Yet, failing to differentiate from negative or self-limiting adaptations to our past circumstances will make it difficult for us to live our own lives as happy, individuated adults, much less happy, individuated and in love adults. It is in our power to decide who we want to be in our relationship and to act in accordance with that, no matter what our partner does. Remember that letting go of your inner critic means letting go of an old identity that, although unpleasant, can also feel safe in its familiarity. There is hope for men who are afraid of relationships, but they must be disciplined about trying to change and honest with themselves about how dysfunctional their romantic life has been as a result of their relationship fears. The relationship trauma may have occurred when the man was a child or when he was an adult. In other words, why are the so afraid of relationships? When we try to avoid pain, we subdue joy and love. Tell him what you believe and what you see, and do it in a casual, nonjudmental manner. Being vulnerable means just the opposite — a willingness to be open to new people and to breaking old patterns. What were we telling ourselves the last time we provoked our partner, started a fight, acted coldly, rejected a loved one, refused an invitation, ignored or withheld affection, sloughed off a compliment, etc? They are there to keep us from achieving our goals. Some addictions are more obvious, while others are easier to hide. We can start by looking at our current or recent relationships.