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How To Deal With An Avoidant Partner (19 Smart Ways)

by Sonya Schwartz

Being with someone who doesn’t seem as interested as you is a tough pill to swallow. I mean, do they like you, do they not? It’s all shrouded in a cloak of mystery that is the typical avoidant partner. First, let’s establish exactly how you know your partner has an avoidant attachment style? 

Well, anyone with an avoidant attachment style will send mixed signals, shy away from intimacy, have insanely high standards, and imagine themselves as the most romantic people on the face of the planet. No one is asking you to bail on them; after all, relationship issues are universal. 

With a little information and direction, you’ll be well on your way to successfully dating an avoidant person.

19 Ways To Deal With An Avoidant Partner

1. Do not chase them

do not chase them

The worst thing you can do when you are in a relationship with an anxious-avoidant is to chase them. They often need their space even when they are in committed relationships, so you are in for the chase of your life if you pursue them. 

So, if an avoidant person withdraws, don't get rattled by their behavior. Instead, let them have their peace and quiet; as; as much as it may hurt your feelings, don't lay it on them hard. 

If you want them to come around eventually, then practice some restraint. Of course, it won't be easy, but it's the best course of action for anyone who wants to build a lasting relationship with an avoidant person. 

2. Try not to be undependable

If you are looking to win your avoidant partner over to your side, then you have to be dependable. When it comes to attachment styles, this one, in particular, expects people to disappoint them regularly. If you tell them that you’re going to do something, make sure you can put your money where your mouth is.

Yes, the world is full of disappointments and let-downs, but you need to ensure that your avoidant partner sees your relationship as a haven. Seeing as life is unpredictable, there is no 100% chance that you will never disappoint each other. But, you must try not to make commitments you cannot follow through with.

3. Be supportive

It’s not ideal to date avoidants; your partner may be distant when it comes to intimacy, they have an unhealthy fear of attachment, and they won’t hesitate to cause conflict if they feel pushed into a corner. As I said, it is not ideal. Nevertheless, as long as you love each other, it's essential to be supportive while making efforts to change.

Change is a painful process for anyone, so imagine how uncomfortable it can be for avoidant people. Don’t push them while they are changing, as it is with chasing; it will only drive your partner away. It does not matter how strong you feel your attachment is; they will revert to extreme behavior once they feel choked. 

So, support their personal growth and go along with the process.

4. Don’t fade into the background

Sometimes, partners of people with an anxious attachment personality type tend to blend into the background of the relationship. At some point, it seems like their needs are more significant than yours. The fear of once again upsetting them or breaking whatever connection you both have sometimes makes you keep quiet about your needs and emotions.

Let them know what you need in terms of emotions because if they are continually acting out at the expense of your feelings, bitterness will creep in. So, dump all that fear and look for constructive ways to communicate your feelings when the need arises.

5. … But express yourself moderately

but express yourself moderately

This may sound like a lot of work, and I’m not going to lie to you; it is. People with anxious attachment tendencies are often overwhelmed with bursts of emotions. So, while you are being open about your needs and how you feel, equally endeavor to watch your delivery. 

If you come off too strong, best believe that you will make them retreat, and triggering that avoidance will make you uncomfortable. If you want them to listen and hear, it's a good idea to communicate your grievances moderately. All that passion can be directed toward areas of your relationship that actually thrive when passion is involved (the bedroom).

6. Praise them for their efforts

As hard as it is to be with someone who has an avoidant attachment style, it's hard for them to be in relationships. In fact, being in a relationship goes against their very nature since they would rather not be partners with anyone. Once they do something you like or enjoy, praise them. After all, who doesn’t like a little commendation now and then?

Couples that are appreciative of each other tend to thrive more together. So, if your partner has an avoidant attachment style and goes against that very nature to do something sweet for you, let them know you appreciate them.

7. Do not try to change them

We try to do this more than we’d like to take credit for it; the truth is that everyone wants to mold their partner into their ideal match. Unfortunately, Cupid has plans of his own. Once you fall in love with someone who exhibits an avoidant attachment style, it's a different ball game. 

It's natural to want to poke and prod at everything they do, but your partner will instantly run for the hills. Think of it this way, with an avoidant partner; it's unwise to try to change them. Instead, it would help if you looked for ways to normalize intimacy in relationships and expressiveness. They should perceive you as a comfort zone and not a factor that triggers their avoidance.

8. Define your expectations

Couples often have unrealistic expectations of each other, especially when everything is still fresh and new. But you need to take off the rose-colored glasses and see your partner for who they really are. Ups and downs characterize every relationship; someone with an avoidant attachment style will give you a run for your money.

Before carrying on with the relationship, you both must realize that you may have unrealistic expectations. As partners, you need to see let go of the fairytale and get ready to do the hard work. Your avoidant partner may have painted a picture of a relationship where the other party always meets their needs and can deal with their excesses. 

On the other hand, you may be looking for someone emotionally intelligent and sensitive. Since you’re reading this, none of those things happened; nevertheless, that does not spell doom for the relationship.

9. Switch things up

Do you know the number one killer of most relationships? Rigidly sticking to specific roles, you established as partners right from the start will get you there. If you have both fallen into the habit of playing some sort of cat and mouse game, switch it up once in a while. 

Your partner is definitely not the only person that needs space from time to time, so don’t constantly let him run off to recharge at your expense. When you feel like it, go off and treat yourself to some space, it's good for the soul. Additionally, he may want to get a little cozy and chase you instead. Whatever it is you need to switch up in the relationship, it may just work.

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10. Recognize that your partner may not be the only one with issues

recognize that your partner may not be the only one with issues

It’s easy to blame the avoidant in the relationship for everything that goes wrong. After all, relationships with an avoidant partner are obviously a lot of work. But, you need to consider this; what if you have issues you need to deal with? What if you have abandonment issues and are projecting that on your partner?

