The mystery of ambivalence revealed


Come closer…Go away, I need space: When you’re wondering why you’re being pulled and pushed… I so often remember the state of being ambivalent over some guy. And by ambivalent I mean that sometimes I loved the person and wanted to be close to him, while other times, he repulsed me and I wanted nothing to do with him except to break up. I learned to accept this behavior as part of my “fear of intimacy.” The pushing away then pulling closer behavior was a sure sign that I was simply scared of commitment and closeness with another human being. In fact, at one point in my life, I was engaged to be married to a guy that my family really liked. It was at first a very passionate affair, but as soon as we moved in together and got engaged I had what everyone assumed was a typical case of “cold feet.” Trouble is, it didn’t go away, it nagged at me and it got stronger to the point where I felt I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

My ambivalence usually went like this: I’d meet someone, clearly see red flags right away (I’m very good at detecting red flags), push the guy away, and once I pushed, he generally liked me even more, so he would insist we were meant to be together. When he’d pursue me more aggressively that was always such a turn on for me (I thought that aggressiveness was a sure sign of true love). And then I would give in. I would fall madly in love with him a week or two into a relationship, promise my devotion and we’d have this whirlwind affair.

And then………I’d come to my senses, but keep quiet about it because I was embarrassed.

How could I have made such a mistake? Maybe I didn’t make a mistake. Maybe I’m just scared. Once the initial chemistry of love wore off, I was faced with what I believed was the real nitty gritty of the relationship (the unglamorous living day to day stuff), something I couldn’t handle no matter how great the guy. And so, I believed I was incapable of true intimacy with someone and that everyone I would ever meet would have this same effect on me. I believed my lot in life was to overcome my fear of intimacy and so I tended to force myself to remain with someone longer than I normally would (hello marriage!) so that I could learn what intimacy was. But there was a much larger (and simpler) issue at play that caused my ambivalence, and it was something I remained in denial about for MANY YEARS (sadly, when we put ourselves into a box, we deny ourselves other possibilities): Shockingly, my ambivalence was caused by the simple fact that I just didn’t like the guy. Sure, I liked him in certain situations, in others I even loved him, but clearly I had an unnatural aversion to parts of him that I simply should not have overlooked, but did. Remember, to be in a healthy relationship you and your partner need to like the WHOLE PERSON.

You are not dating PARTS. But, you see, what I craved and wanted was the relationship, not the guy. Aside from ambivalence, this is relationship addiction and I believe it comes into play when we force ourselves to love someone whom we inherently, naturally do not love just for the sake of maintaining a committed relationship because the relationship is what we truly crave. Ambivalence, too, can be tricky because love or friendship may exist in part, and so we tend to believe if we have this small amount of love for a person, then we truly do love them and should be in a relationship with them. Mentally and emotionally you might even tell yourself, I’m  just scared, that’s all, or I’m being too picky. 

But here’s the deal, there’s good, healthy fear or trepidation about moving forward with someone and then there’s red flag-scared. And if you’re not being true to your body mind and spirit or paying attention to your own red flags, your body will start screaming at you to listen. If that happens, the problem of ambivalence can turn into physical and emotional pain, hatred, anger or resentment. Below is a list of the bad kind of ambivalence that generally means there’s something wrong and you may be staying in the relationship that you shouldn’t:

  • Having  trouble looking someone in the eyes (not in the beginning, mind you. In the beginning when all those juicy chemicals are coursing through the veins, you can do and feel virtually ANYTHING).
  • Being turned off consistently with someone’s breath.
  • Having an aversion to their style or the way they dress (I would always suggest other outfits or buy them clothes that suited me).
  • Becoming sexually anorexic after a time and not wanting to be touched.
  • Finding their jokes, or topics of conversation consistently uninteresting.
  • Wanting to avoid them more frequently than not.
  • Having strong positive feelings for them over the phone, computer or through e-mail, but not in person (or vice versa).
  • Dreaming or fantasizing about someone else “better” or “sexier” or more “passionate.”
  • Feeling momentarily happier at the point of break up.
  • Constantly preferring to be alone.
  • Having consistent feelings of disgust, anger, frustration, hatred, ambivalence, apathy, or coldness within the relationship
  • Having little or no respect for the person.
  • Feeling “ashamed” or embarrassed to be out with them in public
  • Feeling uncomfortable around this person.
  • Feeling physically sick or weak around this person.

I think because we so desperately want something (a loving relationship), we sell ourselves short. We deny our instincts and don’t listen to our gut. We think that there must be some secret meaning behind our behavior, so we analyze ourselves and the relationship to the point of ignoring the basic truths. But sadly, the truth (as I have found) cannot be denied, and the longer you stay in a bad relationship, the more your body will start screaming at you to pay attention. Staying in a bad relationship can cause physical ailments, depression, frustration, a loss of belief in yourself and your instincts, and overall pain and suffering.

So, is there such a thing as healthy ambivalence? Yes! Ambivalence is necessary in the beginning of a relationship when you are trying to decide if a certain person is right for you. Remember, ambivalence means “doubt.” And doubt is healthy when you do not know what you’re getting into. It’s when you are STILL having a lot of doubts after a longer period of time. After 6 months to a year you  should know when someone is right for you. You may not know them completely. But you should have a pretty good sense. If you’re still ambivalent, here are a few signs that you may be in a good relationship:

  • Having  no trouble looking someone in the eyes, long after the chemicals have worn off
  • Being turned on by someone’s breath.
  • Accepting and feeling comfortable with their style or the way they dress
  • Having a healthy desire for sex (pay attention to the idea of cycles; our sexual desires wax and wane, and there will be times in both your lives when you have less of a desire to have sex. But your attraction to the person never changes).
  • Finding their jokes, or topics of conversation consistently interesting.
  • Wanting to be with them more frequently than not.
  • Having strong positive feelings for them both over the phone, computer, through e-mail, and in person (or vice versa).
  • Absence of dreaming or fantasizing about someone else “better” or “sexier” or more “passionate.”
  • Feeling sad at the idea of  a break up.
  • Sometimes preferring to be alone, but not always.
  • Feeling the full range of emotions within the relationship, but for the most part feeling love, peace, stability, warmth, etc.
  • Feeling proud of them when you go out in public
  • Having respect for the person.
  • Feeling comfortable around this person.
  • Feeling physically healthy around this person.
Always remember to be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to question your feelings or thoughts.
Advertisements

57 thoughts on “The mystery of ambivalence revealed

  1. “this is relationship addiction and I believe it comes into play when we force ourselves to love someone whom we inherently, naturally do not love just for the sake of maintaining a committed relationship because the relationship is what we truly crave.”

    You hit the nail on the head for me. I am so enjoying your blog and learning SO much with each post. Thank you for sharing your journey from love addiction to health.

    Like

  2. LJ, you could write a great book, I’d buy it. What I appreciate is how specific and relatable these examples are and in this case that you created the two lists to compare. Really appreciate your generosity by doing this blog.

    Like

  3. Great thoughts! I struggle with love/hate all the time, in every relationship that I am in. It’s always at the beginning, probably somewhere in the middle but I haven’t ever gotten to an end where I have married. In a relationship now where I am trying to figure it all out. Thanks for your words.

    Like

  4. Thank You for posting that I found it very helpful. I identified with so much of the article that I found it a bit unsettling but informative.

    Like

  5. You seem to have the profile of what we call a “runner” in therpist circles. You have intimacy issues and you will never find the right guy. Work on being the “right person” and move closer in spite of the fear. Through the fear and problems is the only way out. You partner will thrive in an encouraging environment with less rejection. You will see the old partner when you stop rejecting them and truly loving them. Love is a verb and a choice. Face your fears and move closer. Don’t run.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Barbara,
      I think ‘runner’ is a gross minimalisation of the disease of LA. Love is a choice, I agree, but if we are addicted, where is the choice?……If you have read the information on LA attracting Love avoidants mainly, then how can we go through the fear and problems with someone who is avoidant?….They dont want to know…..thats the dynamic…..good luck in your therapy practice……J.

      Like

    2. I don’t know how I missed this comment by barbara, but I am addressing it now. I hate to be so blunt, but if you are a therapist, you’re a rather insensitive one. I don’t think it’s good practice to come out and say to someone, “You have intimacy issues and you will never find the right guy.” (I actually did, btw. Five years and still going strong).

      Not only that, but you miss the entire point of why someone is ambivalent. It absolutely is not a sign of commitment phobia to the “right” guy. It never is. It’s commitment phobia to the WRONG guy. And while there are definitely circumstances where hurt, damaged, addicted people end up sabotaging themselves by running away from a potentially good partner, that’s most likely based on the fact that they are not ready yet to be a potentially good partner themselves and they find it awkward and scary being with someone so foreign. And while some healthier people can cope with and love an avoidant partner, a love addict and a love avoidant should AVOID each other. Two emotionally crippled people do not a happy relationship make.

      Anyway, I “ran” all those years from all those people because it was my habit to date men who were not my equal, whom I did love, and whom I chose carelessly. Had I stayed I would have had a miserable life. No matter what higher plain I was able to end up on by myself. Had I not run I would have never had the beautiful life I have now, with D, who is not avoidant but a healthy, happy individual who has been a blessing and a gift in my life. Had I not run, I would have never known that I was capable of finding someone wise, good, smart and emotionally healthy.

      Why settle and make peace with an avoidant partner who neglects and ignores you? And your advice? To work through the fear and move closer? Is like saying, “make peace with your situation in prison.” It’s only good for prisoners. 🙂

      Like

      1. Hello LJ,
        I’m a little late to the “ambivalence” topic, but thought I would join in. (I love your blog, by the way.)

        I came across this article because I’m experiencing ambivalence with my current partner. I thought, and have been told by my (sometimes manipulative) partner that maybe it’s ME…my fears, etc. blah blah blah.

        The truth is, I’ve ignored some things that I haven’t liked from the start. I saw what I wanted to see and didn’t ask enough questions to get the full picture. I ignored the blaring red flags when I experienced her angry and defensive reactions anytime I wanted to talk about things that were important to me, or to communicate in order to gain clarity. (Being unheard, dismissed. Yes, it’s a familiar. Uncomfortable and unfamiliar.)

        The tricky thing about this is, my partner doesn’t neglect and ignore me. (Wait…just as I wrote this I realize: maybe not wanting to, or having difficulty communicating like an adult is a form of neglect? Ouch. Yet another realization.)

        I’ve been stressing about making a decision, stay and work it out or leave? My partner is not avoidant: she wants to spend a lot of time with me, does nice things, buys gifts, gives me a lot of attention, is beautiful/attractive, caring, kind (when we’re not fighting)…a lot of the good stuff.

        This may be a clash of personalities and values. (I’m going to re-read your articles on values.)
        I’m very independent, she lives with her parents. I’m a planner, she is impulsive. I’m a college graduate, she quit college. I saved money for years to buy my own home, she is not a saver and has lived with the safety net of living in her parents home. (Our major fights came about as a result of her pressuring me to sell my home to get a bigger place to live with her. My place was not big enough for her, although I was making room for her. She has said some awful things during those fights. She claims her anger was because she was under stress…her mother was sick, work was stressful, etc.)

        Yes, it’s familiar. Maybe that’s my discomfort in all of this? It may be familiar, but that familiar way may no longer work for me.

        I’m afraid to let go, because I fear that I won’t be able to find all of the good qualities. I know, I need to accept and love her as she is, otherwise it’s not really love, is it? I do love and care about her very, very much. The thought of leaving makes me very sad. Maybe relieved at first, but then very sad.

        Any advice? If this IS a gut thing and not fear of intimacy, any suggestions to ease the pain of letting go?

        (p.s. We broke up last year and were apart for 7 months. We’ve been trying to reconcile and it’s been very rough. There have been some changes, but I’m still getting reactive/defensive responses. She promised to go to therapy for her anger and to improve herself, but I don’t know if that’s just a ploy to get me back, to help get her out of her parents’ house. I don’t even know what’s the truth anymore and have been doubting myself and my instincts.)

        Like

      2. Hi Elizabeth, glad to hear you like the blog! I can only try to help! So, here are my thoughts…What I notice from your post is that you have very valid reasons for being ambivalent. You like/love certain things about your gf, but not others, namely, her anger issues and the way she directs them at you. I don’t care how great a person she may be, saying nasty things during a fight, and directing anger at you should not be tolerated. But, when YOU tolerate that kind of behavior, you teach people to treat you a certain way. Do you take it? Do you yell back? DO you engage her? Do you egg her on? What part do you play in the way you communicate with her? And, let’s leave love out of the picture for a moment. Are the two of you generally respectful to each other? People who have lots of anger issues usually fail to be respectful people. AND, people who get into relationships with angry people tend to not respect themselves. Ouch. That may hurt to hear, but those are the kind of ground rules you need to set for yourself. Remember, you are the one in charge of teaching people how to treat you.

        So, that being said, if you two can work out a more respectful manner of communicating, (ground rule: I will not communicate with you until you’ve calmed down and are willing to speak to me in a more respectful manner) you stand as fair a chance as any.

        But one more thing…like you said, even if she goes to therapy you feel this is a manipulation. Saying that tells me there’s a far deeper problem than her anger. It tells me, you don’t trust her. And that “gut feeling” of not trusting someone (their motives, their behavior, their moods) is far more threatening to a healthy relationship than anger outbursts, and trust is a very hard thing to win back.

        Keep reading the blog. Learn as much as you can. A healthy relationship is work, but it’s not “rough.” It doesn’t drive you to a love addiction blog. 😉 You’re gut instincts are hardwired to do their job. If there’s a little voice in your head telling you “this is not where I should be; something is wrong” then you need to listen to that voice. The other voice that is telling you “Stay! It’s scary out there” is the voice of fear. It’s the child in you, scared to let go. Scared of the unknown. Fear of the unknown is rarely a good reason for staying in a relationship. More importantly, (and read carefully): WHEN SOMETHING IS RIGHT THERE IS NO LONG TERM, NAGGING AMBIVALENCE. WHEN A RELATIONSHIP IS RIGHT, YOUR HEAD AND YOUR HEART AND YOUR GUT ARE IN ALIGNMENT. These words were the words I needed to hear when I was in your situation. I hope they help you.

        Like

      3. Hi LJ,
        Thanks for the quick response.

        Those are all great questions for me (my part in communicating with her).

        I originally left, because I wouldn’t tolerate the anger. She is in therapy now. She has been controlling her anger, but sometimes her responses are manipulative and defensive. (For example: When I’ve brought up topics I wanted to clear when coming back to this relationship, I would do so in a non-confrontational way: “I felt upset when this happened. Instead, I would like ……”
        Her responses: “I must be a terrible person.” “I thought we could just move forward.” “You must hate me”.

        Saying “I will not communicate with you until you’ve calmed down and are willing to speak to me in a more respectful manner” also applies to defensiveness, not just anger. Maybe instead of dropping the conversation, or saying “I would like to talk to you about anything, without either one of us getting defensive” didn’t help. I know now that it would have been more productive to state a consequence or action…not continuing the conversation. Really…how else do you handle defensiveness?

        Thanks again for your advice.

        Like

      4. Remember, you cannot control her response to the things you say. You cannot tell her how to be. You can state your preferences as to how you would like to be treated, and communicated to, and then hopefully she will communicate that way. If she doesn’t, you have a choice: you either accept her defensiveness (which seems to be the way she communicates), or you leave. It’s very simple. You are the one who needs to decide if you can handle this type of communication the rest of your life. Many people communicate this way. But many others don’t. Knowing your values and knowing how you wish to be treated is a great first step. But taking action to support your values is the ultimate next step. We can “say” to our partner “I don’t like the way you’re treating me.” But it we REMAIN IN THE RELATIONSHIP despite feeling hurt, we are saying something else entirely. We are saying, “You hurt me, but I guess I’ll put up with it anyway and just complain and suffer.” Being true to yourself and your values entails syncing up what you SAY with your ACTIONS. And not expecting people to change to suit you. But rather, you change yourself or your whereabouts if something doesn’t appeal to you. Hope this helps.

        Like

      5. Hi LJ,

        Thanks. That makes perfect sense. It really is simple. My fears are making it more complicated than it has to be.

        It’s one thing to trust what my feelings and emotions are telling me, but when it’s time to make decisions that will benefit me and my life in the long run, I need to take the emotional side out of it (“I love her”) and be more action oriented.

        Thank you. Have a great weekend. 🙂

        Like

  6. Thank you so much for this. It is so relatable. I really am enjoying your blogs, because I am going through an ambivalent stage for the last 2 years in my relationship which has caused me depression, guilt, anxiety and even caused me to cheat which I can’t believe I did. It’s hard to know when to end something after being with the person 9 years, which is the point I’m at now. To leave or not to leave. Do I have a good enough reason to leave. But I love him and he’s perfect. But why do I feel like this. These are the things going through my head but your blog made me see things more clearly. Thank you so much, please continue to be awesome.

    Like

  7. Thanks for reading Jessica! And yikes! Going back and forth is a horrible feeling. You describe this guy as “perfect” but obviously he isn’t perfect FOR YOU. There’s a big difference. And here’s something else, the more you know yourself, and know your values and what’s important in your life, the better you are able to see if this man fits as perfectly as you think he does into your life. Focus on figuring out who YOU are, and the answer of what to do with him will follow. 🙂

    Like

  8. Dear lovely, on the face of it, it appears that I am ambivalent, but when I examine it, it’s just me bouncing from a BS-itter onto someone who is ‘safe’. I have done this in the past to gain some ‘peace’ from the madness that is love addiction. The safe guys don’t interest me atall. No drama= no attraction. I am searching now for answers as to the connection between brain chemicals and attraction-drama. I have found some good stuff. Its not easy but I’m looking. Love your blog, as ever, Thankyou. J.

    Like

  9. Hi riotgirl. Try to remember the message in my other post “Falling Without a Net.” We are attracted to partners who offer drama because drama is familiar to us. It makes us feel at home (especially if we grew up with drama and confusion at home as kids). And, it also serves the most amazing purpose ever– to distract us from having to deal with our boring, mundane lives. Think about it. If there’s a fire in your house, do you really have the time to waste sitting in your living room, meditating, soul searching, and just trying to figure out who you are? Heck no. You’re in drama mode! You’re house is on fire!!! 🙂 But the truth is, you’re house isn’t on fire, so why live like it is? The more time you spend, sitting with yourself, accepting who you are and accepting a state of no-drama, the more you will teach yourself that life can be lived in peace. Try it! It’s scary at first, but so was riding a bike…remember? 🙂

    Like

      1. Hopefully you’re not just “sitting!” 🙂 Or worse, watching TV! Life without drama doesn’t equal boring. It can be creative, energetic, passionate, knowledgable, intense, personal, peaceful, and so on. This time is not time to waste. It’s time to figure out who you are and what you like. And the only way to do that is explore the world…. List 10 goals to try new things…ALONE. Cooking, writing a novel, visiting an art museum, creating music, taking a class at a local community college, hiking…these are all things that may at first seem boring, but keep trying to find something. The hobbies and interests you choose for your life need to be cultivated, just like a good relationship. It might take time before you really “feel” a sense of wonderment about them. Remember, when we operate in extremes (emotional highs and crashing lows) it takes our body and mind a very long time to learn how to feel again. We don’t have a good sense of “happiness” because we’ve always equated it with our extreme highs. Understand that this might be a waiting period. You may need to feel blah before you are able to recognize a healthier happiness 🙂

        Like

      2. Dear Lovely, Did I say boring? I really meant Blah….Actually my life has taken off in ways that it would never have done if L.A was still a daily existence. Infact, my life has taken off in all tremendous directions, it is truly good. Once L.A got sent packing, a lot of beautiful new doors opened up to me, I have all this time on my hands now to pursue better things.But its not dramatic and its not adrenalin producing, which is where I used to be at. Its just what my body got used to for over 50 years. (and it was definitely 50 years) Now the supply has been cut off, well you get the picture. I wouldn’t change a day of my recovery, not one day. And I will never and can never go back to what life used to be like…x

        Like

  10. I was with a guy for nearly twenty years, very unhappy but stayed there because I felt guilty as he was a great guy so why was I so unhappy??? I left him four years ago and guess what ……. He was not a great guy and it was not all my fault we were not happy it was because we was not suited.

