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How to date someone with an anxious attachment style

Have you ever dated someone who freaked out when you didn’t call them back right away when you said you would? Perhaps you fell asleep, only to wake up to 15 missed calls and an assault of text messages.

Or perhaps you’ve dated someone who got upset that you didn’t give her enough attention and so she punished you by ignoring you, or broke up with you as a reaction to her feeling unloved. If this sounds familiar, chances are, you’ve dated someone with an anxious attachment style.

Our attachment system is a mechanism in our brain responsible for tracking and monitoring the safety and availability of our attachment figures. Many attachment theorists believe that by the age of five, we develop a primary attachment style that will more or less define the way we emotionally bond and attach to others in our adult lives.

There are three primary attachment styles and 90% of us will be able to associate with either one or two of them: secure, avoidant and anxious.

None of which are bad or good by the way, there isn’t one in particular that you should aim to fall under. But this post is about how to love someone or be in a successful relationship with someone who has an anxious attachment style (whether they know it or not).

People with an anxious attachment style crave intimacy, are often preoccupied with their relationship, and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back. They have an inherent fear of rejection and abandonment. Even a slight hint that something is wrong will activate their attachment system, and once activated they are unable to calm down until they get a clear indication from their partner that the relationship is safe.

If you are dating someone with an anxious attachment style, you just have to understand that their wiring is different from yours, and that they require higher levels of intimacy and closeness than people with secure attachment styles. You can learn what their what triggers are, and how to best respond to make them feel loved and supported. Here are some tips on how to date someone with an anxious attachment style:

Be consistent

Lack of safety is the underlying baseline that subconsciously rules an anxious’s way of perceiving their relationships. Many theorists attribute an anxious attachment style to inconsistent caregiving, where the baby/child never knew if they would have their needs met. Therefore, their attachment system goes haywire as a means of survival. Being hot and cold and mirroring the inconsistency they received as children will be one of their greatest triggers and cause them to react in a destructive way – so be consistent, opt for balance versus extreme peaks and valleys in your attention and energy.

Let them know how you feel – on a regular basis

Anxious types have difficulty believing that you actually like them and without clear signs indicating your interest, they will convince themselves that you don’t. They need reassurance that you care about them, that you’re sticking around and won’t abandon them. Sounds exhausting, but it’s really not that hard. A simple “I’m thinking of you” text or a phone call to check in can go a long way. If you assume they know how you feel, think twice. They don’t. Proactively tell them how you feel instead of holding it in.

When in a fight, reassure that you’re not leaving them

Studies show that people with an anxious attachment style are more sensitive and quicker to perceive offset emotions. They have a unique ability to sense when their relationship is being threatened. They have a tendency to think worst-case scenario because unconsciously, they deeply fear rejection and abandonment. When in a fight, they’re instinctive reaction is to think that the relationship is over. Their heightened alert system will make them think you’re going to leave them, so they will prepare for rejection and may even try to break up with you first. It’s important that you assure them that just because you’re in a fight, it doesn’t detract from how much you love and care about them and that a disagreement doesn’t mean the end.

Follow through on the little things

If you say you’ll call, do it. If you say you want to go out, make it happen. Follow through on promises – small or large. It’s extremely important to build trust with anxious types, who are used to being let down or disappointed. Since anxious types are more sensitive to cues, they pay more attention to the things you say and will remember the promises you make.

Don’t invalidate their feelings

So if you’re wondering why you’ve been drawn to someone like this it’s likely for an array of reasons, one being that they are very heart and feeling oriented and you like that, you like that they show that they like you. They have needs for intimacy, availability and security in a relationship that are necessary for them to feel safe so that they can trust and love with reckless abandon. Know that with the light, comes the dark, and the emotions that you love are also the emotions that become challenging for your logical, busy mind. Do not shame or judge them for feeling and instead show compassion. Understand why they’ve been feeling unsettled or upset by something without making them feel like it’s not important.

While it may sound challenging to date someone with an anxious attachment style, the good news is, through support from their partner and their own self-work, they can move from anxious to secure. Once they realize that they are safe, a healthier narrative becomes reaffirmed through time and experience, and they gradually rewire their baseline, so basically once they realise you’re in it for the long haul. They’ll calm down and just remain content. It’s the early relationship stages that freak them out.

