Breaking the Anxious-Avoidant Relationship Trap

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anxious-avoidant relationship

In this video, you’ll learn how to break the anxious-avoidant relationship trap so many find themselves in.

Have you ever found yourself in an anxious-avoidant relationship? If you’ve ever felt anxious and insecure about the love of a partner who said they felt smothered by your needs (or vice versa), you might be caught in this very common relationship pattern. In this video, you’ll learn how to identify and break the anxious-avoidant relationship trap.

Breaking the Anxious-Avoidant Relationship Trap

What is an Anxious-Avoidant Relationship?

There are four attachment styles: anxious, avoidant, disorganized and secure. These styles formed when we were young children, and they often continue into our adult relationships. They’re the blueprints for how we give and receive love.

An anxiously attached person tends to give openly and excessively to their partner, often without limits. They usually need a lot of reassurance that they are loved.

The avoidant tends to crave a lot of alone time in a relationship and often feels smothered or claustrophobic, especially when they feel their partner is needy. That’s when they withdraw.

The pattern of an anxious-avoidant relationship goes like this:  

The anxious partner expresses their love. The avoidant withdraws. The anxious one feels hurt and withdraws, and the avoidant is more loving. As soon as the anxious moves closer again, the avoidant moves further away. And on and on the cycle goes. It can be crazy making.

Why are anxious-avoidant relationships so common?

These types of relationships echo our relationship with our primary caregiver. If we were raised with an avoidant mother, we often become anxious in response to win her love. That becomes our model for love. When we pair with someone who’s avoidant in adult relationships, it confirms our unconscious belief about what love is. 

Signs of what it’s like to be anxious dating an avoidant partner

  • You don’t feel appreciated
  • They blow hot and cold
  • They say you’re important to them, but their actions don’t line up
  • They don’t want to label the relationship, and diminish your need to know where things are going
  • They’re overly secretive
  • They need a lot of alone time, especially when you want to get closer
  • They make plans for themselves, even when you’re a couple

Signs of what it’s like to be an avoidant dating an anxious partner

  • They need you to communicate often
  • They take many things personally and over-analyze what you say
  • They tend to spiral out when feeling insecure
  • Want to know where things are heading early on in the relationship
  • Misunderstand your need for space and time alone
  • Expect you to read their mind instead of stating their needs clearly

If you date people who exhibit these qualities, you may be caught in an anxious-avoidant relationship cycle. It’s a roller coaster relationship,  filled with intoxicating highs and lows, also called “the anxious-avoidant trap.”

Why do people behave this way?

Both of these insecure attachment styles are trying to create a sense of security in their own way. 

Anxious partners exhibit “protest behaviors” to try to establish or re-establish connection in an insecure relationship. Some signs of protest behaviors include:

  1. Excessive contact followed by withdrawal
  2. Keeping score in the relationship
  3. Acting hostile
  4. Various forms of emotional manipulation

Avoidant partners exert a sense of control by practicing detachment. These behaviors might include:

  1. Their words and actions don’t match.
  2. Over-focusing on their partner’s flaws.
  3. Talking about a past partner, rather than being fully present in the current relationship.
  4. Fearing emotional intimacy in a current relationship, exhibited by avoiding labeling the relationship or expressing intimate thoughts and feelings.
  5. Overly sexual or not sexual enough. For example, maybe they’re hot and heavy with you, but exclude you from the rest of their life. Or, maybe you’re stuck in the friend zone, but the chemistry is amazing.

Can an anxious-avoidant relationship work? Yes, but it takes work. 

Here are four steps to begin to make an anxious-avoidant relationship work:

1. Know your attachment style and how it impacts you.

2. Difrrentiate which issues are yours, which are his, and which are from the relationship.

3. Learn how to take care of your needs first, before addressing them with your partner. Everything doesn’t have to be discussed. Many times, it might just be your overactive imagination and has nothing to do with him.

4. Communicate clearly and calmly. Ask your partner what he needs to feel safe in a relationship. Ask what triggers him and what would make him feel more secure with you. Respect and acknowledge his needs. Then, turn the tables, and share your answers to those questions.

The more you learn to take care of your own needs, separate what’s yours, mine, and ours, and communicate vulnerably about what you need, especially when you’re emotionally triggered, the better chance your relationship will have of succeeding.

If you’ve tried all the steps above, and your partner is not willing to be open and work things out, it’s probably time to end the relationship.

No matter what happens, having the skills to get to a more secure space in any relationship is going to change every relationship for the better.

If you’re feeling stuck in dating and relationships and would like to finally find true love, sign up for a complimentary 1/2 hour breakthrough session with Sandy

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Get a copy of Sandy’s book, Becoming a Woman of Value; How to Thrive in Life and Love.


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