Jump to content

Avoidant Attachment Style


Recommended Posts

I'm a 37 year old male with an attachment style that tends to flip flop between Secure and Anxious. I find I flip to an Anxious style when I date girls with an Avoidant style. I recently started dating a 38 year old female who I'm just discovering has this Avoidant style.

 

I guess I'm conflicted because one part of me wants to just cut her lose and move on to something else because I've never had much success with women possessing this type of attachment. I find they end up wearing down my emotional state and it takes me a little longer to recover once the dysfunctional relationship ends. However, I really like her, we have a lot of things in common, I find her very attractive and we share similar goals and dreams.

 

Does anyone familiar with Avoidant styles have any advice on how best to approach and deal with them? Any tips on how to protect yourself?

 

Thank you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s probably best to find someone who isn’t the avoidant type as someone who’s attached. I’m the attached type and I know it would be a toxic dynamic for me if I dated someone avoidant.

 

There has to be a balance.

 

You need someone who can be nurturing, and show affection but not overly clingy and have their own interests.

 

If this woman is avoidant and you’re feeling insecure right away that’s not a good sign.

 

You’re right to worry.

 

I suggest you listen to what you’re own needs are. I’m sure she’s nice enough but ultimately it’s up to you and what you want for long term.

 

Never settle just because someone is nice enough.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you "just started dating someone", maybe their style is not "avoidant." Its too early to know what their style is. But because they barely know you, maybe you are interpreting the lack of them wanting to overshare and cling as "avoidant" when really, they are very secure and loving women that are just not into you or have an appropriate dating style of slowly getting to know someone or going on multiple coffee dates before pairing off. Maybe they are not "avoidant" - they are just not clicking wth you/don't feel a strong attraction.

 

Maybe its a good idea to not psychologically label women, go on a second date with a woman who reciprocates interest and don't chase or label women who don't want to

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I’d chill with diagnosing people you hardly know. Leave that to the professionals, you know? If you’re dating someone who makes you anxious and insecure in your own skin—well, that’s a fine reason to call it a bad match. What good comes from turning it into an academic dissertation?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Personally, I’d chill with diagnosing people you hardly know. Leave that to the professionals, you know? If you’re dating someone who makes you anxious and insecure in your own skin—well, that’s a fine reason to call it a bad match. What good comes from turning it into an academic dissertation?

 

If you are afraid of commitment, it eases the mind for it to always be someone else's fault/someone else's baggage, when its actually you. So labeling women as avoidant, etc, vs "eh, she's not interested, so what? next" or "maybe i myself am a bit too clingy" bolsters the inner narrative

Link to post
Share on other sites
It’s probably best to find someone who isn’t the avoidant type as someone who’s attached. I’m the attached type and I know it would be a toxic dynamic for me if I dated someone avoidant.

 

There has to be a balance.

 

You need someone who can be nurturing, and show affection but not overly clingy and have their own interests.

 

If this woman is avoidant and you’re feeling insecure right away that’s not a good sign.

 

You’re right to worry.

 

I suggest you listen to what you’re own needs are. I’m sure she’s nice enough but ultimately it’s up to you and what you want for long term.

 

Never settle just because someone is nice enough.

 

Thanks for the reply!

 

I felt insecure for a few days because the behavior change was such a surprise after how aggressive she pursued, but after backing off and reasserting myself that insecurity has turned in to annoyance.

 

We're supposed to get together later this weekend so I think I'll attempt to discuss my concerns with her then. If it leads to a negative outcome so be it. At this point I don't feel like I'll lose anything.

Link to post
Share on other sites
If you "just started dating someone", maybe their style is not "avoidant." Its too early to know what their style is. But because they barely know you, maybe you are interpreting the lack of them wanting to overshare and cling as "avoidant" when really, they are very secure and loving women that are just not into you or have an appropriate dating style of slowly getting to know someone or going on multiple coffee dates before pairing off. Maybe they are not "avoidant" - they are just not clicking wth you/don't feel a strong attraction.

 

Maybe its a good idea to not psychologically label women, go on a second date with a woman who reciprocates interest and don't chase or label women who don't want to

 

I fail to see how I've labelled women at all. I'm talking about a single person in a specific sequence of events. I'm not talking about women in general.

