come out of my depression after leaving my original family and marrying. What happened was though, by marrying him I just got further and further into depression.

I can't help thinking now of all those wasted years thinking somehow he would change and wondering how I could have been so blind. So now whenever I read of someone currently in such a relationship I just want to scream "You owe it to yourself to get out now, you will never change them, if you stay you will just spiral further and further downwards"

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of attention seeking behavior and extreme emotionality. Someone with histrionic personality disorder wants to be the center of attention in any group of people, and feel uncomfortable when they are not. While often lively, interesting and sometimes dramatic, they have difficulty when people aren’t focused exclusively on them. People with this disorder may be perceived as being shallow, and may engage in sexually seductive or provocative behavior to draw attention to themselves.

Individuals with Histrionic Personality Disorder may have difficulty achieving emotional intimacy in romantic or sexual relationships. Without being aware of it, they often act out a role (e.g., “victim” or “princess”) in their relationships to others. They may seek to control their partner through emotional manipulation or seductiveness on one level, whereas displaying a marked dependency on them at another level.

Individuals with this disorder often have impaired relationships with same-sex friends because their sexually provocative interpersonal style may seem a threat to their friends’ relationships. These individuals may also alienate friends with demands for constant attention. They often become depressed and upset when they are not the center of attention.

People with histrionic personality disorder may crave novelty, stimulation, and excitement and have a tendency to become bored with their usual routine. These individuals are often intolerant of, or frustrated by, situations that involve delayed gratification, and their actions are often directed at obtaining immediate satisfaction. Although they often initiate a job or project with great enthusiasm, their interest may lag quickly.

The thing is not why are you still married with your husband, but why your husband is still married with you. I think I could guess a reason.

DXS
20.01.2017 by Asterism

Men don't really care that much about the emotional thing and don't require it.

Women do. So if the man is Alexi, and the woman is not, BIG PROBLEM.

If the woman is Alexi and the man is not, probably not even an issue.....

It's actually pretty rough. I'm a lady Alexi, and as a lady you're expected to have emotions. Lots of them. To be tender and kind hearted and want to tend to kids and have endless friggin girl talk with friends. I've gotten the complaint that he always has to initiate snuggling/cuddling...it doesn't mean much to me. It bothers me most times. Sex is cool, but just cuddling for cuddling's sake...women are supposed to like that. People find it weird if you don't.

Every time I get out of a relationship it feels like breaking out of jail. I can stop pretending to like talking and cuddling or whatever.

But there are benefits to staying in a relationship. Logical, everyday benefits. That's a big reason alexi's stay. Who wants to go through all this foundation building again? And if we are there, it's because we want to be. If we didn't want to be, we would leave, and feel very free after doing it.

Asterism Said...
08.04.2017 by Athanasa

... snip ...

YES. So much this!

He took to initiating the snuggling / cuddling... while I was doing things. I'm cooking right now, do I really look like I want to be spun around and hugged? NO! I'm busy!

Sex? Cool, that's fun. Wait, let me get the towel first - don't want a damp spot... Oof, that was fun. Time to-- You want to lie in the afterglow and cuddle? No thanks, we're all sticky with sweat, and I really need to go and clean off in the shower. Plus put that towel in the wash.

I am so, so glad I got free of that relationship. I was doing most things because I felt I was expected to do it, not because I wanted to. And I felt terrible that I wasn't doing them right, or wasn't meeting expectations.

But what other person would possibly accept me if I'm like this? I'll get so lonely without him... I need to do more to keep him. He's fun to play games with, someone to talk to about ideas. When he's not telling me to shut up. I just need to act normal - I need to cuddle, I need to give him fake emotional sex or he feels I don't love him, and he gets all grumpy.

Format Fail
08.04.2017 by Athanasa

... Apparently italics don't work. That last paragraph was meant to be all italics.

Athanasa
10.04.2017 by Z

You are boring, tiring and garrulous. Thoughts is incomparably better than you.

Ew....
11.04.2017 by tiger91

Ew, yet another thread where people want to put all the blame on the alexithymic partner.

Why must it be put on one person only?... A relationship is made by two people, not just by one.

Blame
12.04.2017 by Chivvy

In response to tiger91, it's not about blame, it's about resolving and finding solutions.

