The Imperfect Match: Why Avoidant and Anxious People Attract Each Other

Hard Truths You Need To Hear.

by Above the Middle/Medium

One of the greatest ironies in romance is the attraction of avoidant and anxious individuals. The two couldn’t sit further apart in how they approach love and connection, yet they often match up.


I use to find it frustrating how my anxious tendencies often led me to avoidant individuals. Didn’t I want to find a connection? If you judged my dating habits and the people I chose, you wouldn’t think so. Also, why did avoidant people spend their time with me? Surely if they were avoidant towards emotional connection they wouldn’t waste their time on someone who wanted commitment?

This article isn’t to say that anxious and avoidant people can’t make a relationship work, I don’t believe any attachment style/mix of styles is doomed for failure — but without collective awareness the toxic environment these two styles can co-create can cause extreme harm in the long run.

Let’s look at why.

1. An Inability To Meet Needs

The core problem with anxious/avoidant partnerships is that both parties are wired to not meet each other’s needs. The anxious individual craves intimacy, and experiences anxiety when there is distance in their relationships, while the avoidant partner desires independence and experiences anxiety when intimacy develops.

Based on this merit, how can the two ever match up?

At first glance, an avoidant person may appear quite secure. All of us crave connection whether we are anxious OR avoidant but it’s in the further development of an initial spark to intimacy that the avoidant person will begin to pull away.

This is why it’s important to not take someone’s initial presentation as indicative of their whole character. People unravel, remember this.

You’d assume that as the avoidant’s trauma reaction begins to show up, the relationship would terminate. As it stands, the avoidant can’t show up for the anxious partner’s needs, and the anxious partner will find it difficult to give the avoidant person the space they desire.

And yet the relationship continues, why?

2. Push/Pull Dynamics Are Incredibly Addictive

By the time a connection starts to form, the anxious partner will find it hard to cut ties despite the avoidant’s clear signals that they can’t give them what they need. This is because the anxious partner finds it difficult to own their independence and relies heavily on connection to dictate their worth.

Trying to win over the avoidant’s love becomes a mission for the anxiously attached as potentially doing so will prove to them that they truly are worthy of love. If they severed the connection and woke up to the reality that the avoidant partner can’t give them what they want, what would this say about them? Furthermore, they’d have to sit in their own independence — and this is their worst nightmare.

A dance then ensues of the anxious person vying for their avoidant partner’s love and their avoidant partner being pushed further away until one or the other snaps. The two then blame each other for the relationship’s problems with the anxious partner claiming the avoidant partner doesn’t know how to love and the avoidant partner claiming the anxious partner is too “needy” or “clingy”.

This does nothing but to further devalue the two parties’ self-esteem.

3. If You Won’t Love Me, Who Will?

Even with the above occurring and the relationship now being a toxic wasteland, there can still be hesitations to terminate the relationship. In most cases, the avoidant person takes a step back — fuelling the anxious parties’ anxiety further, but will likely return once the dust settles and they realize they actually do want to connect with someone.

The two are bound by their toxic attraction and their histories of failed partnerships. In reality, if the two acted this way with a secure partner, the romance wouldn’t last. Secure individuals know their worth and have healthy boundaries and won’t stand for games or toxic environments.

If an anxious individual didn’t respect a secure person’s independence, the latter would leave as they’d want to retain it; if the avoidant partner pulled away and failed to initiate intimacy with a secure person, the relationship also wouldn’t work. The two are bound by their unhealthy attraction and the fact that they are ironically the only two kinds of people who will tolerate one another.

Hard Truths On This Topic

It’s important to recognize that neither party are innocent. If you’re anxious you may say you want a connection, and that if the avoidant partner only showed up for you all would be good, but you are also playing a hand in its downfall.

No relationship will work if you can’t 1) Allow people room to breathe and have space and 2) Be happy in your own independence. Relationships are not built for two people to enmesh, they’re meant to nurture both your individualities and the collective partnership the two of you have.

It’s imperative you learn to be happy with yourself IN, OR, OUT of a relationship. If you can’t respect your own independence you will find it incredibly hard to respect someone else’s.

On the avoidant partner’s side, no connection can exist if you aren’t showing up to another person’s needs and it is your responsibility to recognize your patterns of avoidance and do the work to heal past traumas that have led to your resistance to feeling your emotions.

Furthermore, your overt-independence is a trauma response that you go to in order to feel safe. You are not as independent as you like to think you are as to be truly independent is to feel whole and worthy within yourself — and this can’t be the case if you are avoidant to your own and other people’s emotions.

I feel quite passionate about this topic as the above is a dance I’ve played numerous times. The good news is that attachment styles can be worked on. Just because this may be your current reality, does not mean it needs to be your one going forward.

The Imperfect Match: Why Avoidant and Anxious People Attract Each Other | by Above The Middle | ILLUMINATION | Nov, 2022 | Medium

#BPDIsNoLongerMe, #Awareness, #HelpfulTips, #InterestingFacts, #Medium, #MentalHealth, #SelfHelp, #Anxiety, #Anxious

Published by VintageDava

Follow me on Twitter at #Davagirl

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