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I think my girlfriend has an avoidant attachment


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Old 1st March 2019, 6:05 AM   #16
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So it all has an explanation. Basically and I’m simplifying here, it comes from fear of intimacy and fear of abandonment. (Read on both).

It’s totally unconscious (lol took me decades to understand I do this and might be fearful avoidant).It’s an automatic emotional response from our parasympathetic nerve, carved in childhood. Ie if parents were loving but busy and you felt emotionally neglected as a baby or toddler (0-5), you develop mechanisms to protect yourself from people who might be unreliable. Sadly it extends to your adult relations and get ingrained with time. It’s not something you can decide to fix one day when you understand what’s going on. It requires work.

When a trigggering event happens, the “inner hurt child” takes over for a few minutes (parasympathetic) and your rational side of the brain stops controlling thoughts; and because they seem like real thoughts you assume things - “yeah this person is doing this and that, they are not good for me or they are going to abandon me, so I should act on it and leave first. (Self sabotaging). This way I avoid hurt.”. It is a self fulfilling prophecy in that our biggest fear is being abandoned, but we act in ways that push partners away. It’s unconscious and happens so we protect ourselves from hurt. We find excuses to justify why someone is not good for us for the long run... and boy, the excuses we make make so much sense that they’re totally believable. But a lot of times they’re just excuses so we can pull away and protect our heart. I used to trust my intuition 100% and now I am left thinking when I think something whether is my self sabotaging inner side or my rational brain reading a situation. The best I learned is not to act on impulse when I feel something. My reading could be unreliable. So I try to relax, not act on it, and wait for the emotional trigger to lessen. Then I know I can make a better decision based on rationality.

Basically to respond your question: the more emotionally intimate we become with someone, the higher the possibility we are triggered and afraid of being abandoned. And we act on it (unconsciously) so we avoid the hurt of being abandoned. Relationships ends. No need to feel the fear anymore. But then, it feels good for a while that the fear is gone... until you realize you’re alone which is the last thing you really want to be. I’ve repeated this cycle so many times in my life and always thought to myself - oh he was just the wrong person that’s why it didn’t work. But when you see a pattern over and over throught life, and the common denominator is always YOU, one day you go: wth just happened? Why did I do that? And because it doesn’t even make sense, one day you decide to research wth is going on.

Once we read on attachment, it all suddenly makes sense. The puzzle is solved. I know I do all the things FA do, and I have pushed people I liked away - people who were good matches... despite craving love and intimacy. I love Alan Robarge videos on YouTube - he’s a specialist on attachment who suffered from insecure attachment so he “gets it”. He explains very well how we think and act, and the dynamics, and why we’re doing things. And gives tips on how to improve — but you have to pay him to really get guidance through a community he created. But the free videos are very helpful too, it’s kind of scary how accurate they are. Knowing that’s my main problem, at least I can act on it which I’m planning to do.

If you’re a secure attached partner, you would be her best chance to heal. Do some research and you’ll see how you can help her reprogram the fears through the relationship. Also: therapy and EMDR, IFS, self soothing, etc.. It is a rollercoaster as it leaves us alone and unsatisfied. When we seek the opposite. A supportive reliable partner is her best chance of healing.

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That's fascinating. But also downright disturbing. It's as though, once I was all in she pulled back. I felt like it was a bait and switch, but knew it wasn't because she hadn't got me in a position where she could exploit anything from me.

I just cannot understand how you can want a relationship to work and then, when it seemingly is, you sabotage it. It's such a self-fulfilling prophecy to fear the worst, then act upon it once it's going well to ensure it ends up how you'd feared it would end up.

I don't mean to have a personal attack at you, either. Far from it. It's just difficult to compute. If something is as good as I'd hoped it to be or even better, I do everything I can to keep it that way. I am consistent in my actions and behaviors. Dating must be a nightmare for you as well as those whom you date.
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Old 1st March 2019, 6:42 AM   #17
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Another thing to note is insecurely attached people are deeply attracted to insecurely attached people. (The Classic bomb is anxious attached person (or FA like me) craving for an avoidant). It feels familiar when you had an emotionally absent parent, as it’s what you know. You recreate your childhood.

If you’re secure you’ll feel flabbergasted by our actions (either suffocating or avoiding). But something to think about is why are you attracted to someone who’s insecurely attached? Maybe you are one too and haven’t realized yet. If someone told me some years ago I had this I wouldn’t believe. It’s very hard to reach a point you see it and admit to it.

