Love woes weigh heavy on many Spaniards

If you find yourself struggling to say those three little words this Valentine's Day, don't despair: the problem might well be clinical.

Love woes weigh heavy on many Spaniards
Not everyone in Spain is a dashing Don Juan. Photo: Louis Crusoe

While many people will be out wining and dining their loved ones tonight, or even popping the question, a small but substantial minority could be finding the whole event a serious drag.

That's because about ten percent of Spaniards suffer from alexithymia, a condition which makes feeling and recognizing emotions more difficult than it is for other people, according to the Spanish Neurological Society (SEN).

"This is a personality trait and an abnormality but it´s not clear whether it's a disorder," SEN professor Pablo Duque told ABC newspaper.

"Alexithymia is typical in patients who have suffered neurological illness and  neurological or  psychiatric illnesses, but the most common form is emotional disorders like depressive syndromes or mood swings," Duque added.

Meanwhile, Granada's Ideal newspaper explains that people with alexithymia can come across as cold and detached. They may have problems forming close relationships with others and have sexual problems.
Other possible symptoms include a poor imaginative life and a lack of dreams while sufferers may also have a simplistic and negative view of the world.

People with alexithymia don't lack emotions but they do need to develop them. Their inability to express their feelings also means that they sometimes resort to gestures rather than words as they try and show how they feel.

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