Having an avoidant attachment style can make our relationships with others feel distant and disconnected. We may find ourselves anxious, misunderstanding our partner's intention, and unfulfilled. Though these reactions can be tough to navigate, a compassionate approach to understanding our partners with avoidant attachment can help us create deeper connections and healthier relationships going forward.
Understanding Avoidant Attachment
When we enter relationships, we have various attachment styles that influence our behavior. Avoidant attachment is when we try to control our emotions or behave indifferently to avoid feeling too overwhelmed, vulnerable, or exposed. This style of attachment is often developed in childhood in response to feeling as if our caregivers weren't available or receptive to our needs.
When someone has an avoidant attachment style, they struggle with expressing vulnerability while under stress. They might have difficulty displaying trust or opening up to their partner completely. They may appear guarded, aloof, or unwilling to commit because of their need to protect themselves from intimacy and connection. They may even view relationships as more trouble than worth.
Compassionate Ways to Connect With Someone Who Has Avoidant Attachment
Though it can be difficult for a partner with avoidant attachment to open up and connect emotionally, that doesn't mean relationships are out of the question. With patience and understanding, a compassionate approach can help cultivate meaningful connections. Here are a few things you can do if you're in a relationship with someone with avoidant attachment:
1. Set Healthy Boundaries: When someone has an avoidant attachment style, it can be easy to take things personally or become frustrated when they don't show emotional engagement. Setting boundaries can help us communicate how we want to be treated during times of stress. It's important to express what our boundaries are for ourselves and for our partner so everyone feels respected in the relationship.
2. Practice Self-Compassion: Being in a relationship with someone who is guarded can be difficult at times. Practicing self-compassion will help us learn how to take care of ourselves and not take on the burden of our partner's negative emotions. Taking care of ourselves helps us be better able to show love and compassion to our partner.
3. Encourage Open Communication: It's important to talk with our partner without expecting immediate expressions of intimacy or vulnerability. Instead, listen without judgment and encourage them to share feelings on their own timetable. This will help create a space where they feel safe, appreciated, and that what they say is taken seriously.
4. Show Support & Genuine Interest: When we have an avoider partner, it can be hard to know what they need or want from us. Showing genuine support and interest by asking questions and really listening to their response can go a long way in creating trust and openness in the relationship. We should also make sure we are giving our partner compliments and making plans for the future together.
Though having an avoidant attachment style can make relationships feel disconnected at times, compassionate understanding helps us foster more intimate connections. By setting healthy boundaries, practicing self-compassion, encouraging communication, and showing support and genuine interest in our partner, we can strengthen our relationships going forward.