 

For the sake of simplicity I kept my original post short. I do not have the time to write out long posts detailing everything that's led me to this conclusion. I will share a few for the sake of painting a more accurate picture. She was clingy and did overshare - abandonment issues, anxiety and depression in the past, asked me questions about hypothetical scenarios involving us being married, living together, having kids. This stuff and more came out on or prior to date one!

 

After our first date I even gave her an easy out. I told her if she didn't feel a spark no hard feelings. She doubled down but at the same time started to withdraw to the point where she's almost nonexistent.

 

That's a very short version of events that led me to assume she has an avoidant attachment style. She was all guns blazing until it became real, then slowly withdrew without taking opportunities I've provided to back right out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why are you gauging someone by how they respond to your “easy outs”? Do you not trust her to be able to reach her own conclusions?

 

“No spark, no hard feelings” at the end of a first date is a trap, no? It’s also a pretty solid way to snuff out a spark (i.e. cause someone to back away slowly) or turn it into something strange. Just something to consider. I get being anxious about whether or not someone is feeling you—dating 101, right there—but tossing out the eggshells that early doesn’t really do anyone any favors.

 

Seems you’re choosing to make insecurity a bonding point, then getting annoyed when you end up feeling insecure. My armchair diagnosis—to be fused with your own or discarded as you see fit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not how I'm gauging her. Like I said there is plenty to the story but I was looking for a simple answer to a simple question - how does one approach or deal with someone who has an avoidant attachment style.

 

I don't understand the need to deconstruct this into something else. Why not take my original post at face value? Assume someone out in this crazy world has stumbled across another human being with an avoidant attachment style and is asking for guidance on how to deal with that type? What's so difficult with that?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like perhaps I've implied somehow that I am anxious if she decides to reject me. This is simply not the case. I'm on here seeking guidance because I feel like she IS interested but is withdrawing due to what I ASSUME is an avoidant attachment style brought on by abandonment issues from her childhood. The goal being that I might gain some valuable advice that may further this relationship.

 

Yes, I am no expert in psychology but that doesn't mean I'm clueless on the subject either or have zero experience. I also realize I am making an assumption about her based on little information (in the greater scope of things) much like some of you have made assumptions about me.

 

I have chosen to try these forums as a means of exploring this assumption rather than acting immature and just accusing her. At some point I'll either have to decide to break it off because the relationship dynamic doesn't work for me, or attempt to communicate this to her if the status quo remains.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Does she believe she has issues, OP?

 

Because if she doesn't, there really is very little you can do. She would have to want to change and you can't help her along if she doesn't agree with your assessment that she has a problem. If you know you're attracted to women who keep you at a distance, the best thing to do is ask yourself why you stay. You would be the common denominator here, and you can't change other people, so your only real option is to figure out why you're consistently going for women who are not compatible with you.

 

I know you don't seem to feel this applies here, but you might simply be looking at a case of a woman who has indeed lost interest in the relationship for any number of reasons.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Does she believe she has issues, OP?

 

Because if she doesn't, there really is very little you can do. She would have to want to change and you can't help her along if she doesn't agree with your assessment that she has a problem. If you know you're attracted to women who keep you at a distance, the best thing to do is ask yourself why you stay. You would be the common denominator here, and you can't change other people, so your only real option is to figure out why you're consistently going for women who are not compatible with you.

 

I know you don't seem to feel this applies here, but you might simply be looking at a case of a woman who has indeed lost interest in the relationship for any number of reasons.

 

I honestly don't know if she currently believes she has issues or not. I can confirm that she believes she did at one point in the past but it's not clear how far back that was. Her last romantic relationship was damaging as well, according to her own statements. That ended 2 years ago.

 

Believe me, I am aware that I'm the common denominator in these types of relationships that I've been in and I keep asking myself why I put myself back in these situations. I'm sure it has something to do with the dysfunctional relationship my parents had when I was younger. We all have our own issues...

 

I have considered she's lost interest yet when I backed away and implemented no contact with her it was she who initiated which seemed to confirm again that she may have an avoidant attachment style. I pulled back which allowed her to feel comfortable to come back in. So that along with her confirmation to move forward, agreeing to see me again and even asking for reassurance that she hadn't upset me one evening indicates there is some interest there.

 

It's been my experience with women and online dating that if they aren't interested they simple won't talk to you, even if you've already met in person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever the case, pace yourselves. Do not crowd people and apply appropriate boundaries. Try not to pigeonhole everyone into one of two boxes. That is your biggest mistake. Therapy to understand yourself and the complexities of human nature would help you tremendously. It's not as simple as "protect yourself" with extreme black and white thinking.

 

Learn to get to know someone slowly and that people are much more complex and interpersonal dynamics entail a lot more than one of two "styles". Once you drop these labels for yourself and others you'll be able to see clearly and make more intelligent individualized assessments about someone.

I'm a 37 year old male with an attachment style that tends to flip flop between Secure and Anxious. I find I flip to an Anxious style when I date girls with an Avoidant style. I recently started dating a 38 year old female who I'm just discovering has this Avoidant style.
Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't understand the need to deconstruct this into something else. Why not take my original post at face value? Assume someone out in this crazy world has stumbled across another human being with an avoidant attachment style and is asking for guidance on how to deal with that type? What's so difficult with that?

 

I think this is excellent, face-value advice:

 

Learn to get to know someone slowly and that people are much more complex and interpersonal dynamics entail a lot more than one of two "styles". Once you drop these labels for yourself and others you'll be able to see clearly and make more intelligent individualized assessments about someone.

 

There are a wealth of how-to-date-avoidant and how-to-cope-with-an-avoidant guides on the internet. I personally can't join in on that chorus, because I don't believe it fosters a healthy attitude for sincere connection: not within, not with others. All in all, if you find yourself struggling to be curious about someone, if you quickly find yourself needing to "figure them out" in order to breathe easier, it's a good sign of incompatibility.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're getting in your own way of finding a good match by all this focus on academic dissertations as bluecastle put it and really what devolves into psychobabble. Dating is hard enough without sabotaging it in this way.

 

Reminds me of a great Sex and the City episode -Carrie decides to go to therapy. She meets a cute guy in the waiting room. They date then have sex. After sex she asks "so why are you in therapy?" He replies "because whenever I'm really interested in a woman then sleep with her I lose interest right after" (not verbatim but that was the point). Last date of course.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I have considered she's lost interest yet when I backed away and implemented no contact with her it was she who initiated which seemed to confirm again that she may have an avoidant attachment style. I pulled back which allowed her to feel comfortable to come back in. So that along with her confirmation to move forward, agreeing to see me again and even asking for reassurance that she hadn't upset me one evening indicates there is some interest there.

 

 

It really comes down to something very simple - is this ^ the kind of games and the kind of toxic dynamic that you want to engage in when it comes to relationships? If yes, carry on. If not, stop.

 

If you grew up with parents demonstrating dysfunction, then it's on you to heal and change your ways for the better. The day you became an adult, you became responsible for your life and the choices that you personally make, so you can't keep blaming your parents for your own life and choices. One choice that you have is fixing your issues and the damage from the past so you can move forward and enjoy healthy fulfilling relationships with the right partner, including learning how to choose the right partner and avoid toxic ones. You have an option to unlearn toxic and learn what healthy is and live that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It really comes down to something very simple - is this ^ the kind of games and the kind of toxic dynamic that you want to engage in when it comes to relationships? If yes, carry on. If not, stop.

 

If you grew up with parents demonstrating dysfunction, then it's on you to heal and change your ways for the better. The day you became an adult, you became responsible for your life and the choices that you personally make, so you can't keep blaming your parents for your own life and choices. One choice that you have is fixing your issues and the damage from the past so you can move forward and enjoy healthy fulfilling relationships with the right partner, including learning how to choose the right partner and avoid toxic ones. You have an option to unlearn toxic and learn what healthy is and live that.

