In 1985, Rocky Mountain News published a groundbreaking article on how people attach themselves to others in romantic relationships. It was a simple questionnaire asking people to identify their attachment style from three options.
Style 1: I find it relatively easy to get close to others and I am comfortable depending on them and them depending on me. I do not worry about being abandoned or someone getting too close to me.
Style 2: I find others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner does not love me and will not want to stay with me. I want to get close to people but this sometimes scares them away.
Style 3: I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others. I find it difficult to trust them completely - to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close. Often people want me to be more intimate than I am comfortable doing.
Person 1 is secure in love and trust comes easily.
Person 2 is anxious - longs to be intimate but is scared of being let down.
Person 3 is avoidant and prefers to be alone and withdrawn.
Let's say you are a 3 and you hook up with a 2. When 2 starts to raise the ante and get closer to you, you will automatically withdraw emotionally as your self-preservation instincts kick in. You prefer to have sex with strangers. You do not like to cuddle after sex and you don't like the closeness associated with kissing. When the relationship gets serious, you will sabotage it. You will pick a fatal fight about an arbitrary event and use that to run for the exits.
You need to go easy on yourself and don't beat yourself up. People have let you down in the past and this withdrawal is a natural defense mechanism. You are carrying some deep wounds. Your partner is upset and you think they do not love you, which is not necessarily the case. You are unable to express your emotions because you do not have the necessary self-awareness.
The distance of your partner is not necessarily meanness on their part. It is their defense mechanism. Take comfort in the fact that almost half the population is like you - either insecurely attached or anxiously attached.
Throughout life, our survival is based on our ability to adequately defend ourselves. This manifests in not showing our true emotions in society and in work. If you had to bring all your shit into work every day, it would be a fucking war zone. Emily from accounting is fighting with her boyfriend. When she gets to work, she lets rip and the ledgers start flying. Frank from sales discovers his wife is having an affair and he literally opens fire on every woman in the national sales meeting!
In a relationship, however, the opposite is encouraged – honesty and truthfulness. Bridging the gap is not easy. You need to be Batman – regular Joe by day, but crime fighter by night. Most men battle to do this and this often leads to the building of distance in the relationship. You are avoidant because you think your girlfriend does not want you. You may even have an affair which is your ultimate face-saving attempt to be distant.
At the end of the day, the most crucial element of a relationship, regardless of your attachment style, is good honest communication – something most men are incredibly shit at executing.
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