    Like

  11. Thank you so-so much for writing this. My partner of 8 years (engaged for the last 9 months), just ended our relationship. I’m currently mourning in waves, but thank you for reaffirming that it is the right decision. I still love him, he’s my very best friend, and I still have thoughts of “what was wrong with me that I couldn’t be happy with this amazing, generous, and kind person,” but the fact of the matter was that for the last 3 years or so, I’ve lost the passion for him, and we’ve simply been best friends that occasionally cuddled. It’s a really difficult process, and I’m feeling my feelings, and I miss him greatly, but I’m also excited for what life could be now that I’m left on my own to figure it out.

    Like

  12. Wow…. your blog post is nailing what I’m going through right now. It feels good to read it. My boyfriend and I just ended our 8-year on/off relationship. For pretty much the entire duration of the relationship, I felt a certain emptiness and ambivalence even though he was my best friend and a truly great guy. He would have moved mountains for me. But he also had a lot of emotional and temper issues and he had trouble getting his life together. It really was too good to leave, too bad to stay. I just always had a nagging doubt whether this is the person I’m supposed to be with, and I tried to break it off 4 times throughout our tenure…. only to rush back to him every time after some time has past, thinking I’m making a mistake to let him go. Now I’m trying to muster the strength to not let it happen this time, and to just trust my gut. Reading your post is helping me stay strong. Thank you.

    Like

  13. I was with a guy for several years. He broke it off via text. I really loved this guy…. but always felt like I was fighting alone. I sat him down many times and let him know that he was pushing me away. The problem was that when we were together it was fine but when we were apart it was as if I was not important. He wasn’t always like this…. in the beginning he was always excited to see me and talk to me. I made every effort to make it work. He broke it off 3 times with me and came running back to me shortly after. he said that he was uncertain of how he felt about me and came back begging me to give him another chance. He claimed that he was just scared of commitment. I felt that I loved him so much that I didn’t know how to break free from this cycle. I believed him, that he would change and treat me like I deserved. The thing is he never disrespected me…. I just didn’t feel loved. There came a point where I had to sit him down again. Every time I sit him down, he runs away. I’ve heard just about every excuse. The final break up came when I told him that I felt like crying and crying; and this was not healthy. The very next day he told me that he was sorry that he was such a selfish person and he didn’t know how to change. He claimed to love me and that he was afraid of losing me. but then he said that it was probably best that he let me go because he didn’t want to keep hurting me. This was all over a text. he never called and never showed any sign of wanting to talk or work it out. Whats odd is that throughout the relationship he told me that he wanted to marry me and have this happy ever after. That I was the one. What I could never wrap my head around was – how does a person who claims to love you so much break up with you via text? did I not deserve more than that? his breakups have always been so cold. I started to see a trend here, how easily it is for him to just give up. It really is affecting me, I started to feel very insecure in myself and depressed thinking it was me and questioning why he couldn’t love me. what I did wrong and blaming myself. wondering if I was difficult to love. I never replied to the text. I simply sent an email asking him to please not contact me anymore. I am so hurt from this. the problem is that I was really invested, I kept trying to find a way to make it work. maybe I didn’t want to see that it was never going to work. I don’t know. As much as I want to hate him, I just cant. Any advice or clarity anyone can give me would be most appreciated.

    Like

  14. Hi confused…your obviously in the thick of it at the moment, so I’m sending blessings to your heart. Alls I can say is, you just gotta keep reading this blog, basically, until your sight fades and you fall asleep at the computer. Then when you wake up, start reading it all again. Type anything into the search bar, I bet you, you will find the answer. You will most definitely find the understanding, love and support. No one knows Love Addiction better than L.J. I am not exaggerating in any way when I say, this site literally saved my life, and then went on to give me a brand new one, which I love. I have been in recovery since April 2013. I am ‘unrecognisable’. Everything you need is here. Honest…….x

    Like

    1. Thank you for responding, it really means a lot to me. At first I was hurt, then I get waves of mad…… I think right now I’ve just decided to resign myself and give up and accept that the relationship ran its course. I think that after so many years for a person to just end it via text and admit to being a coward. Well it just tells me that the person is not a man and def not a person I should be with. The more I keep telling myself this the easier it is getting for me to let go. So in a way im thankful that he was such a coward. The very same day that he broke it off, I immediately got an email from a job offer I had been waiting on for months. I made an interview for the same week. I still at times feel confused but not necessarily broken. I keep looking at my phone at times expecting to see a text… but nothing. Its fine, I’m well on my way to law school and I feel he missed out on a great woman who loved him for everything that he was. I was always so sure, it seems he was always the one who was uncertain and I just didn’t know how to let go. I’m really trying to analyze my feelings now from an unbiased point of view and really figure out if it was real for me or if I just wanted the idea so badly. Only time will tell. The weird part is that I’m not even mad anymore. I actually have this desire to run to him and say its ok, you’ll be ok one day and I’m here for you as a friend. I genuinely felt like he was my best friend. Sure he hurt me like nobody else ever had but I couldn’t help but feel kindness towards him. Sometimes I feel I’m too nice of a person and forgive too easily. when I look at it as a whole, I feel he did do me a favor and now I have all these wonderful opportunities to look forward to. Maybe he was never part of my equation and the signs were always telling me to run. So in retrospect, everything does happen for a reason. It’s the letting go part that is difficult.

