This post is part 2 on the topic of Isolators and Fusers and focuses on Isolators in relationships.
Click here to read Part 1. Are you a Fuser?
The relationship dynamic of Isolators and Fuser is described in the book Getting the Love You Want by marriage counselor and therapist, Harville Hendricks.
Isolators can feel smothered by intimacy in a way that feels similar to being stuck in a room with no windows. They are afraid of being controlled and overwhelmed. They tend to want to do things on their own and aren't good at keeping in touch throughout the day. They can appear to be disinterested in other people, and this can feel hurtful to their partners.
Isolators often choose to be in a relationship with Fusers, and Fusers decide to be with Isolators. Why is this?
The answer is polarity. There is magnetism in being with someone who exudes a polar opposite way of being, which is very sexy in the beginning. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long before partners start to realize that they have trouble connecting (as is the case for the Fuser), and enjoying independence (for the Isolator).
You can see how a couple can start to become frustrated and resentful in this situation, and the quality of the relationship can suffer.
This dynamic plays out in many relationships, and I want to encourage you. It does not mean the relationship is doomed. The key to working with this dynamic is awareness.
Once you understand the push-pull of your interactions, you can:
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you think you're an Isolator or a Fuser? How is this dynamic shaping your relationship?
Most important of all, what can you do to support yourself in your relationship so that you can get your need for autonomy or connection met?