 

Yes, totally this. I grew up in an often stressful situation because of one parents' mental illness and then got to witness my sister marrying young to the love of her life/crazy love/over the moon love- here comes the bride -while I the younger one struggled to find a good match, compared myself unfavorably. Turns out her marriage apparently was dysfunctional from day one although the outer faces/trappings sure didn't suggest that. So she happily divorced right before I happily married. But I had to become the right person to find the right person. And nope didn't blame my parents (if anything I was more irritated at the years my sister held herself out as smug married and my parents' ringing endorsement of this). But yes, adult. Yes as an adult I often have to take responsibility for my flaws and less than stellar choices when it comes to navigating marriage. I really try to as much as possible and give myself a talking to if I don't.

 

I avoid labels/pyschobabble -I speak directly and simply with I statements. I am more extroverted than my husband -he is reserved, tends to be introverted. But first and foremost he is an individual, so am I. I was frustrated with my son the other day about his behavior/whining, etc. and he said "but mom I'm just a kid". Yes, he gets a pass- sometimes -because he's just a kid and learning self-regulation, how not to drive us all insane, that kind of stuff. That's the difference.

 

Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be of the camp to defend the poster, somewhat.

 

Having had a few years of therapy under my belt and some minimal understanding of attachment styles, I am considered an `ambivalent attachment style' (similar to his) This was part of my homework in therapy and the book `Attached' was recommended to me.

 

It certainly isn't gospel, but an eye opening read that help me personally understand why I felt so anxious with one person, only to flip over to being avoidant with the next. I can be both ways with the same person. Prior to this understand it was one of my biggest frustrations in relationship and riddle I couldn't unwind.

 

The book further explains how the environment you grew up in sets you up for your attachment style.

I must say having read this, I did approach dating with a different self awareness. Not solely based on these theories, but just another tool in my toolbox, so to speak.

 

The answer to my relationship dilemma - I am in a relationship with someone who has a secure attachment style. I still swing back and forth, but to a smaller degree. I also understand and accept who I am. Not thrilled about that, but I do appreciate that I now recognize what I am doing and as the poster stated, I am the common denominator here. My secure attached guy doesn't trigger me one way or another and it's the most balanced relationship I've ever been in.

 

There is something to be said in all the responses here. I wouldn't spend so much time trying to diagnose them when the time would be better spent working on my own issues/style

 

Keeping it simple. . It's not always about finding the right person. It has a whole lot to do with being the right person.

 

Self awareness is a good thing.

Edited by reinventmyself
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's great to have new tools -to know yourself better -I work on being more aware of what triggers me in parenting for example. It's when the jargon overtakes the substance that it becomes an issue IMO - and I think the OP has swung too far in that direction.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's great to have new tools -to know yourself better -I work on being more aware of what triggers me in parenting for example. It's when the jargon overtakes the substance that it becomes an issue IMO - and I think the OP has swung too far in that direction.

 

Agreed.

 

Or, put differently, I think that jargon (jargon I'm familiar with and value, for the record) is best used in our assessment of ourselves, not as a way of assessing others right off the back.

 

Related story: I went on two dates with a compelling woman who, prior to the third, asked me to take an extensive quiz to determine my attachment style. I took the quiz, because these things interest me, and it wasn't from a pop website but an academic institution. I also canceled the date, because I wasn't interested in what I perceived as a highly sensitive and narrow lens of connecting with me. Guess you could say I get cramps from feeling like I'm in a Petri dish.

 

It would be a bit like telling someone I'm a Libra and hearing them say, "Oh, dang, I'm a Pisces—we don't mix." Or, perhaps, someone telling me they're a Pisces and me wondering, "What do I need, as a Libra, to do to approach dating a Pisces?" In all that the sweetest nectar—of individual humans—gets squeezed out, in my opinion.

 

The more self-aware we are the more we become aware of what does, and does not, authentically work for us. As such, we move more fluidly toward what works, and away from what doesn't.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How many dates have you been on? Did she simply ghost after a couple of dates? If that is the case, it may be par for the course. Other than that someone who tells you their life story before or within a couple dates is sort of a red flag. Take time getting to know someone in person. Avoid too much texting disclosure etc and let all that evolve in a natural fashion.

She was clingy and did overshare - abandonment issues, anxiety and depression in the past, asked me questions about hypothetical scenarios involving us being married, living together, having kids.