While there’s a lot of information there. Hopefully it will help someone understand their relationship better.

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So you’ve created a fake account (or you’re thinking about it)

So you’re sat there at home and you’ve talked yourself into a point where you feel like it’s totally fine and acceptable to create a fake social media account to stalk one of your ex’s. Sorry I mean to stalk ‘THE’ ex, the one you can’t seem to get over.

First of all I think we should all agree that you probably needed some kind of intervention before it got to this point, but never mind here we are.

Question number one in this situation will always need to be why you couldn’t just give them a follow on your actual account is already raising some serious alarms, so let’s consider some options as to why this could be shall we ….

  1. You cheated on them and now they’re doing better than you
  2. You’re the one that got cheated on and don’t want to seem pathetic
  3. They’ve been ignoring all your other methods of attempted contact
  4. They hate you (for whatever reason)
  5. You’re with someone else but still obsessing over them because you have an inability to be by yourself
  6. The shame of having them know you still want to see what they’re up to kills you inside
  7. Your actual profile just shows how shitty your life is without them

I think that’s enough reasons for now.

But lets revisit point five, you’re with someone else. If you chose to jump into a new relationship straight after the last one ended well it’s no shock that you’re in this position. Did you know on average it takes someone at least six months to get over a relationship as a minimum? But of course, this all depends of how intense and involved your relationship was.

If you’re still obsessing over what your ex is up to, then maybe you didn’t give yourself enough time alone to figure out who you are without them and replacing them with another body probably wasn’t the answer.

Ultimately, whatever your reason for creating a fake social media account for the purpose of stalking an ex, I think it’s safe to say you probably need a bit of help rather than the ability to see their life sprawled across your phone screen.

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THAT feeling

Do you know that feeling, the one where someone else suddenly tears your life apart, destroys your self-worth and although you don’t know it yet, they’ll also be responsible for keeping you up at night for the next good few years wondering why you just weren’t enough (yay bedtime anxiety).

It’s a feeling you get in your chest, like you can actually feel your heart breaking but worse, it feels like there’s suddenly so much pressure on your lungs that you can’t breathe, everything you thought you knew and trusted is gone, just like that. The air feels like its been taken from your body by the same person who told you they’d die for you and yet ironically here you are feeling like your dying AND IT’S BECAUSE OF THEM.

That’s not love. And now here you are, convincing yourself that you’re the reason it all went wrong. It’s your fault they chose to give someone else the same affection they we’re giving you. You pushed them into the arms of someone else, someone who isn’t even better than you.

Maybe amongst all of this, that’s the part that is hurting the most, the fact you know you’re better than the person they risked losing you for.

Oh, did you know that scientists have proven that heart break can invoke physical pain? Yeah so next time, before you do something shitty to the person who’s fallen in love with you, just remember that not only are you mentally scarring them, but you’re actually causing them physical pain by shattering their heart with your selfish immature behaviour.

You know what sucks even more; you’ll never forget a feeling like this. Once someone has crushed you in the worst way possible, you’ll never really forget that, yet somehow, you’ll eventually find it in yourself to fall in love again. Scary right, how being human means, we have so much emotional vulnerability, heartbreak I guess mimics getting a tattoo or having a baby, at the time it hurts like hell but you’d do it all over again just as soon as you’re ready, as if your brain kind of forces you to forget quite how bad it was because the intoxicating feeling of falling in love is worth risking getting your heart broken for.

I know what the worst part of all of this is, it’s the fact they’ve walked away from this unscathed, unbothered and with the whole thing not really causing any knock of effect to their own future. They’ll carry on as if nothing ever happened, while you’re here in pieces trying desperately to find something to hold together mixed bag of broken fragments that make up your trust, self-worth and heart.

The next time they do this maybe they’ll use a different excuse for their behaviour, maybe the next person won’t have to hear them say ‘in my head we broke up a long time ago’ or maybe, they’ll be as narcissistic as ever and blame anything but themselves for their own shitty behaviour.

Just know that you’ll heal, it will take time and you’ll have to be selfish if you want to try and forget that feeling of having your heart broken.

But you’ll get there, because a good heart will always heal.

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You’re not dating

I hate to break it to you, but what you’re doing is not dating.

