Seductive Withholders

Posted by on Feb 23, 2012

Seductive WithholdersTheir On-and-Off Patterns of Coming Close and  Backing Away

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Like Romance Addicts, Seductive Withholders are a form of Ambivalent Love Addict. Susan Peabody was the first to create the term “Ambivalent Love Addiction”–see her book Addiction to Unrequited Love: Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships.

Ambivalent Love Addicts tend to crave intimacy and closeness with a partner, but fear it at the same time. They tend to keep relationships at a superficial level through various means. This protects them from having to develop a closer and more intimate relationship.

According to Susan, the different types of Ambivalent Love Addicts include:

  • Torchbearers – those who are attracted to unrequited love relationships
  • Saboteurs – those who sabotage relationships at the point they get serious and who don’t look back
  • Romance Addicts – those who are addicted to multiple partners; bonding with each one, but at the same time avoiding a deep involvement and commitment
  • Seductive withholders – those who repeat a pattern of being available and then unavailable, or offering sex and then withholding sex.

When it comes to the Seductive Withholder, this type of love interest is similar to the Saboteur, except they don’t completely walk away from the relationships they sabotage. A Saboteur will usually not look back once they have sabotaged a relationship. However, if such a person does look back, and if they re-initiate this pattern over and over with the same partner, they then become a “Seductive Withholder.”

Seductive Withholders may also have Torchbearer tendencies as well, in the sense that they may attempt to re-initiate relationships they sabotage due to a subconscious desire to see if their love is still requited. However, if after a reconnection the relationship grows to become deeper and more intimate, the Seductive Withholder will again feel tempted to break the connection. The reason could be distinctive for different types of Seductive Withholders. For some, it could be because a high has worn off (i.e. the thrill of the chase) and boredom has set in. For others, the cause may be an overwhelming fear of intimacy or of rejection. Whatever the case, a pattern is set up; one which keeps the relationship hot and cold, or on and off.  Seductive Withholders will often continue this on-and-off process for as long as their love interest(s) is able to endure it.

Thus, Seductive Withholders could be defined as those whose love style is to swing back and forth between withholding sex, companionship, commitment and affection, and then offering them again when it feels safe or convenient.

According to Susan Peabody, there are two main kinds of Seductive Withholders. The first type’s behavior is narcissistic-based. The second type’s behavior is fear-based.

For the narcissistic Seductive Withholder, seducing someone over and over again after abandoning/provoking a break-up becomes a kind of game. According to Susan Peabody, through seducing and then withholding, the narcissistic Seductive Withholders can get a “high” off of playing with a partner’s feelings. They do not always fully break up with a love interest, but can begin to withdraw, not return phone calls, withhold sex or become more distant or unfaithful (which sometimes provokes their partner to initiate a break). They seem to lack empathy toward the hurt they cause. Then, when some time has passed, they reinitiate contact if their partner hasn’t attempted to reinitiate on their own. From speaking with clients I have given love readings, I have observed that this type of love addict will often reinitiate contact in a way in which they act like nothing happened. This can be very confusing to their partner. The behavior is often left unaddressed because although the partner feels hurt or confused, they may be happy to be pursued again and do not wish to rock the boat.

How can one recognize a narcissistic Seductive Withholder?

The narcissistic Seductive Withholder presents with a sense of entitlement, a pattern toward being manipulative in order to get what he/she wants, a lack of empathy towards others, a resistance to changing their ways, inability to apologize, or a pattern of projecting all the problems of the relationship onto their partner. You can often recognize these types of love addicts because they may have a collection of ex-partners or flirtations around them who they want to keep in their circle. They often have no difficulty with dishonesty or with accusing a partner of being crazy or unstable for suspecting them of infidelity, even when they are in fact guilty of it. Relationships usually revolve around their needs rather than what is best for their partner.

In contrast to this, the fear-based Seductive Withholder assumes that getting too close to a love interest means potentially getting hurt.

If they leave fearing being hurt, why do they return?

For some, a pattern of returning to the relationship after pulling away stems from a fear of rejection and abandonment. Some will fear that if their partner doesn’t chase them back or moves on quickly, it means they were never cared about. Some reject their partner, after all, fearing to be rejected themselves. So, if they are used to the partner coming back, it can be painful for them to think this will not happen (which this fear addicts them to needing the partner to want them back). I’ve had many clients call me in fear saying; “I’m scared. I don’t think he/she will take me back this time.” They begin to fear that this means they were the one who was rejected, even though they initiated the break up.

