I am in a relationship since almost a year. We are amazing together, understand each other well. But lately I realized that my partner is a DA. He is not ready for a commitment. But he takes very good care of me, shows the same affection and love, but finally when its about taking the relationship to a next level, he gets confused and backs off. He doesn't realize it that it has been his pattern to get scared of closeness and intimate relationships. He is equally disapointed with his own self that when everything is so perfect, why am I not able to commit to this. His family has now got in an arranged marriage proposal for him with whom he has been having minimal conversation.
My question: Given next 1 month as the deadline, what is the normal thing a DA would do.. Decide to take the relationship we have forward, or does this scare him off and he would choose the new girl as that does not involve any close bonds until now? What can I do to make this better?
The issue is, if he's DA and scared of commitment, then you are not amazing together as he is not emotionally available or capable of a healthy and functional relationship. Unaware insecure style people of all insecure attachment types use dysfunctional coping mechanisms and connect in fantasy bonds, which aren't going to provide a real foundation for love and commitment, and love and commitment are a choice. There's nothing you can do to change the situation as you did not cause the problem, it has likely existed and been ingrained since his childhood. It would involve him becoming aware AND him choosing to put in a lot of very hard and painful effort because he wants to change for himself, heal his pain, recondition his entire nervous system, and learn all new relationship tools. This normally takes a couple years with firm commitment from the individual to do the process.
You should think of how life would be for you with a partner always one foot out the door, who will be detached from you and pass these emotional issues and pain down to any children you may have if you want children.
I'm sorry you are in this situation, but it is better to ask yourself, what do you want and deserve? What's your attachment style? Often, AP and more anxious FA will be the most attracted to DA.
Thanks for your response alexandra. I completely understand the point you are trying to make here. There was a time I used to feel frustrated with this pull and push. But over time, we have developed a stronger bond. I have seen a lot of positive changes in him. He confides in me more than anyone else in his life and is making patient efforts to understand my emotional needs. The way he cares for me, spends weeks together with me very comfortably (he mentions how comfortable he feels around me, and doesn't with anybody else). Given all this, I just dont feel like giving up on it. I want to get through this with him. My gut says we can work it out together.
My only fear/doubt right now is about the fresh proposal he has got. Do DA's choose someone they are already comfortable with or a new prospect?
shamy, love and commitment is an active choice and a deliberate decision for someone to make. It will depend on how far on the insecure spectrum he is, how much responsibility he takes for his own life versus avoiding and "letting things happen to him." You have no control over that and it depends on where he is in his process and if he's truly getting more secure or if he's just good at being present and connected when there's no stress. It also depends on how much he wants to make his family happy and how hard they're pushing the arrangement.
What concerns me and makes me think he's not secure enough is you needing to ask this question here. That means you two aren't communicating with each other clearly and effectively enough to talk out this significant issue, and you're perhaps trying to mind-read to plan for future scenarios, trying to find a way to influence this in the direction you want it to go (you can't, you can only tell him exactly and honestly what you want and let him respond however he responds), trying to protect yourself whether through perception of knowledge about DA patterns or leaving before you get rejected even though you really just want him to choose you. Either way, you're looking to have more control of a situation that may be making you feel powerless.
I don't know what he'll decide, but if you are unable to talk through this with him in a way that doesn't make you feel he still may have one foot out the door, you should still consider what kind of foundation that makes for a marriage. People don't change just because there's a new label (ie married), they still are who they are and will act similarly to how they did before.
I mean this in a highly compassionate way. You are part of a subconscious dance where it has you making excuses for another persons behavior, even when it hurts you. I’ve been there. It really comes down to - if he wanted to be with you, he’d be with you. Anything outside of that is either extremely unhealthy, or wishful thinking. That you’re even dealing with this, isn’t something I’d put someone I was in love with through. Best of luck, and always be kind to yourself.
Thanks a lot alexandra and dhali. You have laid out really valid points here. May be I am just holding on to something that doesn't even exist. Letting this go seems like giving up on my life to me But if that is what its destined to be, we have no control over it.
On the practical front, is it advisable to have an open conversation with him regarding these attachment patterns and that he exhibits DA traits? Will that help him in understanding the issue better or scare him off further and put him in a situation where he starts thinking he lacks something in him? (I dont want to hurt him at any cost?
Arranged marriage is something his family has proposed given that he hasn't settled down or made a choice of his own yet. He is just frustrated with himself about the fact that he isn't able to fully commit to me and is wondering if he will ever feel 100% with anyone. He is minimally talking to the girl his family has proposed.
He has come to a realization that this cycle is endless and has set a deadline for himself that if by the start of Sept, he doesn't feel 100% witg anyone then there is no point but to push himself and take a step ahead with me (he agrees that thid would be best for him)
shamy it doesn't usually go well to tell someone all about their attachment style and try to tell them all about themselves and that you'll help them fix it.
But you can tell him something like, hey, have you heard about attachment styles? I think it might be helpful in you sorting out your struggles if you look it up. If you want to talk about it sometime after you do some research, I'm available to have a conversation about it. Perhaps recommend the book Attached, or the book Jeb, the host of this forum, wrote and sells from his main site. And then, leave it at that.
If he is truly motivated to work on himself, he'll start looking into it on his own. You don't need to do anything else, nor should you. You do not want to be intertwined in his healing process or it'll shift your dynamic away from romantic (you are his partner, not his mom nor his therapist). It needs to be driven by him for himself, not even for the relationship, for any real or lasting change. That is in his control, not yours.
