A Day in the Life of an Anxious and Avoidant Couple

Jason Henry
5 min readMay 6, 2022
Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

As much as we’d like to believe it, love doesn’t conquer all. Despite a couple’s best efforts, if the two people are incompatible or have unconscious tendencies that pull them in different directions, their love for one another won’t be enough to rescue the relationship.

Mark and Mary are crazy about each other. That’s why getting together was a no-brainer. Their families and friends think they’re a great couple because they’re so alike. In fact, people say that if they don’t work out, then love doesn’t exist.

However, perception can be beguiling and misleading. The truth is that Mark and Mary aren’t totally secure with one another or their relationship.

Mark is afraid that Mary doesn’t really like him all that much. As a result, when Mary says something about another guy or excludes him in her plans, Mark gets defensive. He thinks he hides it but Mary can sense the shift in Mark. It also happens when Mary’s mood changes. To help him out, Mary has to constantly reassure him that their relationship is fine.

However, Mary’s priority isn’t really Mark. She is her priority, and while that is typically a good thing, she takes it too far because she thinks she is always first priority. Mary agreed to be with Mark because closeness is important to her, but she’s afraid of closeness because she thinks it will cause her to lose herself. Her independence matters more than closeness.

Perhaps you can see how each person’s behavior reinforces the other’s behavior.

Mark is afraid of losing connection so when the slightest issue bugs him, Mary feels that she was right all along in prioritizing her independence. She doesn’t have time to constantly placate Mark’s insecurities about her and the relationship.

If she’s such a bad girlfriend, he should just date someone else. This is who she was when they met and if he can’t accept that, that’s his problem. This then causes Mark to really be afraid of losing connection even more and his desperation increases, which reinforces Mary’s desire for distance even more.

On the other hand, Mary isn’t taking up the mantle of connection. Maybe superficially in terms of sex and their shared interests, but not in terms of getting to know…

Jason Henry

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”