When it comes to addictive relationships, the most common types of people are; those who love too much (Anxious), and those who love too little, (the Avoidant). If you vacillate between the two you are an Ambivalent. It’s not really “love” that we are talking about. It is actually energy that either desires a wound to be healed by filling it up with a relationship (Anxious) or energy that is trying to not be engulfed by keeping relationships at a distance (Avoidant) or both (Ambivalent).
Most Ambivalent individuals are frightened of intimacy and usually pursue unavailable people. This kind of ambivalence, more than any other, feeds on fantasies and delusions.
Often Ambivalent individuals will destroy relationships when they start to get serious or at whatever point the fear of intimacy comes up. This can be anytime (before the first date, after the first date, after sex, after the subject of commitment comes up) whenever.
Some Ambivalents run hot and cold. They always come on to you when they want sex or companionship. When they become bored or frightened, they begin withholding companionship, sex, and affection, anything that makes them feel anxious. If they keep repeating the pattern of being available/unavailable in the same relationship, they withhold intimacy. They tend to offer more intimacy each time they come back. They up the stakes with offers of commitment, living together, marriage, children, etc. They rarely keep their promises to change.
Some Ambivalents are simultaneously addicted to multiple partners. Unlike sex addicts, who are trying to avoid bonding altogether, these Ambivalents bond with each of their partners, to one degree or another, even if the romantic liaisons are short-lived. These Ambivalent individuals are often confused with Sex Addicts.
The most complicated kind of Ambivalent is someone who has been labeled a Narcissist. On the surface, he or she is usually aloof, detached, self-confident, self-centered, domineering, and/or afraid of commitment. However, when you leave this individual, what appeared like Narcissism is quickly seen as ambivalent behavior because they can’t handle being rejected. They turn to manipulation, aggression, and even violence to hold on to the relationship even though they remain ambivalent.
It is a common pattern for Ambivalents to obsess when someone is unavailable and then become ambivalent when a healthy person comes along. This happens a lot in recovery for other addictions. For more about this, read Finally Getting it Right by Howard Halpern.
Ambivalents suffer from some form of childhood incest (overt, covert, or emotional) and they fall in love but abort the relationship when it gets too serious. (By incest I mean overt (sexual molestation and rape); covert (sexual energy without touching); and emotional incest (being forced to be a surrogate partner.) Research this for yourself and recommend The Emotional Incest Syndrome by Patricia Love or The Courage to Heal by Laura Davis.
In summary, the Ambivalent is a complicated person. When treated by an experienced individual who specializes in Attachment Disorder, one can change. It takes time, willingness to dive deep into the pain body wound and patience for a new level of relational tolerance to take place.
By: Lori Jean Glass