For others, returning to seducer mode after withdrawing can stem from a pervasive feeling of loneliness (whether in or out of the relationship). For the lonely type, they may feel lonely and unhappy within the relationship. They begin to obsess on this and on how unhappy they feel; sometimes projecting that their partner must feel the same. They, then, can then feel the overwhelming urge to leave the relationship. Yet, after backing away from such a relationship, they may still find they feel lonely, wanting what little they had back (also see under “Other Subtypes of Seductive Withholders” for other patterns such as Testers, Fixers-Uppers, and Renewers)

Is there hope for the fear-based Seductive Withholder?

Yes! Unlike the narcissistic Seductive Withholders, the fear-based type genuinely cares for and is attracted to the person(s) they seduce and then abandon. Also, because their behavior is fear-based rather than narcissistic, these types can often respond better to therapy. According to Susan Peabody, part of their healing involves learning to attract a partner who is the right type for them; usually a person who is independent and self-sufficient, but also patient. They, then, have to learn to stick with the relationship even when their fear comes up.

I also find that some of these types of Seductive Withholders are highly sensitive and empathic. They tend to feel so much that when a relationship becomes more settled, they become acutely aware that their partner is less obsessed with them. Feeling this lack of passion in their partner can make them assume all sorts of things; such as their partner doesn’t care, is unhappy or about to break up with them.  They, then, begin to panic. Breaking up can sometimes be a way to bring the passion back or to test if their partner still has feelings.

While making up brings the intense feelings back, as soon as things become settled again, they may fear it means the love is dying. Thus, their fear of rejection gets triggered again. They need, in such situations, to understand that there are phases in a relationship, and that just because an infatuation phase wears off, this doesn’t mean they will be abandoned or are not loved anymore. The most dangerous types of partners for the fear-based Seductive Withholder are narcissistic Seductive Withholders, Romance Addicts or individuals who are too emotionally distant. Their doubts and intuitions in such relationships can get the best of them and sometimes are founded.

Other Types or Sub-types of Seductive Withholders

These types of seductive withholders can stand on their own or be part of the two main types listed above. They are people who leave relationships when unhappy and then return to seduce their love interest back. Various types can overlap, as well. Even narcissists and players can be fear-based at times or may have fear at the root of their behavior or narcissism.

The Tester

The tester likes to test their partner a lot and may have difficulty trusting in the relationship or commitment. This is generally a part of the fear-based type but their intention may be less geared toward abandoning a relationship in an on-and-off manner so much as to back away to see what their partner will do or if their partner will get upset, chase them, or show they care.  Some testers may have grown up with a lot of abuse or have been deceived in the past. They can feel ambivalent about getting close to someone or hope that who they are with will prove themselves in some way. They do better if with a partner who can understand them and take them back each time offering them reassurance and patience.  If they are with someone who is abusive, it can increase the behavior and validate that relationships aren’t to be trusted. Some may even deliberately attempt to provoke a partner to beak up with them or to get angry. This often occurs if they grew up in chaotic households where there was a lot of drama. Negative emotions and anger can mistakenly be associated with love while peace and calm feel more like indifference.

The Renewer

The renewer  can be either a narcissistic seductive withholder or a fear-based one (or a combo of both). The narcissist renewer tends to drop or back away from a relationship when the passion, intensity, or “high” with a love interest begins to wane.  These are usually the players you meet on dating sites, the sex addicts, or other men and women who are in it to for the high they can get out of it. The early bloom of a relationship can generate a biochemical high. But to mistake this for love would be to not understand the true motives of someone who is playing with someones emotions and heart to achieve that kind of high (which is more intense if they can make the woman feel adored, put on a pedestal, possessed, etc).  The narcissistic renewer (aka an on-and-off player) often consciously knowa that if they leave and come back to a relationship later, they can get a new high off the reconnection. They can also avoid a real relationships and keep a lot of their freedom.

You can recognize the player-narcissistic renewer type from their cocky personas. They like women chasing them util they don’t, and they aren’t afraid to tell you that they know you are into them. It is sometimes part of what makes them so sexy and seductive. But be cautious because they can have a harem of women around them which they have on rotation. If it isn’t a harem they just aren’t looking for anything too heavy and just want to whip up your emotions now and then before withdrawing and doing their own thing for a while (afraid of feeling smothered).  It is easy to mistake their boldness for genuine interest but the reason they are so bold is because they can afford to be.  After all, if the person they are toying with rejects them, it doesn’t really hurt them because they have other girls in rotation or were only in it for a high.

