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I think my girlfriend has an avoidant attachment


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Old 1st March 2019, 7:37 PM   #46
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Diagnoses aside, it does seem that you two are not on the same page in what you want or need in a relationship so maybe just recognize that and move on to someone who can better meet your wants and needs. You're dissatisfied with her a lot and no one wants a partner who views us as psychologically impaired or dysfunctional or who is trying to figure out what we need to change. That's really a determination of whether you're compatible and it doesn't sound as though you are.
In a disposable world, I like to be someone who still sees value in something when others may just simply move on to the next thing. I am somewhat dissatisfied with my relationship a lot of the time. I guess the way I look at it is that as long as it's not having a negative impact on me (apart from being a bit frustrated at times I am coping just fine) then if I have the mental reserves to withstand some rough waters, I'll try to navigate through and hope we can reach calmer waters together. If the ship ever starts really sinking, then I'll know it's time to jump.
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Old 1st March 2019, 8:10 PM   #47
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<snip> Of course I agree that if no convo happens and no doc is ever consulted, it can be a total waste of time.
I love what you've brought to this thread and genuinely thank you for your contribution. Can I ask, how did you come to the realization that you are who you are in the attachment sense? Did you come to this realization as a result of speaking with a trained professional? My gf informed me after 3 months of dating she regularly sees a pyschologist.

Not having ever been to see a mental health professional on any regular basis, I am wondering whether something like an attachment style would have been raised? I know little about why she goes, other than her analogy she gave me along the lines of, "you take your car to the mechanic not just when something needs fixing, but regular maintenance to preempt what might need fixing at a later stage."

Is it possible that she's already well aware of her attachment style? If she knew that I understand her position (assuming she has an avoidant attachment), would it make her feel more comfortable? Or, would it make her anxious, thinking that I'm trying to analyzer her, figuring her out and it could be seen as an obstruction to self-manage if I've "figured her out"?
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Old 1st March 2019, 9:53 PM   #48
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Thank you for your kind words Trail Blazer.

I’ve started to notice a pattern with the last people I’ve dated. How the relationships started, how they went and how they ended. The last 3 all had weird stuff going on and it was me who started it. And I didn’t even understand what happened and why I did the things I did. Two examples:
1. Dated a man who was appropriate in all levels and LTR material. When I realized he was really into me, I started to look for reasons why he’s not right for me. At the time my reasons made sense, but looking back I believe I was just trying to run away from something serious. I dumped him for one of these reasons. He was really pissed as it was a poor excuse (political leanings);
2. Man I dated last year, as always it starts really hot, they are really into me etc. When I realized he was emotionally available and into me, being relliable, I again tried to find reasons why he is not right to me. Wrong ethnicity/background, recently divorced... and I created a fight one evening that practically blew it up. I woke up without understanding why I did that. It didn’t make sense in a logical sense. One more rollercoaste.

That was what brought me to LS to ask - “how do you know if you’re emotionally available?” I thought I might be that. Someone mentioned attachment theory, that people who do what I did often had attachment issues in childhood - and I researched it. The more I read about it, the more scared I was. It totally fit into my actions, into my fears, into my breakups. Not only the ones above, but historically.

I often notice the more someone is into me, the more I withdraw. If the opposite is true, if someone is cold/ish and distant, I become anxious and crave them to death. (Typical of fearful avoidants).

I won’t mention breakups from 20 years ago ie during college, but I did the same with a BF I really loved. I regret it to this day. I never understood why I broke up with him, it was the perfect relationship. There were other cases, a guy who wanted to marry me a few years back whom I also kicked.

Strangely I didn’t kick my ex husband but it ended for other reasons.

Anyway suddenly all my issues made sense. Suddenly my super emotional side that I don’t understand makes sense. It also makes sense because although my parents are loving, my mom was a busy professional and I grew up with nannies - I think I was unknowingly emotionally neglected. They say people like me try to recreate what we’re comfy with - this dysfunctional relationship from childhood - so we are attracted to unavailable people and run from secure people as it doesn’t fit what we know.

I found out about this last November, haven’t had a chance to get to a therapist yet but will do. The issue is most therapists don’t even know about attachment theory, I’ve done therapy 10 years ago this was never mentioned. I’ve researched and I’d need either an attachment therapist, EMDR therapist or IFS therapist.

I’m on a few FB groups about it and I’ve asked if people tell partners they have insecure attachment. Many said they don’t specially in a new relationship. Others do tell specially the ones who are in a stable relationship where they trust their partner and know they have their best interest in mind etc.

It’s not enough to be in therapy to know you have this. Strangely she might not know if her therapist is not familiar with this theory. I did CBT therapy and never found out. I think my therapist had no clue about it and deep down I didn’t know how to explain my issues back then. It sometimes takes one decades to figure it out as it’s so unconscious, and also because we can’t remember what happened in age 0-5.

