The Avoidant Relationship Style

In my article “Relationship Therapy and Attachment Style: The Fundamentals,” I discussed the four Attachment Styles: Secure, Anxious, Avoidant, and Fearful-Avoidant. I discussed the patterns that couples fall into and what to do about it. The Anxious, Avoidant, and Fearful-Avoidant styles are all insecure, but they express their uneasiness in different ways. This article provides a quick overview of what to know about the Avoidant personality type. It’s also a quick guide to what to do if your Avoidant attachment style is preventing you from having a successful dating or relationship. Keep two things in mind while you read: To begin with, no one is completely one style or the other. The majority of us prefer one style over another. Thank heavens. That provides us some leeway in figuring things out! Second, if you are insecure, you most likely have one fundamental insecure style (Avoidant or Anxious). However, the second style may arise in response to the style of the person you’ve met. In other words, if the person they meet is more Avoidant and distant than they are (“Someone has to close this gap if we’re going to date!”), an Avoidant person may find themselves concerned and pursuing, making them appear more Anxious. This is because both kinds are insecure and react to the discomfort they experience with intimacy and connection. In another article, we’ll go over the Fearful-Avoidant personality type in further detail.


People with an Avoidant Attachment style may feel overwhelmed by a partner’s desire for closeness, especially as the novelty of a relationship wears off. Furthermore, as a relationship evolves, increased proximity is required for it to continue, which pushes against the Avoidant’s comfort zone. Their fear is that partnerships will be too demanding and that the “space” for them in the “relationship” will be insufficient. Because of their early experiences, they do not anticipate their wishes, needs, feelings, and so on to be recognized and valued. As a result, individuals frequently lack the ability to express their desires, wants, sentiments, and so on. to their partner, so they keep emotions inside until they reach a boiling point or feel the need to withdraw themselves to gain “space.” They are the people who “shut the door,” inspiring their partners to “knock harder” on the door they have closed. Once this occurs, the Avoidant may interpret their partner’s escalation as excessive neediness or out-of-control fury, thereby justifying their withdrawal and entirely missing the point that their withdraw is the source of the problem. According to research, the only way to change this dynamic is for the Avoidant person to open the door and walk back into the relationship.

When avoidant people are alone, they frequently yearn for relationships, despite using “Deactivating Strategies” to cope. Deactivating Strategies are the mental processes by which the Avoidant person convinces themselves that being alone is as good as or better than being in a relationship. This can include a discussion of the advantages of being single (for example, having only one schedule to think about, not having to deal with someone else’s demands, and so on). Furthermore, the Avoidant person may yearn for the ideal lover, reflecting on how all previous potential partners fell short of that ideal, justifying their high standards and single status. When an Avoidant is in a relationship, these deactivating methods are also employed.  They may prioritize things that take them away from the relationship and psychologically disregard the connection’s importance. They may concentrate on their partner’s flaws and all the ways the relationship isn’t ideal. This relieves the anxiety they are experiencing but are denying to themselves. It eventually leads to conflict and separation. The Avoidant delivers conflicting signals, fails to express “I love you,” and is extremely cautious to commit. These traits are more likely to manifest in non-romantic relationships, but they are most obvious in romantic partnerships.