      Like

      1. From this GLORIOUS site….

        There’s a loop that plays in my head over and over…

        It happens when I’m in the shower, or alone at night, or having coffee in the morning.
        It goes like this:

        I need to call him. Or email him and tell him I still care. I need for him to know I still care. I need to find out if he cares for me. If he loves me anymore. I’ll return the painting he painted for me. I’ll give it back not out of anger, but out of kindness. Here, this belongs to you.

        and then I think…

        Why am I the one who is calling him, emailing him? Why can’t he email me? Because he’s too scared, too weak. He thinks I’m angry at him. I’m not! I’ll send him an email so that he knows I am not angry with him. I’ll make sure he knows that he can call or email me anytime! , I just want you to know that you can call me anytime. It’s all water under the bridge. No anger. No sadness…no pain. .

        and then I remember…

        No matter if he loves me or not, he still does drugs. He doesn’t want to give that up. He chose that over me. And I can’t have that in my life. I don’t want that in my life from a lover. No matter if he calls and emails me all day, he still lies. He’s still cold and detached. He’s still a narcissist. He is still many things that I do not want in my life.

        And so I let it go. Until the next time. And the loop plays over and over and over…until I get it. really get it. Until I understand the importance of really owning my part in this and trusting that I am making the right decision by staying away and moving on… (this isn’t about your kind of dilemma, directly, but I hope you get the picture about the ‘loop’ mentality, there is hope..I am the living proof..after 2 Law degrees as a love addict. I would have got straight A’s all my life if I had have known about this sooner..)…x

        Like

  15. Hello Confused,

    Thanks for reading! The more you read the more you will figure this out. Go find the book “He’s Just Not That Into You” and read every page. What a horrible title. What a horribly sad concept. But please. It will help you immensely. “Ambivalence” or that constant back and forth of “I love you,” “I must let you go” is a SIGN (a very clear sign, by the way, once you learn to recognize it) that he is incapable of commitment to you. It’s a SIGN that a relationship is not all about the “I love you” part. While that feels wonderful to hear, I’m sure you are finding out that you need a little more than just love. I love you too. All the way in NJ a million miles away and I’ve never seen you and I probably never will. Is that the kind of love you need to thrive? Probably not. Well, he’s kinda offering you the same thing. You can make a smoothie with whole, real fresh fruit, or you can make one with water, ice and a powdered flavor. You have two smoothies. They both look alike. But I bet they taste different and give you different things (the former is loaded with nutrients; the latter is loaded with PROCESSED SUGAR).

    Anyway, figure out your values. What do you NEED in your life. I can tell you one thing you need: you need to stop getting into relationships with men who you have to “sit him down” and give him a good talking to. This sounds like you are dealing with a toddler or a child. You want a grown man, who makes the choice every day to show you he loves you, and he is consistent in his love. But you will not fill that need, until you know within yourself you are worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow, I loved your comment. It makes perfect sense and I loved your smoothie analogy. You are definitely right, I did often feel like I was constantly dealing with a child who couldn’t make up his mind. I need a fruitful kind of love that is reciprocated in a healthy way. He constantly made me feel insecure not only about myself but about this relationship. It was such a roller coaster. One day he was showing me rings and making plans and the following month the subject was never brought up and when I tried to discuss the topic of moving forward he always brushed it aside and told me to stay in the ‘now’ and we would figure everything out – would figure out the future, when it finally came. I realized, I don’t like living my life in that way. I like security and organization when it comes to my life. Don’t get me wrong I love spontaneity and I understand things don’t often turn out as planned but I do like to know that the person I am with wants the same thing. I never liked having to beg for his time. I strongly believe that the only reasons he ever came running back was because he found out I was talking to other men. He saw me happy with friends and going out. Part of me feels that he doesn’t know how to be alone and only came back bc he couldn’t see me happy if he wasn’t. which might explain why he chose to break it off exactly when he did. He knew I had an important exam that would determine so much for me, life changing. He knew I needed to be calm and collected and yet he chose to hurt me a few weeks before I would have to take it. I couldn’t do anything for about 2 weeks. Recently, Ive gone back to church and tried to get a hold of my life and keep it together. Its been working, its helped that ive had my sister to lean on and offer healthy distractions.
      Recently, I met a man unexpectedly. I honestly felt it was too soon. Im very hesitant to open up to this man but I cant help but find myself smiling with him. I love that he is respectful and is taking his time to get to know me. I really want to take it slow and make sure not to make the same mistakes. I’ve forgiven the ex. I just am unsure how much time is enough to be ok? Any advice about meeting someone new after a breakup.