Hope this makes some sense and helps you somehow.
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Last edited by edgygirl; 1st March 2019 at 9:59 PM..
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Old 3rd March 2019, 1:06 AM   #49
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Trail blazer,

Just be careful about assuming that as gf works on herself, that means a deeper connection with you. Could just as easily means she decides she wants to dump you.

Attachment anxiety doesn't just distort behavior at the point of deep connection with another. It distorts behavior far down stream before we get to dating ... just in who you hang out with, how you carry yourself, who you want to date, in your ease with saying "no" and "yes."

In other words, the attachment stuff led me to date people that now I wouldn't think of dating. I don't think I knew earlier in my life that it was fine to tell someone, "look, I like you, but I don't want to date you."

The behavior that describes attachment issues can certainly come up in therapy ... but usually it comes up in dealing with boundaries and self-awareness ... and in lessening anxiety ... and developing more confidence ... I've been to therapy many times, I don't once recall someone using the term "attachment." ... But once I learned of that term, I can see that a ton of work I did in therapy related to attachment.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 7:43 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Trail Blazer View Post
My gf informed me after 3 months of dating she regularly sees a pyschologist.
...Is it possible that she's already well aware of her attachment style? If she knew that I understand her position (assuming she has an avoidant attachment), would it make her feel more comfortable? Or, would it make her anxious, thinking that I'm trying to analyzer her, figuring her out and it could be seen as an obstruction to self-manage if I've "figured her out"?
You are armchair diagnosing someone who is already under the guidance of a professional.
Truth is so many psychological issues are not specific to a diagnosis, they are just symptoms, which alone mean little, but together build a picture which a professional can then make a educated judgement upon.
If you read the internet blurb about any psychological issue you will find many points where you can go "Aha, that is the problem", but with an untrained and uneducated eye you could get it all very wrong.
A lay person tends to gravitate towards the stuff that fits and they forget about the stuff that doesn't, that is why it needs people trained to be unbiased and consider all angles before "labelling" people.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 7:50 AM   #51
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Disagree. There are many types of specialization in psychology.

I went to a CBT trained one for 2 years and she never realized I have insecure attachment. His GF should consult an attachment specialized therapist. Only they can diagnose this, most therapists have no clue. I know a lot about the subject and not just blurbing something out.

Again- Nothing wrong with researching and then going to the right professional to confirm.

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You are armchair diagnosing someone who is already under the guidance of a professional.
Truth is so many psychological issues are not specific to a diagnosis, they are just symptoms, which alone mean little, but together build a picture which a professional can then make a educated judgement upon.
If you read the internet blurb about any psychological issue you will find many points where you can go "Aha, that is the problem", but with an untrained and uneducated eye you could get it all very wrong.
A lay person tends to gravitate towards the stuff that fits and they forget about the stuff that doesn't, that is why it needs people trained to be unbiased and consider all angles before "labelling" people.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 7:57 AM   #52
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Agree. And thatís because most therapists have no clue about attachment style. It seems like they have to specialize in it to really know about the subject. I feel the therapy I did helped zero because of it. I find it so flabbergasting.

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Originally Posted by Lotsgoingon View Post

The behavior that describes attachment issues can certainly come up in therapy ... but usually it comes up in dealing with boundaries and self-awareness ... and in lessening anxiety ... and developing more confidence ... I've been to therapy many times, I don't once recall someone using the term "attachment." ... But once I learned of that term, I can see that a ton of work I did in therapy related to attachment.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 7:57 AM   #53
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After a few strikeouts when dating, I personally believe there aren't such defined attachment styles. To me it all boils down to having interest or not having any interest. I used to think I had anxious attachment until I met my partner. In this relationship, I feel extremely secure because he loves me and is constantly showing me love.


Putting attachment labels on your partner is doing yourself a disservice. Its almost like giving an excuse for the other person to treat you very coldly. You try w/everything you have to get that person back thinking there is something wrong w/you. In the end the person is just treating you like crap. If someone loves you, they love you period, no ifs ands or buts about it. They will treat you like they love you.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 8:01 AM   #54
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I'veseenbetterlol - respectfully, it seems like you didn’t study enough attachment theory.

By the very definition, if you’re dating a secure person, the insecure attachment lessens significantly or even gets “corrected” if you stay with them long enough. I believe this is true specially for anxiously insecure, with avoidants it’s more complicated.

That’s what happened when I was in a LTR with a secure person. But as I didn’t know about it and didn’t do the real work behind it, it reappeared with new partners. Also because I’m both anxious and avoidant, it went well a few years but my avoidant side made me kick him in the end.

