Navigating From Insecure Attachment To The Awkwardness of Dating
Even as you make strides in your own growth, you experience hiccups.
You find yourself in a ‘same old situation,’ but feel differently, with fledgling confidence in your newer tools. With growing assurance what may have felt impossible in the past, can still make you choke a bit as you state your truth.
Remember to be prepared for people not hearing you; it’s okay.
Speaking your truth is not done to convince someone of what they should do (conditioning will tell you otherwise); it’s supporting yourself emotionally. Whether it’s early in dating or stepping into a relationship, if it’s not working it’ll be clear pretty quickly, just by observing the ensuing dialogue or reaction after you speak.
Recently I was at dinner with someone.
No shooting stars; just enjoying my time with him, thinking he was really nice. And he IS nice. On our prior dates we casually talked about a variety of topics including what we both wanted in dating/relationships. It was cool.
This dinner turned out to be not so cool.
I felt as though I was on a date with someone totally different. The conversation did not flow, there was a huge interest in the food, but other than that not much laughter or further exploration of any deeper topics. In the past it would’ve stopped me cold from addressing something important to me. I’d have looked for the right time to speak and kept quiet if I didn’t find it and then ‘gone along’ with whatever happened afterwards. As an ex-people-pleaser, it was finding courage to speak about intimacy, and get really uncomfortable.
In my heart, I had to express how I’m not rushing a physical relationship until I really get to know somebody, and I’m confident we’re headed in the same direction (I don’t care if anyone agrees or disagrees with my actions, it’s how I feel in taking care of myself emotionally). I stated this and it was acknowledged verbally, but not physically.
It was very clear we were on a different page.
As we drove after dinner, I realized what I said was for my ears only.
Is he bad? No.
This isn’t to pick his behavior apart. It’s to illustrate how difficult it can be to navigate saying something that another person may not want to hear. It can be very uncomfortable.
Many women (and some men) find themselves in the middle of somewhere they don’t want to be, by keeping quiet and making excuses, so they don’t hate themselves. You’re afraid to upset someone, but when action happens as a result of your silence, it is NOT what you want, and you blame yourself (and them too).
Insecure attachment holds you with a fear of loss. You’re used to it, but you want to avoid it, and when you’ve been wired this way for so long, it can be tough to speak the truth.
With insecure attachment as a basis for your conditioning, you try to exert control over others’ behavior. You refuse to listen or see reality as it is. And you’ll cross someone else’s boundaries. Someone with true confidence isn’t controlling or trying to prove anything; secure people respect themselves and others.
I stood for myself because my values matter. In setting the foundation for a HAPPY long-term relationship, you don’t want a tug-of-war, or a struggle for power.
Sometimes in speaking your truth, it’s challenging to be consistently connected to your heart, especially if others are resistant. You can’t control them.
I know what it feels like to not say the truth of how you feel out of fear, and have someone disregard it when you do speak.
Clarity around attachment is huge. A warm body will not do. What you’re looking for changes as you feel more secure, yet it can feel like a foreign land, especially when you can’t tell on the first date beyond whether he or she might be nice. It’s why I go slow, not protective, so I can stay in the rhythm of my own emotions. If I try to keep up with someone else’s desires and ignore my own, it will end ugly.
Insecure attachment has conditioned us to not trust ourselves, the world or others. So to trust yourself means going thru the discomfort of not pleasing someone else and not controlling the events outside of you by pretending to fill a role. Instead you must speak your truth.
The awkwardness of dating can make you feel you have to compromise to get what you want. YOU DO NOT compromise at that stage unless you want to repeat the same ol’ relationship. Always see reality as it is, not as you wish it.
Attachment can keep you on a merry-go-round.
Not just in dating someone who is ill-suited to a partnership with you, but repeating the relationship over and over with them, continuing to try making it work where it was never meant to go. It’s the fantasy, which deludes you from dealing with rejection or abandonment. I can’t tell you how many times I saw red flags in the past with others and kept dating them. I was ATTACHED! It then kept me in the cycle of breaking up and getting back together. Insecure attachment will keep you believing a fantasy. You keep going around and around hoping they have changed (cuz you fear there may not be someone else).
Stop for a moment in whatever dating situation you’re in and ask what you truly believe without bullshitting yourself. What’s YOUR truth? Remember, it is always okay to be where you are, even if it is hell. You can’t navigate from where you are not.
There are NO rules of engagement with how you should act or what you should do to develop a relationship. I really believe when it’s the right person, it’s the right person. It’s not necessarily magical, but there’s an ease to it. Everyone I know in a healthy, secure relationship (even those who had insecure attachment in the past) experiences ease.
In my dating life, the above scenario was another opportunity for me to trust myself more, instead of beating myself up. It was a chance to remain open and aware of what I want for myself. We are always at choice in keeping the old patterns alive or speaking then acting by taking a risk to stick with the truth of what we want!
Interested in learning more about attachment? Listen to this podcast.