To the people who’ve disappeared because they didn’t approve of my love life

I have learned the most from the not-so-joyous things that have happened to me in life. Happy times? I learn nothing. If things had always been happy, I’d be starring in the remake of Forrest Gump or something.

But like Forrest Gump, I do know what love is. Especially now. The last seven years have been … educational. And occasionally joyous. But mostly educational.

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m an anxious attacher. There are three kinds of people in the world: secure attachers, who meet someone and might have everyday problems, but in general they know the other person will be loyal and they will be too. Their problems don’t stem from a lack of closeness.

Then there are love avoidants. If they find a mate, they then find every reason possible to make their person not the top priority. They get really into work, or friends, or hobbies, or affairs, or porn, or alcohol. Whatever it is that distracts them, it makes them be not fully in the relationship.

Then there are anxious attachers.

How do you do. I’m June. Of the Anxious Attacher Junes.

I never knew this was a thing until I read about it and said, “Oh my god, that’s me.” And I find it shameful as hell. I so don’t want to be an anxious attacher.

When I first start dating someone, I have this month or so of smug, where I know I’m not that hooked yet, and I can sort of take or leave the person. I always enjoy that part. I love Month of Smug, because I’m still in control. But I also know that it won’t be long before I’m hooked, and then I’m just one of those shivery poodles.

Once I’m hooked on a man, it’s all “Why isn’t he calling?” “Where is he?” “When will I hear from him again?” “Will he leave me?” “Does he like someone better?” and

OH MY GOD

it’s a pain in my ass.

And guess what else? Secure attachers find and date each other. And anxious attachers and love avoidants find each other. I mean, that’s just a pisser.

They say the secret is for anxious attachers to find a secure attacher. Marvin my ex-husband was a secure attacher, and you know what? I was okay. I was, in fact, a new woman. I wasn’t jealous or obsessed. I didn’t have any of my baser traits that I have when I’m with a man. And even though I didn’t know about secure attachment, I knew SOMEthing was very different with this one.

But that ended, and I went back out into the dating world, and I met someone and got anxious again. Oh, my god, for the last seven years I’ve been a wreck, with the obsessing and the worrying and the UGH WHO AM I, EVEN? For all my married-to-Marvin years, I had this clear head and this sense of peace, and then it all went away once I went back to my anxious relationships.

And maybe you’re saying, But gee, June, your last relationship ended several years ago. Didn’t it? What’s this “the last seven years” stuff? Didn’t you break up in 2015?

Kind of. But also kind of not. You could say I ended my relationship three and a half years ago and also a month ago. Because even though I moved out and so on? We were super enmeshed, still.

And imagine trying to be my friend during all that. Wait, are they broken up or aren’t they? Wait, I thought they’d decided not to speak anymore, but here she is with him.

So, yes, I understand that that might be, you know, frustrating. The same way it’s frustrating for me to see you make mistakes and not rectify them. But you know what? I didn’t abandon you for your mistakes.

I think when you see someone whose relationship might not strike you as good for the person, and you “just don’t get” why the person doesn’t “just leave,” that (a) you might be a secure attacher and that (b) you don’t know shit about trauma bonding.

When you’re in a relationship with glorious highs and terrible lows, that shit actually changes your brain chemistry. The intermittent reward of “Oh, this is great” after “Oh, this is terrible” triggers dopamine and serotonin. It’s really addictive, and it bonds you to the person.

If you’ve only ever been in something healthy, you don’t know what that feels like, but man, I do. Trauma bonds are some powerful effing bonds.

It’d be like if I told you to give up your dog or something. “Just stop seeing your dog. How hard can that be? Just stop loving that old mutt.”

Impossible, right? Welcome to trauma bonds.

So, the thing is, I know this. I read up on what’s been happening to me because I don’t want to be this sad lovelorn person who can’t make up her mind whether to leave or stay. I’ve known what’s been happening to me and why, but what I had to do was work up the courage for the horrific withdrawal that comes after you aren’t getting those highs anymore. It was terrifying.

But here I am, muddling along, and I’m surprised at how often I feel stupendous, actually. I have these moments of just the most lighthearted joy, and I don’t feel heavy and bogged down with fear anymore. It’s great.