The only outcome or 'solution' sadly seems to be leaving the partner or accepting that you (non-Alexi partner) will wear yourself down, become psychologically (emotionally) drained, and start to exhibit the same Alexi traits that you find so difficult to comprehend.

evets12982 summarises my marriage to perfection. I feel like I'm married to a bladerunner and it's the eventual march of the robots.

Ugh
14.04.2017 by tiger91

You know what, evets12982's post makes me sick.

Where I read that his partner is trying to force and conjure up emotionality on her own. That must be incredibly difficult for her, especially as evets12982 responds negatively with that flinch...

And of course she would not have an openly displayed response to the fact that evets12982 stopped showering her with affection... But I'm gonna bet 100$on how it mustn't have had a positive effect on her, even if this was not consciously registering for her. So all this makes me positively sick imagining all that. Yes, I score high on the alexithymia test. And yes I'm empathizing for the alexithymic woman's side there who's clearly misunderstood. Not saying evets12982 doesn't need to be understood. But I guess he's understood with empathy by you just fine. So let me be the one who empathizes with her, the alexithymic one. I don't often feel empathy but I do right now along with being upset. That relationship will not work out if they don't get a very good relationship counselor. Possibly not even then but I do not see a chance for them at all without external intervention. And. Chivvy, no, you are not married to a robot or bladerunner or whatever. He just has difficulties accessing his own emotionality. He still has it somewhere, but not as readily accessible as yours. One more note 14.04.2017 by tiger91 But yeah I agree on finding solutions instead of blaming. I think both sides need to be understood for that first. And yes, it's possible that the only solution is parting ways. I don't know what else is possible beyond that, I guess it depends on the exact case. And yeah, I wouldn't expect someone to keep showering a completely unresponsive partner with affection. So I'm not saying it's any better for the non-alexithymic partner. Just a different experience of the issues. Response to tiger91 20.04.2017 by Chivvy Where I read that his partner is trying to force and conjure up emotionality on her own. That must be incredibly difficult for her, especially as evets12982 responds negatively with that flinch... And of course she would not have an openly displayed response to the fact that evets12982 stopped showering her with affection... But I'm gonna bet 100$ on how it mustn't have had a positive effect on her, even if this was not consciously registering for her.

Yes, I can understand that makes you sick and can empathise. My husband would have the same reaction. This has happened within our relationship and the rejection stays with him, and I get even more upset. It's a vicious circle.

I understand it's because the Alex was trying and is aware that they cannot give what the partners needs, ie. becomes enveloped in a feeling of deficiency. I think perhaps even similar to your experiences, this is when my husband displays emotion - ie. upset, has the physical sickness symptoms (which comes on suddenly, he finds very difficult to describe) and experiences empathy. Does this describe you in these situations?

I wander if there is some sort of repressive block in the brain that resists/prevents emotions? That is how it comes across with the sudden physical sickness. I actually used to think he was faking it (to close the discussion down) very early in our relationship, but it's reoccurring that now I get it.

I guess a major part is recognising and continuously learning about the nuances.

@Chivvy
26.04.2017 by tiger91

That's sad about the rejection/upset cycle. Have you considered a (very good) relationship counselor yet, who can mediate between you two and help break out of the cycle

Yes what you say describes me okay. If I don't let myself get into the upset thingy too deep then I can avoid the sickness part but otherwise yes.

I don't know what it means when it translates into such a physical issue, but my best guess is that somehow the emotional reaction circumvents the consciousness too much, with me not getting a handle on it to redirect it into an explicitly felt feeling state, optionally directing it into conscious imagination, etc.

I've been trying to get just such a handle on it lately. For that I find educating myself on what the emotions are like, how they work in general, trying to make myself think in "feely" terms about the situation, and trying to tune into internal states deeply to increase awareness seems to help a bit (this is a very long process, the latter especially, requires such hard concentration).

If you want, I could write more about this process, though I can't claim I'm at the end of it just yet. :)

02.07.2022 by User63c86C87

Hi, my name is Patricia, I am married for nearly 4 decades to an Alexithymia suffer. His condition was diagnosed 2 years ago. My life has been so lonely. I always blamed myself. I was super kind to everyone which I now think was my way of looking for love and for confirmation that I was a worthy person to be allowed to exist.
I love my husband but he only sees me as a utility. I'm working towards a separation even if I don't wish for that. But similar to other contributors , it's my time to find myself and my happiness without the weight of Alexithymia.