Personal Attachment

I have just come to parts of the Heller and Levine (2010) book that are resonating with me and also are guiding me to my own attachment work that I need to do.

I just read

“[A]n entire mosaic of factors comes together to create this attachment pattern: our early connections with our parents, our genes and also something else–our romantic experiences as adults” (p. 140).”

  • I had a loving, supportive, and completely attentive mother
  • I have always been able to talk to people openly and that has grown even more since I’ve come out (2007)
  • I have been independent and pragmatic my whole life
  • I have had few intimate partners for my age: 9 total; and I can list what I learned in those relationships

The authors also give some advice that I’ve followed as the secure base in the partnership: availability, lack of interference and encouragement. I will make sure that with liaisons and also partnerships that I have concurrently that I focus on my leading with these factors.

Like other authors who I’ve enjoyed, there are vignettes in this book and one sounds just like my ex-wife. This character, Shelley, throws tantrums, threatens to leave, and has online affairs. The latter weren’t affairs, but rather being glued to her phone all the time and joining and leaving support groups or being consumed by fighting with colleagues and chained to her emails. Shelley threatens to leave all the time and doesn’t finally leave until she’s “met someone else” and leaves the marriage (Heller & Levine, 2010). Nathan can’t understand why he put up with this treatment for so long, but the authors offer explanation:

“Secure people are likely to offer relatively benign explanations of their partners’ hurtful actions and be inclined to forgive their partner”

from Mikulincer and Shaver via Heller & Levine, 2010, p. 147

That’s what I did when she would be volatile. She’d move in with her sister. She’d look at apartments. She’d live with her Mom for a couple months. Finally, she bought a condo and showered there and spent increasing hours there; sleeping at our house a couple nights a week until she got a tenant. After she got a tenant, she was here, but not really here. She’d space out when I talked for more than one sentence and then snap back and say, “Sorry, what were you saying?”

I simply don’t look back now. I’m so glad that she’s gone and in two short months, I’ve not seen or spoken to her for a year. My attachment work is making sure that I am still a consistent base for my partners and also liaisons, and that I don’t continue a date or be in a partnership in which I can’t express myself honestly.


I have been with avoidant attached folks. I have some anxious features, but wouldn’t say that is my style. I feel secure. I wonder if because of my relationship experiences, I’ve gotten more anxious. There is a super long post here called “Becoming Me,” which illustrates the entirety of my coming-out affair. (I’d been with two girls who were bi-flex prior: high school and college.) However, what I have been drawn to are avoidant women and my ex-husband too, honestly. I think that I’ve liked the intense attraction to me. Great information for me too, because attraction is great, but it leads to things that are weird like saying that she has to move out, or eluding to plans that never get made. I can detach from that stuff, and won’t take it on. I know what I want and where I’m going.

I dreamt that my ex-wife was here for a visit and she opened up the back windows after I took a shower so I asked her if she liked having a cold room after she showered and she said yes. I took off my robe and she laid on the bed so I laid on her. Again, I was attracted to her for years and first just from a picture. I know that I had this dream because I was telling the climber on our solo commute home that I was so glad that my son talked to his stepmom. She apparently is fighting with her Mom. Her stuff really stemmed from that original relationship, and I don’t think that either of them have the tools to talk through their avoidant attachment which is their foundation. My ex-wife really resents her mother and was telling my son that she wants to move out. I was neutral with him. His father is so irritable all the time and my son complains all the time about him, so I’m 1) glad that the chapter closes on May 20th and there isn’t a single reason for me to ever have to speak to his Dad, and 2) I can just be happy that he will be in touch with his stepmom and still have conversations with her. I think that’s healthy.

There are so many things that I need to learn about being poly. I think what is sticking out to me 57 pages into the Sheff (2014) book is that honesty and communication is key. I’m super direct, being an 8, and always try to work on being kind. The latter won’t be at my expense though. If a woman starts doing weird stuff, I’m just going to stay neutral. I don’t chase. I also don’t say things that I don’t mean. I don’t want to be in love with an avoidant woman. I think that you do have some control over falling in love. I would go on dates with avoidant women–they’re fun–but I don’t want a partnership with them.

