Why did you say break up, but he didn't ask to stay?

Why did you say break up, but he didn't ask to stay?

Muster up the courage to face your anxiety and uneasiness, and you may feel much freer and happier then.

A friend complained to me not long ago because she was lovelorn. I thought she had been dumped, but I later learned that she had taken the initiative to break up.

"but I don't want to break up! I just said that angrily. " She added: "every time I broke up with him, he would come and ask me to stay. Why has he changed this time?"

bringing up a breakup is just to be asked to stay, which is a big risk.

maybe the previous breakups can indeed win the retention and reluctance of the other party, but constantly threatening the other party with the breakup may eventually cause the other party to get tired of being threatened, thinking that since you want to break up so much, let's break up.

Why do some people always threaten to break up?

the reason behind the threat to break up is not dissatisfaction with your partner, but lack of self-confidence.

in the famous attachment theory, there is a dimensional attachment trait called attachment anxiety (attachment anxiety):

individuals with high attachment anxiety lack self-confidence in an intimate relationship, think they are unworthy of love, and are extremely deficient in a sense of security. They are so afraid of separation that what they worry about is often imaginary.

in addition, they are often furious with their partner for this, using extreme emotional reactions to gain their partner's attention and love (Bowlby, 1982).

when they feel stressed, they rely not only on each other's care for themselves, but also on each other's commitment, and rely on this commitment to building a sense of security.

for example, when two people quarrel, the highly anxious party often waits anxiously for the other to apologize and ask for retention, which makes them feel that they are valued.

is attachment anxiety really "hopeless"?

when it comes to attachment characteristics, we usually think of it as a more stable trait, even as a label on people: you are avoidant, I am anxious, and often try to explore the characteristics of different types of attachment.

but in fact, the attachment characteristics of each person are not constant, and new relationship experiences will constantly update our understanding of ourselves and others, thus affecting the position of individuals in different attachment dimensions (Mikulincer &  Shaver, 2016).

usually, we think that the best way to relieve attachment anxiety is to give love and support and establish a haven for it. which is commonly said: you are an unsafe attachment, so find a secure attachment person to fall in love with.

but recent research has found such a paradox:

obtaining dependence and commitment from a partner in a short period can indeed alleviate an individual's current anxiety level, but in the long run, it only strengthens attachment anxiety (Arriaga et al., 2014).

this means safe dependence and commitment to stability is not a panacea, but a "drug" that relieves our anxiety in the short term, but leads to greater dependence.

when the attachment anxiety person is using the breakup as a threat, the partner's recovery and attention immediately and effectively relieve the anxiety, making the attachment anxiety person feel loved, but at the same time, it also makes their "addiction" deeper and deeper. This method may be used more often to get your partner's attention in the future.

one day, if the partner is tired and stops trying to recover, the attachment anxiety person may face a breakdown.

what can improve the level of attachment anxiety?

some orphans, or children abandoned by their parents in their early years, will act excessively rebelliously after they are sent to a new foster home. They are constantly testing their adoptive parents: will you abandon me, too?

similarly, blame each other, break up, abuse yourself in love. The real voice behind these actions is: to see if Ta loves me.

attachment anxiety people always doubt whether they deserve to be loved, which is the root of the problem.

therefore, the best way to alleviate attachment anxiety in an intimate relationship is not to get your partner's attention, but to relieve your over-dependence on your partner and improve your sense of self-worth (Arriaga et al., 2017).

what can people with high attachment anxiety do?

1. Only you can resolve your emotions

the best time to relieve attachment anxiety is not in conflict, but ordinary daily life.  

if you used to call each other 10 times a day to have a sense of security, now set a small goal, reduce it to 5 times a day, and then reduce it to 2 or 1 time. When you have the urge to find each other, you can try to listen to music, take a walk, read a book, or find another partner to play with.

this is not to say that it is impossible to seek comfort from a lover at all, but every time you want to stick to each other just because you are in a bad mood and feel anxious, you sacrifice the opportunity for self-growth.

if these have become the only way to maintain the sense of security or even a bundle, then you need to get out of the bundle and remind yourself:

"Ta is not the only one who can solve my emotions. I am."  

2. Cultivate your own goals, rebuild your self-confidence

find a hobby or work that you can do independently of your partner, set reasonable goals for yourself, and work hard for them. Your hobbies don't need to be strong so that you can immerse yourself in them, experience the fun of growing up independently in this process, and enhance your sense of self-efficacy and confidence.

the value of each person is determined by himself, not based on the partner's evaluation and attention.

3. Don't jump to conclusions in conflict

after every quarrel and conflict, try to be aware of your emotions and try not to make any decisions and conclusions when you are too emotional. What people say in intense emotions is often biased:

"since you don't love me, let's break up."

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"you don't care about me at all, all you care about is yourself!"


these conclusions are often drawn during quarrels, and when they calm down, they will often find that they are not true at all, and the consequences are very difficult to deal with. so try to make decisions and conclusions after two days of fighting.

as a partner of people with high attachment anxiety, what can you do?

1. Give support and commitment at the right time

if your partner is a person with high attachment anxiety, then what you need to do is not to retain and affirm him when he breaks up, but to affirm Ta in your daily relationship, to help Ta build self-confidence and encourage Ta to achieve his personal goals independently.

in many cases, people will meet each other's unreasonable demands and blindly accept each other's emotions to alleviate the intense emotions of their partners, which often worsen each other's attachment anxiety and plant a bomb on their patience. One day it will be unbearable.

therefore, when the other person is emotional, refuse Ta's unreasonable dependence appropriately and learn to be rational and affirm instead of blindly accepting it.

2. Truly express your feelings

when the other person breaks up again, if you know that Ta's real idea is not to break up, but to get your love and affirmation, then you need to tell the other person how you feel: " I am willing to retain this relationship, it does not mean that I am sure of what you have done, I will feel very hurt to break up at will." "

your confession may put pressure on the other person for a while, but in the long run, it can help the other person think about his or her behavior pattern and make appropriate adjustments.

relieving attachment anxiety is a long process, which may be safer if accompanied by a partner, but every person with high attachment anxiety has to rely on his strength to cure himself.

I would like to share with you a sentence in the Biography of Wittgenstein:

I have very little courage, much less than you. But I find that whenever I muster up the courage to do something after a long struggle, I always feel much freer and happier afterward.

I hope that every person with high attachment anxiety can muster up the courage to face his anxiety and uneasiness after struggling, then you may feel much freer and happier.