We typically discuss the avoidant-anxious couple due to its notable push-pull dynamic and pursuer-withdrawer cycle that it tends to create – however, what happens when an avoidant pairs up with another avoidant? Or an anxious-ambivalent pairs up with another anxious-ambivalent? See below some common observations that might transpire.
Avoidant and Avoidant
With an avoidant, the attachment system is suppressed or deactivated. They tend to isolate, auto-regulate and be in their own bubble.
Initially, for avoidants that find themselves in a romantic relationship, it may be common that having similar interests brought them together. That initial attraction could have been built through common interests such as sports, a mutual hobby, or common job, for example.
However, avoidants don’t tend to make bids to connect, so over time the relationship tends to lose its “oomph” and there is a lot of distancing between the partners.
It is also typical that they both don’t have access to vulnerable feelings nor lean toward each other for support and connection. There is an exaggerated self-reliance. None of which promotes closeness or prompts connection.
What helps in this pairing is being proactive in engaging in moments to bring them close together and connect. To share their emotions where they can. And when it does happen, for their patterns to bring along a deep sense of compassion and warmth, as well as an attuned awareness of subtle signs of that emotion. These partners crave a sense of “being gotten.”
Anxious-ambivalent and Anxious-ambivalent
With an anxious-anxious pairing, I’ll cut to the chase. It can get volatile. Two pursuers. Two partners that reach out. Two wanting help in regulating. Two wanting reassurance. There is a lot going on.
With that said, what is beautiful is that they both have an understanding for where the other person is coming from and what they need (including why they need it). They know that things like consistency, reliability and constancy are important.
Unfortunately, and maybe ironically, most anxious adults will display inconsistency and unpredictability. Therefore, they are not always the best partners for themselves! Which is why the anxious-anxious partnership can be a challenge. However, if the couple can navigate these hurdles, the pairing can also be loving.
As with all anxious-ambivalents, it is important for them each to be grounded in their sense of self while being in a couple. So these couples will benefit from connecting to nature, meditation, and yoga, for example.
Further, it will be important for them to practice receiving and letting in the quality moments that they do experience, instead of continuing to try to reach for more and being dissatisfied with what is.
It is important to remember that attachment styles are fluid and you can work to build a secure attachment. Further, becoming aware of your patterns and those of your partner can help you navigate differences with more ease and connection, and communicate with more grace. This is what I help my clients with.
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