What you’re doing is distracting yourself, and that’s ok, but it’s important to take a second to recognise the difference even it’s just for your own acceptance.

When you’re not ready to date with a purpose, you can use the time wisely to distract yourself until you are. Distract yourself from the person you’re trying to get over and heal from until all of a sudden you realise that you aren’t thinking about them every day, they aren’t infiltrating your dreams anymore and you’re no longer using them as a point of reference when you’re talking about your love life.

If it takes a new body every weekend to erase the person you’re getting over, then that’s totally fine. But please for the love of god … do not call that dating!

 Dating means opening up and actually letting another person get to know you … the good and the bad (scary I know, because that means you have to accept that other people might think you’re not perfect 100% of the time).

To be honest, a form of pretending to date is going to hang out with someone for the first time with the intention of sleeping with them, because let’s be honest, you’re not that bothered about spending time genuinely getting to know them and understanding what makes them tick if you’re already planning to get them naked halfway through your ‘date‘.

When you’re ready and in your own time, you’ll find someone who’s worth dating and I mean really dating. Someone who you’re excited to get to know more about and you don’t mind hanging out with on occasions where you don’t end up having sex, but you see each other just because you want to.

But until then, go through your list of people who you want to get to know physically but not mentally, you might as well have fun while you’re trying to block the void of space that your last relationship has left.

Just take a second to remember, when you talk about how your dating life is going so unsuccessfully, it’s probably because you’re not actually dating.

When you’re mentally ready to date someone you’ll find everything happening a lot easier, a connection will feel less forced and you’ll feel like you’ve come away from ‘dates’ with something more than just an orgasm.

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Clear intentions

Have you ever watched He’s Just Not That Into You? There’s a scene where one of the main characters Alex states this: “If a guy treats you like he really doesn’t give a shit, then he really doesn’t give a shit.”

Mind blown.

Sad thing is, we don’t date with intention anymore (unless your only intention is an orgasm, in which case, be safe and have fun). Dating with intention is envisioning your emotional wants and needs and finding a partner who shares that same goal. However, we’ve ended up in a chaotic mess where the marriage-minded are dating individuals who want to play the field. And what happens when we discover our intentions don’t align? It’s excruciating. It is a real, staggering pain inside our chest, yet another one that you’re going to have to let go after you’ve spent time imagining how your families would combine.

Millennials long for companionship that’s more than platonic, without the cynicism of “friends with benefits.” So we end up in almost relationships, settling, because we think that’s all that’s out there, people who are only willing to give us half of what we want and deserve.

But really all we want is someone who gives a fuck about us and doesn’t make us confused. We want to cuddle up on the couch and watch movies. We want to complain about someone’s snoring. We want someone to make breakfast for us, because it’s the small things that have the biggest impact. We want someone who texts us goodnight and good morning, IS THAT REALLY TOO MUCH TO ASK?!

What we don’t want however, is confusion and anxiety which is really all we get from our almost relationships.

When we end up settling for the almost it’s because we don’t want to be viewed as needy or demanding. We’re taught to be the cool girl who doesn’t require higher standards as can always be independent AF. How did we talk ourselves into a dating culture where we don’t value connections, but we swipe right? One in which we ghost each other because conversation and honesty seems too scary and difficult?

But what happens when you meet someone who doesn’t make you feel scared for being honest with your emotions and stating that you want them in your future? How do you react?

You’re so used to acting in an IDGAF attitude pretending that you’re not slowly getting feelings for someone who has no intentions of drafting you into future plans with them, that having someone tell you they’re not here to mess you around sounds like the worlds weirdest concept …. but how refreshing!

So maybe after all the shit you’ve been through with everyone else, it’s ok to think that this one could actually be into you and it’s fine to let your guard down and actually be honest with what you want.

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Our first date

How it should be:

I want to remember our first date as something special, a story that can be told to our children and grandchildren.

I want the story of our first date to make people say “aww how romantic, it must have been nice for someone to have made that kind of effort” and for me to smile back with pride knowing that it was special.

Our first date should be something that will stick in my mind, even if we don’t work out. I want our first date to be the one that I compare all the next first dates I go on too, despite the fact that I’ll secretly hope I’ll never have to go on a first date again.

