Could your codependency or another emotional issue be the reason you want someone back who left you? When you are codependent, you are typically looking outside yourself for definition or a sense of self. It might be through material things or the roles you play in life, for example. You might also look for a sense of identity through a relationship with another.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a healthy relationship, of course. Frankly, I think most humans want to love and be loved. But the thing is, some of us select partners where basically, it can only be a one-way street. And if you are trying to get someone back who left you, there is a good chance you were in a relationship where you loved the person, but that person probably wasn’t capable of returning your love.
Then again, and this might be more difficult for you to fathom, your partner might have left you because that person did not see you as capable of having the healthy give and take kind of relationship he or she desired. While you might have thought you were making yourself more desirable by trying to do everything you could to please your loved one, this could have actually turned the emotionally healthy person off.
The Approach-Avoidance Dance of Codependent Couples
More often, though, two codependent people get together. As I just alluded to, one likes to step forth and do most anything and everything for the other. Typically, it is the woman who plays this role. She is the giver while she attracts a man more than happy to take and take.
The codependent woman, in other words, often attracts a man who is happy to use her to get his own needs met, but he is often not capable of being in a true partnership. If she gets tired of always giving and finally walks away, he might come running after her. If she turns to run back into his arms, thinking he and things have changed, it is likely he will soon be pushing her away again.
Some call it the approach-avoidance dance.
If you want to know how to dance better, go take some dancing lessons. Learning how to perfect this dance is a waste of your precious time. It will likely lead to more and more heartache. Basically, you’re also only postponing the inevitable, or walking away from a relationship that can never give you what you desire.
Indeed, why learn how to settle for crumbs when you could work on your codependency issues, become healthier, and attract someone who is also healthy? After all, together, you can create and enjoy a feast.
When you attract a healthier person who is capable of being a good partner, you will be able to love and be loved. It won’t be a one-way street any longer. Won’t that feel a lot better and be more satisfying?
But let’s say you can’t seem to keep that unhealthy side in check. You remain full or fear or self doubt, and this keeps you engaged with this other person who likes to do the approach-avoidance dance. What can you expect?
Assuming you are the female pursuer, he is apt to run faster and further as you move towards him. Then again, if you set up a scenario where he knows he is going to get every one of his selfish needs met while yours go ignored, he might come back for awhile. But when he grows bored or indifferent--o even worse, perhaps turning yours into an abusive relationship—he will likely move on by having affairs while nonetheless allowing you to play his faithful servant.
Think about the picture I just painted for you. Won’t it make you feel worse about yourself than ever, especially because while you might be trying to deny it, at another level you know that you are allowing yourself to be used? Indeed, your self esteem will take a nosedive because playing the role of doormat does that to people.
Does Leaving an Avoider Help Him to Commit?
Okay, let’s change things up a bit. What if when you sense he is losing interest but hasn’t quite brought himself to walk through that door, you leave first?
You’re right, this might work to get him back if he likes to play the approach-avoidance dance. But what good is this when, in reality, he is only going to walk away again when you start your forward advance?
True, sometimes you can win back a basically good guy who you’re walking away from because he can’t bring himself to make a commitment. This guy might think you are the greatest person on earth, but he fears marriage for one reason or another. Since you now are owning up to the fact this is what you want, not to date some person forever no matter how great a guy he is, you decide to leave. But you leave amicably. You don’t give ultimatums and such. You accept that despite so much good with him, he can’t give you something you very much want. This doesn’t make him an evil person, but just not someone right for you anymore.
Once you are gone, he might realize what he has lost. And because you did not give him an ultimatum but respected the person he was—flaws and all—he might get some help to overcome his fears and come back to you. And if you can accept him back graciously, understanding he is a changed man and should be honored for that and not belittled for his previous inability to make a commitment, you might go on to have a happy life together.
So yes, there are some good people out there who realize they had a good thing worth going after again. However, there are a lot of people who get back together for the wrong reasons. When they do so, they usually reenact their same old games or painful scenarios.
Some People Rarely Change No Matter How Much They Want You to Believe Otherwise
As a woman, you want to be very careful you don’t leave an abusive relationship, only to have him reappear perhaps with champagne in one hand and flowers in the other, trying to convince you he is a changed man and if you will come back, he will never abuse you again. Don’t believe him. After he gets you back, he is likely to become more controlling yet. After all, you got away. But he’s going to make sure that never happens again.
In case you are a man reading this article, there are women out there who like to play the approach-avoidance game, too. Yes, some women keep coming and going. She might keep moving back and forth between you and a former boyfriend or husband. If she has Borderline Personality Disorder, you might have found her very exciting sexually, for instance, and so you don’t want to give her up. Yet, the way she keeps going back and forth between you and this other man is driving you crazy.
Like an addiction, it would probably be in your best interest to give her up.
Could Self Development Help You Attract the Person of Your Dreams?
You want to be dancing through life in a partnership so strong and healthy that you’ll wonder why you ever wasted so much of your precious time on people who couldn’t possibly give you what you needed—or perhaps graciously receive what you offered. If you find you keep attracting people into the approach-avoidance dance when you profess you want something different, seek out a good therapist. Invest a little time and money into changing yourself and in time, you might truly find the person of your dreams who you won’t have to win back because that person would have had no emotional need to turn around and walk away in the first place.
Author Diane England, Ph.D. writes on his narcissism, addictions, and abuse and her codependency and need for recovery via self development and spiritual growth. You can find more articles on these topics at Dr. Diane England's website: www.NarcissismAddictionsAbuse.com.