Are you in love with an avoidant?
If you think the person you’re dating someone with an avoidant attachment style, you might feel a little bit lost.
Connecting to them on a deeper level is no easy feat. Especially if you were raised by someone who paid attention to you and your needs, you might not understand where they’re coming from.
Even so, you’re in luck! I am here to help you get a better grasp of what being an avoidant really means and why some people form this attachment style.
As soon as you learn all the details, you’ll see that loving someone with avoidant attachment style can be a challenging journey.
Do you think you’re up for it? Let’s see what it entails!
What is Avoidant Attachment Style?
Avoidant attachment is one of the 4 attachment styles and the second most common one.
It is an insecure attachment style that changes the way some people approach intimacy and intimate relationships.
Their ultimate desire is to remain independent and that’s why they avoid connecting to others on a more intimate level.
In fact, some of them don’t know how to get emotionally close to others. However, this depends on why they formed this type of attachment in the first place.
Avoidant partners are among the most confident people, but, at the same time, they score lowest when it comes to emotional expressiveness and warmth.
In other words, they don’t want to talk about their feelings or listen to others talking about theirs. On top of that, they are afraid that other people might try to control them.
They also fear intimacy and mainly prefer casual hook-ups and/or short-term relationships.
Where Does Avoidant Attachment Style Stem From?
Attachment styles are usually formed in the first years of childhood. That’s when a child interacts with his or her caregiver and learns what to expect from them in terms of responsiveness.
But wait, that’s not all.
Recent research shows that someone’s attachment style can change throughout their life, including during adulthood.
What does this mean?
It means there are 3 main causes that turn people to have avoidant attachment style:
A. Early childhood experiences
The sad truth is that some people abandon their babies and they end up in one foster home after the other.
Or, in other cases, they only grow up with one parent, knowing the other left them.
These early childhood experiences leave a deep mark on a baby and they prevent him or her to form secure attachments as adults.
B. Bad parent behavior
Not everyone is fit to be a parent and unfortunately that raises the possibility of turning them into avoidant adults.
In case a baby’s main caregiver acts emotionally dismissive with them, not showing interest in whether they are happy or sad, that baby learns they shouldn’t express their emotions.
Or, if a baby is constantly ignored or met with annoyance when they cry, they’ll think that showing emotion is weak and that they can’t rely on anyone to tend to their needs.
C. Other traumatic experiences
As I mentioned before, a person with a secure attachment style or an anxious attachment style can become an avoidant person if they go through a traumatic experience, even during adulthood.
Examples in this regard are:
- People who are cheated on, betrayed, or abused in relationships
- People who go through a painful divorce or breakup
- People who suffer the loss of a friend or a romantic partner
Tips For Loving Someone With Avoidant Attachment Style:
1. Build a relationship based on trust and security by showing them you are reliable and dependable
To make an avoidant partner feel loved and safe around you, you should focus on giving him or her reasons to trust you.
It’s essential to make a person with this attachment style feel that you are reliable and dependable. Why?
Because they were taught that they either don’t deserve that sort of treatment or that they shouldn’t expect it.
Or, in some cases, their primary caregiver’s behavior was inconsistent, meaning that sometimes they were emotionally available to their kids, and sometimes they weren’t.
To succeed at this point, do your best and don’t tell them lies. Also, follow through on your promises… always!
2. Show them you respect their decisions and don’t want to take away their autonomy or stop them from being in control
As I mentioned before, avoidant partners are pretty paranoid and think that others want to control them. So, as a romantic partner, you should convince them that they’re in control.
The best way to do that is to respect their decisions and their need for autonomy. To be more precise, refrain from making demands.
On top of that, instead of telling them what to do, ask them how you can support them or what they need from you.
Sometimes, giving them a little space is what they need to regain the feeling that they’re in control of their life.
3. Openly communicate your expectations when it comes to physical contact and intimacy
Look, physical contact and physical intimacy may be sensitive topics for an avoidant attachment personality.
Most probably, they are not comfortable with affectionate gestures because they were not used to receiving them.
Not all parents or caregivers hold their babies, hug them, or offer them consolation through physical touch. This means that some avoidants are not comfortable or familiar with physical intimacy.
So, to love them properly, it’s advisable to openly communicate your needs in this regard. It’s okay to express yourself freely as long as you don’t sound demanding.
Avoid saying things that sound demanding or confrontational, like:
“You never hug me.”