Relationships are no walk in the park, and the truth is that each partner brings their own share of issues to the table. If you are battling with abandonment issues, then hoping your partner will fill the void within you is not going to get you anywhere. It's even worse with an avoidant partner because all the clinginess and messy emotions will repel them. 

So, face your personal battles head-on, and your relationship will be better for it.

11. Listen

This goes without saying; you need to listen to your partner when they need support in that way. When I say listen, I mean that you have to just listen sometimes. Understandably, you’d want to solve all their problems and rescue them from the big bad world. But, there are instances where all they really want is a listening ear.

Do not try to doctor everything because you may end up pushing them away. They will ultimately shy away from you and stop feeling safe enough to express themselves within the relationship. Imagine pushing away a partner who is already emotionally distant; that will not make for a good situation.

12. Ensure that you are understanding.

There is no relationship you can successfully be in without understanding yourselves as partners. It’s a lot harder when one of you is averse to intimacy and developing a strong connection with another individual. 

There are going to be times when you are tempted to practically peer into the other person’s head because their train of thought is almost unfathomable. So, do not just be willing to listen to your partner when there is a grievance, also try to be empathetic. It may not all be clear to you, but trying to see where there are coming from will help you navigate the relationship better.

13. Get some help

get some help

You are probably reading this because you need some help when it comes to dealing with your partner. But you can take it up a notch and seek the help of a professional because they really know their stuff. Even though you and your partner are miles away from your happily ever after, there are methods, exercises, and deep conversations that can take you out of the red zone.

So, do not underestimate the good that a couples counselor can do for you. Do not be ashamed because there is no greater strength than admitting that you need help and eventually saving your relationship. 

Don’t buy into the stigma that’s starting to surround people that seek professional counseling because if one or two sessions a week is all you need to keep your ship sailing, then go ahead and get the help you need.

14. Don’t lose yourself

You need to realize that relationships can ultimately suck out all the individuality out of your life. You end up caring so much about this other person and their needs that on its own can swallow up your personality. So, while you are figuring things out as a unit, ensure that you take out time to cultivate your interests.

The same way he has to take out time to develop himself, you need to get on that bandwagon. That's the only way to remain true to yourself and, ultimately, each other. I know you don't want to hear this, but if it eventually does not work out, you'll be left with nobody but yourself. Try to ensure that the person you're left with is not some mangled, broken down soul with no identity. 

Besides that, your relationship will benefit from a little individuality because you'll be able to stand on your own two feet when your partner needs some support and vice versa. So, don't be found wanting in terms of personal strength and self-dependency. 

15. Respect their needs

This is tied in with empathy, especially if you're someone who doesn't mind being attached at the hip. The truth is that your partner will need many breathers, and as such, they'll withdraw into their shell many more times than you are comfortable with. You need to be able to respect this need so they can further let down their guard. 

16. Don't take things personally

This is a hard one, mostly because your avoidant partners will rub you the wrong way now and then. The key is not to internalize most of their actions; it's more about them than you. They have a tough battle ahead, and you may inadvertently become a target. Altogether, learn to let it slide like water off a duck's back, especially if you are confident in their feelings for you. 

17. Try not to abuse their trust

Trust is a big deal for avoidants; you'll be surprised how important it is. So, regardless of how little they have finally opened up to you, ensure that you do not take it for granted. Think of it as a little slither of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It takes a tremendous amount of effort on their side, so appreciate and work your way up. 

18. Understand the fact that you're different

understand the fact that you're different

We are all as different as our fingerprints, even though we have things that bond us. If you're going to make it in any relationship, then this is one fact you'll need to digest. Your partner may move faster or slower than you when it comes to specific issues and accommodate that. 

19. Ask, don’t complain

It’s easy to cross the line and start complaining instead of amicably tabling matters. If you want to maintain a healthy relationship, then ask when you need something. Complaining will only chase them away.

FAQ

How do you deal with someone with avoidant attachment?

Right off the bat, don’t take it personally; it’s more about them than it is about you. Though they may not say a whole lot, listen to them, and try not to offer solutions all the time. At the core of it all, ensure that you respect each other’s differences because there will be many.

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Do Avoidants fall in love?

Yes, people with an avoidant attachment style can fall in love, but the relationship will be slow and steady. You see, avoidant partners are quite uneasy about opening up to anyone, regardless of whether it’s a loved one or someone else in their social circle. Altogether, it takes a while for them, so don’t take it personally.

Can Avoidants have successful relationships?

It may seem quite challenging, but people with an anxious attachment style can end up having successful relationships. The key to establishing this kind of relationship is first to respect each other. Also, you need to accept your avoidant partner while recognizing that you have needs too.

How does an avoidant show love?

If you keep getting mixed signals, then you have an avoidant partner that is willing to keep you around because they care. Sure, your partner may not be comfortable with any kind of emotional connection, but they will send out mixed vibes to give you the illusion of intimacy.

Do Avoidants miss their ex?

It is not entirely off the table; sometimes, avoidants eventually become more self-aware. Once they are past the feelings of being smothered or stifled by affection, they may start missing an ex. But for the most part, they feel like they escaped all the ‘icky’ feelings and the physical connection that you attempted to ‘force’ on them.

Conclusion

As far as attachment styles go, the anxious-avoidant is as draining as they come. It’s hard to tell if they want to be in a relationship, which can lead to buckets of sadness. But once you know how to deal with your partner, it's not as hard as you think. With all that said, I hope this article equipped you with some much-needed information. 

Feel free to drop a comment in the box below. Even more, share this with someone who needs some insight on how to navigate through life with an avoidant partner.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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