Hopefully though you’re just a securely attached man who happened to meet an avoidant and fell for her.

Last edited by edgygirl; 1st March 2019 at 6:44 AM..
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Old 1st March 2019, 10:46 AM   #18
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I've been down this road, and it's likely to be an unfulfilling roller-coaster, unless your partner and you take steps to address the issues.

The partner I was with had a childhood where her parents were either absent physically or emotionally and had to raise herself, along with several younger siblings. She became self-reliant, independent and attachment-avoidant. Whenever I would attempt to get closer or move the relationship forward, she would withdraw or outright disappear, then reappear after some time had passed and the cycle would continue.

I'd move on unless there's a clear commitment from both of you to working on the issues in the relationship.
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Old 1st March 2019, 10:50 AM   #19
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And you would know for certain... how? You're just projecting without knowing any of the facts.
I've been following your posts/history with this woman. And you seem to be trying to find any reason to justify why things aren't daily sex fest/cuddling/attention. She's been pretty straight forward with you about being tired for quite some time. But you don't seem to want to hear it.

Now you're trying to label her as having some sort of attachment issue to justify why she's not meeting what you expect out of the relationship.

Have you given any thought to perhaps the issue isn't her, but you? With your ex, you jumped almost immediately into moving in with her and then wound up with your son and married...and subsequently in a not so great marriage and unhappy then divorced. You started dating this new woman a mere months after separating from your ex...and it started out all hot and heavy and how is cooling down to a more normal day to day tone and it has you spinning a bit.

Could it be that perhaps what you have now with your girlfriend is more 'normal' than anything you are used to?
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:01 AM   #20
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OP, there is nothing wrong with trying to analyze and understand the source of an issue.

But the reality is that someone who clearly seeks space in a relationship, at least at times, is not very likely to appreciate your analysis.

I don't think I'm Avoidant, but I certainly need space at times and if someone is analyzing me to figure out why it's going to most certainly push me even further away. She very likely senses it.

As far as her being more engaged in the beginning stages, I can relate to that too. Anything new is always going to hold my attention more completely, whether it's people, hobbies, etc. Then I settle into my normal mode of moderation.

It sounds like you may simply just not be compatible in your needs for closeness and space.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:10 AM   #21
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Thanks edgygirl, very enlightening reading.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:12 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by KBarletta View Post
I've been down this road, and it's likely to be an unfulfilling roller-coaster, unless your partner and you take steps to address the issues.

The partner I was with had a childhood where her parents were either absent physically or emotionally and had to raise herself, along with several younger siblings. She became self-reliant, independent and attachment-avoidant. Whenever I would attempt to get closer or move the relationship forward, she would withdraw or outright disappear, then reappear after some time had passed and the cycle would continue.

I'd move on unless there's a clear commitment from both of you to working on the issues in the relationship.
This is pretty much it. We became closer again over the holiday period, now things have gone cold again, seemingly out of nowhere. Just when she feels like she's getting closer to me, more content and trusting, BAM! She puts up walls and retreats.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:19 AM   #23
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This is pretty much it. We became closer again over the holiday period, now things have gone cold again, seemingly out of nowhere. Just when she feels like she's getting closer to me, more content and trusting, BAM! She puts up walls and retreats.
Or, she spends more time with you when she can and doesn't spend as much time with you when she can't.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:26 AM   #24
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We became closer again over the holiday period, now things have gone cold again, seemingly out of nowhere. Just when she feels like she's getting closer to me, more content and trusting, BAM! She puts up walls and retreats.
But maybe she isn't putting up a wall and retreating. Maybe she WANTS to be close and relaxed and enjoy time with you...but LIFE is happening.

Over the holiday period, she likely had a bit more free time. didn't have to get her kids to/from school, school lunches, homework, the daily shuffle of day to day life. So she had more energy and was able to put more into the relationship.

The things you seem to complain about with her truly seem to just be daily life...and that she doesn't have time to give you a lot of individual love and affection in day to day life. Which is fine. You are completely allowed to want to be with someone with more a focus on affection.