But I also am aware of friends who are just not around anymore: the smug secure attachers. Everyone who left is in a happy relationship, and I’m sure they left because they just didn’t get why I stayed. Maybe they thought abandoning me would be tough love or something. Or that they just couldn’t watch someone do something they couldn’t understand.

Well, now I’ve explained it, Sir or Madame Empathy, so maybe now you’ll get it. And now I feel happy a good 70% of the time; my forecast is bright. But you know what? Don’t come back now that the weather’s fair, friend.

XO,
June

90 thoughts on “To the people who’ve disappeared because they didn’t approve of my love life

  1. This has my head spinning. Lots to consider.

    I’m so glad you gained clarity and are 70% happy.

    I’m wondering if it’s possible to be a hybrid. A mixture of SA and AA.

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  2. June, thank you for sharing valuable information from your courage and vulnerability. Thanks too for the links that go deeper into the terminology. Especially hard-hitting for me was the trauma bonding info. It took me back to the reality (ugly and difficult) of my marriage which I ended over 25 years ago. I have been applauding you—quietly and giddily and not through the comments—as you shared your recent steps toward healing and happiness.

    It’s given me so much to reflect on, including my present life. I can see the trauma bonding enabled me to keep trying to make it work. I think that warped me in some way even though I found my way out. And that’s maybe why I’ve never tried to find another love.

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  3. I have been thinking about your post all day. First to say I completely understand having people leave you with they don’t get why you do the things you do in relationships. I have found that it comes from insecurity or lack of knowledge or lack of empathy. During the last seven years the people who have stuck by me no matter what I’ve done or relationships have dwindled down to two people. I think you know that for the past several years I stood in your doorway telling you to just do what you need to do. I get it, I empathize and I know you’re on your journey.

    After 25 years when he walked out I thought it would die. Literally. And then I wanted to die. Really. I grew up with severe abandonment. And I had started to breathe and relax in my marriage. Starting to believe that I would not be a abandoned again. Very codependent and very enmeshed.

    For years I believed I was stuck with this brain of mine. That I would always think this way I would always feel this way I was always make these decisions and I would just have to manage it for the rest of my life. A few years ago I listened to a Ted talk. They had finally discovered that our brain could change. Brain elasticity. Very exciting news for me to hope and believe that I could change. That my brain could heal. That my brain could create new neural pathways. I read and listened to everything I could get my hands on about brain elasticity. And that is how I ended up working with a counselor who uses EMDR. My brain is beginning to heal. I’ve healed from many of my abandonment scars. I’ve been able to view relationships in a healthier way.

    I see you. I know it’s not something you can think your way out of. It’s bigger than that. Keep going. I’m still here in the doorway.

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  4. WOW – this was so interesting! I’m a secure attacher married to a secure attacher, so I have very little close knowledge of the other types. I have a good friend who is an anxious attacher married for 20+ years to a wonderful secure attacher (barnacle, really). That guy isn’t going ANYwhere, yet she feels like she’ll be abandoned at any minute. Until today, this was mystifying. Now I know.

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  5. Great post June, thanks for educating us. I have learned a lot about attachment as a foster parent, but I hadn’t thought to transition that from kids to my friends. We actually just did a training on this last night. In addition to secure attachment there are three different types of insecure attachment. There is anxious insecure, there is avoidant insecure and there is disorganized insecure. The good news is that it is also possible to get to “earned secure” but it takes work, willingness to be introspective, and good help (therapy). There is a really great video that gives a quick overview. I’ll see if I can find it and post it here.

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  6. I am an anxious attacher and was was married to love avoidant. Sucked for a lot of 33 years. Divorced. Don’t want anyone else at this point. Scared at first of being alone, but after a couple of years, I relaxed…after 10 years, I’m good. My regret is staying because of fear and not taking the chance to find a good relationship. But being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. I enjoy my own company. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Ima parrot everyone else. My brain is a whirl. Been married to a secure attacher since we were fetuses. Maybe we grew into being secure attachers together. Possible.

    But I’d like to apologize to you for being a sideline cheerleader. There are so many good qualities about Ned that I would focus on. I’m an optimist almost always. I hope for the happy ending. But I obviously did not understand a ding dang thing. I’m sorry for that. I pride myself on being a good friend. I think maybe I just suck at it. Truly, I apologize. Be strong and 70% happy!