“Why don’t you want to touch me?”
“Hold me, now!”
4. Do your best and don’t criticize your avoidant partner or engage in confrontational conversations with them
Here’s one more sad truth to know: Another possible reason your boyfriend or girlfriend became an avoidant is that their parents made fun of them.
Their caretakers laughed at their problems instead of addressing them. On top of that, they were also criticized and met with annoyance whenever they didn’t do something right.
That’s why if you want to love them just as they need to be loved, you should avoid criticizing them.
The same goes for having confrontational conversations with them. If you corner them, they’ll be tempted to pull away and you don’t want that.
So, pick your battles wisely!
5. Encourage your avoidant partner to talk to you about their feelings, thoughts, and needs
The next effective way to show your love for your romantic partner, especially if their attachment style is avoidant, is to encourage them to express themselves.
This includes letting them know that you care and that you are interested to hear about how they’re feeling, and what thoughts may be going through their head (negative ones, too).
The same goes for their needs. You should try to reassure them that their needs matter to you.
If you see that they have trouble opening up, try to ask them questions, such as “Are your needs being met in our relationship?” or “Is there something you’d me to do differently?”
6. Don’t cross their boundaries and give them space whenever they want it
To avoid getting hurt again, avoidants have many defense mechanisms and boundaries set in place. What’s more, they value and need their alone time more than other people.
If you understand their need for space, you have all the chances to get to an avoidant’s heart. How so?
- He or she will think that you are not needy or dependable.
- They will think of you as someone independent – similar to them.
- They won’t think that you’re trying to control them.
- He or she might feel understood.
As for respecting their boundaries, it goes without saying that’s a healthy thing to do in any relationship.
People have limits and preferences (specifically people with avoidant attachment styles) and that makes them unique.
7. Respect their decision to withdraw from certain conversations and don’t be pushy
Do you still want to be the perfect romantic partner for someone with avoidant attachment style?
If you do, then there’s something else you should know:
They feel weird talking about their vulnerabilities and opening up. On top of that, they’re not good at listening to others talk about their emotions either.
Pro tip: The best way to express your feelings for an avoidant is by using a neutral tone.
So, if your partner wants to stop talking about something, you should respect their decision. It’s best not to be pushy because that would push them away.
Instead, try to bring up the same topic another time.
8. Don’t take your avoidant partner’s dismissive behavior personally
No matter how hard you try, if you are in a relationship with an avoidant, there will be times when they’ll be mean to you or ignore you.
If that happens, you shouldn’t take it personally. They react in the only way they know how: they do what their mom/dad did in the same situation.
Or, if they’re someone who became an avoidant during adulthood, their reaction is based on something related to the traumatic event they went through.
What you need to keep in mind is that it’s not you, it’s them. So, respond with love rather than push them away.
Do that often enough and you’ll manage to make them feel loved.
Do Avoidant Attachment People Want to Be in Relationships?
In general, people with an avoidant attachment style are not looking for long-term romantic relationships.
They are less interested in forming deep, meaningful connections compared to having one-night stands or short-term flings.
Most of them fear commitment and everything it entails. They don’t want to deal with dependable people or become dependable themselves.
Maintaining their independence is a main priority for them and having a serious romantic relationship doesn’t help.
You see, an avoidant often feels suffocated and annoyed when their partner tries to get close to them. So, they naturally avoid it.
And the worst part? If your partner is an avoidant, they already have an exit strategy.
They are prepared to disappear if things get too serious as they’re very good at rationalizing their way out of intimate situations that they can’t handle.
But, this usually happens when they’re in relationships with people who don’t understand them or simply don’t care enough to try.
Experts say it’s possible to heal avoidant attachment, so don’t give up on your partner on the first try!
I would recommend checking these 11 Signs to find out if an Avoidant Loves You.
Can a Relationship With an Avoidant Ever Work?
Avoidant people are just as worthy of love as anyone. However, even if you do your best to love them right, there will be times when they’ll push you away.
If you’re willing to put up with that and deal with a partner who isn’t consistent, who goes hot and cold, and who refuses to open up to you, things might change over time.
Fair warning: If you’re a securely-attached person, your journey to loving an avoidant the way he or she needs it will be easier than if you’re someone with anxious attachment style.
For anxiously-attached people, avoidants are not the best matches. On the contrary, they might induce even more anxiety.
So, don’t forget to love yourself first during this process!
Continue with our series of Relationships For Attachment Styles: