If you are a love addict or someone with an insecure or anxious attachment style, you tend to gravitate towards relationships with people who are love avoidant, and them to you.
Identifying love avoidant behaviors in yourself or another can be disheartening and lead to a relationship filled with resentment.
Here we’ll show you many ways to understand the behaviors and work through them.
- Goodbyes Bring Relief
Those that are love avoidant tend to prefer one-night stands or casual relationships.
Their unconscious minds remember that being in a relationship is not safe. Even if they do want to commit to you, they can have a difficult time letting you know.
- They Create Space Between You
You might notice that your partner has habits that create space between you emotionally. Maybe it’s by playing video games, checking their phone, or overworking in the evenings. It seems they spend more time outside the relationship.
Transitioning from isolation to connection can be difficult for them, so your request for connection while they are engaged in their inner world, might be met with a cold response.
- Lack of Eye Contact
Eye contact with caregivers in younger days is something that might have been an unpleasant experience for love avoidants. Meeting their gaze might bring back memories of hostility, anger, rejection, or critique.
In order to protect themselves, they learned early to avoid eye contact. This helps them avoid intimacy. They often learn strategies that make it appear they are making eye contact, such as gazing at your chin or nose, which can be more difficult to notice.
If you are someone who wants more eye contact, remember that demanding eye contact can be distressing for a love avoidant person in a way that the rest of us might not understand.
- Left Brain Orientation
The left brain is the analytical, or methodical, side of our brain, and the right brain is intuitive, and responsible for helping us connect with others.
Love avoidants tend to be logical and factual and this can become glaringly clear during a conflict. When your words are being picked apart, you can feel like your feelings don’t matter.
In the same breath, they seem like they are very gifted when it comes to problem-solving and thinking objectively which can come in handy for navigating many of life’s challenges.
- Avoid the Past
You may find that the love avoidant is vague while talking about their childhood. They seem to feel more comfortable talking about the future instead.
It can be difficult for them to acknowledge their early needs were not met and this can lead to them having difficulty expressing those needs and feelings in the present.
They might have an easier time recalling facts than their emotional experiences. They may even let you know that they had a “really nice childhood,” especially if they have not started the process of healing their wounds.
- Avoid the Need For Connection
The love avoidant’s early experiences can lead to viewing others as overly dependent. If they have managed to become self-sufficient, why aren’t we?
This can cause difficulty fulfilling the need for connection and intimacy between two people. A love addict will find this particularly disturbing.
When avoiding their childhood pain allows them to identify with values of independence and autonomy, why change? This is why it can be difficult for someone with love avoidance to express empathy or understand that other peoples’ needs are not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of being human.
- Mixed Signals
In a relationship, the love avoidant often sends mixed signals and seems unreliable. This is when their words are not congruous with their actions.
They might say everything right at first, yet when it comes to emotional intimacy they turn out to be completely distant.
If you have a love addiction, this can make you feel especially distraught.
- Comes On Very Strong
Is your love avoidant date very seductive, overly charming, or flattering, and flirtatious?
Love avoidants may quickly express, “I love you,” “You’re so perfect”, “Where have you been all my life,” which is all very flattering. If you’re a love addict it could be just what you want to hear.
Many portray a perfect/idealistic future together and/or quickly pressure you for commitment or loyalty in the hopes you will fill what they’re missing.
- No Committed Relationships
If your partner has not been in a committed relationship with another person for a long period (years) he or she could be love avoidant.
They might attribute his/her long-term single status to external circumstances, such as not meeting “the perfect one”, or needing an “ideal textbook love partner/relationship”.
Consider this sign if they are over 30 that emotional intimacy is an issue.
- Undesirable Habits/Substance Abuse/Addiction
To escape being emotionally vulnerable or the possibility of slipping into their right brain, the love avoidant might drink frequently, smoke pot, or do drugs excessively to the point of addiction.
Or this behaviour might be expressed by being a workaholic, or has some other apparent addiction or compulsion (gambling, porn, etc.).
- Appears Controlling
Your partner might slip into control, wanting you to change your look (clothes, hair, etc.), or change things you do like your work, social activities, who you spend time with.
The love avoidant might constantly text or call and expect all of your time, especially on his/her terms.
If you don’t respond they may use emotions like anger, distance, or moodiness to control you.
- Devalues You
Many people who have an avoidant attachment might, very subtlely, criticize you, or say and do things which make you feel inferior, incompetent, or unworthy.
After using sarcasm the love avoidant might claim ”I’m just teasing”, as a method to demean you.
They might also degrade or speak negatively of others, previous partners, etc.
- Reluctant To Introduce You
This can be really troublesome if you want to, yet two or three months have gone by and still you haven’t met your partners’ friends or family members..
Likewise, they might be hesitant to share their living environment. Of course, if kids are involved, flexibility should be given as he/she might be considering the child’s well-being.
- History Of Cheating
Your avoidant partner might be married or in a current romantic relationship. If you sense this or find out it’s a fact, it will be devastating. This person would’ve likely had affairs in past relationships.
You might hear excuses something like this, “She/he was crazy,” “We didn’t get along, it was over anyway”, “he/she never wanted sex”.
If the person says, “I changed” or “I’m different today,” never having had counseling or therapy for any lengthy period, you might choose to be skeptical about believing it.
- It’s All About Them
You find the conversation is consistently all about the avoidant partner. They ask very few questions about you, your life, family, work, or interests.
Conversely, the avoidant seems checked out mentally during conversations. This is one of the emotional distancing techniques.
Love avoidants can seem distrustful or suspicious of other people, past partners, or even you.
This comes from a fear of being used, or taken advantage of as it can be the fallout from difficult relationships in childhood.
- Grows Distant
Eventually love avoidants will withdraw or take an early leave from social events.
Or they might grow more and more distant since the early stages of your relationship. The relationship is viewed as a duty or obligation even becoming resentful of you.
This makes intimacy in the relationship very difficult.
What Is A Love Avoidant?
As humans, we’re born to connect and yet, a love avoider has walled him/herself off to avoid or negate the need for human contact on an emotionally intimate level. For them, protection and survival are more dominant than connection and relationship.
A love addict is very much the opposite attachment style. We all want love, although love addicts and love avoidants often attract each other because they’re opposite extremes of the same frequency.
Love addicts and love avoidants both have a fear of being alone or rejected, however a love avoidant resists nature’s way in life. This is true for about 17% of adults in Western cultures.
As a love avoidant, you might become equally confused by the unreasonable emotional demands and neurotic nature of the people you are in relationship with. “What do these people want from me?” you might ask.
You might feel mystified by their accusations that you don’t care and are not there for your loved ones…when you know that you do care for them and love them greatly.
What Causes Love Avoidance?
Love avoidance can stem from several causes, including trauma and rejection. A history of abuse and neglect could be at the root of the love avoidant person.
Deeper fears of abandonment and engulfment and ultimately, a fear of loss are at the root, and these two fears can often coexist.
- Fear of Abandonment
Worry that their partner will leave them. This often results from the experience of a parent or other important adult figure abandoning the person emotionally or physically as a young child.
- Fear of Engulfment
The fear they may be controlled, get dominated, or “losing themselves” in a relationship, sometimes stems from growing up in an enmeshed family.
- Anxiety Disorder
People who are afraid of judgment, evaluation, or rejection are naturally more likely to shy away from making intimate, personal connections. In addition, some specific phobias, such as the fear of touch, may occur as part of the fear of intimacy.
Others may have loose social situations, having acquaintances and social media “friends” in the hundreds, without having deeply personal relationships at all.
Love addicts struggle with the same fears, although love addiction has a different expression.
Can An Avoidant Person Love?
Everyone wants love, even those who have phobic reactions to it. These individuals value and want romance and love just as much as the rest of us, it’s just difficult to see.
Keep these points in mind about your relationship:
- The attitude and behaviors of your partner are their own and may not be about who you are as a person, or anything you’ve said or done. Keep this in mind for your own mental health.
- It’s important to accept your partner the way they are, while keeping hold of your true self. Consider what your needs are.
- Think about what your partner can do and take that as your starting point. Can your partner say, “I love you?” Are they willing to make plans with you and keep them?
- Think about your actions in the past during your relationship and determine if they contributed to the avoidance.
You may be able to work on improving your relationship. If minimal effort is made on their behalf to help them improve, and they’re dealing with their emotional issues, it may not be the end just yet.
Do Love Avoidants Miss You?
In short, yes, they miss you, however, you’ll have to look closely to see the signs. Very difficult for the love addict to see.
The love avoidant may actually internalize that feeling. Pay attention to little signs because their avoidant characteristic is preventing them from enjoying their love story with you.
Some signs might be:
- Sharing sad songs on their social media
- Texting hasn’t stopped
- Asking mutual friends about you
- Drunk texting or calling you
- “Accidentally” showing up at the same place as you and acting strange
Once the love avoidant can get help and trust that their identity will stand, their connection to you can be more easily established. They can afford to be fluid, flexible and open because they’ll sense they don’t have to worry that somehow they’ll be taken over and crushed.
Remember, trust is the key.
Tune into your inner dialogue to know your true self. Are you a love avoidant or maybe a love addict attracting the love avoidant? Maybe neither one.