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  8. I have been a “friend” (as much as one can be as a blog follower) since you were married to Marvin Gardens and I haven’t gone anywhere. I will totally admit that I have watched your relationship with your love avoidant of choice with a few different perspectives. When I was in that last abusive marriage, I was envious because back in the beginning it seemed blissful for you two. Doesn’t it usually? Of course, it took me a solid two years to really leave him and be done, and it took physically catching him with the other woman AND taking a fist to the jaw before I finally realized that there was no way to ever fix it. Yes, I am over him, in the sense that I don’t miss him or long to be with him or care who he is with anymore. But I am forever changed because my formerly love avoidant ass went overboard anxious attached and it altered the way I view relationships in general. I don’t even trust myself, because I believed so completely that he was “THE ONE” that I am mystified at my own inability to judge character.

    Now I watch because it’s like watching myself two years ago. I don’t know the details of what you guys have been through. But I hope it doesn’t take a fist to the jaw to make you finally let go. And I have said this before – AND I KNOW YOU LOATHE ADVICE – but I really encourage you to block all contact with him. Out of sight is really out of mind, or as out of it as he will be for a while. Blocking my ex in every way possible was the best thing I ever did for myself.

    For what it’s worth, soon after I married him i went back to school and got my BA in Psychology. Learning about all of this shit while you’re experiencing it is quite … enlightening.

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  9. Great post, Coot. This is what I know about love. Narcissists seek out enablers. My ex was a narcissist as was the ex before that. Twice in my life of love have I found men who were not narcissist, with them I could be described as a secure attacher. When I was with the narcissists I was an anxious attacher. I kvetched and pleaded for them not to leave me when in reality the demise of the relationship was the best thing for me.

    I am here, I hear you and want you to know…You are good enough. You are smart enough and doggone it people like you.

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  10. This is an amazing post. I had no idea about the chemical changes in the brain, this explains so much about relationships and why people seem to be stuck and unable to get out of bad situations. Thank you for sharing your heart and knowledge. I’m not going to abandon you, I’m just so glad you made the hard decision and your heart is beginning to heal.

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  11. Wow, this explains so much! My Dad was a secure attacher and my Mother a love avoidant. My Father in law secure attacher and my MIL an anxious attacher. As a result, I’m a love avoidant who became a secure attacher in my marriage. My husband was a secure attacher. I remember a guy I was head over heels about who was a love avoidant who made me an anxious attacher, once out of that, I said I would never go there again. My husband has passed, and I’ve been thinking about the kind of man I would like to have in my life. Now I will look for a secure attacher. Thanks June, I learned so much from this post. And congratulations on doing the hard, right thing for yourself!

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  12. Great post! I am a secure attacher in love relationships but I think I might be an anxious attacher with friends… if such a thing is possible. I’m always worried that I’m a burden to my friends, but when I’m in love, I never worry about that stuff with my partner. Weird….

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  13. Well, I like you, and I’ve been here since Bye, Bye, Buy.
    This is a really interesting read because it explains so much about the different ways people do relationship. Thank you for sharing!

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  14. When you wrote about attachment theory before it was a big eye opener for me! I’ll be reading the links later.
    Im an anxious attacher and unfortunately just knowing that has not really stopped me from entering another relationship with an avoidant that has be in a shivering poodle state too often. I know logically that I should’ve ended things a long time ago but I have not been strong enough. He is moving away and as much as I hate him leaving I know that it’s for the best.
    Hopefully I’ll eventually get to the point where I either find a secure attacher or realize that it’s okay to not be in a relationship.
    Feeling are hard

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  15. Man. I really wanted to say I was a secure attacher. But then I read the part about you being calm when you were with Marvin and I realized I’m actually an anxious attacher and happened to marry a secure attacher so that’s why I’m ok.

    But I’m wondering if that’s why I don’t get bothered when friends have a lot of drama in their relationships. I just figure “she’s my friend. This is her life right now.” I’ve never thought much about “I can’t take this drama” or even the opposite “I cant leave her now, she’s in too much pain.” Maybe I just empathize?

    Who knows. This is a really informative post! Thanks for sharing. It was you sharing your own life but also sharing something super helpful!! I truly enjoyed it.

