If your significant other has alexithymia, you will not get the emotional validation or authentic intimacy that make a relationship meaningful and genuine.
Alexithymic individuals, unlike psychopaths, feel a normal range of emotions. They just cannot interpret their own emotions, nor other people’s emotions. While there is a lot that we do not know about it, scientists believe alexithymia could be related to a change in the limbic system.
If your partner has alexithymia, they will never tell you that they are angry, happy, excited, or worried. The emotions that they feel are mysterious. They are just a set of physiological experiences that cause tension, disquiet, stomachaches, migraines, insomnia/oversleeping, etc. People with alexithymia cannot express what they feel because they do not know what is going on in their bodies. They are experiencing emotions, but they cannot name them.
One way to deal with that is to establish some basic codes that they can use to express emotions. Caresses, physical contact, and other body language are common ways that couples seek validation from their partners.
Psychological support is key for people with alexithymia. It is the only way for someone with alexithymia to maintain a romantic relationship. There is no cure for this condition. It requires couples therapy. The patient has to find mechanisms to improve their empathy, communication, and emotional expression. In therapy, patients work on their emotional stimulation and identification, empathy, social abilities, emotional communication, and stress and anxiety reduction.
Many people with alexithymia are reticent to accept specialized help because they believe other people are the problem. Please read that again – if you are told repeatedly that you are the problem, this person might be reluctant to therapy.
This looks like antisocial behaviour but this is really a highly feeling and sensitive person that cannot express themselves in a way that does not make them full of anxiety.
They have a limited imagination so they have little for dreams or fantasies. They have difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations. Also they have an unawareness of what is happening in their own mind and a very concrete way of thinking which makes them relentless to the point of wayward stupidity – even if they have been proven wrong, they will not budge.
They also have many somatic problems to add to the depression and social isolation.
It can look like autism and not be (though it certainly can be) due to the similarities in behaviour.
Those with Alexithymia have a sad and lonely existence. It is as though, in a world of multiple and beautiful colours, they can only see black and white.