A correspondent asked the question. What I have learned over the course of 14 years in recovery from complex post-traumatic stress disorder may answer it... or, maybe not. You can decide for yourself.
I just went through a get-close-then-run-away, push-pull, seduce-and-distance relationship like this a year to three years ago. I come from a relentlessly abusive family of origin. So did my SO. Parts of my psyche are "therapized" and out of the box that experience built; others are not. Parts of my SO's psyche are therapized and out of the box; others are not. We trust (as per Erik Erikson; see below) when we do; we don't when we don't. We both know that, but merely knowing it is insufficient to overcome it (right now, anyway).
Depending upon whatever ever parts (or, as trauma specialist Bessel van der Kolk calls them, "states") we were in at any given time, we were variously (as Pia Mellody calls it) "love addicted" or "love avoidant," and (as Barry & Janae Weinhold call it) "co- vs. counter-dependent.".
Coming to an understanding of all this in at least some of our other, more edified compartments, we came to see that we were (as John Bowlby called it) "ambivalently attached", flipping back and forth in the polarity described above, and unlikely to be able to be all that comfortable committing to some "scary" long-term arrangement and/or living together. We'd already bought rings. She took hers off first. Smart girl.
If the concepts linked above are not enough to explain what going on, one may be able to get the complete picture looking into the links below.
Is Intimacy Hopeless in the Age of the Self-Obsessed Trance?
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