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  16. As always, thank you for trusting all of us on here to share your life with both the ups and downs. You make us better, more educated, compassionate people for it.

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  17. I’m going to read all of your links when I have some time to really concentrate on them. I’m definitely an anxious attacher. I have been monogamous with a poly partner for the last 13 months. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say a poly person is love avoidant since they are openly with multiple people all the time. Lol. I have been very unsure about the poly thing the entire time, but decided I would give it a shot and see what it was like, but decided to only see him until I kind of navigated a new relationship style and figured things out. There are some huge pros and some huge cons. I met another guy two months ago who said he’s open to poly, but once we started getting to know each other, he admitted he doesn’t want that and was just being open minded when he said he was on his online profile. I just ended the relationship with the poly guy on Tuesday night. My heart is shattered right now because I really loved him. With the new guy it’s too soon to tell what kind of person he’s going to be relationship wise. I sure hope he’s a secure attacher because I’m tired of going through one painful experience after another. At 50, I really had hoped I wouldn’t still be so up in the air with respect to relationships, but here we are.

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  18. (That was me with the idiot BIL. Not sure how Anony-Mouse snuck in.)

    It’s sad but oh so true. And knowing my SIL, when he does go she’ll play the grieving widow to the hilt.

    Anybody got a hand basket? I’ve got a one way ticket to you know where.

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  19. One more person you have educated. I mean I have read books where the main character was in an abusive relationship, so I thought I understood, but no. This was mostly new information for me. I am learning so much about attachment lately. Part of me worries it is prepping me for some new wonderful (painful) life lesson, but all we can do is move forward bravely. Congratulations on your steps forward. 70% seems like more happiness than most people have day to day — so happy for you.

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  20. Great post, Juan! I have always appreciated and envied how much you share with us. I can see all of this in my past relationships. I have been suddenly dropped by a “friend” and I also had to back out of a long friendship because I was having my own issues and she was sucking the life out of me with hers. Not implying this was you! This woman has been married and divorced six times!

    Due to my own past history of relationships, I try to be supportive and not judge others. I have been on all sides of the all the different fences several times.

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  21. Damn. This is a lot of information. And I was going through so many relationships in my head as I was reading, my parents, friends, siblings, and my own marriage. I have an appointment so I am going to have to return to this and figure out where I stand in regards to secure, avoidant, anxious. Thanks so much for this.

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  22. Come to Book of June for the education of love. Fascinating information and something I needed to know. Thank you for sharing.

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  23. Interesting post. Now I need to go read about all of this. My partner is gone but it still might help me learn about us.
    I did not give up on loved ones in crazy relationships. I think if you love someone enough that is just not an option. If the person is a very casual relationship that’s very different. I have had people I barely knew attach way too hard, far too fast and that freaked me out. I only have so much energy, I have to reserve it for the people I all ready care a great deal about. I hope that doesn’t sound terribly cold. I think I am an empath and I can attract too much drama sometimes. I never felt that way about you, Old Lover. You have many other people in your life, cyber and real world.

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  24. I’m continuing to feel like a turd because I have said to people near and dear, people I respect and love, “WHY DON’T / DIDN’T YOU JUST LEAVE?”

    I didn’t know.

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    • I don’t think so. I mean, anyone can change, but usually they aren’t aware they’re doing anything. Do you think love avoidants are going around Googling about being love avoidants? No! They’re looking at porn or texting the other woman.

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      • oh YES, you are so right! I dated two of those. Horrible times. I’ve been reading since BBB days, I don’t plan on going anywhere and would never stop reading and enjoying you, no matter who you are with or not with. That sentence seems like very poor grammar.

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      • Truth in that statement. And really, who wants to wait around to see if they will change? You have really grown and yanked us along with you.

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  25. I’m glad to see that you’re at the 70 percent happy mark and have no doubt that the percentage will climb as time goes on. My feelings mostly about others’ relationships is that it’s none of my business. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

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    • Exactly how I feel. I’m never inside anyone else’s relationship so why should I have an opinion? I guess if my own relationship ever reaches perfection then maybe I’d take the time to opine on someone else’s. Nah. None of my business.

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  26. I’m with everyone who thanks you for such an educational post. Reading about your moments of lighthearted joy made me very happy for you.

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  27. Such a great post, yet again. Thank you. I’ll never leave you, regardless of whom you date. (Sounds kinda stalky doesn’t it? Not intended.)

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  28. Thank you for sharing your life with a random stranger. I learned so much today I didn’t realize I needed to know. I’m a secure attacher, and I know I’ve distanced myself from friends with dramatic relationships because I got annoyed by the drama. No excuses, and this post just challenged me to work on being a better friend.
    Came for the laughs, left with an education. Lovely post!

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  29. This was an interesting and informative post! Thanks for throwing it all out there. I have a lot of reading to do on these issues. You’ve educated a lot of us today. Thanks for opening my eyes to several family situations. Proud you are able to move forward!

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  30. Thank you for this post – I’ve learned a tremendous amount about myself [secure attacher, here] and what was going on with friends of mine [anxious attachers] and a few former beaus [love avoidants]. To the person who wrote that secure attachers won’t put up with the love avoidants – you are absolutely correct. I had to learn that lesson, too. Twice. In rapid succession. Ouch. [After those short relationships ended, I assigned the song, “I’d Rather Be Alone [Than Be With You]” to those experiences.]

    For those friends who have ghosted – while there is no excuse there is an explanation. Sometimes I could not take the late night phone calls relating the self-harm she had done just to cope with the pain he was causing her. Once she got to the point of carving his name into her leg – and then showing up at my workplace to show me the latest attempt while it was still fresh and bleeding – yes, I reached out to her family asking them to help her because she wasn’t listening to any of the support options I was suggesting. I could not take the emotional drain any more. Watching someone that i care about self-harm without a thought to how those actions affect others who care about them – I got to the breaking point. I didn’t talk to her for over 15 years.

    Her story has a happier ending – she is still the anxious attacher but found a secure attacher. She is a new woman, calmer in her actions and thoughts. Is she just as obsessed over her SA as she was over her succession of LAs? Absolutely. But now she has that calm centering that comes from the security of someone who won’t jerk her around emotionally.

    For your friends who aren’t there, they really are – just lurking in the background, hoping for the best for you. You may not realize how much emotional scarring they experienced through caring for you. They have to have space and the time to heal, also.

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    • Maybe, but I’m really not the call-in-the-night type. Mostly I’m the joke-about-it type. I mean, maybe I was emotionally draining but I don’t see how I was if I was.

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      • I do not intend for my comment to put anyone on the defensive, especially you as you’ve opened up and shared deeply insightful information. Several of your readers learned a lot from this post; I am grateful for the insight it has provided to me. But yes, even humor can be emotionally draining when it is done to cover actual deep pain. Those who care for you invest emotional capital into their hope for your well-being. Please give them time to regroup. When they come back to you, please listen.

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  31. This was a great post. You definitely made the right choice when you actually made the clean break. No more thinking in the back of your mind that it might work someday. Now you know that it won’t and you can move on and be truly happy. Feeling stupendous 70% of the time sounds pretty good to me.

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  32. This has really hit me hard today. I’ve been wrestling with my marriage. He’s a good man. He’s a good step father, but he’s just absent. I feel lonely. And this just showed me that he is a love avoider and I am an anxious attacher. And we have had the trauma bond. Someone said you feel like you can love enough for both of you. That is EXACTLY how I feel. But I feel empty and lonely and like the weight of our family and world is on me. I’ve had an inner debate of if we should walk away from this marriage or not. It’s really hard to know because I do love him. He’s not a bad person. We don’t fight. We just don’t have hardly any interaction. When we do, it’s nice and pleasant. He’s just absent. Doesn’t participate in any family events and stays mostly in his room. It’s been 7 years. Do I just give up? I honestly don’t know. And I don’t have any friends to talk to about it. So this truly took my breath away to read it, because it’s like you were speaking directly to me. Thank you for that.

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    • Your husband sounds like he could be struggling with depression. I am that person lately, and as much as you may want to participate and be involved, depression saps all of your energy so that you would rather just isolate and keep it inside.

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    • Lauren, I just wanted to comment that I’m so sorry you are going through this. I hear you saying that you feel very lonely, and I just wish this wasn’t the case. Have you tried talking with him about the way you feel? You don’t have to answer me, but maybe it’s just a thought to mull over…telling him exactly how you feel. I hope that you can get back to whatever made you fall in love with him enough to decide to share your life with him. Best thoughts for you.