      Like

  16. Oh LovelyJune, all I can say is never mind the post I just posted at LAA because you hit the nail right on the head. I just posted there wanting to understand why I was forcing myself to stay in a relationship with someone I don’t love. I really believe thAt there’s something wrong with me, because of my fear of intimacy. I have been researching trying to see if there was a cure for fear of intimacy. And when that study from China came out 2 weeks ago about a gene that prevents some people from getting close to others( it has to do with serotonin receptors) I jumped and said thank god there’s a biological reason why I feel such aversion to getting close to people. To me it feels so unnatural to be loving and touchy feely and expressive. Even with my own family I have always had a strong aversion to their love. I remember when I was 12 and my younger sister, who looks up to me and loves me a lot, took my hand as we walked down the street, and I wrangled my hand from hers because I felt uncomfortable. That memory has stayed with me till this day, because I remember feeling guilty that I was turning into my emotionally distant mother. So it is this ingrained knowledge of fear of intimacy that has forced me to stay in relationships with men I did not love or like. Because I thought it is my problem, it’s not them. First my husband, who was the nicest, kindest man I ever met, but I just didn’t feel anything for him. But I stayed with him for 3 years before leaving him, because I thought I would eventually fall for him. Now it is this guy I have been dating for 6 months. He is also nice. But at the core I feel like I don’t really like him. I mean, I like him in a romantic way the way women like men, but I don’t really like him as a human being. When I think about it, I have next really liked men. I may feel attracted to them, even fall in love with them(crushes) but mostly I never like them as humans the way I like women or children. I just don’t really trust nor respect them. Although i did like and respect my ex husband, probably the reason why I stayed with him that long, but I was not in love with him. So I guess I have found the answer to my confusion over this new guy. I like him as a man, but I don’t really

    Like

    1. Sorry I pressed the wrong button. I was just saying that your post made me realize that I don’t have to be in a relationship with someone I don’t really like nor love, even though it seems like he is the right person for me. Even if there are aspects of him I like. If I can’t like and respect all of him, all the time, and frequently feel uncomfortable and repulsed when he touches me, then I should end it, even if I value the relationship. You are right, I think I may like the relationship more than I like him.
      Thank you again for your spot on insights. Because of you I have hope that I will one day conquer this ambivalence demon.

      Like

  17. Glad you’re figuring this out. And remember, if you can “love” women and children and family and friends, you DO have the capacity to love and respect a partner. But do not confuse the term “love” with intimacy or intensity. These are all different things. Set your own limits. Know thyself! For when you do, you will be able to see people who share your same level of intimacy.

    A side note: I have two sons. Both have a great capacity to love. But one son hugs me incessantly and needs really longgggg hugs and his head scratched and feet massaged (etc. etc) the other son couldn’t be bothered with any of that. In fact, when he was an infant he didn’t want to be held or snuggled, unless on his terms. I respect both my boys and I respect that they have completely different intimacy and affection needs. Neither right nor wrong. Perhaps you were made to feel ashamed of your level intimacy as a child. DOn’t. Be a good parent to your inner child and say, it’s OK to not want to be too touchy feely! 🙂

    Like

  18. Hi there, How did you finally decipher between “I just simply don’t have feelings” and “I have intimacy issues”? What clued you in? The signs you list in your post are very close to a list of avoidant-attachment behaviors listed in the book Attached. I look at the list one way and I could think “This isn’t the right person for me” and I can look at the list through the lens of avoidant attachment and think “Oh, I have intimacy issues!” I ask because I am struggling with this very question: Am I avoidant or do I simply not have feelings for my partner? I really appreciate finding this post and wonder what helped you see the difference. Many thanks and kind regards.

    Like

    1. Good question.

      I think what’s most important in figuring out if you have intimacy issues or avoidance issues is to ask yourself the following BASIC questions: Do I respect my partner? Do I trust him? DO I feel safe and comfortable with him? Do I genuinely like him (85-90% of the time), even if we weren’t in a romantic relationship. Do I feel chemistry with him? DO we share the same values? (Do you KNOW your values?). And finally, do we share the same LEVEL of intimacy– you can be with the most perfect person but he could be far too intense for you and make you run the other way. Or vice versa. Someone who doesn’t give enough attention, could make you pursue aggressively.

      We need to hook up with people who are capable of helping us create a BALANCED ENVIRONMENT.

      And so…These types of questions help to determine if the relationship is build on healthy principles. If it is, and you STILL feel like running away, you may have intimacy issues. But my guess is you don’t. My guess is there are red flags that you might be avoiding or refusing to see coming from within the relationship. When you know your VALUES, you are better able to see red flags. Start there. Start to figure out your values https://thelovelyaddict.com/2010/01/10/what-are-values/ and https://thelovelyaddict.com/2011/09/21/the-problems-i-cant-handle-vs-the-problems-i-can/ And keep in mind too that if YOU are unbalanced in your life, you will attract unbalanced people to help balance you out.