I know somewhat about your culture and don't think therapy is commonly accepted. But is that something he'd ever be open to? Because that is really what would help him resolve some of this. But it is not something you should bring up unless he comes to you because he started his own research into attachment theory already. Where it sounds like he's at right now, he may just get defensive if you brought it up too soon.
I don't like him being resigned to choosing you. While it is good he's choosing you, he very easily might get withdrawn and resentful if he simply decides he made a decision and is done and will avoid all the DA healing work after, which would not be a happy marriage for you.
About therapy, I feel he would be open to it. Infact he takes any suggestions or inputs positively if expressed in the right tone and at the right time.
The fact that he chose to open up about his childhood and his insecurities with me on his own and that he finds it safe to cry and share his feelings and frustrations with me, even if its a small thing, makes me feel good. Because that is something he does not do with anybody else.
He is a friendly social person. But his interactions and associations with other people don't happen at a deeper level. He finds it comfortable and voluntarily talks about what he wishes to achieve, what he feels he lacks in himself and how does he feel about his emotions.
For now, I am just having positive good conversations with him and avoiding any tough/deep questions about relationship. In a month from now, he would anyways be making a decision.
What according to your experience can be considered as a positive step from a DA if he is actually commited to making a relationship work?
It is much more likely he will choose her, not only to please his family due to cultural influences, as well as have a target to blame in the future as the vast majority of Insecure types do not take 100% responsibility, 'ownership', for their behaviors, life choices, etc. Things 'happen' to them beyond their control. I am so very sorry you are experiencing this in your life Shamy
What does the word commitment means to you ? Did all this come up because you wanted to "commit" or is it because his family is giving him an ultimatum about getting into an arranged marriage or ? Does his family know about you ?
"The fact that he chose to open up about his childhood and his insecurities with me on his own and that he finds it safe to cry and share his feelings and frustrations with me, even if its a small thing, makes me feel good. Because that is something he does not do with anybody else.
He is a friendly social person. But his interactions and associations with other people don't happen at a deeper level. He finds it comfortable and voluntarily talks about what he wishes to achieve, what he feels he lacks in himself and how does he feel about his emotions."...
Maybe he is not only avoidant but a mix, sinse he is able to open up like that. Experiencing an avoidant partner crying Infront of you is rare ...imo...(when they are loosing something / someone who's important to them they can be cracked open though). It deffently sounds like he is under a lot of stress. When we are under a lot of stress our brain dosent function properly. Expecially people with some desorganised attatchment style can get totally confused when too many (major) things is happing in their lives at the same time.
How is he normally ? Under your one year relationship ? How much have you seen eachother during the first year of your relationship ?
Since you don't know if you and your partner want's to be together it's a little tricky....
This is a suggestion from an attatchment/SE attatchment/couples therapist/teacher on how you can invite your partner to talk about attatchment theory/traits.
It is recommended that you invite your partner to have a conversation when you have kind of agreed on that you want to see where this relationship leads you.
Just wanted to let you know how it can be done:
There can be different approaches wether you are talkning to an ambivalent, avoidant, disorganised or secure partner.
You can invite your partner to talk about how you are each characterized by the 4 attachment patterns Investigate whether it can give rise to new ways of speaking and behaving toward one another - if not a greater and deeper understanding and compassion for each other and each of you.
You can suggest to your partner, that you and your partner together take a look at a list of the different traits for each attachment style.
Remember it is just an invitation.
It's a suggestion - just as if you tell your partner, that you have never tasted lobster and you then suggest, that you and your partner visit a lobster restaurant, so that you can taste lobster together.
You can do this when you have been together around two months or longer - when you have kind of agreed on that you want to see where this relationship leads you.
Tell your partner which traits you can recognize in yourself and ask your partner if there are any of the traits your partner can recognize in himself/herself. Remember we often have traits from several different attachment styles - also from the secure attachment style.
DON'TS: Avoid telling your partner what you think he / she is. Let him / her tell you herself/himself. Don't say: "oh I think you are like this or that", "this trait fits your personality" ect. It's an invitation to talk!!!! NOT an opportunity to "diagnose" your partner. Otherwise, you may cross your partners boundaries and you can come of as being intimidating , controlling ect
Some traits: (do not show you partner the healing threads) It can also be a bad idea to ask / tell your partner to take a test. Remember to be gentle.
Theres a model on how to have a good conversation in the thread "how to get a long lasting juicy relationship" - general discussion forum (the first post.) This is a model you can come back to again and again in a relationship.
(I'm not sure if he is a typical avoidant though - there are other suggestions for desorganised and AP's in the thread)
When you want to invite an avoidant to have talk these are some suggestions on how to do it:
When you want to have a talk with your avoidant partner:
Say that you want to talk. Ask when it will be appropriate for your avoidant partner to have a talk. Then agree when you set aside time to talk together. Tell your partner about the purpose of the conversation. What would you like to get out of the conversation. What is your goal ? Explain what are the benefits of having the conversation. What are the disadvantages if you do not talk about the specific topic. Some of them, are often visual in their communication style, so a good thing can be to talk in pictures Use logical, rational arguments. Be concrete. Use intellectual arguments with reasonable points and arguments (and not discussion arguments). This can make them listen to you and they can say : okay, this maybe sounds resanoble, right, let's talk then....
Do not talk too much about how you feel ect. They do not understand that well and you risk not being taken seriously. Some avoidants can actually make fun of you and your feelings. They are not very good at feeling their own needs, feelings and sensations. They are up in their head and have closed off form their neck and down.
If you can put pictures on the things that you want, then this can be helpful for the avoidant to be able to better understand...
Remember again to be as concrete as possible.
If/when the avoidant does something that you like, tell him/her about it.