Jan 9 • 7M

How To Hook 🎣 A Commitment-Phobe

By Me...The Commitment-Phobe 😬

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I had no idea he took this picture…and was horrified when he posted it. But after a week, my inner commitment-phobe has calmed down. It’s a process. 😅

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Happy 2023!

While I took a break from Substack, I did not take a break from living and learning. If you follow me on IG, you know what I’ve been up to. If you don’t, please do 😇, and I’ll include some videos here today to get you up to speed. The Cliff Notes: Remember High School Guy? Yeah. Well…it’s game on, sister. 😅

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I don’t know where you fall in the whole attachment theory world, but as for me, after my marriage, I was pretty avoidant…very much a commitment-phobe. And frankly one might say having affairs in the earlier part of the marriage was a way of creating some distance to make me feel more comfortable. 🤷🏻‍♀️ But I always talked a big love game so the guys I’d date were also avoidants who were running an I’m-an-earnest-guy-looking-for-a-relationship-script. So in some ways, we were perfect for each other. See the GIF below? That was the dynamic. They had a let-me-love-you, let-me-love-you energy which I liked on one level but I was like back-it-up, back-it-up energetically because I was afraid. The dysfunction is kind of hilarious when it’s illustrated, right?

Are you ready for the mind-blowing part though? After years of doing my work and finally being ready to do the real work of intimacy with someone who had frankly been chasing me down for it from day one, when I’d take my hand off their proverbial forehead so we can deepen our relationship, what do you think would happen? They’d get scared and peace out. It makes perfect sense when you think about it! They signed up for the girl who didn’t want intimacy. They needed to run an I-want-love script for their own reasons, but that didn’t mean they were actually ready for real intimacy. It’s just that our dysfunctions were compatible! The three significant relationships I’ve had over the past 20-plus years all followed this pattern. Seems obvious but I finally understood on the deepest level that I too, was following a script. If I wanted a different experience, I too, had to be different. I know, DERRRRRRRRRR! 🤪🤪🤪 I knew I had evolved. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen the pattern so vividly. But at their tail end, patterns are simply habits that need to be distrupted.

I was ready to be in a healthy relationship.

Enter stage left, High School Guy.

And…

He was ready, too.

TBH, he was readier than I was. He’d already been divorced for years and had cycled through the dysfunctional post-divorce relationships we all kinda have to go through to figure out what we brought to our marriages that ultimately failed.

So in the beginning, when I needed space, he didn’t get into a whole don’t-leave-me drama, he would simply give me space.

And as I worked to end my patterns of creating drama and a chase-me narrative, it was one step-forward and two steps back. Sometimes I’d unconsciously create drama. 🤭 But he just kinda didn’t participate. He wasn’t dismissive of my drama, but he would say things like, “Getting divorced is tough. It takes a lot of time to feel settled and ready.” or “If you need time, take it. I’m here and if it’s meant to be, I’ll still be here when you’re ready.” In other words, my drama didn’t trigger him. He understood it as a part of an unwinding…a shitty divorce…and ultimately a challenging childhood.

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Oh, and we took this whole this sloooooooooooooow.

There was no physical relationship for many months. Zero pressure from him for commitment, sex or anything. He was happy on his own. He didn’t see me as the key to anything so there was no grasping on his end and nothing I felt the need to wriggle out of.

Plus, remember, I stopped dating for a few months. It was almost like changing my diet. Have you ever eaten really clean for a few months and then the idea of Crunchy Cheetos (which you used to fantasize about) actually no longer appeal to you? It was kind of like that. When I stopped having these out-of-habit relationships and situationships with people I had trauma bonded with, I felt ready to actually build something real. Ready, at least, to try. Before I wasn’t even trying. I was just passing the time and treating dating like I was rifling through my snack closets…going from salty to sweet over and over until I felt sick. Repeating old unhealthy patterns. After the man-fast, I felt ready for a normal meal. I had established a healthy appetite.

And as for HSG? Listen, he’s hot. He’s kind. He’s patient. He’s funny. He can fix anything. He’s got BDE. Okay, okay, I’ll stop. 🤓 But most importantly? He’s healthy. And…so am I. So am I. So. Am. I. 😭

I don’t actually believe in fairy tales or happily-ever-afters. Not because I’m a cynic, but my happiness isn’t tied into who I’m dating. I was happy before him and I’ll be happy again if we break up. The happily-ever-after concept is based on an attachment to one person and one status quo. And the person I’m most committed to is myself and my growth. 🤷🏻‍♀️ And maybe that’s what commitment-phobia has been for me: This idea that I’d need to be attached to being with another person instead of always being there for myself no matter what pathway my own journey takes me. So here’s what I believe instead: All we really have is the present moment in front of us and rather than scaring myself away with proclamations about the future or preoccupying myself with the past, I’m just…right here. In this moment. And the present moment is always perfect because I’m a happy person. My internal weather system is not attached to what’s happening Out There. Today, I happen to be enjoying the unique-for-me experience of dating another happy person instead of being the happy girlfriend of a complicated guy. Hopefully that’s a pattern I can leave with 2022. TBD, TBD.

The one thing I know for sure is that I’m always learning…always growing. And I love doing it alongside you. Here’s to a fun 2023 together. 🥂 I love you. I’m grateful for you.

xo, atoosa

Soundtrack of my 🤍🖤❤️: