Core Patterns tend to manifest as predictable, cyclical behavior patterns. Below is the pattern common to relationships where both partners have the Vacillator love style.

1. Vacillator #1's Tension Builds

The Vacillator’s anxiety/tension builds up due to:

  • Idealization, which leads to disappointment.
  • Preoccupation with relational closeness/distance; ruminating on desired outcomes and past hurts.
  • Feeling abandoned when others differ or separate.
  • Addressing problems with complaints rather than requests.
  • Arrivals/departures, or waiting for the spouse to engage.
  • Displeasure at reunions that are not ideal.

2. Vacillator #2's Tension Builds

The second Vacillator’s tension builds for all the same reasons as their partner.

3. Someone Vents

Someone begins to vent or protest, either for connection or because of their dark mood. They assume their partner is intentionally trying to cause hurt. Anger is matched with anger, often resulting in a shouting match.

4. Partner Fights Back

The partner, feeling as if they’ve been attacked or blamed, goes on the defensive. They match their partner’s anger, escalating to a shouting match with a  probability of violence.

5. Both Parties Retreat

The fight ends in a stalemate and both parties are stubborn about re-engaging. Rather than pursue understanding, it’s seen as a win/lose scenario. Ultimately, both parties devalue their partner, with no sense of personal ownership in the quarrel.

6. Standoff Ends

With no resolution to the previous conflict, re-engagement may come once the tension dies down, but it’s simply the calm before the next storm.


The cycle repeats causing frustration and unhappiness.

Break the Cycle

Core Patterns: Vacillator + Vacillator

The core pattern is the enemy, not your spouse! This Audio file and PDF provides an in-depth look at Vacillator + Vacillator Core Pattern. It includes a circular diagram of this Core Pattern, explanations and all applicable interventions to exit this reactive, destructive dance.