Have you ever told the story of your relationship ending and assumed your narrative was personal to you?
The truth is, a lot of breakups are the same.
It can end for various reasons, but often there is a central issue common to most relationships; a rift between attachment styles.
While arguments and disagreements can give you a view of day-to-day issues, your attachment style is the core of your behavioral patterns that are the tipping points in breakups.
If you follow me, I focus on the interconnection between attachment styles and the development or growth of issues in your relationships.
The good news is that issues can work out as long as both partners have an understanding of their attachment style and the needs of their partner’s.
Focusing on the anxious preoccupied dismissive avoidant dynamic, let’s look at how you can repair your relationship if this is your story.
Closing the Gap
One of the issues you’ll see in this dynamic is the necessity for closeness vs. the need for space by the attachment styles.
- An anxious preoccupied individual does not thrive in the unknown or the unresolved.
- Space creates a feeling of emotional rejection and will trigger the abandonment fear.
- Reassurance and validation are the avenues to which an anxious preoccupied individual feels balanced.
- A dismissive-avoidant self soothes alone and wants time to sort through thoughts.
- Space creates a feeling of balance and respect.
- A dismissive-avoidant feels reassurance through actions instead of words.
As you see, this can be a recipe for disaster. Each attachment style in this dynamic must recognize that each’s preference is the other person’s trigger.
Often you will reflect and see that one partner was” needy” while the other” didn’t care.” You can repair this view before it becomes irreversibly damaging.
This dynamic must move slow when interacting but also have a high level of visibility. You can have space and be present at the same time. Be vulnerable, and share emotions without giving demands. Accept views without seeing them as criticisms.
Another step necessary in this dynamic is to expose each other to fears but reward the moments when you make it past.
- An anxious preoccupied individual fears abandonment, invalidation, loss of connection, and rejection.
- Dismissive-avoidants fear losing independence, vulnerability, high expectations, and volatility.
The great thing about this dynamic is that they both want a strong bond in the end. The means of achieving that bond are through different paths.
In this dynamic, each partner needs to be able to express and receive the needs of the other.
- For example, if the dismissive-avoidant asks for space, they must make that time minimal and give recognition that the other respected their need.
- An anxious preoccupied must express their need for proximity but acknowledge that it can make the dismissive feel uncomfortable.
Sharing feelings is vital. Anxious preoccupied individuals go through the layers of emotions, while a dismissive can tend to stay surface level. Both must do more listening than taking.
Slowly introduce your partner to your need without making a demand of them. Your desires are not more important than your partners, and your avenue to soothe is not either. One style tends to overshare while the other can be closed off. Use this as a communication piece to relay the message of caring, not disrespect.
Climb the mountain
Common between the attachment styles is the desire for an immediate resolution to issues.
- You might think that a dismissive avoidant is running away from a problem by shutting down or retreating to their own space.
- The opposite is true. Dismissive avoidants are going to a space to work through thoughts, process emotions, and develop a solution.
- An anxious-preoccupied wants to close the gap of a lack of communication and bonding.
- Wants reassurance that their partner still cares.
Both attachment styles want to be able to trust each other, but their avenue to trust is very different.
You have to discuss the positives of how you are developing as you go. It can be in a weekly check-in, but you must communicate that the other person is doing well. A dismissive-avoidant needs to feel they are meeting your need without pressure causing them to act. An Anxious preoccupied needs reassurance without feeling clingy in the process. Each style can show appreciation for the other and create harmony.
Happy times ahead
Whether your relationship is on the rocks or a breakup with a partner you want back, know there is still hope.
If a relationship isn’t serving your needs and boundaries, I am not suggesting you stay.
A lot of relationships can be saved or revitalized with recognition and change. Both partners have to participate. It is not one person’s fault more than the other or a 50–50 transformation.
It’s 100% and 100% from both partners.
These changes don’t happen overnight; they can take months and even years. These changes are successful when two people come together with a common goal.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
You may also like these posts on The Good Men Project:
|White Fragility: Talking to White People About Racism||Escape the “Act Like a Man” Box||The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer||What We Talk About When We Talk About Men|
Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash