Anxious + Avoidant — Making It Work

anxious-avoidant-loveWhat do you do when your partner’s relationship needs are the complete opposite of yours? Is there any hope of having a mutually satisfying relationship?

Relationship attachment science recognizes three main attachment styles which describe a person’s basic relationships needs and approach to love. Two of these styles, the anxious and the avoidant, are commonly attracted to each other and form relationships.  Unfortunately, a person with anxious attachment essentially desires to be as close to their partner as possible, while an avoidant has a fundamental need for independence. In other words, each has an entirely different approach to relationships and requirements which contradict each other.

When a person with an anxious style forms a relationship with an avoidant they bring out each other’s insecurities. What initially attracted them –their differences– causes constant discord and unhappiness as the two can rarely agree on how their relationship should be. This dynamic is known as the anxious-avoidant trap. Usually the relationship doesn’t last long as one or both sides grow weary of the never-ending disagreements.

However, things don’t always have to end that way. If you’re already in an anxious-avoidant relationship, there are steps you can take to increase happiness and fulfillment. There are no guarantees, but using some of these simple techniques can help:

1. Understand your differences

This can not be stated enough. Much of the unhappiness of the anxious-avoidant dynamic occurs because one or both partners can’t or don’t realize that their relationship needs are very different. Lots of time is spent resenting or criticizing the other’s approach to the relationship. Time that would be better spent trying to understand the partner’s unique needs and desires in a relationship.

2. Respect your differences

Don’t attempt to change your partner. This especially applies to you if you’re the anxious partner. Due to the anxious relationship orientation, an anxious partner is constantly thinking about their relationship and how to improve it. Which is okay, as long as you’re working on improving your relationship around your partner’s needs, not against them.

If you’re the avoidant partner, appreciate the strengths your anxious partner brings to the relationship. Try not to belittle or ignore their need for greater intimacy than you’d normally want.

3. Work towards greater security

Both the anxious and avoidant relationship styles are insecure relationship styles. This doesn’t mean their relationships are destined for failure, but it does mean they don’t express their relationship needs as well, and tend not to be comfortable with the state of their relationships at any given time.

Both partners could improve their happiness by simply stating their issues as they arise and communicating their needs directly and clearly. Even having regular discussions on the progress of your relationship could help. Nothing is too obvious to state outright or too simple to work on when you’re a part of the anxious-avoidant dynamic. Assuming your partner should be one way or should know what you need will only cause more confusion and resentment.

Are you involving in an anxious-avoidant relationship? Do you have  experience or any more tips on making the relationship work?

See also:

52 thoughts on “Anxious + Avoidant — Making It Work

  1. This is the story of my life right now! Im an anxious type and my guy is very avoidant to the point where I have to question sometimes if he has any feelings for me at all. When he’s being more avoidant than what I can stand, I usually start distancing myself from him somewhat. I contact him much less and wait a long time to text him back. This takes an incredible amount of will power on my part because I naturally want to contact him and talk about our relationship. When I get distant like that, he starts to reassure me more of his feelings and asks me to please give him a chance cause he really likes me but its funny everytime we have those “reassuring” conversations, he disappears for a few days and the cycle starts all over again. It will probably end but im so attracted to him. Its really hard to let go. He doesnt have much relationship experience. He’s only had one relationship prior to me. All the other girls he’s dated he said were girls he’d give chances to but just didnt work out. With avoidants according to them its never anything they did, it just somehow “never works out”.

  2. Hi Jessica,

    It’s terrible that you have to basically “trick” him into being more intimate. Have you tried telling him straight out how you feel?

    “everytime we have those “reassuring” conversations, he disappears for a few days and the cycle starts all over again.”

    Classic sign of an avoidant; have you read “Top Ten Signs Your Partner is Avoidant”? …Mixed signals galore — one day they’re all “I love you, I do, I do” then the next day they practically drop off the face of the Earth.

    “With avoidants according to them its never anything they did, it just somehow “never works out”.’

    Yes, of course. It’s just a matter of them not being right for each other, la di da. 🙂

  3. Alee, I have told him straight up everything I was feeling and also told him that he obviously does not feel what I feel and tried to end it but he wouldnt let me go saying no we’re gonna make this work. Of course he was attentive for a few days and then went right back to the way he was. I put my life on hold so much for him. Right now im sitting here waiting for him to contact me cause we have plans tonight. You never know if the plans will stick or not. He honestly does not need that much attention and affection and doesnt understand people that do. Im anxious as far as I do have doubts and negative thoughts when Im away from my boyfriend but I dont need to see anyone 24/7. I hate to be smothered but if I express that I need attention sometimes, to him it looks clingy. It seems like I either get a guy that totally neglects me or stalks me. Its NEVER just normal healthy attention. I know that I need to end it for good but its been hard because im so darn attracted to him. He’s not typically my type yet he’s still one of the most attractive guys Ive ever dated. He’s 6’4, very lean but nicely toned, nice lips, nice eyes, Brad Pitt smile. Im really too old for this. I just turned 30 and would like to find a husband and have kids in the next few years. I use to never want marriage nor kids so I never cared much in my twenties about finding the right guy but my mindset has totally changed. I want that married life more than anything. I cant let him keep me from it if he’s not serious. I think I will see him one more time, act like everythings all good, be really loving toward him then cut off contact. When he contacts me I will just calmly say I cant take it anymore, I need real love and wish him well. I want the last time I see him to be the best time so he can really regret it. Sounds immature I know but thats what he drives me to. Im really gonna miss him though. He’s not a bad guy just totally clueless when it comes to relationships.

  4. This reminds me of one of my previous relationships. Let’s just say, I thank God for counseling and the desire to move on! I realized this was a problem when I was still in undergrad (thanks to my Family Psychology class).

    To Jessica, I highly suggest the two of you seek couple’s therapy, since he says he wants to make it work. However, if he isn’t progressing then you need to move on. Also, you might want to seek personal counseling because it sounds like you have some unresolved issues with your attachment styles in relationships (don’t worry, most women do…I was one of them).

  5. @Jessica,
    Does he even want marriage and kids at this point in his life? Even if you have talked it over, thinking about marriage and kids could be making both of you anxious. Being really loving to him and then cutting off contact is a nice parting gift but it probably won’t change anything. There are other ideas in the blog post you may want to try.

  6. Tim, He says he wants marriage and kids but I have no idea if he wants that as soon as I do but we dont talk about it enough to where he should feel pressured at all where thats concerned. He’s a bit younger than me (26) but old enough and I dont feel he’s below my level at all. I dont feel any age difference between us even if there is one.

    It is done now though. After I wrote my last entry, I had too many thoughts of how none of my needs are really being met and it seems like he could care less. Plus it was taking him too long to call me to let me know if were still on for tonight. I sent him a series of text messages, not stalker level but about 5 letting him know I cant do this anymore and why and please not contact me again cause its just a waste of time. So far he hasnt. I have often wondered if there was somebody else in the picture or is he really just this avoidant. I have no idea but im too anxious to be able to take a relationship like this. I have to know where I stand. Like I said what makes it harder is that he’s just so damn attractive and I absolutely hate him for it. It wont be easy but I can get over him.

  7. Jessica,

    Sorry to hear about your situation. But no hotness can make up for an avoidant behaviour, imo. There are other 6’4″ men out there, and hopefully you’ll meet a guy who will treat you the way you deserve.

  8. Jessica,

    Ha, your plan makes me laugh. It’s very much like an anxious type to try to show up their lovers who are ignoring them.

    I think I said before that it’s such a cruel joke that avoidant types tend to be very good-looking. It seems like he might be willing to work on being a better fit, but you know him best so if you think it’s necessary to end things, I agree. But I think you should try to speak to him in person or at least on the phone. Break-ups via text or email is sort of cowardly.

    ETA: 26? Hmmm, most guys I know that age are not ready for marriage or children and aren’t thinking about them.

  9. Eliss, couples therapy could be helpful if they’re both willing to invest in it.

    Mira, I don’t know, some guys are just so hot… 😛

  10. I think I said before that it’s such a cruel joke that avoidant types tend to be very good-looking.

    That’s why I think attachment styles are, at least in part, shaped by nurture and culture and not biology. Let’s face it: handsome men know there will always be women interested in them, and they don’t have to bother to get them. I’m not saying all the good looking guys are avoidants, but (anecdotal evidence) I’ve noticed that most of the men who know or believe they’re oh, so good looking tend to develop avoidant tendencies.

    Plus, these traits are encouraged in my culture, for both men and women.

  11. Mira, thanks …yeah Ill find someone better for me someday but right now I just want to be away from men. Your right hotness cant make up for that kind of behavior but like Alee said some guys are just so hot and he’s one of them. I hate thinking someone else is gonna have that after me but what can ya do?!

    Alee, In most situations I would never break up over text or email but it was one of those things where I couldnt take it anymore and it spilled out in texts. Calling doesnt always work cause he only answers his phone when he’s ready to. He wasnt answering yesterday when I was waiting for him to call me back to see if we were still going out last night. So inconsiderate. Showing up at his house and breaking up wouldnt have worked cause he’s too hot. Honestly I wouldve just ended up sleeping with him.

    Yes he’s a little young but im in the midwest and the particular area where I live is pretty country. People get married and have kids really young. Most of his friends are already married. People look at me like theres something wrong with me that ive waited this long.

    I think I made a mistake by always telling him he’s so hot. In the beginning I acted like he was Gods gift which ive never done with anyone before, and I regret it. I shouldve known better than that. Think it gave him an ego trip and made him start taking me for granted. I dont regret ending it. Yes he has said hes wanted to make it work and didnt want to let me go before but he never once backed up what he said. He’s never consistent and I need that. He still hasnt contacted me. Maybe he wont try to win me back this time and will just let me be. Oh well, such as life.

  12. I think I made a mistake by always telling him he’s so hot.

    Oh yes, it seems to be a mistake. But what could you do? Hiding your feelings is not a good option, either, no matter how many people recommend it. So, the solution is to find someone who will not make you hide your feelings or avoid you.

    I know it’s easier said than done. But I do think it’s the only way. There’s no need to waste your time and energy on someone who can’t devote himself to you the way you need it. It doesn’t mean avoidants are bad people, but anxious types need intimacy and comfort that avoidants often can’t give them.

    And, yes, I understand it’s difficult to resist a hot guy, and I know a hot guy can make you do many, many stupid and foolish things, but there are hot guys who are not avoidant and are hot (even hotter, because of the care they give you).

  13. I just looked at my phone and he sent a text message that said “Good luck to you as well”. Thats all I got. Didnt apologize or address anything I wrote in my texts. I use to blame myself for not being as emotionally independent as I feel I should be but isnt that what relationships are about, having someone there to meet your need for love and companionship? He avoided it like the plague everytime we’d start to get close and get somewhere yet resisted the other times Id try to break up with him. It doesnt make any sense.

    Mira, your so right. Im a loving person and very expressive of my feelings. I shouldnt have to hide that side of me just so I wont scare an avoidant away. I dont get why guys like that even attempt to get in relationships and waste people’s time. They are in big denial about themselves. I know my boyfriend is….ex boyfriend I mean. By the way Mira, I love all your comments. When I was going through this blog before I ever commented, yours always stuck out to me. I agree with alot of what you say and you express it in a way that I cant always articulate as well as you can.

  14. Jessica, yes, definite mistake telling him that he was so good-looking. Keep that to yourself! At least until things are more settled. But he seems very typically avoidant so it wasn’t that which caused him to act the way he did.

    I do believe that in relationships people are supposed to be able to rely on each other for love and companionship. People are averse to thinking they or others are being “codependent”, but codependency is mostly a myth. (See Codependency Myth.)

    But of course I’d agree with your perspective since I also have an anxious attachment style. 🙂

    I also agree that Mira makes excellent comments.

  15. Thanks, ladies!

    Jessica, I’m not saying your ex is a bad person or that he deliberately wanted to hurt you. But his attachment/relationship style is so different than yours, and it’s not what you need.

    My style is anxious and I’ve dated avoidants in the past. One relationship in particular was very difficult for me, because of the way this guy behaved. And instead of just moving on, I used to make a complete fool of myself, and humiliate myself, because, you know, the guy was 6’3″ and all. Right. Now that I think of him, I realize he wasn’t THAT hot at all.

    So trust me, no matter how good looking this guy is, you can always find someone who’s equally hot (or hotter), but who will share your attachment style.

  16. @Jessica
    OK, nobody is going to like this but… I don’t think telling him he is good looking is a bad thing. Is it bad when a guy says that to you (after you are already dating and he has seen you on bad days)? I also don’t think this is over. You dumped him by text message and he still wants to communicate with you. How firm were your plans the other night? What do you think he did instead, is it possible he worked late? You dumped this guy because he was late for a date? Out here in Cali being late isn’t that big a deal (traffic etc). He may be the strong silent type and your anxiety is pushing him faster than he has been pushed before, but even if all his friends are married he is still going to move way slow. You remember being 26 and so free right? So thats ok, maybe you like his strength and he likes your passion. Take a week off and reread these attachment style posts in case you guys hook up again. It isn’t easy to learn this stuff when you are feeling pain but it will help. BTW, I am 6’3″ and it doesn’t open so many doors, there are many many guys over 6 foot.
    And I also agree with Mira, don’t hide your feelings. You are probably the spice in his life. 🙂

  17. Tim,
    I ended it by text but I dont think he still wants to communicate with me cause all I got was “Good luck to you as well” The other times ive tried to walk away he’d never let me but not this time. Ive got a feeling its done now as we are both tired. I didnt dump him just cause he was late for a date. It was the last straw of so many disappointments from him. The plans were firm and he was even checking with me the day before to make sure yet on that day, I hadnt heard from him at all so I had no idea if he was still coming. Theres been many instances of that among other things. I never had any idea from one day to the next what version of him I was gonna get. Sometimes he’d be so distant and then out the blue act like he wants to marry me then back to acting like im a stranger.

    He’s being carefree yet im fighting to keep him in my life and after a while you have to ask yourself is it worth the trouble? Im not smothering or controlling. I want him to be social and have his own life which he does without me interfering at all but when it comes to being there for me, he rarely was.
    If by some chance he ends up wanting me back, he would have to do alot of soul searching and get real with himself before I would consider it. Not holding onto much hope that theres any chance of that happening though.

    As for telling him he’s hot, maybe some guys that is okay to say because they will be genuinely flattered and humbled by it but not my guy. Its nothing he hadnt heard before and I noticed the more I said it the less he would tell me how beautiful I was. It was almost like he was almost mesmerized by me until he could see that I was mesmerized by him. Yup keeping those kinda thoughts to myself from now on. The most I will say is your attractive or cute and even then not often. Never will tell a guy he’s gorgeous or hot again unless I end up married to that guy.

  18. Tim,

    I don’t know if your comment was directed to me, but I don’t think telling your partner he’s hot is a bad thing. What I do think is that it’s bad to tell something like that to an attractive avoidant, if you are an anxious type.

    Avoidants are not evil people. It’s just their way of dealing things in a relationship is so different than the anxious one. Anxious person needs these things (such as giving compliments, etc) on a regular basis, to build intimacy, and (s)he needs it back. Avoidant person doesn’t understand this need and sees it as “clingy”, while compliments just feed their ego without making them realize they should do the same and that they should offer emotional support to their partners.

    BTW, I am 6’3″ and it doesn’t open so many doors, there are many many guys over 6 foot.

    Well, in my country 5’11”-6′ is average height for a man, so yes, it’s not a “big deal”. However, many women strongly prefer tall men (which is yet another story), and, let’s face it, many tall men know this.

  19. Tim,

    “OK, nobody is going to like this but… I don’t think telling him he is good looking is a bad thing. Is it bad when a guy says that to you (after you are already dating and he has seen you on bad days)?”

    It’s a bad (or at least, not helpful) because Jessica said she was always telling him this and treated him like a god.

    If you’re constantly telling someone that they’re good-looking they’re going to begin to believe it and many people will begin to act superior based on this. Plus, when you’re dating someone, if you tell them this all the time they may begin to think that you’re lucky to have them and take you for granted.

  20. Alee, Yup thats exactly what happened too. He began to act superior and I do believe he started to feel like I was the lucky one. I did tell him he was hot way more than I should but in my defense…6’4 with Brad Pitts Smile (sigh). Just keep all guys that hot away from me from now on because I become a complete idiot.

  21. Jessica, your situation reminds me so much of when I used to date a (really good-looking) avoidant. The way he acts, the things he says, plus the way you react to them — it’s so much alike. It is difficult to end/move on, but you know being together is sucking the life out of you…

    “Just keep all guys that hot away from me from now on because I become a complete idiot.”

    Now you really sound like me. 😛

  22. >>bad to tell something like that to an attractive avoidant, if you are an anxious type.

    I agree. You have to have the confidence to handle any reaction they have to it, even arrogance. That is, you have to say it from a place of feeling secure.

    Jessica, maybe this relationship is hopeless because this part
    “Sometimes he’d be so distant and then out the blue act like he wants to marry me then back to acting like im a stranger.”
    — is weird. But what time was he supposed to meet you and what time did you send the first angry text message?

    >>I become a complete idiot
    I dunno, you got a good looking guy 26 years old to almost marry you. You must either be hot yourself or you got serious skillz. 🙂

  23. I am in a relationship with an avoidant for a year now and just found your posts today and are very helpful insights. We have been dating little over a year. He even asked me to marry him in Jan and were planning to marry in June, but in March he up and decided he wasn’t ready and think we need more time together among other issues which are all true. I am extremely frustrated because when we are together in person we are good together (conversations,plus physically and mentally) and everything goes well and is hard to say goodbye. But when we are apart the conversations have become strained and sometimes non existant from him and/or even says things to break everything off. I know his pushing me away at times ( just a few in person in the past but not since engagement) is a way to test me to see how I will react. I know this is what his ex would do is leave pissed off so he is seeing if I would do the same, I don’t. I give him room and then he relaxes and goes back to normal.
    I normally am a secure attachment type and have a lot of patiance and calm personality. Lately though when apart, I find myself anxious and insecure in the relationship and even distrusting, mostly my issues but some from him. I know sometimes learning trust takes time and earned especially if there has been doubts of trusting in pasts.
    What I want to know is and have not read yet on here is if a relationship with an avoidant is possible? If any positive advise out there and/or maybe a guide to a site that could be helpful. I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up yet without concidering all sides. Any clues? Thx

  24. Hi Shelli,

    “What I want to know is and have not read yet on here is if a relationship with an avoidant is possible?”

    Lol, yes it is. But only for the very brave. 🙂

    The main advice I could give is to really just ask yourself if you want to spend a lifetime with your boyfriend, the way he behaves. Because he’s not going to change.

    Some people think love will change the person, they’ll get better as they mature… not really. An avoidant will always need ample space and will always be the more independent rather than relationship-oriented type. So if that makes you worried, sad, or disappointed, you need to think about whether you’re willing to put up with that.

  25. Thank you Alee for your advice. I do realize and agree that love can help people but does not change who they are. We can only change ourselves and it has to be from within…and only IF we choose too and no one else can make/do it for us. I do accept him for who he is and willing to try to find ways to work around or with our differences. I’m normally a secure person in a relationship as long as I know where I stand. This includes someone even telling me to F off… least I know where I stand vs. silent treatment! There have been times between us (mostly in person) that he will say something to get or want me to leave and I don’t because I can tell its not true and we talk it out. There had been 2 times I had left and he called and asked me to come back (usually within 15min of leaving) and have and apologized and worked it out. I’m a very patient person and I’m willing work things out or come to an understanding with others if they can be upfront and honest and just talk to me. Otherwise, I feel like I have to play 20 mil Questions (anxious type) and don’t like that as much as the other person does including BF. I know now, that I can’t ask him what he wants from me or the relationship because being an Avoidant, he probably doesn’t know himself. I would just like an idea where we are. Is this wrong of me to even ask??
    I want to give our relationship my all because I think WE are worth it but it takes two people and at moment not sure where he stands or if has same goals. So, I guess I am worried and questioning myself about how long I’m willing to, as you say “put up with” it all to see it thru or if I’m projecting myself to far. My last relationship was 7 yrs before I ended it and don’t want to do that again! I still am wearing the engagement ring and even offered to consider it a “promise ring” for now if he wanted, he said “No, it’s a engagement ring”. I hope I get to wear the wedding band with it! He also has a wedding band.

  26. BTW I’m also an independant person and can understand the avoidance need or fear of losing their independance and am willing to give space when needed. Since he likes it when I’m there and we have difficulty when I’m not (as I live 2hrs away) we have talked about me moving in and are considering it then both decided to “think about it”…..later. Okay with that.
    I know that in 2 months from now he will be going out of town for 2 wks to visit son and I will more than likely be the one to stay there with the dog. I want to approach the idea of moving in again maybe on a “trial” base around the time he will be leaving. I’m not going to approach the idea with him again for another month unless it comes up in conversation before then.
    I actually feel living with him will help me gage our relationship better. Almost like a make or break situation. We have both lived with 2 others before: he was married for 22 years and then exGF for 6 yrs; and It was 3yrs with one and 7yrs with other ex BF for me). His ex wife and him did fine(big house &kid helped I’m sure) but ex GF was constantly in face and had to do EVERYTHING together and was extremely insucure and couldn’t even go to store without asking what he’s doing(I met her, not exaggerating!!!). So when I’m there, yes I like for us to spend time together because only there a short time. But if live together I’m independant and like and no problem doing things by myself. In fact, I’ve even gone on vacations or camping by myself even while in relationships! I know he may be concerned that I’m just saying that and fears being smothered, that I can understand because I woudn’t like that either. I had told him “if I had both ex’s # he could ask them himself how I was”. Lol Hopefully we can get to this step….gracefully.
    We both believe “whats meant to be will be”! I hope we are.

  27. Well, Shelli, you’re a good woman. I know some women would leave once the guy gave the signal that he wanted them to.

    You could ask hm where you all stand in terms of relationship, but he may not know or he may be trying to avoid it. Some avoidants are truly afraid of the “where is this going?” talk because it means they have to draw a line in the sand and make a commitment either way.

    It’s good though that you’re independent — you’ll need to call on that independence lots. 🙂

  28. Hi there, I’ve been reading your site and having a look over the posts above and thought I’d share my experience with this. I am an ‘Avoidant” type (to the extreme it seems) and I’ve just begun therapy with a psychologist. Those above are struggling with the opposite and I’ve found it interesting to read their views on their partners.

    For me, I am so terrified of being alone, of being abandoned, that I push people away before they can even try. I am currently in a new relationship (5 months) with a strong, secure guy, and I have been struggling with this. It’s apparently common for Avoidant people to date people with “issues” as there is some common ground I guess… In this relationship, he has no issues! He’s from a great, loving, caring family and is secure and happy within himself – as much as I can see from a distance of course, because I don’t discuss feelings with him…I experience overwhelming feelings of jealousy and envy of everyone and everything and this rears its ugly head in relationships as I think that my partner is either cheating, or has feelings for someone else. I get so convinced that I make accusations and try to ‘pry’ for evidence… I think this may stem from my idea that I’m not lovable or something..

    I DO want to be loved, to love, to care and nurture someone and share with them, but I actually, really DO NOT know how…. I am constantly hiding things, I lie, I want to make myself sound better to him… even the smallest things. It’s just not right…

    Only just in the past two weeks, brought on by a slightly traumatic experience, something changed in me. I decided that I do not want to live like this, I do not want to treat my children like this and subsequently have them end up being the same, just as my mother did (I’m 25 years old and don’t have children yet) and I need to change. It’s the hardest thing, because where do you start? I decided to see a psychologist. I broke down at my doctors and just said, help, give me a name, someone that can help me. He wrote a referral to a local psychologist. I have been twice, and she is great. She brought my attention to Attachment Theory and, when I asked in exasperation whether I can ever be helped, she said yes, but it’s going to be hard. I am going to see her fortnightly for the next 12 months. Friends have been suspicious, and assumed that she is just in it for the money, but I don’t believe so. She has helped me so much already, and given me a sense of hope. I told my boyfriend just last night. It’s just so hard to be honest with him, I just fear that he will reject me.

    I don’t know whether he is ‘the one’, or whether our relationship will last. In my eyes, I sincerely hope so with all my heart, I truly believe that we can be happy. I constantly fear that he doesn’t feel the same, and I can’t shake the feeling, no matter what he says. But I’m going to try, and I’m going to stay positive and do all that I can to stop this behaviour, although I’ve been this way my whole life. It can be done. People should not live like this, although I guess a lot do for their entire lives.

    I would like some help though, with some things that I can do daily to continue this process – ie. is it good to talk about it with friends/family? How much honesty is too much? Possible positive thinking tools? I don’t have my next appt with the psychologist for two weeks, and I need some guidance as to how to not crumble and go backwards…

  29. Hi, welcome Cath! Glad to see an (self-aware) avoidant chiming in. 🙂

    I am not your psychologist (or a psychologist) so I’m not really “qualified” to tell you exactly how you should approach things. As always, I can only give you my experience and thoughts on what I’ve seen work and not work.

    First, you’re not the only one who fears rejection. It’s quite common. But don’t presume that your partner doesn’t feel the same — talk to him. If he’s a secure partner like you said, he just be forthright and glad that you’ve come to him with your concerns. I think it’s great to be honest.

    As for family and friends, I’m not sure how they fit in the mix. If you personally think that discussing things with them would help you feel more assured, then go for it.

  30. Hi Cath,

    I am interested to hear how you are doing with your brave decision to make positive changes. To give a little background, I am an anxious style, and my partner is avoidant. She is trying very hard to change, we are seeing a relationship counsellor, but is proving a struggle for her.

    Good luck, and I would be very happy if you could give us an update.

  31. Hi Rhys,

    It’s all going quite well, with a few ups and downs…

    I’ve continued to see the psychologist, I’ve been a further two times since the last time I wrote. We’ve now moved onto different methods, particularly talking through events from childhood to now to try to verbalise events or experiences that may have led to this avoidant behaviour. I now realise, I’m both avoidant and anxious (:/) and am pretty much stuck in between. I can be needy for affection, but pretty unable to give it!

    My relationship feels stronger than ever. I have been utilising some tools the psychologist taught me for whenever I feel a wave of panic, or doubt, jealousy or fear. I just stop and let the feeling exist, accept it, stay calm, take a few deep breaths, and let it pass. It’s getting easier. I’m becoming aware that it really is all in my head! And if it weren’t – if there was something sinister going on (as per my feelings) then I CAN handle it. I haven’t really discussed this with my boyfriend, I really don’t see the need, but I do let him know that I am doing okay and working things out.

    I used to get upset, and bottle it up, but just last week I had an encounter with someone I had a pretty serious relationship with for several years in the past. We caught up, it got a bit heated, and I ended up in tears.. usually I would have hidden away at home. But I called by boyfriend, told him briefly what had happened, and that company would be great. He seemed to appreciate me coming to him for support (not calling to have a whinge, or a break down, but just someone there). He didn’t push me away, he didn’t look down at me – all these things I was so sure would happen if I was honest!

    Now I don’t feel that I should expose him to every little drama that pops up, after all, he is a guy (:P) but the big change is that I’m not hiding anything.

    Ultimately, the biggest step is knowing that I can be honest, and that, even if this led to rejection, I can handle it, and it’s not my fault.

    Rhys, I think you just need to give constant reassurance to your partner, without smothering. Just give her time, let her know that you’re open to anything she has to throw at you, but that you don’t need her to give this to you. Just relax, be as honest as possible.

    It’s a hard slog hey!

    Good luck!

  32. My BF of almost 8 years just moved out and wont communicate. He is an avoidant, me anxious. We have been under a lot of stress, just got done building a house and my business is failing. Things got really bad and it was mostly my fault for him leaving.. Anger, drinking, push/pull stuff etc. He understands that we both contributed to this mess. When he left he said it was over and had no intentions on seeing me again, then said he was open to working on the relationship but is now avoiding me. He stops by for mail etc. Makes plans to do something fun, then nothing. He knows this hurts me because it’s what my father used to do to me. I told him that if it was over say it and we need to make a decision about the house. He doesn’t answer. He hasn’t removed all his belongings from house and is helping with the mortgage, hasn’t forwarded his mail and still on my phone plan. I am guessing he is unsure and just needs some space and wants me to get better. I am currently working on myself and doing well. My question is… How do I communicate with and avoidant once they are gone? He is very selective on what texts/emails he responds too and said it was ok for me to contact him. I am worried that no contact will backfire and too much contact will push him away. I want him to see my progress. Any advice would be great.

    more insight: he is in his 30’s and had 2 serious relationships, one me and the other his high school/college sweetheart. She wanted to get married. We see what happened there. Me, I was not pushing him to get married.

  33. Hi Trace,

    “My question is… How do I communicate with and avoidant once they are gone?”

    The answer is — you don’t!


    He is blowing hot and cold, won’t make up his mind. He’s doing all the things that drive anxious types crazy. He doesn’t want to commit. So I know it will be hard, but I wouldn’t worry about him.

  34. Loooooong post, for which I do apologize. Got rolling and could not stop. I needed the purge 😉

    Wow. I’m blown away. Like many other posters have written, I’ve stumbled upon this little gem of a site, and it’s been truly moving. I feel for many of you here, and wish to tell of my own experiences. in hope to offer encouragement to others, learn from you and further understanding of this issue.

    I’m 49, youthful, attractive, yet have issies, like many others ;-). I’m not absolutely certain of my attachment style, but it certainly is NOT avoidant. I would say it teeters between Secure and Anxious, depending on my partner and the dynamics of the relationship.

    At present, I’m STILL struggling with a divorce. I place high emphasis on still, because we divorced over three years ago; the relationship was intense, and lasted about two years. We dated less than half a year before I proposed, as I knew I wanted to spend my life with her. She gleemed when I proposed and said “yes” immediately, without hesitation. I had no doubt, she wanted to be with me. She is sexy, beautiful, succesful career, good earnings, and to outward appearances a really together person. What I discovered in the course of my marriage was that she is good at showing the world one face and me another.

    The story is long and arduous, so I will outline briefly what I experienced. I moved in with her and her eight year-old daughter (whose father has refused to see the daughter since my wife left him – my wife claims he is a psychopath and she left him when the child was one). She also claims to be the one to terminate every relationship and every job, no one leaves her. Sound familiar? Things were rough as guts. I was given no space. She is a perfectionist-minimalist, and anything I brought into the home (as you do, when you move in with someone) was met with repugnance. I soon found that I was not really moving in, but became a guest. I had little say in matters great and small. This woman is a control freak with a capital C. Naturally, I felt hurt. I was more concerned with the health of our relationship than whether or not the kettle matched the toaster. And this is a minor example. She seemed to dissaprove of everything I liked, did or believed. She would shut off the radio, change the channel on the TV, complain I was sitting in the wrong spot on the sofa, makes plans that concerned us both without consulting me first – you name it. I wanted to help in the house, but my way was wrong or insufficient – “it’s better I do it myself,” she would say. And, of course, she was unhappy I did not help and did not take initiative.

    I maintained my own hobbies, even though she has none to speak of. She would stay at home on weekends and wait for her daughter to decide what she wanted to do. If the daughter stayed home, she stayed home. If I did my thing, she would not be happy. More than once she called me and told me not to come home from wherever it was I happened to be (surfing, cycling, whatever). I came to discover she was drinking heavily, and she would be visibly impaired several nights a week,.She had a glass of wine in her hand the moment she came home from work. I suggested she had a problem, which she scoffed at. I didn’t know what I was talking about.

    So, yes, I tried gently to point these things out,,to little avail. Communicating was not a thing she was keen on. Doing, doing, doing, that was her thing. She knew best, Highly competitive. She appears strong, indepedent, and in command. That turned me on. And, yet, I began seriously questioning why this woman chose to be with me AT ALL. I am a strong personality, as well, and that created a serious power struggle. In the end, we just could not seem to find balance within our collective power. Fighting escalated. We tried therapy, but she seemed to be interested in proving I was the faulty party rather that finding mutual ground. I tried Imago therapy with her, in which you reflect the others feelings; you really are pushed to to open up. After one session she was a nervous wreck and refused to continue.

    AND, STILL; (here is where my recognition of her Avoidant personality comes into play), in the heat of an argument, I would go for a drive, and often get a call from HER DAUGHTER, saying mom is upset and crying, please come home. When I did, not a word from the Mrs. To outward appearances, it was as if nothing happened. She would busy herself with something in the home and not be open to talking at all. Cold, distant. She wanted me there, but ignored me when I was. No sign she was upset or had been crying.

    She was extremely jealous, even though I gave her no reason to doubt I was mad about her and was not in the least interested in other women. If I talked to someone in town, she would fume, shoot me daggers and even start flirting with another man. She went through my wallet once, found a number and called it, leaving a message to “stay away from my man.” I found this out, again from her daughter. Her eight year-old said out of the blue one day, “mom, you have to tell him.” When she did, I revealed the number was to a woman I met that offered to do some work for me. No apology – even though she was clearly disturbed by her own behavior..She NEVER apologized for anything, and often rationalized why things were never her fault or own undoing. Expert at projection, withholding, deflection, and poor accountability skills.

    I could go on with details, but the real clincher is that when I moved out six months later, after having put up with enough, she was enraged, threatening to divorce me if I did not move back that day. I told her she could get the papers and I would sign, if that was her manner of dealing with an obvious problem we needed to deal with constructively. I called her bluff, and she changed her tune. She then attempted to plead for me to come back. I knew she would shift gears the minute I caved, so I did get my own place. Her house was already on the market, and it had long been our plan to buy a new house that was OURS (my thought being I would be less of a guest if we started fresh). One late evening, she called me up drunk and aggressive, saying her house had been sold, and she had bought a new place… “are you in or out?” It was the first I had heard that she had a potential buyer for her place OR that she was thinking of buying anything else. Her reasoning was, she needed to strike while the iron was hot and could not wait on me to make her decision.

    I was so willing to make it work, I actually tried helping her get the new place in order. On the first visit I noted the mailbox: she dropped my last name from hers. Spoke volumes. Shorthy thereafter, it just went bust. She was ruder than usual, more dismissive. I became clinically depressed, and she could not deal with it at all. She saw me as weak. She said “what happened to the the strong man I fell in love with.” She tfinally told me to stay away. I asked how long. She glibly replied “I don’t know. If I decide I want to see you again I’ll contact you.” So I told her I would file for divorce, to which she replied…wait for it….”oh no, I don’t want a divorce.” WTF. Really?

    So guess what, I waited a year before I filed, picking up the pieces of my life. She invested all her energy in remodelling her new home, apparently unconcerned and oblivious to my needs, pain, the fact I was struggling with depression. I was on my own, a burden which she did not want to deal with. In the end, when I finally sent the papers, she still said she was not asking for a divorce. My reply was simple. sign!

    After that, virtiually no contact, until she texted me months later on my birthday, to which I did not reply. Three months later, she texted wishing me “happy anniversary” on our wedding day – after we had divorced. But that was it. She would text me on special occassions, until it petered out. What she hoped to achieve, I am clueless to decipher. Perhaps another Avoidant would be kind enough to clue me in?

    I have reestablished contact with her again. She claims she would have never contacted me, if I hadn’t first. One evening she was very drunk, in tears and was an emotional wreck. Her mother had come around to put out some flames (her daughter, now 13, has clinical OCD and is also a mess). Suddenly, I hear the ex exclaim to her mother “I love him and want to be with him again!.” Shock. And guess what? That is the last I’ve heard her exclaim anything of that nature. I’ve since heard, among many things, that she left me because I am terminally ill since I had a depression and ADHD, my economical sitaution is poor (it isn’t at all. I own no property, but have no debt and make as much as she does), and that we never loved each other at all, we were merely erotically infatuated and confused love with sex. When I confronted her about these things once she said “I didn’t mean them all, I say alot of things.”

    She is still drinking, still denying, still avoiding, still unpredictable and blowing hot and cold, as @Alee wrote to another poster. I’m certain she has issues that go beyond Avoidant. But it was her reluctance to give me a compliment, tell me what and how she felt about me, acknowledge I was a person in which she saw something special and wonderful, acknowledge my abilities and my positive attributes (you DID fall in love with and marry me, it is not a secret!) that drove me bats*** crazy. I’ll never understand her. But I do still find her attractive, and I do miss her wonderful qualities. It’s a damn tragedy.

    All thoughts and comments welcome! I STILL feel guilt, shame, and see my actions as a failure. I convince myself I could have avoided this, should have done more and must be terribly defective to have been part of something so destructive.


    My husband and I have been together 8 years and have 3 beautiful boys together! From the beginning there was a cycle present of my needing reassurance and affection from him and him telling me he loves me but just doesn’t know how else to show it besides helping with chores/duties. He is very work focused and escapes into his mind, remaining quiet most of the time. He values alone time, I require social interactions. I require physical connection and touch, human interaction.

    Since our marriage, I have gradually developed anxiety and bouts of depression to the point I was hospitalized last month for a nervous breakdown. The stress of raising our young children coupled with several long distance moves and sacrificing myself for him to obtain his PhD and post-doctoral appt and now first private industry job has proven difficult as I’m isolated in new places without friends (and emotional support) constantly. I do not question whether there is genuine love and respect present on both sides of our relationship, but the inability to effectively show it in the way the other recognizes is an ongoing issue. This is especially true when it come to sex – he is so attractive (as am I) and I cannot seem to understand why he avoids sex along with affection (even a hug or kiss) or words of kindness and appreciation. Nothing. He is like a sealed vault 98% of the time.

    Last night he opened up to me that he wants to act on his feelings (a year ago he had said he didn’t even recognize having feelings – so this is progress for an introvert that bottles up, imo), but he feels awkward in knowing HOW to express those feelings of adoration to me. I started to do online research last night and not only discovered that he is an AVOIDANT attachment style, but that I am no longer a secure attachment style of my late teen years and have become ANXIOUS attachment style once again as I was in my childhood. The outlook seems grim for this combination, he doesn’t want me to suffer any more and has offered to allow me to move on while at the same time saying he wants to better himself as he has been enjoying people more and more over the past year.

    To add to the complexity of our relationship, what has changed in the last year is that we have become swingers – this opened up our communication with each other in amazing ways and also allowed us to safely explore relationships with others without losing our family foundation. The conflicts with our attachment styles have arisen again with added life stresses (money, kids, schedules, etc) and taking a break from having sex socially with friends.

    At this point, I’m weighing in on the likelihood that we can both change into secure attachment types and keep our family intact versus the scary but perhaps practical thought of separation and starting again each on our own. Has anyone had success in utilizing multiple coping methods during therapy to maintain and improve the main relationship?

  36. @Emc2Wife. I was married to an Avoidant, and our relationship did not survive. Unlike you, I did not feel a deep sense of mutual love and respect. I believe my wife’s attraction to me was, and remains, intense, Unfortunately, she had many emotional issues we could not discuss openly and was not a competent negotiator when it came to personal relationships. Our sex life was fantastic, but outside the bedroom our interactions were riddled with problems. Couples therapy seemed to widen the gap rather than close it. I became severely depressed and my wife then closed off. She cut off contact, claiming she did not want a divorce. After a year of little contact I filed and ended it.

    Your story sounds different than my own, in many respects,. However, you appear to be in need of validation that you are loved. Despite claiming there is no doubt love and mutual respect are present, something appears to be seriously lacking and your needs are unfulfilled. If you’ve previously felt secure in your other relationships, and are now feeling anxious in this one, the dynamic in your attachment styles could be the cause. That you have been hospitalized with severe depression is no small thing. Is your disatisfaction with your marriage the root cause of your emotional breakdown? If it is the primary source, you may need to acknowledge that this relationship could be toxic for you. The other possibility is you have unresolved issues that could be addressed and ease your longing for more overt validation. You’re claiming you KNOW he loves you, and if this is true, why are you anxious? Do you fear he will abandon you?

    You’re goal of wanting both you and your husband to form a more secure attachment style will take work, as you know, I believe it will require an understanding of what your needs are and how to have these fulfilled. You will both need to compromise and meet somewhere, talking about what you need in concret details. As an example, if he is not showing you enough affection, how can he begin to to this? Must he tell you more often what he is thinking and feeling. Must he touch you more. Should he take initiative in the bedroom. On that note: Is swinging helping you two? I would personally not feel more secure watching my wife enjoy sex with other men if I were already feeling insecure about her feelings for me.

  37. Gosh, these comments were from a year ago.

    I’ve been seeing a man for almost 3 years. We’re both single. He’s never spent the night. I’ve met some of his co-workers, but none of his friends/family. He’s been welcomed to meet my family/friends but he always declines. I don’t think he’s dating anyone else but he does have a close friend, a married woman. I’m jealous of her. He texts her when he’s with me. He’s not divulged such, but she’s told me. Her husband refer’s to my friend, as his wife’s boyfriend. It’s sort of a joke, I guess. My friend doesn’t contact me, and of course, not want to see me on holidays or the days associated with holidays. (Well, I think he copies me on group texts, but I’m not sure they’re group texts.) Shoot, as I write this, publically, I see how warped it sounds. He is kind to me. He is a public figure, everyone likes him. Admires him. Lots of women want to be with him. Oh, my, I sound pathetic.

  38. I have been in a relationship like this for 7 years. Yes 7 years!! Bloody crazy… Let me tell you. Fights over nothing as my love avoidant says and does things to Push me away.

    It’s so painful to try to get close to a love advoidant. At first I thought I wasn’t good enough, then I thought if I pull away he will come to me more, tell me more about his thoughts and feelings and be more intimate.
    Nope never did..actually A little when I was over it.

    He then would always come hanging around ( when i was over it) and be charming then when we begin the relationship again he would disappear for a few days and call me in between work occasionly but one thing I notice is he would never consider my feelings about issues such as planning to see each other ( just around his work he worjked night & day.. Part of the avoidant thing) wouldnt talk about moving in together, planning trips or just simple things like ask me what I did that day or plans for the week. I found it weird. But the funny thing is now I realize it. My father is like this and my mother. So what chances did I have I thought this behavior was some what normal.

    I’m so hurt and feel so stupid for trying to be with this man. Especially as it was from the start of my thirties now near the end and I didn’t manage to have a family with him.

    Picking myself back up and moving forward and away from this crazy relationship is what I’m trying to do at the moment. I think being aware of my play in this relationship and why I stayed. And not to get into another relationship like this is what I need to focus on. well just focusing on being happy and stress free feels awesome at the moment.

    Reading the above articles educates you in the physiology behavior of a love advoidant and re assures you your doing the right thing to move on. When it comes to the anxious partner getting so sick and unwell that you can’t function normally due to the emotional stress the relationship brings.

    Please if your in this type of relationship seek the professional help within the first year if you want to make it work with him/ her aboutand if you can work through the issues within the fist year then u might have a chance.

    Don’t waste your time on this type of relationship for as long as I did.

    That felt good to get off my chest.., phew!
    Anyhow i Hope it helps anyone with same problem.

  39. Well, well, well…my “anxious attachment” has been validated, Dab! The day after Christmas, while I was very ill, he asked for a separation and moved into the guest quarters. That quickly progressed into his wanting a divorce and an immediate custody and support settlement that was legally binding. It moved at warp speed! He has been passively aggressively acting out against me with lots of rage and anger in the past 6 weeks through this process. I’m simple – I told him exactly what I needed very clearly and even ways to accomplish that – he refused to do them. A simple peck kiss once a week is not too much to ask after being married nearly a decade, imo. Anyways, I thought you might like an update – it would appear the differences are just too much as far as attachment styles with an avoidant and anyone.

  40. I am SO glad I found this site. I’ve been dealing with an avoidant man for almost 6 months now and it’s making me insane. Hot & cold, wants to be with me one week but then doesn’t contact me for another week. Makes plans but then flakes out. Won’t open up, and runs away when I open up or any kind of intimacy occurs. I’ve broken up with him and cut him off several times, but he always comes back but then disappears again. The “last time” he told me it was “best for [him] if we don’t keep contact” so I accepted it, moved on and forgot about him. Then he comes back telling me he’s ready to be open, ready to work at a relationship despite his crazy work schedule (he works nights, sometimes 12+ hr days, he’s a total workaholic!)… we get together then BOOM! Disappears.
    I’m an anxious woman and I have dated secure men, but this guy is like no other. It was too the point where I started to wonder if he had multiple personalities or something, and I was the one getting this hot/cold, persistant/aloof version.

    Now I know. Thank you, everyone. It’s really not worth working out with him– it causes me too much pain and I start to internalize it. I don’t need this shit.

    THANK YOU! 🙂

  41. Thanks for sharing. Here’s my $0.02…

    An anxious man, I’ve been dating my avoidant gf for 6 months. Things have been great. I thought, and to an extent still do think, that we understand each other’s differences, and have been able to overcome them with relative ease. Until the last few weeks…

    It seems the problems, for us, arose when I (the anxious one) was feeling particular low and looking for a crutch, at a time when she (avoidant) was seeking a bit of distance. Previously our ‘ebbs and flows’ have been at times when we’ve been able to help each other, but it’s when I was a little weaker than usual that the problem came.

    The challenge I have is, (1) getting my partner to understand, and appreciate, my needs, and (2) to help me to overcome my insecurities ASAP. When I need reassurance, if it doesn’t come quickly, I’m in trouble… I’ll keep pushing for affection, and my mind will be racing with all sorts of NATs.

    Having started to feel this way this week, I’ve tried to explain attachment theory to my gf, as a means of explaining my different needs. It seems it’s falling on deaf ears, and is only serving to extend the cycle.

    I know that my gf loves me, but has trouble showing this. And I know that often my anxious thoughts are completely unfounded. But it seems this is only useful if shared by both partners.

    I’m not sure how it will end up; I hope that we can understand each other a little better and be more sensitive to each others needs. But I fear that the cycle has started, and will continue to worsen. We’ll see…

  42. Wow, this site is a gem. For a few months, I ‘dated’ a guy like this: he seemed affectionate, caring, kind, and understanding. We were intimate, which was quite satisfying to m but the moment I told him I wanted us to spend more time together, he ended things. He just stopped calling, texting, and visiting. We’ve remained quarterly platonic friends over the years. His chief preferred manner of communication is texting so we’ll text one another every day for about two weeks, causing me to form an anxious and emotional attachment, but for some reason or another, he will stop texting me. This leaves me experiencing withdrawal, trying to put my life back together in his absence. He’s so witty, charming, and cool, that I always seem to feel like an addict when we don’t communicate. I have to wane myself from him. I’m still attracted to him so I’ve been wondering if it’s me that is causing the problems but the more comments I’ve read, the more I understand that he is an avoidant type: he doesn’t reassure me in our friendship, rarely compliments, seems disinterested at times, and drives me crazy. But in contrast, he will oddly appear receptive and almost as if he needs to connect. He’s admittedly denounced marriage and commitment. I also notice how I always have to suggest when we hang out. And even if he wants to be intimate with me again, I am sure he would never reveal his feelings because it means he’ll have to get closer to me, or anyone. It’s so sad and frustrating for me. I really care for him. But I understand through the resounding advice in this post that I’ve got to kick this bad habit for good. 😦

  43. Thankyou! I found the post very interesting, and the comments.
    I definitely recognise this relationship pattern. Apparently I fall into a slightly secure/slightly anxious category but the man I was dating seemed to display much stronger signs of being dismissive or sometimes even anxious – it strikes me that there are similarities and crossovers between these two types in behaviour even though they’re presented as being somewhat opposite.
    I’m so glad I’ve found this post as it’s helped me to understand what was going on which has been really bothering me and making it difficult to move on even though we broke up several months ago. I was left without anything that to me constituted real closure or a good reason to abandon our relationship but now at least I can maybe see some of the underlying motivation for his reaction to the relationship.
    In a nutshell – we were seeing each other for several months and he worked a lot so it was difficult to see each other very often, but I think once a week or so is necessary really. All of the above scenarios of being workaholic, our making plans and his breaking them, being un-contactable/available only when they want to be/ preferring text or instant messages to speaking on the phone or in person, not talking about issues are all sounding very familiar to me. On the other hand he can be very caring and insightful at times and was there at one point when I needed him most so it’s difficult to let go but when I wanted to talk about things (like we were rarely able to see each other, sometimes going weeks between dates) we never got as far as a conversation. We met up as agreed, to talk, but he already had decided that we shouldn’t see each other any more. A very painful thing to adjust to as my perception was that we should try to make more time for each other and his perception was that we should break up.
    Well, we don’t speak very much anymore, which for me is very sad as we were friends before and spoke a lot and he is missed very much from my life. I have tried to contact him on occasion in the hope that we can remain friends at least but it continues to be very one-sided with me doing the contacting and when he readily agreed to meet up with me one time, he then failed to show up or let me know why he couldn’t make it.
    So now I leave it alone and am trying to move on. It’s difficult but it helps to have a better understanding of what was probably going on, so thankyou. I never would have had an explanation from my ex partner.

  44. Wow, some of these comments I am reading are like a replica of my present relationship.
    I fall under the ‘Anxious’ category, unfortunately, and like many others, I run straight into the arms of avoidants.

