Hi all I’ve done a lot of attachment work on myself in the last 18 months including working with a psychologist using a protocol called the ideal parent Protocol using visualisation to change attachment style to secure. Also done SE and some other poly vagal based stuff like the Steven Porges safe sound protocol. Noticed big changes in the way I feel as I am currently on the dating scene. In the past I would become attracted to people really fast and attach very quickly. Didn’t really pay attention to red flags or other issues of incompatibility as long as there was attention and connection and typically have been in r/ships with DA or FA.
Now with dating I feel almost attracted to no one! And if there is a nice connection and slight attraction I quickly become turned off, as someone starts to show interest in me. Or I see flaws or faults etc and feel put off by this and question of being with someone with particular issues will work for me. I wonder if learning so much about the nervous system and attachment styles has made me become quite negative about relationships and the possibility of one actually working out given how difficult I know it is with an insecure attachment style. I’m not sure if I’m just meeting men who are insecure and therefore that’s the reason I am not interested or if I’ve become a little more avoidant instead of anxious. I do desire a r/ship but feel relatively content on my own for the first time in my life.
Has anyone had a similar experience when working on their attachment issues? I’m hoping maybe I’m just becoming more secure but not sure if first there’s a temporary swing towards avoidance after being anxious for so long!!
Curious about this, too and if the old timers have any input. I’m at about the same timeline therapy wise and recently started dating (only real life not online), and find myself in similar shoes. As if I’m putting off commitment and even though I think I’m supposed to want it, I’m almost glad to be entertaining unavailable guys because I know it’s not going anywhere and I’ll be single again soon or whatever. I’m experiencing short bouts of attachment, but I cycle through it fast, and I don’t act on any of those feelings. I have no problem sitting on my hands and not texting them, etc. I’m FA or reformed rather, and I have no idea where to go from here, but I feel content as well, maybe not “secure”, but in control.
hi, ex-AP here. I do think there's a period of liminality where you "turn off" the AP and are not quite sure what you're doing because you're no longer relying on the same attraction cues as you previously did. It could be both being avoidant and starting to be aware/turned off of the other party's insecurity. It could also be that the way you are dating is no longer working for you, and so you don't find much happening for you. It's a turning point where the old doesn't work but you haven't had quite the new yet, so it's a bit confusing.
At this stage, you could swing into avoidant tendencies, yes, because you are still insecure but turning off the AP. It is a valuable experience as it gives you insight into how different people's experiences may from yours. It gave me compassion/empathy for people in my life, and also acceptance for how tiresome life is, and i didn't need to fight so hard for relationships.
People think turning secure is insecure >>>> secure, as if there's a magic switch. In truth, it's really insecure >>> nothingness/neutrality >>> secure. The period of neutrality is, in my opinion, most important, as that is where you learn about yourself and decide what/who you want to be. When you are working on yourself at this stage, you are actually gathering raw material that you use to shape YOUR version of secure. not all secures look the same, so you have to be shaping your own version. That is what is missing in lots of advice that is provided, as people focus on getting out of the insecure stage.
Give it some time as you settle into a place of neutrality, and just explore different people and ways of dating, without looking for particular outcomes. just enjoy the experiences as they are and take what you enjoy and leave what you do not. Practise the skills you wish to develop e.g., communication, identifying and maintaining boundaries, having fun, not thinking etc. This will help you build a foundation for establishing your secure self. It's a fun time!
I think it took me about 7 months after initially earning secure to start being interested in actually dating anyone again. So, not 7 months from the time I started the process, but 7 months from that shift. As shiningstar mentioned, there's a period where you kind of have to get to know yourself and it can be confusing. I couldn't predict my responses to things anymore because they were often different and out of the lifelong AP patterned behavior. From there, it was another 5 months or so until I wholly stopped dating men with insecure attachment styles. Which puts my personal experience at about a year after completing the bulk of the work (but still being mindful of it since).
I am sparks-attracted to far fewer people now, and when I like someone it's instead, I want to slowly get to know this person better and am interested in continuing to talk to them. Which is much more about emotional-connection building. When I have been put off by people being interested in me, it has been because they weren't healthy partners for me and I didn't want to get involved. I could recognize why they were unhealthy and I was put off, but it was still my gut telling me something and I trust it now. So on the one hand, it may just be okay because you're encountering the wrong people and trusting your gut.
So I was interested in far fewer men but the quality of those connections was much better, even if it didn't go past a few dates. And when I did meet my boyfriend, it wasn't immediate sparks and wild attraction, but it felt very easy and like there were no red flags and I wanted to keep getting to know this guy who makes me comfortable and is kind of cute and super consistent. Then we just kept getting happier and happier with each other (there was always a baseline level of physical attraction, but it wasn't the primary driver). That was all very different than how I ever felt attracted to avoidants.
I suppose the two questions I have for you amber is, what (if anything) does your therapist have to say about it? And, are you sure you were AP before and not FA? If you've worked through all your anxious-side stuff, you could have been left with some avoidant distrust of others to work through that had never been activated before as you were dating more avoidant men. I don't really think that's going on, because your approach the last several months sounded healthy to me, but just putting it out there as a question that crossed my mind. I do think it's more likely related to what shiningstar said. Being content on your own is a BIG deal, and it sounds like you'd rather be single than in a relationship with the wrong person, which is healthy. You very well could have just not come across him yet.