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Attachment Disorder?

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I struggle to maintain long term relationships, both with friends and partners. My last proper relationship was over 6 years ago. It was love at first sight. I was infatuated and when I felt he was straying I suffered get anxiety and developed anorexia (now self managed). He cheated on me. Since I’ve felt very alone and now I tend to get close to guys and find it very easy to be intimate. Once they develop more feelings I push them away. They become my friends and I enjoy having sex. I think I use sex to make myself feel better. I can spend a week with someone and we act like we are in a loving relationship, but as soon as I leave that friend I don’t retain those feelings. It’s almost like I have the opposite of attachment disorder because as soon as they attempt to make the relationship monogamous I run. One guy is quite a bit younger. I have been honest and told him we will not be in a relationship he has told me he is in love with me. Even still, when I am sad we have sex. I don’t want a relationship with him, but enjoy the intimacy. I know that when I end it again he will be hurt. There are others like this. I think it makes me a bad person even though I am fully honest with them.

In terms of friends I don’t really have any that last for more than a couple of years. I think I have very high expectations of people, but I am very forgiving. Often they are less forgiving in return. I am not in competition with my friends, but often feel that they are competing with me, especially professional friends. I struggle with this and often begin to distrust them. I protected one professionally for sometime, but recently she and another friend didn’t give me the same curtesy and I am now under a formal investigation at work. Others have said it is premeditated, but I don’t want to feel paranoid about it. Neither have apologized. My self-esteem is low. I am concerned about how I can become so intimately involved with someone and the next day act like nothing has happened. Also I worry about why I can not maintain friendships over a period of time. (From the UK)

Attachment Disorder?

Answered by on -

A.

It sounds like you abandon people before they abandon you. By you hitting the ejection button it gives you both the intimacy you crave and the control you need so you don’t get too dependent.

Your insight about your process is quite admirable and I think you would be a very good candidate for psychotherapy. My guess is this pattern emerged earlier than when your long-term boyfriend cheated on you. You may want to explore this with a good therapist. Understanding where the pain began gives you more options on how to correct it.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Attachment Disorder?

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Attachment Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/02/24/attachment-disorder/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.