Overall, narcissistic renewers are deliberately trying to avoid intimacy to remain in the fantasy stage of a relationship. Because they can only maintain a facade for so long, the love interest they are playing with is likely to get frustrated and start expressing hurt or concern. This is when they tend to bail. They aren’t interested in conflict and just want to enjoy the good times. They usually reappear when they think their love interest is over their frustration or concerns enough to be allowed to be swept up again in a high.  In such instances, the past is forgotten about and the good times are back until the high drops or the other party begins to demand more.

The fear-based renewer is more codependent, afraid of rejection, and/or used to drama. They associate moving past the honeymoon phase of a relationship as a sign that things are becoming boring for their love interest, less dramatic, etc. They confuse high-intensity and high-drama with love. So, when a relationship moves into a more settled phased, they can start to panic, feeling that things will become dull or that their partner will get to know them at a deeper level and feel bored or unhappy. They can therefore break from the relationship, hoping it will drive up passion, drama, and intensity through eliciting a reaction from their love interest, who they hope is missing them, anxious about being dropped, etc. Their may sometimes be the desire to break up “first” feeling an impending doom that their love interest is getting bored or won’t like them if they get to know them better.  They then can return to the relationship (either being chased by their love interest or re-pursuing if not chased) and enjoy the rekindled energy which starts from square one again, until things get settled again and the feelings of gloom and need to break up before being broken up with resume.

The Fixer-Upper

You will recognize the Fixer-Upper through their pattern of withdrawing from their partner out of a need to fix or punish them. When it does not work, they return back to seducer mode. They often begin a dance with a love object in which there is an initial infatuation followed by a love-hate relationship. They often pick partners who they feel slightly superior to because they deep-down fear being with someone who will make them feel inferior.  If they are attracted to the martyr or victim role with the superiority, they usually will attract an abuser who they can feel superior to. This isn’t conscious and doesn’t make them bad or wrong. We all tend to have dynamics we suffer from and “types” that makes us feel safer or offer us more of a challenge. The fixer-upper is usually attracted to a “safe” relationship. In the fixer-uppers mind, this is a relationship with someone somewhat inferior to them who they can improve through working on. This is as opposed to attracting someone who is already improved and thus creates more of a risk that the fixer-upper may not be the good enough party (or even the one that will be fixed!!!). Fixer uppers tend to feel more comfortable focusing on fixing others flaws and are likely to avoid relationships where others attempt to fix them.

There are two forms of Fixer-Uppers: those who are not being abused and those who are. There are fixer-uppers who aren’t seductive withholders, but for this article we will only discuss the ones that are.

The fixer-upper who isn’t abused, usually acts hot and cold due to exasperation with trying to change their partner. Having accepted a lower model than what they feel they deserved, they want to change their partner to meet their standards (in beauty, intelligence, work ethics, integrity, etc.). If there partner isn’t listening to them or going along with the program, they tend to use the “if you love/miss/want me enough you will change” type of tactic to get the job done.  If the changes don’t happen, the frustration level increases and the threat may be to leave the relationship if change doesn’t happen. And here, I’m not talking about normal issues all relationships have where compromises are involved. With the fixer-upper, this is a pattern with them and they have deliberately chosen someone they deem as inferior to them as a partner for a psychological purpose (with threatening to leave the relationship being used as a manipulation tactic).

Fixer-uppers can feel very frustrated if they have been expecting change but it doesn’t happen, or if the partner does not do what they want. Thus, such Seductive Withholders may withhold sex or initiate a break up as a means to punish or manipulate their partners; usually out of frustration and unhappiness. When the frustration passes, they are back to wanting affection and/or a relationship again. This pattern might repeat whenever the fixer-upper feels frustrated or unhappy. They would do best to focus on either accepting their partner as they are or deciding to leave and find someone who they don’t have to fix. However doing so triggers fear of attracting someone on their level or ven superior who could potentially find them not good enough, and the pain of that would be intolerable. Unfortunately, heir tactics rarely get them what they want and do not resolve the inner sense of unhappiness they feel with their partner and relationship—whether their partner ends up making changes or not. Even if they did get what they want, it might create insecurity as the power dynamic in the relationship would change. Sometimes you will see real break ups at this point as the fixer-upper succeeded in their fix-up attempts and needs to attract a new love interest to start the process over (to maintain superiority in the relationship). They don’t really want to respect their love interests but want to be respected by them. Trouble is, that often times their behavior results in a love-hate situation where both parties love and hate one another. After all, no one likes to be constantly fixed and sometimes the fixer-upper is seen as too nit-picky, complaining, or even unbalanced.

