Intensity does not equal love. This is a sentence that flipped my whole concept of love around when I fist heard it.
I read it in the book “Attached” about Attachment Theory, that explains how we all have different ways of attaching to the people around us, especially intimate partners, based mostly on how our lives developed in early childhood.
Learning about attachment is potentially the single most powerful thing that has turned my life and intimate relating around in the past years.
I realised a few years ago that I am, as it is called, ‘anxiously attached’ (other types being ‘avoidantly attached’ and ‘securely attached’) and that love relationships and intimacy tend to produce a lot of anxiety in my nervous system. For most of my life, falling in love was a very anxious process, with a lot of worries, inner turmoil and turbulence and very little of the Hollywood ideal of bliss, excitement and just feeling so damn good. My reality was more: constantly feeling anxious, checking my phone a gazillion times a day, worrying when I did not hear back from my new boo straight away, and spiralling very fast into self-deprecating stories about myself and feeling small and insecure. It was horrible to be honest. When I would reconnect to my new lover all would be well again, but as soon as distance ensued it would start all over again.
It was very intense. And I thought it was love.
Not until I learned about different attachment styles did I realise there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. I was simply wired the way I was, and I needed to start accepting that. And, most of all, I needed to start honouring my needs for closeness and intimacy and start re-patterning myself slowly to see what I truly needed and what man would be able to meet those needs, most of the time.
You see, the opposite of anxious attachment is avoidant attachment and of course, those types tend to be attracted to each other, almost like magic. In reality it is just nervous systems reacting to each other and keeping those dynamics in place: anxious people need intimacy and closeness to calm their systems down, avoidant people need distance to be able to do the same. You see the painful conundrum there?
There is no right or wrong in attachment.
It is simply the way that your experiences have been imprinted in your nervous system. And you tend to play out these dynamics until you become conscious of them.
Everybody wants, and needs, intimacy. But for some of us that is harder to achieve than others.
It was not until I radically chose myself above others and started honouring my needs 100% that things started shifting. I was online dating and when a man would not reply for two days, he was out. Not that he was a bad person, but he was simply not a match for me. I learned about warning signs, I learned how not to attach myself too quickly to a man before I actually knew him and knew he was worthy of my undying devotion (the usual tendency after date 1, I kid you not).
In the beginning it was weird.
I started dating men that almost felt boring to me, as my anxiety was not activated so much. I started attracting different, good, men for me. And the irony is: secure people tend to be in longterm relationships, and avoidant people tend to change partners way more. Hence, what fills the dating pool? Avoidantly attached people, mostly. So it became a sport of looking really carefully, and when I was starting to get tempted to fall into the ‘avoidant trap’, reconnect to my own needs. Over and over again.
Also: ‘dating advice’ from the magazines, is mostly catering to avoidant people as well: ‘play hard to get’, ‘don’t text back straight away’, You see a pattern there? None of that worked for me (and believe me I tried). I simply felt miserable. I suck at, and hate playing games. I want somebody to text me straight away. I like knowing, and feeling somebody is there. I need closeness and availability.
I want to make clear that I am not putting avoidantly attached people in a bad light here. Not at all. I have a lot of compassion for that attachment style (I dated a lot of them and have seen some dynamics up close). In some ways I think it is even harder to come back to more intimacy from that style, because those people tend to feel good by themselves. But feeling good by yourself is not the same as deep fulfilling relationship. So again: compassion. Just as I have a heap of compassion for anxious people.
So, now I am in the budding phase of a relationship with a beautiful man that does not trigger my anxiety (small episodes excepted). It is kind of quiet. And sweet. And yes it was weird, and somewhat boring to my system in the beginning. He is not like any of my other partners. He is simply there for me. I feel that. And we took it really slowly, to really feel out if we are a good match. It is still early days, but it feels good. I am happy, ánd shedding a lot of old patterning pretty fast, which is also overwhelming at times (like now when I am writing this).
So it is possible to shift dynamics. It takes work and it is not easy, but it works. Out of sheer necessity I dove very deep into this material, facing some deep pains and demons, and also learning new ways that light me up and create so much more space, ease and love.
You can shift from intensity to a more quiet, restful state of love.
And since attachment comes up in so many of my coaching sessions ánd it seems to be new information to so many people out there, I decided to start offering Attachment Coaching.
I want to support other people, like you, in finding the same. Helping you to sort out what style you are and how you work with that to find the relationship you want and need. In working with these dynamics, and finding out you are not ‘weird’. ‘complicated’, ‘needy’, ‘aloof’, ‘high maintenance’ or whatever other label you have put on yourself. I want to support you in working with the questions “why do I always attract the same type of men/women?” or “why do I always end up in the same place?”
I want to support you in finding, and receiving, more love.
Because spreading love is my mission. And I care about more people having more fulfilling relationships.
If this resonates with you, hit me up for a free exploratory conversation and we will see if I can support you in this.