When our intimacy button differs from our partner, we are bound to enter into the “perfect storm” that prevents both parties from getting what they want. It’s like starting a weight loss program that entails eating big macs and supersized french fries five times a day. Good luck with that…
In one of the most psychologically recognized toxic relationships, one partner craves intimacy while the other becomes uncomfortable when things get close.
I used to be an Anxious Attachment type. Or as society would label me – needy. As a result, I tended to attract Avoidants because my intense expression of emotional intimacy supplemented their own suppression of emotional intimacy.
Studies on intimacy buttons reveal that when our need for intimacy is met and reciprocated by our partner, our happiness increases. On the flip side of the intimacy coin, incompatible intimacy lowers both our happiness and satisfaction with the relationship.
Our love buttons are unconscious biological and emotional luggage that have been filled by our past experiences. These past experiences form our emotional blueprint of how relationships are ‘suppose to work,’ and how we believe we should behave within those relationships.
In my relationship prior to my health incident, I’ve never felt such an amazing high when my Avoidant partner finally came closer to me. But then I felt more unwanted than trash when she withdrew.
I had never felt so pathetic and insecure in my life.
I craved her love. She’d give me a kiss, only to turn around and bolt the other direction, by shaming me, by calling me crazy or ignoring me altogether. Our unconscious desires for closeness and intimacy in the relationship not only affected our intimacy, but impacted all of our conversations.
Psychology calls this the Anxious-Avoidant Trap , or as I like to call it, Lost in the Sea of Love. I felt so alone, I might as well have been stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
I want you to meet Anxious Alex and Avoidant Alli.
Anxious Alex met Avoidant Alli using Okcupid, a popular dating website. After the first few dates, they were happy with each other. Puppy love had taken over, and they adored each other.
As the months passed, Anxious Alex wanted to spend more and more time with Avoidant Alli. He would come over after work and drop everything just to spend time with her. Like most anxious people, Alex was a boyfriend chameleon.
Since Avoidant Alli had become a vegetarian, Alex hopped on the bandwagon too, even though he loved meat. The true motivation, unknown to Alex, is that his low value of himself and intimacy style causes him to accept new identities that his girlfriends already had.