I want you to put in effort to get to know me on our first date, I don’t want the plan to be something rubbish and boring, something anyone could suggest. I won’t remember going for dinner ten years from now, that would just be something that gets pushed to the back of my mind and lost in amongst all my other throw away memories.

No, on our first date you should want to try and impress me. And this doesn’t mean you have to spend a ridiculous amount of money, it means I want you to put some thought into it. Try and find something you’ll think I’ll enjoy doing.

I want our first kiss to come with a cute story that makes up part of our first date. There won’t be many first kisses that you remember, but you’ll remember ours.

After our first date I want to spend weeks telling my friends about it and when I introduce you to my family, I want them to be impressed by how much effort you went to to impress their daughter, especially since they always go on about how ridiculously high my standards are.

We won’t have met online so our first date won’t be weird and awkward, I won’t have to scan crowds of people to find your face. We’d have already met before this, so before our first date you can spend less time worrying if I’ll look like my pictures and more time thinking how to show off how romantic you can be when you’re trying to impress the girl you fancied at the first time you saw her.

I want to be able to get butterfly’s when I tell people about our first date, because it will still get me nervous and excited even just reliving the memory of it.

But most of all, our first date should make me feel excited about how the rest of our story is going to unfold…..

How it probably will be:

After a few days of conversation after meeting on an app …. we met for a drink. I won’t remember where we went or what we drank, in fact, a year from now it will be totally lost in my mind completely.

The end.

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100% Kind of Love

 

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If someone doesn’t love 100% of you, then you need to politely tell them to f**k off.

No seriously, hear me out on this one…

If you don’t in some way love every single, quirk, annoyance and weird habit of the person you’re dating, odds are that you’ve fallen in love with the idea of them rather than the real them.

It’s easy to fall in love with ideas, but falling in love with reality, now thats a hard task.

If you’re looking at the person you’re with and thinking ‘yeah you’re great, but if you didn’t do XYZ you’d be even better’ STEP AWAY!

They’ve been working hard to make that version of themselves since the day they were born and the last thing they want or need is some temporary, mismatched (to them) individual coming along to alter them, because ultimately once you up and leave them once you’ve reshaped them into the thing you think you want, not only are you leaving them heartbroken, you’re also leaving them wondering who the hell they are.

Once you’ve redesigned the end picture of the jigsaw of their life, by removing pieces and jamming in pieces that really don’t go where you’re trying to make them fit, you’ll leave them questioning a lot of things.

And the thing is, they’ve let you alter them because they love you, no demand was too big or too small, you wanted them not to hang out with certain people? Fine, those jigsaw pieces are gone. You weren’t a fan of that weird hobby they had at the weekends? Cool, they’ll drop it to fit into your lifestyle better, another jigsaw piece gone.

Originally, before you came along, the image they were working towards on their jigsaw of life, the one they had been working on since the day they were born, was a dog. Now, since you’ve been in their life, the end image is of a bucket …. they don’t even like buckets, but you do, so it’s fine, because they want to make you happy.

NO. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT FINE.

If you don’t love 100% of the person you’re dating without wanting to change them, leave them alone so they can find someone who loves 100% of them, there’s over 7 billion people in the world, so odds are they can find someone better than you and you’re not as special as you think. Sorry, not really sorry.

Maybe you’re reading this thinking, yeah I’ve done that, I’ve changed my life to please someone else. Well stop it, you don’t need to, if you love 100% of you, someone else can as well, but thats the key thing here, you need to love all your weirdness before you can expect someone else to.

We all have flaws, but few of us can actually own them and stand in front of someone and go, this is me. Yeah I’m not perfect, but neither are you so lets be perfectly imperfect together and I’ll love you anyway.

I’m not asking you to love your partners snoring when they lay on their front, or the way they can’t eat toast unless it’s basically burnt, but all those silly little things make up what is them and if you love them, you’ll get used to their weird quirks.

Don’t place yourself into someones life if you’re wanting to change it, you could just be a temporary part of their life jigsaw, all the other pieces they’ve spent years finding the right places for are the foundations they’ve created with their friends and family and if you try and change those just to fit what you want, well to be honest you’re just a crappy manipulative person.

So love someone 100% or don’t bother loving them at all.