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  33. What is especially heartbreaking is to see two anxious attachers try to navigate trauma and stay together. Throw in some physical abuse and it’s such a complex and toxic mix that it’s almost impossible to watch. I guess that might be why some people look away.

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  34. It’s very easy to be on the outside looking in and fret about why someone stays with someone or why they put up with so much crap. It can be frustrating to see, but things have to run their course and there are always lessons to be learned. I think most of it is people wanting you to be happy and seeing how unhappy or destructive other people can be and have to wait for you to figure it out. But unless you figure it out for yourself, you won’t learn from it. The fact that the other person has some really great qualities makes it that much harder. I’m glad you are feeling good now.

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  35. Wow. I learned a lot from this post, June, so thank you. I will read about trauma bonding; I’ve already got it open in another tab. Can I apologize for all of the secure attachers out there that just didn’t know? I’m a secure attacher but now I also feel like a selfish asshole. Same initials, too: Secure Attacher. Selfish Asshole. Coincidence? I think not.

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  36. I was in a similar relationship five years ago. I was an anxious attached and would do what he could to throw me off and get the upper hand in the relationship. (Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode about having the hand?).

    Anyway. We had this game where he’d try to throw me off kilter by talking about old girlfriends that might come back or mention moving away. I would cover up my anger and hurt by shutting him out and being distant so he’d chase me. Then I’d have the upper hand for awhile until he would throw off my equilibrium.

    I got sick of this game and the spell wore off. I got sick of being hurt, angry and unsettled.

    A good friend of mine fmr went through Hell with a guy she was head over heels with. He jerked her around and balanced himself between her and his ex wife all while playing the good catholic boy. At the end of that she was doing some really manipulative stuff. She knew she couldn’t have him, but she was doing what she could to destroy his relationship with his ex.

    Our friendship ended because she was in such a state over this guy. She was taking out all her anger and hurt on me and I couldn’t take it any more. It’s really sad, but the way she treated me changed our friendship forever. I understand where it’s coming from, but I am not her punching bag.

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  37. I have read your blog since the Bye Bye Pie days. I have to comment on this because I have went through such similar experiences and it’s been hell. I got mixed up with an avoidant around six years ago. I left him four years ago and it was hell. It was hell no matter if I stayed or if I left. Self preservation kicked in and I left after two years. I read all the books, did the therapy and joined support groups on line. Occasionally he still will try to make contact. If I accidentally run into him (small town) I will get triggered into an anxiety attack. Did I know about this six years ago? No. I could have lived my entire life and not experienced this “lesson”. There is so much more I could write about this but my research took me down a slightly different road. I suspect that the ex has a personality disorder and he was actually abusive. He has moved on with a gal half his age and they have a two year old. He is in his sixties. I am not exactly a spring chicken but that doesn’t stop him from occasionally trying to get me to “hook” up. (Insert eye roll here)

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  38. That article on trauma bonding was fascinating. Thanks for sharing it. I think you’ve talked about anxious attachment vs secure attachment vs love avoidant before, but this post really brings it home. We can’t help the way we’re wired, right? In all your reading about this subject, is there some fix for it? Or is recognizing it most of the battle, and you go forth hoping you find a secure attacher? Anyway, lovely post, June.

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    • I have talked about that part before, and I worried people would be all, Oh my god is she talking about anxious attachment again? But everything I’ve read and watched on anxious attachment is annoyingly vague about the cure. “It depends.” “It’s different for everyone.” It makes me want to scream. But it really helped to at least know I am one. It makes me more aware when I want to, say, swipe right on a middle-aged man who’s never married or who says, Just looking for something casual or whatever.

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  39. My sister’s partner of over 25 years moved out last year, and I have tried to be supportive, all the while wondering why she can’t just move on, because Mona hasn’t been good for her emotionally for years. I think I understand a bit better now. Thank you for this.
    I’m sorry people have judged you and dropped you because of this. Even if I never quite understood what you were going thru, I never wanted to not be one of your friends/fans. (Questionable grammatical structure there…)
    Fabulous post, lovely Joon.

