Not attracted? Learn How to Unclog the Blocked Flow of Love

by | Jul 28, 2019 | Anxiety, Intrusive Thoughts, Open Your Heart, Relationships | 17 comments

Once again, I turn to the poet and mystic Mark Nepo and The Book of Awakening for gems of wisdom about the stones that block our hearts from fully loving:

“It seems this is the never-ending work of relationship, each of us in our own time and way moving the stones between us, repositioning the heavy things that get in the way, so the life of feeling can continue.”

Isn’t this what you’re longing for: “to reposition the heavy things that get in the way, so the life of feeling can return?” The way I understand this is that the “heavy things” are the fear-blocks and when you learn how to reposition these heavy blocks of fear that weigh like stones on your heart, you’re then able to pop the corks of false perceptions that eclipse seeing your partner clearly. Then the natural attraction flows. Then you can feel the wellsprings love that are waiting to come forth.

Mark Nepo continues:

“The weather of simply living jams things up, and we, like every generation before us, must roll up our pants and sleeves, step into the river, and unclog the flow. Of course, we need to ask, ‘What are the stones pushed about between us? What are the heavy things that keep getting in the way?’

“No doubt, they are infinite and particular, but often, they are made of habits of not: not seeing, not hearing, not feeling, not being present, not risking the truth, not risking the heart’s need to live out in the open.”

But how to “unclog the flow”? First we must learn to name the source of clog, which means naming the fear-walls and how they manifest for you.

Once named, we must learn how to soften the walls through daily actions that bring us closer to our partners.

Then we must learn how to work with the “habits of not: not hearing, not feeling, not being present, not risking the heart’s need to live out in the open.”

Let’s flesh this last bit out. At the very core of the attraction spike – or any spike that includes the word “enough” (not intellectual enough, not ambitious enough, not funny enough, not serious enough) – is the projection of your own lack of self-worth. We project outward onto our partners our inner shame stories. Sometimes these shame stories are on the surface and easily accessible, but sometimes they’re buried so deeply into the underlayers of psyche, down down into the soft, muddy places where we’ve stuffed the raw belief that we’re not enough that the only way they can be seen is when they appear on the projection screen of our partner’s perceived inadequacies.

This can sound like:

“My partner isn’t intellectual enough” = I struggle with claiming my own intelligence or I’ve attached my self-worth to how others perceive me intellectually.

“My partner isn’t attractive enough” = I’ve criticized my physical appearance my entire life, and was likely teased or bullied for some aspect of myself physically growing up. I attach physical appearance with self-worth, and see my partner as a reflection of my worthiness.

“I don’t love my partner enough” = I don’t love myself enough.

Projections aren’t always this simplistically decoded, meaning when we unpack an intrusive thought it’s not always as simple as turning it around to reflect an aspect of ourselves. But replacing the magnifying glass with the mirror is the first essential step toward unhooking from a projection and unpacking it at the root.

In essence, this is how projection works: we see outwardly onto others what we cannot yet see in ourselves. This is, in fact, the gift of projection, for we cannot grow and heal what we cannot see, and it seems that one of the only ways we see clearly is through the projection. If we’re on a path of healing and growing we learn to see projection as a gift of psyche, the way our unconscious says, “It’s hard to see your blind spots, so I’ll project them outward to help you see what needs attention inwardly.”

This naming, softening, and reversing the habit of not seeing and not risking are some of the Love Laws and Loving Actions that I teach in Open Your Heart: A 30-day program to feel more love and attraction for you partner. We start by naming the veils of illusion and the walls of fear that prevents us from seeing our partners clearly, then we move into the practices that help us clear the silt that prevents us from seeing ourselves clearly. In this way, we begin the break-through task of repositioning the heavy things that get in the way of loving, stepping into the river, and unclogging the flow. This round of the course will begin on Sunday, August 4, 2019, and I look forward to meeting you there.


  1. You are such a gift, Sheryl. Thank you for all that you do.

  2. Fantastic post, thank you!

  3. Oh waw such great timing for this post. I’m fretting about the weather on my (destination) wedding day next weekend (forecast constantly switches between sun and thunder storms/rain) and how my wedding won’t be “sunny, beautiful, magical,… enough”. People won’t enjoy it, will regret they’ve travelled all the way there for bad weather etc.

    After reading this post, I have written a note to myself to read over and over again this week: “You are enough. Lean in.”

    • What a beautiful way to break through the projection onto the weather and tend to the vulnerability at the core.

  4. Thank you so much for all that you share. Finding your work has given me hope for the first time. I cried the night I first found your work and I’m currently working through your anxiety course. I have been with my partner for 9 years. I look at him and think “ wow, he’s an attractive man that has it going on” but in the past five years I have been repulsed by sex. I like to cuddle, hold hands, kiss but when he tries to have sex with me I get so repulsed and anxious. I think part of it is because he has been such a sexual pursuer that I started to feel so much pressure and the anxiety from that has became this huge beast in my mind to the point where I get anxious if he even talks sexually or looks at me sexually. I’m confused because I can look at him and knows he’s an attractive man and yet I don’t want to be intimate with him. I also think I have intimacy issues from family of origin stuff I’m trying to work through. It’s just very discouraging and hopeless because I love him but at this point I can’t imagine ever having sex with him in the future.

