by Jasbina Ahluwalia
I’m sorry to hear this,
and can assure you that
you are not alone. The
situation you describe
reminds me of a book,
Attached, co-written by
one of our past radio
show guests, Amir Levine,
a neuroscientist and psychia-
trist. In his book, Dr. Levine
explains three “attachment styles” which describe the
three different ways in which people handle intimacy in
romantic relationships. Your description of your
boyfriend’s behavior is consistent with the “avoidant”
attachment style; while you appear to potentially have
an “anxious” style.
Clues of the avoidant style include:
Valuing one’s independence greatly
Maintaining emotional and physical distance
Discomfort with intimacy.
Clues of the anxious style include:
Desire for a lot of closeness in a relationship
Unhappiness when not in a relationship;
Preoccupation with the relationship; and acting out.
Consistent with your description of your boyfriend’s
behavior during your break-up, one tendency of the
avoidant style involves fixating on the best qualities of a
past partner as a means of blocking his/her self from
getting close to anyone else. While anxious and avoidant
people tend to attract one another; unfortunately, they
tend to exacerbate each other’s insecurities. Commonly,
as in your situation, anxious people cope by trying to get
close to their partner; whereas, avoidant people react to
those attempts by further distancing themselves, thereby
creating a vicious cycle.
So what can you do about it? Actually, I thought address-
ing this question in two parts, and spread over two issues,
would give readers who find themselves in a similar situa-
tion the opportunity to carefully assess the benefits and
costs of their respective avoidant/anxious relationships to
determine whether or not they wish to make unilateral
(one cannot expect partners to change unless the partners
themselves are self-motivated to do so) efforts to mitigate
the situation despite the naturally-occurring vicious cycle.
I have been dating a guy for almost a year.
When I suggest spending more time together
(we rarely spend more than one day of the week-
end and one evening during the work week to-
gether despite the fact we live less than 20 min-
utes apart), he accuses me of suffocating him.
His distant behavior scares me and I find my-
self saying things I later regret, which seems to
push him further away. We broke up once be-
cause of all this, but then I heard through the
grapevine of how he was saying such great stuff
about me (even to other women he went out
with!), and I found myself missing being in the
relationship so much that I reached out and we
ended up together again. But now we seem to be
falling into the same pattern and it’s making it
hard for me to keep up with my work and
friends - what should I do?
Jasbina Ahluwalia
is an Indian-
American attorney turned entrepreneur,
Relationship Expert, Radio Show Host
and Matchmaker / Dating Coach. She is
the Founder / President of Intersections
Match, the only Elite
Matchmaking & Dating Coaching Firm
in the country serving Selective Singles of South Asian de-
scent Nationwide in the U.S. She is also the host of Intersec-
tions Talk Radio, a monthly holistic lifestyle show featuring
conversations with published authors/experts on relation-
ships, health & wellness. Feel free to submit a Question to be
considered for this column to Jasbina directly at For
info, please visit
Love Prescription