Have you been dating someone, but you have the feeling that something is off about them?
On the one hand, they are capable of making you feel amazing. On the other hand, you two can’t seem to connect on a deeper level.
What gives? The person you’re seeing could have an avoidant attachment style and that’s why they can sometimes act distant, uninterested, and even pull away.
But this doesn’t mean they don’t love you. In fact, there are numerous signs that can reveal their real feelings for you.
Before we get into that though, let’s make sure you’re in fact dealing with such a person. How can you recognize them?
Who is Considered a Love Avoidant?
In simple words, an avoidant individual is someone who makes a conscious effort to stay away from feeling both negative and positive emotions.
Since not wanting to feel anything negative is understandable, you might have a hard time wrapping your mind around the idea of avoiding positive feelings. Why do they do it?
The answer is simple: Every positive emotion can turn into a negative one. For example, they are afraid to accept affection because it can be taken away from them at some point.
When it comes to relationships, love avoidants think that their needs can’t be entirely met. They also often find themselves feeling suffocated and as if their independence is being taken away from them.
How so? Men and women who are characterized by the avoidant attachment style, which is an insecure attachment style, became this way due to 2 main reasons.
They were either neglected and invalidated during childhood, or they have a history of romantic relationships that made them like this.
So far, life has taught them that it’s better when they only rely on themselves and trust no one else – especially not with their feelings or needs.
Types of Love Avoidants
To understand a person with an avoidant attachment style, it’s important to know that there are in fact 2 types of love avoidants, namely dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant.
A dismissive-avoidant is someone who feels extremely uncomfortable getting close to others.
They don’t feel safe unless they are in control. So, they usually pull away when things get a bit serious.
As for fearful avoidant individuals, they think they’re not worthy of love. They usually have very low self-esteem. However, they want to be loved.
The problem is that they have a very difficult time accepting love. They don’t believe they’re worthy. That’s why they avoid emotional commitment.
Signs You’re Dealing With an Avoidant
- They are socially inhibited or socially awkward
- They have a fear of public displays of affection
- They are highly sensitive to criticism or rejection
- They accept physical intimacy but reject emotional intimacy
- They are highly independent and self-sufficient
- They don’t know how to comfort you or empathize with you
- They avoid conflicts at all costs, preferring to run
- They usually trust no one as trusting comes really hard
11 Signs an Avoidant Loves You
In case you reached the heart of a love-avoidant person, you may notice several behavior changes, such as:
1. They share their thoughts with you and try to be empathetic
Typically, avoidant individuals refrain from sharing thoughts, experiences, and feelings with others.
Also, they do their best to be emotionally distant from others and often shut down emotionally.
In fact, according to a thesis in psychology, they deliberately avoid being empathetic. Simply put, they want to keep their emotional stability and not let others influence it.
But, when they start showing the smallest sign of vulnerability and/or empathy, it means their feelings have changed.
Here are some examples:
- They might briefly tell you about some of the things that scare them or overwhelm them
- They might admit that they feel guilty when they disappoint you
- They could show signs they care about you and the relationship
- What happens to you could end up influencing the way they feel
- Their mood could change depending on your mood
2. They react positively to physical affection – even in public
Non-verbal communication is more effective in the case of love avoidants than verbal communication.
How come? According to a research article, an avoidant partner could become more responsive to behavioral expressiveness as opposed to the verbal one.
This means that to reach his or her heart, you shouldn’t shower them with sweet words. Instead of that, you should use your body to express affection.
If they accept this type of affection, it means they associate it with positive feelings. On top of that, if they’re also comfortable with it in public, then you’ve got your proof – they’re in love.
3. They try to communicate non-verbally with you as well
Another sure tell sign this man or woman has romantic feelings for you is when they not only accept affectionate gestures from you, but they also reciprocate them.
You might not know this, but avoidant people tend to be physically affectionate only when they have sex. Otherwise, they avoid it.
They rarely cuddle, hold hands, or kiss outside the bedroom. So, what does it mean when they start doing all of that?
It’s a clear sign that they are trying to communicate their feelings for you by touching you in an affectionate, reassuring, and protective way.
A word of advice: Don’t look for typical signs of affection. They could express themselves in a more awkward way that may not include hugs or kisses.
4. They actually pay attention to what you’re telling them
Avoidant men and women prefer to keep conversations shallow. That’s why they like casual relationships – because they don’t have to take a real interest in the other person.
But if you see that they are now listening to you actively and even asking you questions, something must’ve changed.
Maybe their feelings for you have changed and that’s why they’re trying to get more involved in the relationship.
This is especially true if you’re talking about your feelings or you open up to them about something, and they still listen.
What you tell them could make them feel all sorts of emotions that they don’t want to feel. So if they do it, it’s because of love.
5. They are not afraid to show their level of commitment to you
Avoidant individuals typically talk about what they want in a relationship because they want to make sure they don’t give anyone the wrong idea.
They clearly say that they aren’t looking for anything serious or that they simply want to hook up once in a while. Or, something else along these lines.
But when they catch feelings and you make them feel safe enough to reveal them, you’ll know. He or she will find a way to tell you that they want to commit to you even if that scares them big time.
If they haven’t already, then make sure you’re prepared! Your reaction has to be flawless and filled with joy. However, try not to appear overjoyed because that could scare them away – once again.
You might make them feel that they’re somehow responsible for your happiness, which could terrify them as it’s a big responsibility.
6. They want to introduce you to their loved ones or already have
Does he/she love you? They might if they try to include you in their circle of close friends and/or family.
Making this decision is not easy for anyone. Even a person with a secure attachment style thinks twice before taking this step.
So, if you manage to make yourself desirable in the life of an avoidant person, then you should be happy. They risk a lot by doing this.
They basically expose themselves, possibly without knowing what they should expect or what should come next.
In case this happens, make sure you acknowledge how important it is for him or her. After all, it means that they’re trying to include you in their life.
7. They confide in you by telling you a secret (big or small)
Sharing a secret, no matter how small, is also a sign an avoidant loves you.
As you already know, people with insecure attachment styles normally avoid sharing things about themselves or opening up about anything.
However, if they let a little secret slip, that could indicate that they feel closer to you than they did before.
Whenever he or she tells you a secret, make sure to reciprocate or tell them how much you appreciate the gesture.
The thing with avoidants is that they are very sensitive. You can easily hurt them with things that you don’t think are hurtful.
Being in a relationship with such an individual requires a lot of attention, thoughtfulness, and patience from your side.
8. They change how emotionally available they are to you
Avoidants are, among others, emotionally unavailable. What this means is that they prefer not to share feelings, be vulnerable, or ask for help.
This is their defense mechanism. They choose not to get involved emotionally with anyone and usually want to keep their distance.
While that’s true in most cases, it’s not set in stone. A guy or a girl can change their level of emotional availability depending on which person they interact with.
In other words, if they feel safe with you, they might let their guard down and start talking about their emotions, and their past experiences, as well as ask for support when they need it.
If that happens, it could be rooted in their love for you.
9. They start to enjoy being physically affectionate with you
Since avoidants respond better to non-verbal communication, they might use it more frequently than verbal communication.
And by doing so, they might start to like it. If they do, it means it makes them feel positive feelings only and that’s why they practice it more.
If at first this guy or girl used to shrink like a mimosa flower when you touched them, now things are really different.
They not only react more positively to this type of affection, but they initiate it, which is a great sign!
Mind my words, though: I’m not talking about sexual touch here. The majority of love avoidants have no issues when it comes to having sex. Their reluctance is based on emotions only.
10. They try to meet your needs and make you happy
Especially if you’re dealing with a fearful avoidant, this person might think that they’re not good enough for you and that they can’t make you happy.
Most of the time, these people are clueless about how to meet their romantic partner’s needs and bring them joy. Also, they’re afraid of making mistakes.
Certain dismissive avoidants know that they are good at some things and they’ll do those things to distract your attention from their emotional unavailability.
Even so, when they catch romantic feelings for someone, they try to please that person. They could do so by bringing you small gifts – things you mentioned you like.
Or, they could focus on other things, depending on what you told them you need and like.
11. They reveal their love language to you
What is your love language?
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author, speaker, and counselor, there are 5 main love languages and each of us has a main love language and a secondary one.
The 5 main love languages are acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch.
But, how can you tell what is an avoidant’s love language? You simply observe how they’re trying to express their affection for you.
If it’s through touch, then their love language is physical touch. The same goes for the others.
Or, if you have a daring avoidant in mind, they may tell you what works and what doesn’t. Not all avoidants are the same.
As for you, if you appreciate it more when your romantic partner spends quality time with you without any distractions, then that’s your main love language! It’s about what you like.
How to Communicate With an Avoidant?
Unfortunately, non-verbal communication is not enough to keep a relationship going or work on growing it stronger – you also need verbal communication.
Now, the thing is that an avoidant typically needs to spend a lot of time by himself or herself. They need this because that’s how they process whatever happens in their life.
So, the first rule would be to know when to communicate and when to give them space. In this regard, you just have to go with the flow because foreseeing these moments is close to impossible.
Do your best to refrain from making demands, such as “you have to call me immediately when you see this” – unless it’s something serious. Also, don’t be clingy. Avoidants hate that.
However, when you do approach him or her, refer to your feelings rather than saying something about what they do – or what they don’t.
Here are a few examples:
DO: I’d like us to go out for dinner sometime.
DON’T: You never take me out to dinner.
DO: I’d like to learn more about your job.
DON’T: You never talk about your job.
Do you get it? Tell them what you want, not what they don’t do. If you focus on their shortcomings, they’ll become defensive and pull away.
Most importantly, keep your emotions in check and try to be a constant and reliable presence in this person’s life. Communicate using a warm and reassuring tone.
What if An Avoidant Loves You?
Winning the heart of an avoidant individual can bring you both joy and sorrow.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when you agree to have a committed relationship with them.
However, if the signs point to a negative answer, then you should probably accept the fact that he or she is simply not ready to change their emotional availability for you.
If you think about it, that’s probably for the best since none of you will go through heartbreak.