    Since I hate being alone, I have tried to find ‘The One’ countless times. I am only young (20 years old) and have been stung more times I care to think about. From the day I lost my virginity to my very first boyfriend, nothing has gone right for me.
    I find that I often confuse my emotional hunger with love. I leap head first into things and often get burnt after only to repeat the vicious cycle all over again. My worst relationship was my longest one. We were together for 18 months and all during those months I experienced extreme highs and lows. I felt alone most times in the relationship which I discovered was a lot worse than actually being alone. My behaviour was erratic at times but I can safely say he had brought my insecurities up to a whole new level. After a final 8 months of being in a long distance relationship with him and eventually finding out he had been cheating and landed a young girl pregnant, I mustered up the strength to end it and move on.

    I rebounded twice shortly afterward then actually found someone I genuinely liked. We had spoken as friends earlier during the year but he disappeared for over a month (first warning sign) and we eventually started talking again where I developed feelings. Because of his childhood, he has an avoidant attachment which I found out very early on.I did try suppressing my feelings for him but when I found out he felt the same we ended up getting involved with each other. Since then I have only seen him 3 times and it has been a constant battle. He sometimes shows his affection, letting me know he does genuinely care and his feelings for me are real but other times (like now) he detaches himself. At the moment he is M.I.A and I do not want to keep harassing him in fear of pushing him away. This kills me especially since I need affection but I am determined not to get in the same destructive relationship as before and worsen my attachment… Now it’s just finding the strength to just be friends and hope my feelings for him will eventually fade. He does not seem willing to compromise because of his fierce independence so I think I’m left with no choice. Sad really, considering we feel a great deal for each other and I’m willing to do everything under the sun to make this work.

    But you know what they say. ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me’.

    I would be a fool to allow myself to go through that emotional turmoil again!!

  45. So so so useful thank you so much. I have been staying up often trying to understand why my wife has behaved in such a distancing way, out of the blue, leaving me clue-less. I’ve been writing pages trying to understand, and achieving a lot through enormous will to overcome this relationship that i call mediocre. But we have 3 kids aged 6 to 13 in no way do i want to part. I have an idea that reading this website helped spring up: avoidants (I am the opposite) are so as a form of protection from fear, insecurity. Wouldn’t they be better off with less insecurity ? And if so would they not be less avoidant ? Same for the anxious, if they worked on their core insecurity, wouldn’t they become less anxious ? For me the answer is to express my Higher self and open up to the vast world of self realization, activities, high hopes, interest with anything else that she. So the world can outweigh her. I think there is sense in that, whatever happens after, whether she regains interest for me or not. It’s a no regret action.

  46. I’m married to a self identified avoidant (13 years)
    During separation we were intimate on many levels and divorce was not on the table.
    A few months ago she met with her ex husband who had no contact or financial support of her or their child. She said he purpose of the meeting was for their child.
    She admitted emotional reconnection. But said nothing was going on.
    Guess what? Upon return our dating stopped along with HER talk of buying a new place togetherand renewing wedding vows overseas (her idea).
    She still said nothing is going on.
    She then said she wants a divorce because I do.
    When I said that I didn’t she said we are still getting a divorce.
    Applying, filing and serving takes a day. It has been nearly 3 months!
    When I sent her an email (her preferred communication channel) about our relationship, she replied asking me if I was saying I wanted her to go back to him? I never mentioned him in the email!
    She also stated she is happy to be single the rest of her life yet the day before had thrown the allusion out there of if she is with someone it is none of my business.
    She has changed her name back to her maiden name.
    She has become friendly (social not intimate) face to face on occasion but still says we are getting a divorce….

  47. Hi everyone, i have been in a relationship with a guy for nearly a year ( 8 months to be exact). I just started found out he is an avoidant . If i knew he were this avoidant , i have been dumping him long ago even though i have attemped it so many times. I think i am the anxious attachment , very high on this. I could be secure at first but when i believe in the person, I started to change completely. He was sweet and so needy to me at first, tall guy 6″4 , phd student , social guy, everyone loves him, people potraited him as a nice and down to earth guy only when I dated him for sometimes I realized he is not like that. At the first three months, last summer we started dating after being friends for a year. He had a history whereas he and his ex cheated on each other . They ended because his ex cheated on him with several guys at a time and those guy contacted him( they were in long distance relationship) . At first, i did not think much. I think past is past. I just worried about the fact he did not use condom when he cheated and when he had make up sex ( after the first cheated of both of them) with his ex. They ended a year before meeting me. I got him tested for STDs before we had sex though we still used condom. Everything went extremly well since the summer till early start of Sept. We got so busy and he was so popular till the point i felt insecured , we started having sex without condom because he started loosing interest of sex with condom even before it he is ok with that sex and loves it ( he told me) . I started feeling insecure and we started had a lot of fights, and during the fight , he started saying things like” i dont love you /I just pretend to love you/ maybe i am lying with myself/ ….even before that he did a lot of things like bought me expensive stuffs, picking me up at work sending me off to work almost everyday, etc…i dont think he is pretending but that s what he told me ! I felt extremly hurt . And things went on that cycle everytime we fought . One big fight was he gave me a ban on sex / kisses/ intimacies/ . Even now if we fought, he wont touch me or let me touch him. Just even a hug a hand holding . Totally No! We fought , he said things like above more , we made up, we got back . Winter came , we went on a trip together. I planned to dump him on the trip . It was so hard but he pledged on me . Not that kind of begging, just said he still love me. My heart melt. I failed! We got back things got worst . The same cycle thing happened he is Even more cruel. I cried even more. I have been up and down with him . I dont really want to give up but just dont know how can i hold on. I became more insecure since he is more popular and many peole are kind of loving him they even commented he is so good ( but deep down only I and my close friends knew) . He asked me to stop caring for him that much which he used to want it. He asked me to go back to like we met when i did not give a shit about him but he is silent when i asked him would he be back to himself at that time as well. I totally dont know how can i trust him. I dont know what should I do. My counselling advised to do couple counselling . I am arranging but i dont know whether he wants to go because he always think the problems are mine not is his at all. I went away for 3 days and he only occasionally texted me. When i am back, i asked him do you miss me . He replied that he is ok . I asked more. He replied it is good to have you back but I enjoyed my time a lot. I never forbidden him to have his man time. I just dont know how to trust him. This really bothering me . I am trying to withdraw myself , kept myself even busy but the fact is always there. I could not concentrate…i dont know whether we has no hope. He said he does want to break up everytime we fought but he said some part of him still wants to try and i am feeling the same for myself.

  48. I am married to an avoidant type. I should have seen the signs from the beginning, but truth is he’s only gotten worse since I’ve married him. He’s perfectly content if he doesn’t touch me, actually I think touching me is unpleasant for him, only touches me when he wants sex and it’s not even sweet. He doesn’t need to connect with me really. If I express my emotions, I’m needy and clingy. It’s horrible. He always walks five steps ahead of me. I think I’m starting to make peace that this is who I married, and although it hurts me deeply because I crave security and love, I am ready to move on emotionally in order to protect myself. I hate it. But I have too because he will never see how it hurts our relationship. I have two little ones and it’s not easy for me to divorce and walk away. Plus, he hasn’t done anything horrible, except not be open towards me. We have tried counseling before but he isn’t in to it anymore. Anyone out there live with an avoidant? And has made it?

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