Speaking of which, the photographer is really good at what she does. The walkthrough went well, and I ran into one of my neighbors who I think that I have known for over 30-years. I hugged him, and we caught up. He’s in between jobs. His shop that he worked for closed 6-months ago so he’s hustling and doing contracting. That sealed it for me. I want him to do all the work that the photographer recommended should be done so that the house looks good. I’ll just need to get a loan that I pay back at the end of summer. I did just what I said I would do: I treated her like a professional and thanked her several times. She texted that she is honored to help me through this process and thanked me for trusting her. I made sure to give her wide berths, had good social skills that were only professional, and didn’t come near her.

Yesterday was pretty weird. Not sucky, but weird. The meeting that we had at the end of the day was long and useless. The nice guy started the day crying because he is actively fighting with his girlfriend. I think that he is anxious attached and she is avoidant attached. I asked him, “Do you want to continue this back and forth? Do you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster?” He said that he didn’t know. I’m giving him the Levine and Heller book (2010) when I finish it. I beelined out of the building with the climber because the nice guy had a performance that he was in after we were done with work and was already gone. I felt imprisoned in the meeting and was watching, as I am sure everyone was, the climber fall asleep. She fell asleep a few times in the car too and was generally kind but a little disconnected. Again, I think she sleeps 3-4 hours many nights and then rolls into work. I’m not even sure that she’s aware that several times she was completely out cold and jerked her head up during the meeting.

Because I ran out, I’d left my cell next to my laptop. I had to drive all the way back to work. I can’t even fathom how many hours I was in the car. I’m lucky that I even got in. We are co-located with another program right now, so my fob reader didn’t work on the interior door. I found a guy who works in the other program sitting in his car while it was running and got him to let me in. I walked my dogs way past 6, couldn’t find parking at my friend’s Master’s of Fine Arts exhibition so I missed her photos and was so sad. I sent her a picture of me in front of the university art center and if she scrolled in, she’d see herself inside in the background of the picture. (I may bike up there this afternoon.) I went to the bar and ate sushi next door, which was beautiful but very mid. They had live music at the bar, so I paid the cover and the music was awful. (My son and I could do better.) I played one of the guitars for a little bit in the basement, and noted that I’ll do that again. Drank one beer and came home and read my two books. Again, not sucky, but full moon weird–gorgeous moon though.

I’m taking my son to work and going to hit the elliptical, grab groceries and get an adjustment. I don’t want to get in my car again after that. Yesterday was barfy like that, and I’ve already texted the fun girl who’s a BFF of the cardiologist and the other woman about not going dancing tonight. No more commutes in the car until I have to drive on Monday. I would like to also finish both books this weekend.

Image by Mollyroselee from Pixabay

Easy Day

I only took one class yesterday and then biked from there to my main site. I saw two colleagues. One is a mother of a junior and I believe an 8th grader. Her older son played sports with mine for years. She said that they had a couple of classes together and I told her that he dropped out and then three months later re-enrolled in another school wherein he can be done with school in 9-weeks. She was surprised, but happy for me because I haven’t had good news about him for years really. I also saw the woman who helped him learn Spanish and she was so happy and positive. The lady that led the class on meditation and breathing with clients couldn’t get her Mac to mirror so I asked her to turn it off and on again and she’d never done that before. We got the technology working.

I was a little late leaving the class and was fiddling with my bag to bike from this site to my main site and I heard my name. It was the climber! I ran up the sidewalk and we embraced close and tight. Then we caught up a little bit. I thanked her again for talking to me about systems of attachment. As I’d written I knew only about Ainsworth’s work and it’s impact on adolescence. I told her about lunch with my friend who recommended “Attached,” and that I’d bring the article to her that I had printed by Fraley (2019). She complimented my hair and asked about it and I told her that I redid highlights and also my undercut. She was smiling and we were holding hands. It’s so funny–we just touch and find each other when we talk, and were rather brazenly holding hands and such in front of a meeting space for work. I asked her if she was free any nights this week and asked her to text me. I asked her if she’d shave mountains into my undercut. I’m not going to bug her about it, but I will ask her about it soon–maybe Friday. I no longer live with a barber. Like I have said, chemistry is a real thing. Hopefully, I’ll see her this week, and if not, I’ll call her soon or make plans on the 10th.

Speaking of barbers… My son had a wonderful conversation with his stepmom. I am so happy and he is over the moon. He said that a weight is lifted and that he didn’t care about what she and I went through as it had nothing to do with him. I told him that he was absolutely right. He is going to fly down there to see her and I think that is a great idea. I really think that he will graduate in May. I’m so glad to be here with him.

My Boss has a sister who I wrote a little bit about. One of her sisters is so hot. She’s a straight sister though. The other sister is the poly-artist, and I’ll get a name for her soon. I couldn’t meet her at her party because I left early to sing with a colleague. The nice guy from work said that he would go singing with my Boss and her poly sister soon. We’re going to go to the venue that I’ve only been to twice because if you go early, you can sing many, many times and I honestly am getting a lot better.

I have guitar class tonight and all the girls are straight, but I have to switch venues soon. I teach one night next fall and it conflicts with the venue that I go to–so we’ll see who takes the class another night. I bowl on Wednesday and do a walkthrough of the house with the photographer on Thursday. It won’t be weird to see her because I can really be professional with people. And she said that she wanted a friendship with me, but she doesn’t make plans with me, so I think that she’s simply my realtor who I know through my best friend.

I don’t have clients on Friday either. I commute only with the nice guy and the climber on Friday. My son only needs a ride three days and his Dad is driving him. This week ought to be pretty easy for me and I think that I’ll lay low socially and do some hiking on Sunday as the weather is going to be in the mid-70s. I’ll get my mail shredded too and my taxes paid with my credit card. I will probably have 5k in debt before I sell the house and some of it is because of paying my ex-wife, but without her support and help, I’d have no doctorate!


The last time that I saw the climber was March 13th and we kissed a whole bunch in my car after I asked for a hug. That weekend I read Fraley (2019) for an updated view of attachment. The article was very good, so I printed it for her, but she wasn’t at work on the 20th having had car trouble weekend climbing so I’ve not given it to her and am re-reading it in the printed form. I’ll give it to her next Friday.

What’s sticking out to me now, upon reading the article another time, is that primary attachment isn’t likely an adult thing. That makes a ton of sense to me too, as when toddlers who were characterized as avoidant or anxiously attached would have disruptions as adolescents given that they didn’t have a safe space at home when they were going through tumult. I agree. Several hours before my Mom died I told her again what a good Mom she was and that I wouldn’t be who I was without her parenting. Had my Dad been responsible for me solely, I’d be on drugs, a drunk or dead. My Mom would stay up late until I got home from work, she would keep dinner on “Keep Warm” in the oven when I got home in the dark at 7:30 after a difficult swim practice and sit there while I ate it talking to me about school and practice. I was attached to my Mom in a secure way. But, she didn’t stay my primary figure.

My friends are really important to me, and I’m attached to them as a source of support. I have four best friends. A guy from middle school, a woman who I used to work for in TX, my best friend from my first round of grad school, and my best friend here whom I see in person usually monthly are people who I can only see or talk to occasionally, but feel connected to anytime that we’re together. I can always eat and laugh with my best friend. We have a love of music. She will Pollyanna things though and also has a bit of the “silver-lining” it. I don’t give her full details of my plights, and rather just tell her where I am once I get there.

My best friend from grad school was the one who knew that I was going through problems with my ex-wife in the greatest detail. My ex-wife would get overwhelmed with the way that I argue and the general fire that my son spews and would move out all the time. Oddly, she wanted to live partially here and partially in AZ ongoing. When she met a man on the Internet and had him in the house while I was in ME and asked my son about it when he was going to his Dad’s and I couldn’t talk to her about how inappropriate that was–you can’t date at a park or coffee shop?–I said that we didn’t need to talk anymore. She saw nothing wrong about asking a kid about it and dating in our house while we were living together. I’m just paying her off right now. I’ll be completely done in either August or September. I told my best friend from grad school the whole story. She listened and said, “Wow” a lot. That’s all that I needed. I’m going to go see her in Germany in November. All this information to say that I don’t have a primary attachment figure and have several. Fraley (2019) summarizes research about adult attachment networks.

I have networks and am most interested now in consensual nonmonogamy, which is what the same article has detailed in the last section (Fraley, 2019). I want to treat lovers as I have friendships. I have so many friends. Because I moved 13 times before I turned 13 too I am adept at making new friends. I have also worked on being open. It was easier for me after I came out at 33. I can talk openly with anyone who I trust and am a good judge of character. The latter is probably an occupational hazard as I can read body language and also tone of voice better than most. I can easily tell who I should tell personal bits of information and who I should not. I don’t like to do what society tells me. I also believe that I can be completely in love with 2-3 women. Fraley (2019) that personal motivational factors can affect attachment. I am motivated to meet lots of women and also spend time with the climber when she wants to hang out with me. Stay tuned.

Fill Line


I have weight machines today, but first have to drink coffee and walk my dogs. I also need to pop over to the crunch and go chiropractor because my left hip is really janky and throwing me off.

I am over the social limit. I had fun at guitar, but two teachers were talking to me during instruction, so I’ve had to practice more at home because I didn’t learn the song as well as I usually do. Bowling was fun. I was super mid averaging 115. Then Thursday we had our neighbors over for dinner and wine until 9. Friday I went to my best friend’s house and had to meet two new women. I sang like crazy, and didn’t play much. My best friend is a professional musician, so I get really shy when it’s her and others around. I could play just for her! I did sing a lot and sounded good. Yesterday two previous colleagues and I got together for Korean BBQ and Cass. I don’t even like lagers, but it was so cool and crisp–yum! Then I had a two-hour pit stop at home and my son learned the bass line for “Jumper” and brought his tiny amp that my ex sister-in-law had bought him for Christmas upstairs. It’s really fun to play. I want to sing it a little differently, so I need to memorize it. Then we went to the cowboy bar with two different previous colleagues and my current colleague who almost died and our workmate. The latter two and I do the same job. I really need to learn to dance. I have no confidence anymore. I was wishing that Derrick was there. He would be patient with me, and he smells good, and is tall and gentle. I hit a wall at 11:30 and insisted that my colleague didn’t Uber and took her home. I had two big beers at 2-hour dinner, so I didn’t drink at the cowboy bar. I had a dissociative state and slept until nearly 9. I am over the fill line for being social.

This week is just as social. I have weights today, cardio with my son tomorrow, guitar class, bowling and then bowling with much of our whole staff from my main site. I’m so glad that I have Friday off of work! The weekend is cold, so I’m going to solo hike with the dogs on Friday when my son leaves for school. My goal is to practice guitar everyday and hike on the days that it isn’t snowing starting the 27th. I climb on Saturday the 25th.

I’m going to ask the climber out tomorrow afternoon. I was wanting to go to the Japanese gardens and eat, but the restaurant has permanently closed. COVID has really changed our landscape in the city. I am going to see if she’ll go north and west of town to sushi and then we can walk the neighborhood to some parks. I know that she wants to climb again soon too, and only the middle joint of my pinky is still swollen. I would like to have dinner with her on April 6th.

She introduced me to a term that I didn’t know on our ride home solo last week. It’s a phrase called, “attachment system.” I certainly knew about Ainsworth’s work with the strange situation and parent-child attachment and possible impacts on adolescent development, but thinking about anything related to one’s schema of attachment in relationships later was new to me. I printed the article that I read, and will give her the copy tomorrow. I learned about consensual non-monogamy in it in addition to attachment systems that she explained a bit. I hope that she likes the article and talks to me about her insights. Maybe over dinner in a month or so!