The second form of fixer-upper is the abused fixer-upper.  The Abused Fixer-Upper–attempts to fix more serious issues in their partner out of a faulty belief that if their partner truly loves them enough, then certain abusive patterns in their partner will change.  Such patterns may include:

  • physical or emotional abuse
  • infidelity
  • perversion (i.e. sexual abuse, etc.)
  • sex addiction
  • alcoholism or other serious addictions
  • narcissistic seductive withholder tendencies

Despite knowing the relationship is abusive, the abused Fixer-Upper believes it can be fixed through love one moment and hate the next. You can tell these individuals hate their partners because they talk down about them a lot or about how they feel abused and how their partner “should” change. Not all abused women are fixer-uppers. The ones that are feel a sense of injustice about it and that their partner is “bad.” They also feel that if they can fix them then everything will be okay. Non-fixer-uppers who are abused may simply be codependents who remain silent about the abuse and more embarrassed about their situation. They may suffer low self esteem and attract abusive partners feeling they don’t deserve better treatment. Fixer uppers, however, tend to appear less embarrassed and are fully aware that they deserve better. They blame their partners for any embarrassment they feel and aren’t afraid if others know about their situation because it gives them validation if others see their partners as  the “bad guy.”

When in the hate phase, the abused Fixer-Upper believes that through withholding love and commitment it will punish their abuser or make him/her change his/her abusive or unfaithful ways. The hope, of course, is that their partner will take it as an ultimatum and offer to change, i.e., to be more honest, loving, faithful, and less abusive.  In some situations the abuser might come back and apologize and then the cycle starts again after a little honeymoon of reconnection. If it doesn’t fix things and the fixer-upper fears the hate phase may have hurt their partner or drove them away, then the fixer-upper themselves has to use their own love and seduction techniques to seduce their love object to return to the relationship. If the abuser doesn’t come around quickly to correct things or make amends, this can be very traumatic for this type of fixer-upper. It can cause them to experience a bout of low self-esteem if the person they are superior to suddenly finds them inferior and doesn’t want them back. Now in the inferior position, they may go back to the relationship determined to be less picky until things settle and the abuser is back to their ways and the fixer upper is feeling superior and a sense of injustice again.  This can be very confusing for this kind of fixer-upper and it puts them in the position to be further abused or even labelled crazy or other things by the abuser for always leaving the relationship (and sometimes lashing out at their abuser as they do it).

These individuals are not the same as those who leave relationships out of fear and feel seduced back by their partner due to vulnerability. Instead, abused fixer-upers tend to harbor a lot of feelings of injustice or anger over feeling used, abused, deceived, cheated on, etc. and may feel a real intention of leaving in the moment, but in their heart their real hope is an idealistic one: that their partner will change for them and validate that they were loved and appreciated. In many of the situations I have read, some abused Fixer-Uppers can become verbally abusive themselves when in the hate phase. They can also, afterward, feel regrets and shame over their behavior when in the seducer phase. They don’t really want their partner to leave them even though they can feel superior. In fact, feeling superior is usually why they won’t leave, because to find a more equal relationship is too threatening for them to even imagine.

Complicating matters further, because these Fixer-Uppers have been abused, they may develop patterns of denial, idealization or other coping mechanisms to cope with the pain of why they remain in such a relationship. They are superior however, and should know better. They can also have symptoms of the fear-based Seductive Withholder if they have strong fears of rejection accompanying their strong feelings of anger.

As I stated earlier, sometimes the problem happens that if they end up trying to seduce their partner back, this lets their partner (usually a narcissist who won’t admit they are abusive) off the hook. Ironically, the tables can turn, and the abusive partner denies being abusive, unfaithful, or etc and accuses the fixer upper that whatever is being perceived as abuse is imagined or “all in the head” (this pattern of denying abuse is called “crazy making”). This can create a lot of confusion for the abused Fixer-Upper who doesn’t know what to trust from one moment to the next. Their off-and-on behavior may be marked by their tendencies to waver between idealization, denial and fantasy versus seeing the reality of their situation. This can create black and white thinking and shifting moods and behaviors.  They have an inner need to know the “truth” and for their partner to confess it or apologize. This need keeps them tied to the relationship rather than their letting go of it. The longer these individuals remain in these relationships, the more damage can occur to their psyche. It then becomes a matter of personal pride of “If I was truly lovable or if he/she truly loved me they would not….” The fixer-upper in this situation would do better to understand that their partner’s issues don’t stem from anything they have done or from their being unlovable. This is easier said, however, than integrated, since the fixer upper believes full-heartedly that the key to knowing they are lovable is if someone beneath them will change for them.