 

After our first date I even gave her an easy out. I told her if she didn't feel a spark no hard feelings. She doubled down but at the same time started to withdraw to the point where she's almost nonexistent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The key word is "dysfunctional" so focus on that word itself. Then your emotional attachments will let go because logic will take over in your brain.

 

I have an avoidant style with a lot of people in my life whom I do not admire. I do just that: avoid them. This is with certain relatives, in-laws and some friends. Avoiding is exactly what enforcing healthy boundaries is. We get together for perfunctory, obligatory holiday celebrations and a few birthdays and that's it. The rest of the time: Leave me alone! Don't bother me! I wish to live my own quiet, predictable, uninterrupted routine life! Now scat! :D

 

With personal relationships such as a gf, bf or spouse, it's a different story. You need to be clear with your communication preferably in person so something won't get lost in translation electronically via text, emails, messages and voicemails.

 

If you wish to be tactful, you need to always remain HUMBLE. Instead of blaming the other person, have the humility to explain how you are so the other person is not faulting themselves or feeling hurt when you part ways or avoid them. Be respectful, well mannered and polite. Then they'll think, "Oh, it's not me, it's you who has the problem and wants to let go." You'll soften the blow this way.

 

You deal and protect yourself by being honest so the problem is all on you and not them. This is what being humble is. Then you leave, you got it over and done with and need to work on yourself. Say to her that you are indeed insecure. Don't be afraid to tell it like it is. Give her the courtesy to inform her that it's you and not her. She'll appreciate that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I will be of the camp to defend the poster, somewhat.

 

Having had a few years of therapy under my belt and some minimal understanding of attachment styles, I am considered an `ambivalent attachment style' (similar to his) This was part of my homework in therapy and the book `Attached' was recommended to me.

 

It certainly isn't gospel, but an eye opening read that help me personally understand why I felt so anxious with one person, only to flip over to being avoidant with the next. I can be both ways with the same person. Prior to this understand it was one of my biggest frustrations in relationship and riddle I couldn't unwind.

 

The book further explains how the environment you grew up in sets you up for your attachment style.

I must say having read this, I did approach dating with a different self awareness. Not solely based on these theories, but just another tool in my toolbox, so to speak.

 

The answer to my relationship dilemma - I am in a relationship with someone who has a secure attachment style. I still swing back and forth, but to a smaller degree. I also understand and accept who I am. Not thrilled about that, but I do appreciate that I now recognize what I am doing and as the poster stated, I am the common denominator here. My secure attached guy doesn't trigger me one way or another and it's the most balanced relationship I've ever been in.

 

There is something to be said in all the responses here. I wouldn't spend so much time trying to diagnose them when the time would be better spent working on my own issues/style

 

Keeping it simple. . It's not always about finding the right person. It has a whole lot to do with being the right person.

 

Self awareness is a good thing.

 

It's funny you mentioned that book. I read it a couple years back after going through a strikingly similar experience. It really opened my eyes to how I interpret and respond to the actions of my partner. I've approached relationships differently as well. That experience years ago, I reacted to this same type of behavior by pursuing harder out of desperation when she withdrew, and when I didn't get the desired response immediately I quickly ended it. This time around I've simply backed off, I've tried to mirror her communication, I've allowed myself time to breath and I'm waiting to see how things unfold rather then pushing for an outcome. The anxiety is still there, but it feels more like a fear of not being able to handle this process then it is a fear of rejection.

 

I'm amazed how I can go from being secure and confident in the majority of aspects in my life yet, occasionally, when I meet someone who displays certain behavior patterns I become anxious. This is the third time I've gone through this. I've dated plenty of women over the years without feeling anxious, and I've been in a couple long term (5+ years) relationships, so this feels more like an anomaly to me.

 

While I'm definitely the constant in all three of those cases, so to were a lot of traits of all three of these ladies. They all had abandonment issues stemming from their early childhood, they all battled with various degrees of anxiety and depression, they all had very little romantic relationship experience and they all valued their self-sufficiency and independence above all else.

 

I think I need to ask myself why I knowingly put myself through situations that have been so disastrous in the past.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...