But it DOES seem as though this woman cares about you and your relationship. I just think that her #1 priority is her family/home/life with her kids and maybe you want to be in that #1 spot instead.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:35 AM   #25
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I've been following your posts/history with this woman.
With respect, most of your opinion is based on incorrect assumptions. You haven't been following my posts or history with a great deal of attention because you are of the view that we've moved in. We do not cohabit. It kind of undermines your whole credibility when you can't discern a critical component of this dynamic when I've mentioned it on multiple occasions previously.

At the risk of sounding condescending, you don't seem like a very logical or analytical person. You seem rigid in your inability or desire to read between lines. You glean from things, seemingly, what you'd wish to project as the most negative position possible.

Let me reiterate; we do NOT cohabit. We would see each other multiple times a week in the beginning. It's scaled back now to at the most, once a week, sometimes once every 2 weeks. It's been I who has invested the most in this relationship; I've spent countless hours helping her, supporting her, spending money on her and her kid.

If things aren't working out and I wish to not dump her but rather, do the right thing and invest FURTHER time, effort and sacrifice to make it work, then I'll explore all avenues of possibility for why she's behaving the way she is. Avoidant attachment absolutely nails my observations of her behavior. I don't buy the tiredness; it may have been true in some cases, but it's more than likely been used as an excuse to create distance.

I challenge you to learn a bit about avoidant attachment, listen to what I am saying as my observations are first hand, and tell me what you think. It's remarkable how many boxes she ticks with regards to avoidant attachment issues.

Believe it or not, I actually love this woman and I am doing everything in my power to try to make this relationship last. I listen, take on board and adjust my behaviors to try and help her. I do feel like I'm jumping through an incredible amount of hoops for little to no gain. There are issues in our relationship and no, they're not all down to me. I've made some mistakes, sure... but I'm putting in effort when, if I didn't give a damn I could just walk away. She's worth it to me so I will keep trying, despite being shut out by her walls because, like it or not, she's probably suffering from some kind of avoidant attachment issue which sporadically prevents her from maintaining effective communication.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:38 AM   #26
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I said that you moved in with your EX quickly...not your current girlfriend.

But you can dismiss my opinions if you'd like. I'm actually trying to help you here...because I know you DO care very much about this woman.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:48 AM   #27
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Or, she spends more time with you when she can and doesn't spend as much time with you when she can't.
It's not about spending time per se. It's hard to describe the intangibles, especially over text. I believe I am fairly perceptive and my gut hasn't generally let me down in the past. When I've detected issues of her going cold in the past and brought it up, I've been on the money. She's admitted to struggling at certain times when I've felt it. Only now, since she knows if I raise the "going cold" issue, she anticipates it and comes armed with excuses for why.

I cut her slack because her grandmother passed away. I cut her slack because she was tired at times. I cut her slack because she started a new job recently. Hell, I cut her a massive amount of slack understanding that she's a single mother and that I'll always come second. However, I struggle to reconcile with being shut out at seemingly random times, with a complete disregard to how dysfunctional it is to go days on end with no contact and no valid reason why.

I won't compromise my own self respect forever.
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Old 1st March 2019, 11:52 AM   #28
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I said that you moved in with your EX quickly...not your current girlfriend.

But you can dismiss my opinions if you'd like. I'm actually trying to help you here...because I know you DO care very much about this woman.
I unreservedly aploogize. You did too. I feel like an a$$ as it was I who misread what you said and proceeded to take you to task on that. I believe that most of my point still stands, however I won't edit it as the dialog would be mismatched and I have nothing to hide - I always admit when I am in the wrong. In this case I most certainly am.
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Old 1st March 2019, 12:05 PM   #29
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Could it simply be that your expectations in terms of what a relationship means to you both are mismatched, and that neither of you have a particular attachment style?

I don't know much about attachment theory at all but took a test out of curiosity. It came out as 64% secure, 14% avoidant and some other things I didn't pay attention to.

What that tells me is that being single suits me, and that I best avoid anxious people. All of which I knew anyway, tbh.

I don't mean to say this theory isn't useful; I'm sure it can give good insight on oneself.

I've not really read all your threads so my aplologies if this has been covered already but I wondered: did you just look at her style, or did you look into yours too?
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Old 1st March 2019, 12:13 PM   #30
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I have lots of experience being with someone avoidant.
We now have a secure relationship.

You could ask her to take an online test to see what her attachment style to you is, and you take it too.
Key here is TO YOU, because she could have a different attachment to her child, siblings, etc.
Perhaps it could open a dialogue about what's going on with you two.
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