Whatever the case may be, as soon as this type of Seductive Withholder breaks with their love interest (not able to tolerate the relationship and wanting change), they may afterwards become terrified of losing their love object, or that this person may move on and forget about them. After all, part of the unconscious motivation toward leaving is the hope that it would incite some sort of reaction (a gesture of love, validation, caring, a promise to change, an offer to be faithful or more honest, etc.). When such a reaction does not occur, this Seductive Withholder may feel intense fear that they have been taken for granted or were never loved. They then want back into the love objects good graces again to test whether they are still loved and accepted.

All in all, on some level, the Fixer-Upper Seductive Withholder (of either type) does not feel the love object is worthy of them. However, at the same time, they can feel that they are unworthy to their love object (i.e. “if he loved me he would change”). I usually ask them to regularly visualize being with someone they would consider more worthy. Often they will find this really hard to do or that it triggers fear or tension. If this fear can be faced, then the fixer upper can potentially heal themselves and why they are in the situations they tend to attract to themselves. Usually fixer-uppers are more comfortable fixing others and have a hard time turning their energy to themselves. But to beat this pattern, they must get out of the blame game to begin this process.

If He Keeps Taking Me Back or Coming Back Around He Must Really Love me

I thought it important to include this section because one of the main questions I can be asked is “If he doesn’t love me, why does he keep taking me back?” This section answers that question for those who are with narcissistic seductive withholders, players, or Casanovas. Sometimes, what happens in these relationships is the trauma of being used or played (or wondering if one is) triggers the person being used to get upset, walk away, but want back to validate if they were truly cared for.  It can be very difficult for the consciousness to integrate the mixed message of being placed on a pedestal only to be discarded. Because it is a mixed message, there is a hope that the infatuation phase and being told everything they wanted to hear was true.

In our dating culture, this problem is happening a lot as dating happens through dating sites or other venues where a form of window shopping mentality is occurring or a lot of people (men and women) may develop sex, romance, or other addictions. Due to the moment toward free-love and the fear of imposing rules onto this, there has developed a cavalier attitude where it is deemed “okay” to have intimate relations with others and not really care about whether someone else gets hurt. This does cause it own damage however. Especially with women who I’ve even listened to men talk about women as if they assume women these days are all players themselves who don’t get hurt. This isn’t true. From my experience, yes, there may be some women who are hyper-sexual and okay with multiple casual relationships, but women as a whole tend to bounce back better from divorce or even being used to want real love and a relationship. This is how men, after all, are able to play them through being overly charming, seductive, telling them what they want to hear, or even telling them they want their baby or other things in the moment of seduction without really meaning it or without it being able to be lasting. So, women (or men if this is happening to you), there is a way out of the confusion of not knowing when a man is really into you or when he really isn’t. And it is through his actions and his willingness to take you out and to go slowly with you rather through his intense passion for you and his ardent words.

The reason you are running away from these types of men and going back is because of the need for validation. You run because you know something is not right and you feel deep pain within and a lot of emotional intensity that you feel is difficult for you to manage. You also feel confused. Do you not? And there is a little inner you within you that says, “I want to know I was not used and that he truly loved me.” I will often hear this from women, who ask me that very question. You hope that if you can know either way, it will stop the pain and the needing to go back and forth with these types of men whether they are the one leaving and returning or you are in a state of exasperation.

The danger happens if you were to misinterpret being seduced back as a sign of true love or that the relationship will improve. Whether it is the player who is coming back around to seduce his love object again or a woman who ran due to feeling rage and/or heartache (usually expressing their pain to their love object over feeling used), I have heard women say “He must really love me to take me back all the time.” As part of the seducer phase, everything may seem bright, shiny, and new again and your love interest may say all sorts of charming things or even apologize in this day and age where people want the high of a relationship and will say or do things in order to generate it. So, it is very tempting to feel that when the partner takes them back, it means things will change or that the little inner child within is validated that love was true.  If you are with a fear-based seductive withholder, it may be true, but if you are a narcissist’s, player’s, compulsive online dater’s, sex addict’s, or window shopper’s rotation then be careful and pay attention to the other signs this could be true. Because usually there are other signs.

