All types of relationships, whether of love or friendship, require contact with another person. Not everyone, however, is predisposed to this type of bond. This is the case with anaffective behaviour: let us see together how it manifests itself and how to behave when faced with this type of situation.

Love, friendship, feelings: for many of us, emotional relationships with others are fundamental for a serene and gratifying life, but this does not mean that this is the case for everyone. Or rather: not everyone is able to handle relationships in the same way, and not everyone has the same emotional needs. This is also why anaffective behaviour is common but not always easy to detect. Difficulties in opening up to others can in fact be mistaken for a form of shyness, which is why one tends to underestimate the signs.

Difficulties then tend to emerge more when we are in a relationship with a person who tends to be anaffective. In this case, the problems are even more acute, because we often have a very different view of the relationship, and we often expect something from the other person that he or she cannot give us. Why does this happen? How should you deal with an anaffective person? Let us find out together what this is all about and how one should relate to someone who manifests this type of behaviour.

Let us try to go in order and define the term ‘anaffective’. This word, in fact, is used to define a person who is unable to feel emotions, let alone externalize them. This happens in situations where, instead, it would be normal to feel and manifest something.

This condition spills over into social and relational life, spoiling family and partner relationships. The relationship is unhealthy, it sours, until it finally breaks down. It also depends on several factors that change depending on the personality of the individual we are dealing with.

Avoiding emotions in order not to be hurt is a kind of strategy implemented by many more people than we think. Anaffective people are cold, aloof, distant. There are also more complex cases, in which there is a total lack of physical contact, with obvious embarrassment and discomfort felt in hugging others or even just shaking hands.

The anaffective person is usually a hard worker, as he/she manages to alienate him/herself from emotions and intimacy. However, it is not easy to distinguish a simple behaviour from a pathological disorder. As we have explained, there is a tendency to dismiss the problem with ‘that’s just the way he is’. In order to get in touch with anaffectivity, it takes many years of dating.

Anaffectivity is not a pathology but a symptom. It is therefore a possible consequence of a trauma experienced in the past. This may be the case of someone who lost one of their parents as a child and, as an adult, is unable to love another person and build a life as a couple. It is not easy to recognise precisely because it has traits in common with other disorders.

It could, in fact, be mistaken for a form of narcissism, which, however, causes a closure of a different nature and a total lack of empathy. The anaffective protect themselves from deep emotions because they are afraid of feeling regret. Today’s society is certainly not the right breeding ground for this type of personality, who cannot recognise the role of emotions.

Anaffectivity is a barrier raised by fragile people who cannot manage their individual emotional sphere. There is, therefore, no gender distinction but it affects both men and women. It stems from personal histories and experiences, trauma or particular personality disorders.

The society in which we live forces us to construct stereotypes, into which this, anaffectivity, also falls. Energies are focused on work, with the aim of achieving ever greater success. People who are affected tend to find a profession in which they can best express themselves. In love relationships, they try to underestimate their partner, with a strategy to avoid abandonment.

It is, however, difficult to detect anaffectivity in women, who are more conditioned by society to see being in a relationship as very important. However, it is not so uncommon for this condition to manifest itself also in women and especially in mothers, who in turn tend to raise potentially anaffective children.

It is no coincidence that the much-vaunted superior capacity of women to feel affection is in any case a social construction, which does not always correspond to reality. In fact, anaffectivity concerns the individual and enters into every relational sphere. Recognising an anaffective parent is very difficult, whereas in a couple’s relationship it is easier to identify which of the two parties manifests this problem.

You will certainly have come across an anaffective person. As we have explained, it is certainly not easy to recognise them, unless you have been with them for a long time. There are in fact several keys to interpreting this, and to get to the bottom of it, you need to be prepared.

Dealing with a person who displays anaffective behaviour is not easy. Firstly, because he/she cannot get in touch with others. This creates a sense of disorientation in the person at their side, creating a condition of loneliness despite physical proximity.

The limitations are amplified in love relationships, because the attitude of disinterest leads the other person to doubt the feelings and efforts made to keep the relationship strong. In some respects, this is a form of blame shifting. In fact, the partner tends to consider their closed attitude as normal, shifting the blame for their own shortcomings onto the other person.

How to relate to an anaffective person? There is no certain answer. The anaffective tend to remain identical to themselves. One might think of making an extra effort and being understanding, even helping them to find awareness of their own emotions.