Not making any assumptions, is this a heterosexual or homosexual relationship? Or something non traditional? You said they a lot, so it wasn’t gendered, and you mentioned secrecy and cultural disapproval. So I’m just wondering. Of course sexual orientation is independent of attachment style, but this reminded me of a friend of mine’s drama with his ex who came from a family that did not want to acknowledge he was gay. Either way, it definitely sounds like avoidant behavior. I just feel like more info is needed to figure out where the avoidance is coming from. That would also inform your insight better on whether your ex is a fearful or dismissive or both.
Regardless of all that, it sounds like your ex’s nearest and dearest don’t pry into their life, don’t offer tons of insight, but are seeing the back and forth and being dismissive themselves.
Hi bobbybee21, I'm sorry you're going through this.
Your partner is likely FA (at a minimum, sounds like they have other issues, too). DA don't tend to cycle and do repeated stretches of on and off and on and off.
There's a lot of talk on these forums about how to talk to avoidant partners. It's a very common question (always wanting to talk to the avoidant "gently") because these dynamics often present similarly, and a frustrated partner comes here wondering if they can change things. But a lot of the advice goes the same way, because most of our experiences with this have gone the same way: you didn't cause them to have problems and so you can't fix them, and confronting them is likely to make them defensive and further shut down. However, it's probably worthwhile for you to read through some of the threads, which do have a range of experiences.
You don't talk about your own attachment style. Have you taken an assessment? You're talking about bending yourself into whatever this person wants to make them feel more comfortable, and it sounds like the situation is ignoring all your needs and not respecting you as a person. After all this time, why do you feel comfortable being treated that way? I don't know you, but just from your one post, I can already see you deserve a lot better.
Alexandra - FA was my thoughts after extensive research. I think you're right in the "fixing the problem" dilemma, I am trying more to understand so I can be flexible in my approach as I love this person. It is their job to repair what needs repairing within themselves, I just want to be a supportive enabling partner. I feel frustrated as I am aware it's nothing I have done. Only that we got close emotionally which activated them.
They have said it's the relationship and not me, that it stems from within them (this is frustrating as if they know this why push me away). I feel the problem is my view point counters theirs, I feel we have to communicate to heal it and stop cycling. But they are not comfortable with discussing it. When we hit high points in the relationship I now dread it because I know what comes next the sabotaging part they ghost me, block me from all contact and when they calm down "now months later" they come back.
Their guilt is crippling them with doing this but will not do any work to change the cycle. When I suggest we seek professional help (relationship counselling etc), or openly discuss together etc they think i'm judging them where all I want to do is reconnect with the person I love and break the negative cycle. Show them I am there for them. It just backfires in a big way.
I have done work on myself, counselling, taken the assessment. I come back secure but lean toward Anxious Preoccupied when activated. Thank you for the threads I am looking at them now.
I agree the situation is ignoring all my needs and showing no respect. When I say this to them they just up and leave or hang up and block me, refusing to discuss further. I am really uncomfortable with this treatment, it is quite hurtful and I feel emotionally abusive. I understand the one thing I can do to stop the cycle is to go no contact permanently, It is very difficult to do when you love the person.
I understand wanting to stay available to someone you love....but you can love someone and still realize that the way the other person shows love is hurtful to you. I think in this case, choosing to love yourself by walking away so that you can find a more suitable partner is the best course...however....that decision is entirely up to you. Good luck.
bobbybee21 If you’ve made it clear to your partner that you’re willing to do all the necessary work to make the relationship feel safe for them, and you pointed out attachment theory to them, there is only one answer. Even if it sucks to walk away, you basically don’t have a choice. You’ve planted the seeds, it’s up to them and the universe to create the conditions where they’ll sprout into any change.
You may know this already but I’ll remind you why anyway...if the person is ever going to want to change, they’ll only do so by coming to that place on their own. Nothing else you do after you’ve given them attachment info and have made it clear you’re willing to do your half will help. What might help, however, is the notion that you’re not going to accept unacceptable behavior and treatment, eventually. Of course, this is no guarantee that they’ll see the light...nothing you do, at this point, can influence that.
How did you two reconnect each time? Was it you who reached out each time? You may make perfect sense when offering solutions, your viewpoint as you put it, but this has to do with what they feel and their experience, which is theirs to fix - you couldn’t even if you wanted to. Whether you are remaining hopeful about the future with this person or not, try to tune in to the vibe that if this person is meant to turn into a good partner for you, you’ll trust that they will come to that conclusion as well. Because they’re NOT right now. It’s totally up to you to stay available to them, but be the boundary setter. You actually don’t need their cooperation to set a boundary. And try to make a promise to yourself that unless this person proves themselves to really be working on their stuff, they are not the person that you should be with. And I totally feel you that walking away from someone you love is very hard. But think of all the stories of people having to walk away from addicts, for example. There can be a lot of love there, but after a certain level, sticking around is ENABLING the bad behavior. Keep in mind that if you guys have a lot of love between you two, then having standards, respecting and loving yourself is good for both of you. If you stay broken up, it will empower you and eventually make them realize they lost somebody. If you end up together, you’ve done your part to level up the standard. Walking away is a win-win.