Does your partner’s avoidant attachment style rattle your nerves?

It’s frustrating when someone is unresponsive to your attempts at bonding or kindness. You may suspect that your significant other has an avoidant attachment style but aren’t sure. Here are the signs that he or she does and how to deal with them.

What Is an Avoidant Attachment Style?

Avoidant Attachment sounds like an oxymoron, but we should understand the words in the literal sense. They mean, as suggested, to avoid becoming attached emotionally.

People with Avoidant Attachment styles struggle with intimacy issues. They may create situations that destroy their relationships, albeit unconsciously. They will also pull away from their loved ones when they sense too much closeness.

People who have such emotional styles tend to disregard the feelings of others. They also forget their own. They often see expressing emotions as a weakness. It goes without saying that they don’t handle negative situations like awkwardness and failure well.

Avoidant Attachment Style: The Types

People who have an avoidant attachment approach to relationships are either fearful of intimacy or dismissive of their partners’ feelings.

Those who are Dismissive-Avoidant tend to distance themselves emotionally from their partners. They brush feelings aside and devalue human connections.

People with Fearful-Avoidant Attachment patterns are ambivalent and afraid of commitment. They strike a balance in relationships in an attempt to avoid being too close or distant. They want to have their emotional needs met, but fear being too close.

Fearful-Avoidants try to rein in their feelings, but can’t. Consequently, they feel overwhelmed by their worries and have emotional storms. Their moods are unpredictable. As a result, they have relationships with many highs and lows.

Then, there are the Anxious-Preoccupied Avoidants. A person who has this type of attachment style is preoccupied with his or her relationships. He or she reads too much into social interactions and is over-sensitive. He or she tends to choose a Dismissive Avoidant partner. Of course, the combination is volatile.

10 Signs That Your Partner Has an Avoidant Attachment Style

If your partner uses an avoidant attachment style to relate to you, you may recognize these behavioral patterns.

1. Avoidants stress boundaries

First of all, Avoidants cherish their space. To protect it, they enforce boundaries between themselves and their significant others. These are either physical or emotional; they may sleep in separate rooms or hide information from their partners.

2. Avoidants are uncomfortable with deep feelings

Avoidants don’t disclose their deepest feelings to their significant others because they have a strong sense of emotional independence. Also, it would bring them closer to their partners, which they want to avoid.

3. Avoidants prefer casual sex

Avoidants prefer casual to intimate sex because they want to avoid closeness. They don’t wish to worry about their partner’s feelings after intercourse.

4. Avoidants disregard feelings

Avoidants treat their significant others like business partners because they feel solely responsible for their well-being. Therefore, they seldom discuss emotions. They often describe their partners as ‘needy‘.

5. Avoidants want their partners but not their presence

Avoidants need love like everyone else, so they will miss their partners when they are not around. Once their partners return, they feel ‘trapped’ and hanker after space again.

6. Avoidants are uncomfortable with intimate situations

Shunning intimacy is another trait of Avoidants. They are loving and supportive viz other aspects of the relationship (e.g., finance, health) but pull away at any sign of closeness.

7. Avoidants idealize other relationships

Furthermore, Avoidants dwell on past relationships to give themselves excuses not to deal with current ones. They may also fantasize about perfect relationships so that they’ll have reasons to feel that their present partners aren’t right for them.

8. Avoidants send mixed signals

Moreover, avoidants tend to send mixed messages to their partners. They’ll want to move in with them one day and ignore them the next. The mixed signals leave their partners in a tailspin.

9. Avoidants are independent

Consequently, Avoidant partners cherish independence. They are firmly self-reliant and condescend to those who need others. Conversely, those who are secure realize the need for both freedom and partnership.

10. Avoidants are non-committal

Finally, Avoidants are reluctant to discuss marriage because it entails commitment. They see it as a huge infringement on their space.

Effects of an Avoidant Attachment Style

An avoidant attachment style of managing relationships has subtle but harmful effects.

Fearful Avoidants will struggle to remain close to their partners. They will obsess over their partners not loving them and have mood swings. Of course, this puts a strain on their romantic relationships.

Anxious-Preoccupied Avoidants create endless cycles of self-fulfilling prophecies. They avoid intimacy with their partners but will say ‘I knew it! You don’t love me!’ when their significant others pull away. You can see the irony in these situations; the constant strain ends the relationship.

Dismissive Avoidants know that they have difficulty expressing feelings and seek vulnerable, open partners to fill the gap. However, they can’t reciprocate their partners’ openness. Consequently, their romances suffer.

Ms. Genevieve Beaulieu Pelletier, who studied these personalities, found that Avoidants were most likely to cheat on their partners. Most of them cited fear of commitment and a desire for personal boundaries.

Relating to a Partner Who Has an Avoidant Attachment Style

There’s good news for you if you have an avoidant partner. It’s not impossible to stay connected. Here’s what you can do.

First of all, Avoidants may have experienced bad relationships, so they have trust issues. Don’t press your partner to express feelings; trust him or her to know when, and what to share.

Also, show your Avoidant partner that you are dependable. Do this in small steps. When your partner can see that you are reliable, he or she will entrust you with more important information.

Finally, don’t take it personally if your partner needs space. Most of us want to know what’s on our partners’ minds. Avoidants, however, will only share this information when they are ready. They will withdraw when pushed.

Don’t fear if your partner has an avoidant attachment style. You can still stay close to him or her if you put in the effort into your relationship.

Michelle Liew, B.A.

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