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Old 3rd March 2019, 8:54 AM   #55
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I'veseenbetterlol - respectfully, it seems like you didnít study enough attachment theory.

By the very definition, if youíre dating a secure person, the insecure attachment lessens significantly or even gets ďcorrectedĒ if you stay with them long enough. I believe this is true specially for anxiously insecure, with avoidants itís more complicated.

Thatís what happened when I was in a LTR with a secure person. But as I didnít know about it and didnít do the real work behind it, it reappeared with new partners. Also because Iím both anxious and avoidant, it went well a few years but my avoidant side made me kick him in the end.
Dangerous advice imo as I think it feeds into what OP wants to hear and a person could latch on to that and think "if I just give it X number of months/years she will be the woman she was when we met!" when nobody even knows if there is a problem in the first place as far as she is concerned. I would gently suggest that the tone sounds worryingly like OP now sees her as a 'problem' that he is committed to 'fixing' so that she is 'back' to the perfect partner for him that she once was and once this attachment theory notion starts snowballing and OP gets enough positive reinforcement about it it's the perfect excuse to rationalise and justify persisting with a situation that is not working. It doesn't sound like OP's gf is treating him well, but she can act like that simply of her own free will because that's just the way she is, they just aren't suited.

In other words, I think attachment theory is great for working on yourself but latching onto it as a diagnosis for a partner is very dangerous territory as Occam's Razor would suggest it's something far simpler like "she just isn't into you" or some such and really, none of us can tell the difference or know any better because trying to tell the difference between genuine indifference and genuine avoidance because of fears/anxieties must be like trying to spot the differences between a set of identical twins.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 9:00 AM   #56
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So if the girlfriend does have this attachment style, what does knowing that really do for OP? She's still going to do the things she does and that just leaves OP with having to accept and adjust his expectations.

Wouldn't it be best to find someone with a compatible attachment style, just like with other elements of compatibility?

That's a serious question, I'm not being dismissive or trying to antagonize.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 9:04 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by edgygirl View Post
His GF should consult an attachment specialized therapist. .
Who says she is "avoidant" or has attachment issues?
All very well for someone to make a tentative self diagnosis after years of self reflection and first hand knowledge of their own psyche, but Trail Blazer had never heard of attachment issues until a few days ago and he has no actual idea of how his gf truly feels or thinks.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 9:37 AM   #58
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Who says she is "avoidant" or has attachment issues?
All very well for someone to make a tentative self diagnosis after years of self reflection and first hand knowledge of their own psyche, but Trail Blazer had never heard of attachment issues until a few days ago and he has no actual idea of how his gf truly feels or thinks.
Agree. And further to Findingmywayís previous post, letís say she is avoidant attachment - what does that change? He is still going to need to adapt or leave the relationship... Itís never a good idea to enter a relationship hoping or expecting someone to change. She is who she is, and if you are not compatible then you have a decision to make.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 10:00 AM   #59
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Who says she is "avoidant" or has attachment issues?
All very well for someone to make a tentative self diagnosis after years of self reflection and first hand knowledge of their own psyche, but Trail Blazer had never heard of attachment issues until a few days ago and he has no actual idea of how his gf truly feels or thinks.
Yes, and to expand on my point about 'fixing' her, there is a danger of OP making it all about him, ie "she isn't behaving the way I want and it's because a book and someone on the internet told me she has X problem so I'm going to fix X problem so she will be perfect for me and she will be happy herself by proxy". Sorry if that is wide of the mark OP, I just don't get a sense in all this diagnosing that this is being done to help her be a better person immaterial of whether she changes for the better with you. The tone seems to be "how can I magic her back to the person she was when I.met her?"

What needs to be established first and foremost, regardless of what anyone on jere tells you about attachment theory and it's pros and cons, is what *she* actually wants from the relationship. She might be perfectly fine with it. The problem is you have tried being indirect, you have tried being up front and nothing changes. Now you are scouring the internet for theories that allow you to do some mental gymnastics in joining the dots to come up with an explanation that gives you something to work on. You just need to flat out speak to her and find out if she is capable of adapting to your needs.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 10:11 AM   #60
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The tone seems to be "how can I magic her back to the person she was when I.met her?"
Yes.
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What needs to be established first and foremost, regardless of what anyone on jere tells you about attachment theory and it's pros and cons, is what *she* actually wants from the relationship. She might be perfectly fine with it.
Again yes.

The gf is "hot", Trail Blazer has said he is punching above his weight, and the sex at the start was fantastic and frequent.
Now she is not so enthusiastic to see him, she is tired due to other commitments(child) and issues(bereavement), and the sex is infrequent.

He would dump her, but he does not think he will manage to get someone equal in "hotness", so he is making the best of a bad job, BUT if it is possible to "fix" her it would be a dream come true...
He then gets the woman he wants.

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