You know how people say that you learn how to be in a relationship as an adult from the relationships you had as a child? True. We're all screwed if our parents were even a little bit messed up. This is why there is so much pressure in parenting! It's the rest of their lives kind of stuff. If we felt secure in our relationships as kids, we go on to feel secure with our significant others. We rely on them, we think of their feelings and their well being, and we don't get caught up in our own head. Those who had screwed up childhood relationship models have some issues with abandonment or become very insecure. Makes sense. But how much do we actually pay attention to it and fix it so it doesn't make our relationship end with heartbreak? I hear crickets ....
When it comes to relationships, marriage, there are some people who are anxiously attached and some who have an avoidant attached style. And it can be a recipe for disaster. And cheating.
Not all cheaters cheat because they are heartless losers who want to inflict pain on others and add notches in their belts. Some of the people who cheat actually need to be held more, they need reassurance and to feel safe and secure; otherwise, they may make a huge mess of their life and crap all over their marriage in some sort of weird unintentional spite thing just because they need to feel wanted, needed, loved. Because they didn't get it as a child. They are in need of this constant reassurance, and if they don't get it, they need to feel that from someone so they stray.
I think I need therapy after just writing that.
This is tough stuff. Marriage is hard enough without anyone's issues involved (divorce is even harder), but when there is a trunk-load of harbored emotions from yesteryear, things get super complicated.
If you are securely attached, there is more stability. Infidelity probably isn't going to be an issue. There is none of that fear that the anxiously attached have, none of that constant reassurance needed. So if you are in a relationship with someone who is anxiously attached and you aren't having sex, know that these people equate sex with love and no sex means no love and that makes the anxiety rise and that person therefore is more likely to cheat.
The anxiously attached have their problems, but so do those with an avoidant attachment style. These people cannot connect so they look elsewhere to connect, yet they really don't know how to connect so it can be a lost cause. Pair an anxiously attached with an avoidant and it's like one of those three-hour-long heart-wrenching movies where you are hysterically crying the whole time because you know the characters love each other but they just don't know how to love.
To fix this, there is of course hours and hours of therapy. But you can also look for these signs and address them as they arise or worsen. So if your partner is very needy or clingy or overly worried about how secure you are in the relationship or seems to be avoiding intimacy, it's a sign they need reassurance because if they don't get it, it could get to a cheating point of no return.
Do you recognize yourself or your partner as being anxiously attached or with avoidance attachment?
Image via D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr