A love style is essentially a set of inclinations and tendencies of how we associate and relate to our romantic partner.
The love style :
According to Milan and Kay, a majority of people fall into one of these five categories. Read on to find out which one you are.
The people who fall within this category grew up with parents who were either angry and critical or overly protective. The pleaser might also have grown up in families with distressed parents or very wild siblings.
Growing up, the pleaser is usually the “good kid.”
They do everything within their ability to be on their best behavior. Children are the ones who give comfort to their reactive parents, rather than receiving comfort from their parents. On the outside, pleasers may seem to be well put together. Like they have everything figured out. They are usually very nice, have a giving nature, and are very committed. This is what the spouses of pleasers get attracted to.
When they find themselves in a disagreement, they try to end the disagreement quickly by either making up for the disagreement or giving in. When they are bothered by something or angry with their spouse, they might resort to passive aggressiveness rather than directly addressing the situation. Sometimes, they might even lie about what they feel in order to avoid a confrontation.
Pleasers are very anxious about making other people upset. As they grow up, they learn to read the moods of others and behave in ways that ensure they can keep everyone happy. Pleasers have a hard time saying no and do not have any personal boundaries. As a result, they will often put the needs of others before their own.
The people who fall under this love style usually grew up in very chaotic homes, with one or both parents being very angry and violent. From a very young age, victims learn that the best way to survive is to be compliant and to stay under the radar. This is so that they don’t attract a lot of attention to themselves. They learn to hide and stay quiet whenever the violent parent is around. Why because they know the parent might get triggered by anything and take out his or her anger on them.
Very often, because of the trauma of growing with an angry and violent parent, children build an imaginary world inside their minds. This is so that they can escape to when the reality within the home becomes too unbearable. Due to the trauma of growing up in a chaotic environment, victims often have low self-esteem and do not have their own opinions. They may also struggle with anxiety and depression.
Even in times of relative calmness, victims might still feel uneasy because they expect something nasty to blow up any minute. Victims may dissociate from reality or fall into addiction as a way of dealing with problems in their lives. They might also display anger towards children.
The spouses of victims are initially attracted to them due to the victim’s compliance and non-resistance. However, much later in the relationship, the spouse might start seeing them as a kid and start despising them. This could be due to their weakness. Ironically, victims may end up in relationships with controllers who have the same behaviors the victim had to deal with when growing up.
People who exhibit the controller love style grew up where they did not have much attention or any sense of protection. These children learned that the only way to survive is to toughen up and learn how to take care of themselves. They learn not to be dependent on anyone from a very young age. Controllers feel the need to be in control at all times because this helps them keep away the feelings of fear, helplessness and humiliation. If you take away their sense of control, they are usually left feeling vulnerable.
Controllers have a strong tendency to display anger. To them, anger is a weapon that they use to intimidate others and ensure that they don’t lose their power. Controllers don’t have much empathy towards others, and will often demand compliance from others, even when the compliance may result in the other person getting hurt. Owing to their need to always feel in control, people who exhibit this love style usually have very rigid tendencies.
Controllers like dealing with problems on their own, but they are usually very wary about stepping out of their comfort zone since doing so leaves them feeling vulnerable. Controllers may find themselves struggling with various addictions.
The spouses of controllers are initially attracted to them because they like the controller’s decisiveness and their ability to take charge. Deeper into the relationship, however, the spouse might start feeling afraid or abused.
Kids who grow up to become vacillators are often brought up by very unpredictable parents. The parent gives the kid just enough attention to make them desire more, though more is never forthcoming. From a young age, these children learn that they are no-where near their parent’s priorities. Due to a lack of consistent attention, these children become highly sensitive to signs of connection and rejection. They also develop a deep fear of being abandoned. Due to lack of attention, vacillators feel alone and misunderstood.
When they get to adulthood, vacillators get on a quest to find the consistent love and connection that were deprived of during their childhood. The result is that they tend to idealize new relationships. When they get into a new relationship, they feel like they have found their soul mate. They dedicate lots of time and attention. They feel that they will finally get the love and attention that they so much crave. Unfortunately, it is impossible for their partner to live to the idealized image. So the vacillator becomes disappointed and starts blaming the partner because they feel the partner is not loving them as they should.
Even in adulthood, vacillators feel misunderstood and go through stress and internal conflict within their relationships. Due to their high sensitivity to signs of connection and rejection, they will spot even the slightest change in their partners. During the initial stages of a relationship, the spouse of a vacillator is attracted by the fact that there is a lot of passion.
With time, however, the spouse starts feeling like they are not enough. Regardless of what the spouse does, it doesn’t feel enough. This forces the spouse to act like they are walking on eggshells because they are fearful of the vacillator’s mood shifts.
People who exhibit this love style grew up where affection and expression of feelings were either minimized or discouraged. They grew up in performance-based homes where independence and self-reliance were the only values encouraged. Since they do not receive much affection and comfort, children learn that the only way to avoid feeling anxious about lack of affection is to learn to restrict feelings and avoid coming across as needy.
Avoiders learn to take care of themselves from a young age. They also learn to approach situations based on logic and detachment rather than emotion. They tend to feel uncomfortable dealing with the emotional ups and downs of people. Also, they love being given their space. Having grown in homes devoid of affection, avoiders are not very good at expressing love verbally. Instead, they might prefer expressing through non-verbal ways such as quality attention, giving of gifts and physical touch.
Sometimes, even physical touch might be a problem. For instance, some avoiders might only be comfortable with physical touch during sex. They will avoid other forms of physical affection like, hugging, cuddling or holding hands. Avoiders might also prefer superficial conversations over deeper conversations meant to create a connection and can also be dismissive. Additionally, many avoiders have very low empathy.
Avoiders are usually focused on performance and solutions. Many of them become workaholics. They might spend all their time on work or hobbies, to the extent that their partner feels ignored. During the early stages of a relationship, the spouse of an avoider is attracted by the sense of stability, responsibility, and predictability in the avoider’s life. With time, the spouse might feel they are not needed, and that they are left out in decision-making. The spouse can also feel like the avoider is indifferent or emotionally detached.
What is the right love style?
Regardless of the kind of love style you currently exhibit, what you should aspire to be is a secure connector. A secure connector is a person who is comfortable with giving and receiving love.
Secure connectors recognize both their strengths and weaknesses and those of others. They can interact with their romantic partners without idealizing or devaluing. They also have no problem communicating their feelings and needs. Secure connectors are good at resolving conflicts and are comfortable with setting and maintaining personal boundaries. Because of these characteristics, secure connectors build the healthiest and most stable relationships.
Knowing our lifestyle and that of our lovers’ is crucial since it helps us to understand some of our tendencies and inclinations. Or those of our lovers’ that might be affecting our relationship.