  5. Hi Sheryl,
    After compulsively googling my relationship anxiety symptoms (I know you’re not supposed to do that) I was lucky enough to find you a while ago. I purchased your book and read alot of your blog entries and all of it has helped me alot. But a problem that I’ve had with my partner that I haven’t found here and that my anxiety has been firmly stuck to is our communication over text. It has been a huge trigger for me in the last few months. Like if he doesn’t answer me for a while I’ll get anxious especially when I see that he’s active somewhere else like instagram. Then I’ll feel like he doesn’t care or I’m not happy (and similar things) I’ve talked to him about it and he honestly forgets to reply sometimes or thinks it didn’t need a response (sometimes it doesn’t I know that) and then also forgets. I know him and he really is like this and I’ve learned to not always panic right away but think logically because he might be working or doing something with his family. It doesn’t really help that I was (and still am a bit) obsessed with the relationship to the point where I lost myself, now I know that’s a source of my anxiety, my soul calling out for me to get back in touch with myself). A few days ago it really got to me again and I don’t understand why this is such a huge problem for me. I really don’t know what to do and I’m scared that the people I tell this (like you) will tell me I have to break up.

    • This isn’t a reason to call it off. It sounds like the delay in texting is activating a few of abandonment for you, and that’s the place to focus. It might also be helpful to communicate more clearly to him that this is very triggering for you.

  6. Sheryl, thank you for your wonderful post.

    Do you think you can do a post about cheating? I believe that my partner is cheating but at the same time I can’t imagine him doing something like that to me. He’s so loving and hard working for us. Is that an intrusive thought or could it be intuition.

    • It sounds like an intrusive thought (and quite a common one, especially when you struggle with trust).

      • I read your book and in the process of re-reading it. I cried so much reading the last 4 chapters.

        Sheryl where do you think I should focus on with these two thoughts? Please let me know your wise wisdom.

        The other thought that eats me up and that consumes all my time is-
        I think My partner is jealous of one of his friends life. That includes everything from his home, to his wife, to his kids, to his boat, and all those things. I feel like he would rather be with a women like that then me. Or have the money that he has, That he would prefer to have his home, and all those things. I was washing the dishes and from where I was standing I could see him scrolling through Facebook on his phone and it appeared to be pictures of them but I couldn’t really tell and my stomach just dropped.

        I asked him if he was happy and asked if he would prefer to have a different life and he said no ” I like our life” and that sent me down the hole. I wanted to hear that he “loved” our life. Not just “liked”

        It’s hard to pin point what needs my attention.

        Or if this is even an intrusive thought.

  7. Hello Sheryl,

    Thank you for your amazing work. I’m wondering if you might have ever thought about marriage and inlaws and that relationship? My mother was recently visiting me and my husband, and me and my husband unfortunately had a fight in front of her at dinner. I was crying and it was really embarrassing. I cry very easily when we have any type of arguement/disconnect. I had to reassure my mom that things were okay. She was feeling very protective and now I worry she sees him in a different light. My husband and I didn’t talk much the next day and took us a while to come around and talk it out in a more reasonable manner. We basically hadn’t had much time to ourselves while she was visiting, and my husband was upset about something my mom said. He hates to see me so upset because of my mom so he was feeling protective of me and he didn’t feel like he ever had a good moment to let me know about his own feelings. So he was feeling angry at my mom but keeping it inside, and then it bubbled out at dinner. I know my husband didn’t mean any harm and I can see it from his view now that I understand. Doesn’t it matter most how I feel about him? It’s hard when we fight to not have all the intrusive thoughts and not feeling attracted and then it feels compounded when my own mother is questioning him. How do I keep my own feelings towards my husband separate and not feel upset if my mom doesn’t always feel the same?

  8. Hi sheryl,
    I suffer from intense relationship anxiety/rocd. I have been with my boyfriend for 2 years and had problems over analyzing little details about how i dont feel in love since the dating part, i cant remember infatuation because it was very short and the doubts and weirds feelings around intimacy took more place over time. I have been doing work reducing anxiety a little, but i really need help if theres any way to find attraction and remember why i even would want a relationship. He his a beautiful person and partner so i want to try. Do you think it is possible to do someting, that your course can help with such a situation even when the absence of feeling have been for soa long reinforcing beliefs that were not suppose to be?

    I would love to take your class, probably the one about attraction

  9. Sheryl, what if my boyfriend really is irresponsible and has a poor work ethic. I cant attribute that to a lack of attraction. It’s a serious thing thats making me wonder if he’s the one I should be with for the rest of my life. What do I do? He loves me so much and I love him too but it’s driving me crazy to be dating a 27-yr-old guy with no investments and a very low salary he spends left and right.


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