Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt like you had an instant connection -- a bond that developed so quickly and wound your heart in so deeply that surely you had met your soul mate -- only to end up devastated and wondering what the heck just happened?
You may have been the victim of an emotional slut. Life coach Martha Beck says, "True emotional sluts are psychological wolves in sheep's clothing. They consciously or unconsciously manipulate others with displays of openness and vulnerability."
What happens is that you meet someone, and they divulge some intimate secret to you. Since we all have a tendency to mirror others, we then feel compelled to share something of ourselves on the same intimacy level. Before we know it, we have imparted our secrets and a little piece of our soul in what we feel is an intimate relationship, but to the emotional slut is just another fling.
So how do we avoid such false intimacy? Be wary of going too fast in relationships. This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships either -- oversharers come in the form of coworkers, friends, a supposed mentor, or anyone else you might interact with on a regular basis. They have one thing in common, and that is to elicit emotional sympathy from you by sharing their woes and in turn getting you to share yours.
This is not a real bond. Real relationships and trust take time to build, and they can’t be rushed.
If you feel like you “click” with someone, is it because you enjoy spending time together, have things in common, etc., or is it because you’ve opened up too much and now feel a “trust” for someone that is usually reserved for people that have had more time to prove themselves worthy of admittance to your inner circle? Emotional sluts are experts at slipping in through your barriers and knocking down your emotional boundaries.
Next time you find yourself with an oversharing emotional slut, ask yourself if you really needed to know about his second wife’s penchant for screwing her Pilates instructor. Probably not, so no need to engage in any sort of conversation. Just say one or two words like “bummer” or “that sucks,” and take your leave. To engage in any other way is only going to make you feel vulnerable, which will lead to a false sense of trust and intimacy, which will ultimately only leave you feeling violated. Best to nip that crap in the bud.
You deserve the real thing in your relationships. Real emotional intimacy is developed gradually and mutually, as each partner in the relationship opens up a little bit more over time and trust begins to grow.
If your relationship seems too good to be true right from the get-go ... it probably is.
Have you ever fallen victim to the oversharing trap?
Image via Eric Audras/Corbis