I’m proud of my friend, I’ll call him Adam, I’m also a bit surprised that he bared his soul. A friend in common had asked him why he thought that he hadn’t cultivated a relationship for nearly the past decade. Initially, he said he didn’t like what he saw in the people he met.
When common friend challenged him and shared that he may be on the avoidance corner of Attachment styles, which manifests as the tendency to focus on the bad to an extent that it completely masks any good. He said it was hard to accept, because he communicates well and is honest, which I can attest to. He learned that the avoidant style goes out of their way to be as emotionally independent as humanly possible, they tend to like being alone and don’t invest too heavily in relationships.
At which point he turned it over to me, and said he was curious how I came to decide to marry my now wife. So I explained how our relationship was a product of our then circumstances, we had a time box in which we got to know each other, and we skipped the dance of egotistical indifference and movie dates and dove headlong and early into difficult conversations, if it's difficult, we discussed it. but what keeps us together, is the ongoing work we put into better understanding ourselves, and each other.
He believed I was a secure attachment style, which is when you have a positive view of self which impacts how you view others and relationships. I had to break it to him that I’m a product of a risk averse culture. I’ve headed ‘no’ and ‘don’t’ more often than anything else, encouragement was considered weakness. So yes it takes a certain risk to connect with someone in a way not reminiscent of what we grow up with. It also takes having an experimentation mindset, and hard work, to learn about oneself and one’s potential partner, to try to connect and build a bridge, and when that fails, to have the stamina to reflect the on why that didn’t work for me, share my thoughts on what I expected and what I experienced, and invite the other to try something else.
My friend Adam is intelligent, kind, and a genuinely funny guy, he exhibits his humanity so thoroughly, he’s forgotten to treat himself in the same way. How do you take care of yourself?