      Bottom line, look in two places: focus on figuring out your values and determining if this person FITS INTO YOUR VALUES. If he doesn’t, this is where your intimacy issues may come from. If that’s the case, you know the relationship is the problem. Second, look at ALL the relationships in your life. DO you have intimacy issues with EVERYONE? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Or do you have fairly normal, healthy, average relationship? Do your friendship or familial relationship seem stable to you? Passionate? Cold? How do they size up? They are also a good determining factor of who you are and how you relate to others. Some people are naturally less passionate, don’t need a lot of intimacy and like to be alone much of the time. Others need passion, drama and love, love, love. Who are you? What do you like? Know your own personal level of intimacy and see if you and your partner match up! Hope this helps! Here’s another good read: https://thelovelyaddict.com/2013/11/21/fear-of-abandonment-or-enmeshment/

      Like

  19. Thanks so much for your reply. These are very good things to take into consideration and help me question the avoidant paradigm which feels like a hall of mirrors in a way. My partner is great – hits all the check marks – the most stable, accepting, patient, loving, responsible, generous, thoughtful, smart, trustworthy, kind etc. – a real quality individual who respects and attends to my needs. Represents everything I think I could possibly value, but the charisma seems lost or maybe it was never quite there….I guess the hard part is accepting that some things that seem superficial might actually be important. I will check out your other posts. Thank you again for your helpful advice.

    Like

  20. Why didn’t I read this article 9 years ago when this emotional labyrinth started and still no light at the end. Maybe realizations made in this article help. A little.

    Like

  21. Wow. This is really great. I am so glad I found your blog! I am nearly 50 and still going through this with either much younger dating partners or older, doesn’t seem to matter. The last one was a charismatic and older man and before too long I couldn’t stand the man. I will no longer date older men to this extent. I’m in good shape for my age and I just found myself disgusted with someone who doesn’t take that good care of himself, then the loud chewing started, and I lost it one night and broke out the arrangement before it went any further.

    He was a misogynistic jerk of sorts anyway and was trying to run a game on me that I could see through.
    I started to really hate this guy as he had traits just like my narcissistic ex that took me ten years to get over – a little too touchy feeling with another woman he knew who stopped by to chat while were at dinner, making comments about other women’s looks all the time in a movie, etc., having a history of being attracted to younger women – younger than me but he was going to make an exception for me once he figured out I had a nice figure…..

    And then there was a cold detachment just like my ex that I couldn’t stand either. So I picked another older narcissist. But I was feeling ambivalent and at least got myself out much earlier. The other one took me a long time. I feel embarrassed that I am this old and it is taking me this long to get through these issues. But yes, I believe now they are related to some sort of sex/love addiction, though I am capable of going long spells without dating at all and think I have given up by now. I’m just tired and overly sensitive anymore. There’s always more turmoil to it all than joy, so I feel done.

    But now I have this much younger man pursuing me in a very slow and intermittent way. I enjoy that he’s about as freaked out about getting close to someone as I am so we just have a nice flirt thing going on and talk once in a while. But I can tell he’s gearing up to try and get together with me. I like him, but the age difference is a bit deal. 20 years.

    But yeah, I am realizing I have huge fears of intimacy if I keep doing these weird dating things. I attract what is going on and repel what I am done with by now. So somehow I am learning.

    Like

  22. You don’t even know how you helped me Lovelyjune, you have no idea. I am the poster child of ambivalence in my current relationship. I know this article is old, I know you most likely no longer read what goes on here. But in case you do, your post has help me understand what’ s been going on with me for so long.

    You just help change a life! Though I don’t know you, I love what you’ve done for me this moment.

    Like

    1. Hi Dezz, and wow! Thank you so much for your kind words. This site is still very much active, but I am on vacation at the moment. I’m soooo glad you’ve found my blog. I hope you keep reading 🙂

      Like

  23. Hi there lovely,

    I know this is a little time on from when you wrote this blog, but the principles are timeless, so i hope you will still get this comment /question?

    What if I am ambivalent in my relationship, and know I need to take action and do something about it, but I’m just too scared to face it/and/or comfortable in the relationship?. We have been together for about one and a half years, and he is not putting pressure on me to get married, but I am 38 and don’t want to waste time, so I feel like I need to decide now wether we are going forward or ending things. When I think about moving forward I feel extremely ambivalent but feel frustrated that that feeling doesn’t move me into action either way. How do I help myself to get to a place where I will make a decision. It’s agonizing to feel so indecisive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah, my apologies for not seeing this post earlier. Ambivalence is often a sign of fear to move in one direction or the other. Making a decision to move forward takes commitment. It means accountability. Ask yourself if you are scared of growing up and being committed in general, OR if you are scared of being committed to this person in particular. Ambivalence can also be a sign that your head (or heart) wants to move forward, but your heart (or head) doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Your head AND heart should be in alignment when making a decision like marriage. I hope this helps!

      Like

  24. What a shitty article. In the list you wrote, most of those “problems” seem to be simply a reflection of your own narcissistic tendencies. And in the next list of good signs all you do is say the opposite of what you wrote before. Nothing of value to be had here except that there are women like you roaming around and not to get into a relationship with one.

    Like

      1. No you cant please EVERYONE, but you have pleased a lot, healed a lot, saved a lot and educated A LOT…. never forget that…. x

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s