We’ve all ended a relationship and thought, “Glad that’s over!” It’s not about blaming the other person, just acknowledging that they were only meant to be in our lives for a season; they are just not “the one”. But sometimes even when we are dating or married to the woman of our dreams, things can sometimes feel off. We love the other person, but there are gaps we just cannot seem to bridge, no matter how we try. Well, it may be our “Love Approach”.
Whether we realize it or not, we enter each relationship with a love approach that was shaped in early childhood. This approach invariably affects the way we interact with the women in our lives, from the girl we take to the prom to the woman we marry. Of course, these women have their own loves styles and how they mesh with ours sets the tone of the relationship. It stands to reason therefore that figuring out our approach, as well as that of our partner, can help us meet her needs, identify our own, and have healthier, happier relationships.
Here are the 5 Love Approaches. Which one is you?
This is the stereotypical “guy”: independent, private and self-sufficient. He craves his space, rarely shows his emotions, and will do anything to avoid appearing needy. He is an island. If you are an Avoider or are buddies with one, you know that there’s no shortage of women who are attracted to this type of man. Like a moth to a flame, they flock to the Avoider, each hoping to be the one to melt his heart. Sounds great, right? Actually, no, not if you’re looking for a balanced, long-lasting relationship. The women in your life always seem to crave more affection than you are comfortable giving, and may even leave you for someone more available. The women who do stick around are probably doing so because of their own baggage. Your challenge as an Avoider is to admit that you have feelings and needs, then allow yourself to show those vulnerabilities to your partner.
This is the “nice guy” that has appeared in several previous posts. As a kid, he avoided conflict with others; as a man, his romantic identity is centered around being the sweet, emotionally available antidote to all the Avoiders out there. Unfortunately, he’s also the one whose girlfriend dumped him for the conceited guy at the gym. The Pleaser must learn how to transform himself from “nice guy” to “good guy”. Good guys are confident and not afraid of conflict. If you learn to say “no”, your girlfriend or spouse will respect and appreciate you more. She will see you as a man who knows what he wants, and feel honored that what you want is her.
Do you love the passion and intensity at the beginning of a relationship, only to become disillusioned when the reality of the day-to-day sets in? If so, you may be a Vacillator. A cross between an Avoider and a Pleaser, the Vacillator sends out mixed messages of “Come here. No, go away” that women understandably find confusing and hurtful. If you’re a Vacillator, your first goal is to manage your expectations and recognize that no matter how wonderful a woman is, she will never be perfect. Once you begin to appreciate her for the person she is, you may discover that she’s perfect for you.
THE CONTROLLER AND THE VICTIM
Children of chaotic households often learn to cope by becoming either the Controller or the Victim. Boys that become the Controller learn at an early age that anger is preferable to the humiliation, shame, fear, or grief they endured as a child. Like the Avoider, the Controller stomps out any flicker of vulnerability; however, instead of withdrawing into himself as the Avoider does, the Controller uses threats, intimidation and even violence to get what he wants. Oftentimes Controllers pair up with Victims, both unconsciously reenacting their childhood dynamic. If you are a Controller or a Victim, it’s probably a good idea to seek professional counselling so that you can recognize this pattern and create a more balanced relationship.
THE SECURE CONNECTOR
This is the ideal “Good Guy”. The Secure Connector was brought up in a home where reciprocity and balance was the norm. He saw it in his parents’ relationship and is therefore comfortable giving and receiving with his partner. If you are a Secure Connector, you accept her flaws—as well as your own—without judgment, and you have no problem compromising, negotiating and communicating your needs. You will most likely draw to you a woman with a similar background and who is also ready for a fifty-fifty partnership.
While the Secure Connector (Good Guy) is arguably the healthy ideal, we all have room for improvement. Each of us is on a journey, constantly evolving and growing, and we want to be able to grow and evolve in our relationship with our partner. The most important thing, ultimately, is to understand yourself and what motivates you; that way, you’ll be able to express your love and respect for the woman in your life. Trust me, she will return the favor, tenfold.
Read more from Joe in his book “Reboot Your Relationship.”