The One That Got Away: Dating An Avoidant Attachment Style
Musings

The One That Got Away: Dating An Avoidant Attachment Style

Cherisha Sonawala - Jun 07, 2024



Have you ever wondered about attachment styles? Specifically anxious and avoidant attachments? They tend to be opposites and lead to very passionate relationships…that often end in very passionate breakups. Here’s my story and experience with the greatest, and most painful love I’ve ever experienced. 

 

In my experience, in relationships, opposites do attract. And man…do they attract hard. It’s magic, rainbows, and steamy windows, everything everywhere all at once. It’s undeniably one of the best things the human experience has to offer. But does that mean it’s good for you? No. But neither is sugar, and I dare you to tell me you don’t like cake. The opposites I’m talking about here, refer to attachment styles. Specifically, Anxious and Avoidant attachment styles. 

What are Attachment Styles?  

Attachment styles are basically like relationship superpowers that we develop based on how our caregivers treated us during our formative years. I say superpower only because…they come with great responsibility. And instead of x-ray vision, you have emotional baggage. This baggage isn’t always bad, but neither is it always good. It causes behavioural tendencies that can make or break your relationships.

Emotional Damage

The two most commonly recognised attachment styles are:

Anxious Attachment: 

Individuals with an Anxious Attachment style tend to have low self-esteem and high levels of anxiety about their relationships. They often worry about being abandoned or rejected and may become clingy or possessive in their relationships. They tend to need constant communication.

Avoidant Attachment: 

Individuals with an Avoidant Attachment style tend to have higher self-esteem but low trust in their relationships. They may avoid emotional intimacy and have difficulty expressing their emotions or needs. They can feel overstimulated in relationships and disappear into a shell for long periods of time.

It's important to note that these attachment styles are not black-and-white categories, and many people may have a mix of both Anxious and Avoidant tendencies.

But for the sake of this article, let's focus on how I discovered in 2022, just how vastly different Anxious and Avoidant styles can be.

The One That Got Away

I fell hard, for someone I thought was my forever person. However, our attachment styles were not compatible. I’m anxious, and he’s avoidant. So the more time we spent together, the deeper I fell in love. And for him, he became comfortable, and that resulted in him growing cold and distant during date nights. I loved holding hands and he didn’t. This led to a major spike in my anxiety, and a constant dissatisfaction and need for reassurance. This, in turn, freaked him out and sent him deeper into ghosting mode and vice versa. I thought I wasn’t good enough, he thought he simply couldn’t be enough. So essentially, we were triggering one another with our attachment styles. But this also led to some incredible chemistry. And we fell in love, we just had the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.  

There was sneaking onto rooftops, skipping town, secret poems, uncontrollable laughter, irresistible flirting, getting drunk at noon, Sundays spent under a mountain of blankets watching our favourite show, and gosh, just so much love. But there were also, broken promises, days of being ghosted, being left on read, unreliable commitments, mixed signals, no accountability, crying on the street in the middle of the night…and the list goes on. And when the relationship died, I think a part of me did too.

Answering Burning Questions

“Was it his fault?”

No, and neither was it mine.

“Can anxious and avoidant attachment styles have stable relationships?”

Yes, they can thrive with communication, honest understanding, and effort, the effort being the most important. If you want to make sure someone sticks around, you need to make space for their needs and insecurities and expect that in return. No one can keep watering a plant that bears no fruit. One-sided relationships without any effort will eventually be lost in the abyss of ‘what if’. Never to be found, except maybe in an emotionally charged, passive-aggressive blog.

“Would I ever give the relationship another go?”

Yes, in a heartbeat. 

No, just (half) kidding. The honest answer is, it depends on how we have grown in our time apart, and also on how much of an idiot I am when it happens. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy some uncomplicated, ‘no-strings-attached’ love with my favourite MyMuse Massager. i.e  Pulse

No Strings Attatched

What I Learned

My biggest takeaway from this has been that I need to set higher standards, expect reciprocity, and make some things non-negotiable. I need someone that’s on the same page as me. Someone who won’t ghost me, won’t break my heart, and will put in effort to keep me comfortable and satisfied. And you know who does that really well? A full-body massager. You’re welcome!

You’re Welcome

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