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  40. When someone is in a problematic relationship the people who love them don’t want to watch that shit. But walking away because you don’t want to see it is the last thing your friend needs. It’s true of abusive relationships, but also true of the kind of relationships that make people nuts: we need our people to help us see straight. I don’t mean that friends should march in and launch into a huge lecture. But when you’re around people who truly love you, it clears your thinking for just a little bit. It may not be enough to make someone end a bad relationship, but it makes them uncomfortable, for just a moment.
    Maybe those moments will add up and change things eventually, maybe not. But that person still needs and deserves your love.

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  41. I loved, loved this post and love your closing line. I so used to be an anxious attacher but my husband is a secure attacher and I feel like you must have felt with Marvin, I just don’t worry about stuff like that anymore and I know I can always count on him and neither of us are going anywhere. I also gained insight into someone I am close to who definitely has trauma bonding and am going to share the link.

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  42. Good for you! It shows amazing strength to face figuring out the reasons for staying (honestly, I mean), what you ought to do for your health and sanity, and then DOING IT. I’d never thought about brain chemistry and staying in relationships we knownarent good for us, but it makes total sense and you just explained all of my teens and 20s. Seriously, ALL of it.

    As for people who disappear … I don’t know. My friends and the people I enjoy aren’t because I approve of their love life or what kind of attacher they are. I’m sorry; I’m sure that hurt. You didn’t need that on top of everything else.

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  43. This was really interesting and educational. You’ve changed my perspective on why people don’t leave (and I’m a stubborn ass who rarely changes my opinion on anything).
    I’m sorry you’ve lost people who you thought were your friends throughout this relationship. It truly is their loss.

    Recently I was thinking about you and Ned. After your post about being happier in your skin and not looking for the next great thing, I was going to comment that despite the heartache and chaos that seemed to come along with your relationship I felt it was a good thing for you. You learned a lot about yourself. I hate that you had to be hurt sometimes but I think there was a bigger reason why Ned came along.

    Or I could just be over analyzing.

    When I read this post it made me think of Say Anything. Joe is clearly a Love Avoidant. Corey is clearly an Anxious Attached. That’s why Joe lies, lies, lies when he cries.

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  44. Wow – great information! So, I guess the love avoidants seldom end up with secure attachers because, once they start that mess up, the secure attacher says “aww, hell no” and gets out of there. While the anxious attacher says “I can love enough for both of us” or something along those lines. I’m very proud of you for sticking to the break this time – I know it’s hard. I’m sorry that your “friends” haven’t seen it the same way.

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  45. Ah. Trauma bonding. That’s my SIL. She’s married to my idiot BIL who has treated her horribly for 40 years. He’s never physically abusive (that I know of) but he’s emotionally manipulative. He’ll stop talking to her for days or weeks at a time over some small slight. He moved in with another woman a few years ago – after 35 years of marriage – and told my SIL he finally found his soul mate. She took him back when he was ready to come home. He ruins every family gathering with his moods and temper tantrums. His kids have stopped engaging with him at all. But her? She tells me “when he’s ‘himself’ he’s wonderful”.

    I know, though, that she lives for the euphoric high of “maybe this time he really will change”. Never happening. He’s in terrible health so I think now she’s just waiting for him to kick the bucket. That Big Change is coming.

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      • I have the same situation with a loved one too and we feel the same. I was afraid of bad karma feeling that way but my husband is gone so no more worrying that way. I’ve had two women very close to me in very abusive relationships. It’s hell for everyone.

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  46. Thank you for sharing this, I think many will be able to gain insight into why they act the way they do. I think if you’re a secure attacher, you think everyone is, so it’s difficult to understand/relate to the anxious attacher or love avoidant. We should all try to do better to support each other.

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  47. You’ve just educated me. I had no idea these categories even existed. I am definitely a secure attacher, as is my husband. Does this work for dogs, too? Because we definitely have a secure and an insecure.

    Friendships – I’ve got nothing there. All of my friends are people I gave birth to at this point in life. I gave up on the rest of the world. Too weird.

    Lovely post, pretty old lover!

    I’m off to read your link about trauma bonds. More learning for me!

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    • Oh, good! I mean, I guess my point is, when someone is in a relationship that seems wrong for them and you can’t understand it, there’s a lot of brain chemistry going on. It’s not that they’re weak or stupid or that they lack willpower or something. It’s just really horrifically painful to leave that situation and it feels impossible to do.

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