In the case where there is an on-and-off relationship with a player, abuser, sex addict, or narcissist, such an individual may accept the comings and goings of their on-again-off-again partner or come and go themselves because they are not overly invested and thus do not feel too much distress over the behavior.  As stated in other places, those looking for a high may get one from all of the comings and goings. A high does not equal love, however. Also, if you have broken from your love interest repeatedly feeling s/he was toying with your emotions, the pattern can reach a point where your break ups might not be taken seriously anymore. If your love interest becomes smug or callous about it, it could be a sign you have reached this point. Or, they might start making fun of your comings and goings.

This behavior is one of the most damaging to the self-esteem that I have ever witnessed within clients. This is because it often subjects this kind of Seductive Withholder to even more mistreatment as a way to get their love object back. The love object, if abusive, takes their return as a sign they will tolerate more and more abuse, infidelity or callousness. Many who return may be treated casually, called “crazy,” “paranoid” or “untrustworthy” (for suspecting affairs or deceptions), or may be made out to be the unstable partner.  It is part truth, because the Seductive Withholder’s own instability keeps them going back to an unstable, unfaithful or abusive partner.

If this is happening to you, you might want to speak to a counsellor on how to change your patterns rather than your love interest’s. Those who are unfaithful may use the on-and-off behavior as an excuse to carry out infidelities without feeling guilty. Some players even know how to trigger the women in their harem in order to set them into “flee” mode for this purpose (so they can move to the next girl on their rotation).

When Two Love Interests Are Ambivalent Love Addicts

In the case that a Seductive Withholder (a form of Ambivalent Love Addict) is dating another Ambivalent Love Addict, sometimes, the only relationship that will work or last for either is to be with someone who is as frightened of intimacy as they are.  Sometimes one person is a “runner” and the other is a “pusher” (someone who knows how to trigger or push the runner to go into flee mode). I often tell runners who are blaming themselves because their ambivalent partner is expressing frustration at being dumped all the time, to try not breaking up for a while and see if their love interest doesn’t on his own begin to distance himself, call less, etc. Sure enough, this is usually what will happen. Another danger is that once the Seductive Withholder catches on to the fact that the only way to keep another Ambivalent’s interest is to break up repeatedly, this can become another reason for them to initiate break ups (out of a fear of being rejected if the relationship goes stale).

Any Other Advice?

For those Seductive Withholder’s who are not narcissistic, it may help to work on grounding issues and being decisive, rather than being led by their emotions, empathy, or whatever they feel needs to happen or is going on with their partner. They tend to be very scattered types who avoid/are too proud to ask for what they want or to set boundaries. Sometimes, because a seductive withholder break up so much, they feel they have no right to ask for anything. Some can only express their feelings to a partner while in the process of breaking up. I think the real fear is of rejection if they state their feelings or put forward a boundary that isn’t agreed upon.

Healing past traumas may help as well, since some of these on-again-off-again types may have repeated the same pattern in childhood (pulling away from a parent if feeling rejected or abused but then returning affection again). Others may have a history of being in an abusive relationship which took time to get strength to fully leave. Sometimes a betrayal may set the pattern off or a Seductive Withholder may have suffered a harsh divorce where they were slandered or taken for almost everything they had. Relationships become perceived as a source of fire where one is frightened to get burned or too close to the flame. So, to keep safe, there is adapted a touch-and-go type of maneuvering; fearing to get too close, but deeply wanting intimacy and love.

In an abusive situation, I always suggest not taking the partner back unless the partner first agrees to go to counseling or to change their behavior. Many are afraid to ask this however, or are told “no.” Missing their partner and in seducer mode, they can feel they must resign and return to an abusive relationship. They accept the abuse while hoping for the miracle that their partner will change. However, it needs to be understood, that if a person is abusive and refuses to change or get help, it is likely they do not even see a need for change. If narcissistic, they may prefer that their partner change to accommodate and accept their abusive natures.

Lastly, some Seductive Withholders may start to doubt they can have a normal relationship or be in one without the temptation to withdraw.  The danger arises that the Seductive Withholder can become addicted to the drama of the ups and downs, or to the sense of competition (to see if they can win love or approval from someone they perceive as unloving, distant or cruel) etc. This can make it difficult to return to feeling comfortable within a normal uncomplicated relationship.  So, practicing being able to visualize being in a relationship that is loving and healthy, while not running away, may help to some degree by giving the Seductive Withholder another way to see themselves in a relationship..

For my other Bellesprit articles on Love Addiction, see:

Are You In A Relationship With Unpredictable Rewards

Addiction to Unrequited Love: The Torchbearer

For Susan Peabody’s book Addiction to Love: Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships, see here>>