How To Date And Be In A Relationship With An Avoidant Partner

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The bonds we form with other people, whether romantic or platonic, are driven by several compounding factors that help direct the way we connect with them.

Attachment styles are a way that mental health professionals explain this. There are four types in the attachment style framework: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant.

These attachment styles are meant to help explain the safety and availability we feel toward other people.

Though we will focus on avoidant attachment styles for the purpose of this article, we will take a brief look at the other attachment styles so you can better understand the whole picture.

Why does that matter?

Because of a common, mistaken belief that attachment styles are black and white, something forged in childhood that sticks with you for the rest of your life. This is simply not true.

Though some groundwork is laid with how a parent or guardian interacts with their child, that person will continue to evolve from the experiences they have as they grow older.

Furthermore, a person may have multiple attachment styles in the same relationship or have different attachment styles with different people.

Attachment styles can change and evolve. That change may be a subconscious response to the experiences that we have as we get older. It may also be a conscious choice to change the way we conduct our relationships. It’s not an easy thing to do. Unlearning old habits and creating new ones takes time.

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you deal with an avoidant partner. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

The Four Adult Attachment Styles

A person with a secure attachment style is typically viewed as the healthiest. This is a person who desires but does not crave their relationship partner to provide fulfillment.

They tend to be mentally and emotionally resilient, comfortable with intimacy without fear of codependency, and care for their partner, who they want to be cared for by.

The securely attached romantic partner is often a good communicator about their feelings, forgives quickly, and avoids manipulation.

An anxious-preoccupied person seeks high levels of interaction, responsiveness, and intimacy from their partner, often venturing into overly dependent behavior.

They may have low self-esteem, trust issues, and worry more about their relationships. The anxious-preoccupied partner may over-analyze their interactions with their partner, finding fault and worries where none exist.

These individuals may find that their worries become self-fulfilling prophecies because of self-sabotage.

People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style often appear to avoid attachment and intimate relationships with other people.

They tend to view people as unreliable, untrustworthy, and unable to provide the kind of emotional fulfillment they require.

They may also be the type of person to feed their ego and self-esteem through accomplishments and achievements, sometimes to an unhealthy level.

They tend to have a favorable view of themselves through their own accomplishments and generally do not seek approval or acceptance from others.

Independence is a strongly correlated characteristic. The dismissive-avoidant person may go as far as to reject any potential relationships or intimacy if they feel like they are too close.

The fearful-avoidant attachment style usually features mixed feelings about relationships.

On the one hand, they crave the closeness and intimacy of a relationship. On the other hand, they are deeply fearful of losing intimacy and may feel unworthy of being loved.

Thus, they tend to suppress their emotions and not initiate intimacy with other people.

How Do I Know If I’m Dating An Avoidant Partner?

You can look for some signs that will help you determine whether or not you are dating a person with an avoidant attachment style.

1. They have difficulty with negative emotions.

An avoidant partner will often use strategies like distancing to keep away from your negative emotions. This may come off as passive-aggressive or even anger as they seek to create some space.

The behavior may seem like they are not interested in having those difficult conversations with you, but that’s usually not the case. What is actually happening is the negative emotions are triggering their anxiety and fear and evoking a defensive response.

2. Communication and emotions are complicated.

Avoidant partners have a hard time communicating about emotions. And the more stressed they are, the worse they do at reading their partner because of their own anxiety and fear.

They may step away from difficult conversations altogether or quickly move on after arguments, whether they are resolved or not.

3. They may suppress their grief and loss.

Grief and loss have a distinct effect on a person’s mental and physiological state. People with an avoidant attachment style are exceptionally good at squashing and denying those feelings.

It’s not that they don’t feel them.  Instead, they avoid mentally acknowledging them as other people do, and they will generally avoid talking about them.

This can give the appearance of a person who handles grief and loss exceptionally well. Still, in reality, they are avoiding their negative emotions.

4. They never ask for help.

To ask for help is to in-debt oneself to another person. This is not something that an avoidant partner wants to do.

Asking for help makes their independence and autonomy feel threatened to the point where they will likely refuse any help and just suffer through whatever the problem may be.

They may also not offer help when it’s clear that it’s needed for the same reason – they don’t want to foster or encourage dependence on them so they won’t feel constrained.

5. They may float in relationship limbo to avoid commitment.

People who have avoidant attachment styles crave intimacy and connection as much as anyone else. They just don’t have healthy mechanisms for navigating those relationships.

Thus they may choose not to navigate them at all. They may be fine spending time with someone they are enamored with but don’t want to put a label on it or discuss the relationship’s more significant ramifications.

The reason is that defining the relationship can be viewed as becoming more dependent on that partner, which leaves them vulnerable to the pain of relationships and possible rejection.

7 Ways To Manage A Relationship With A Person With Avoidant Attachment Style

It may seem like a relationship with a person with an avoidant attachment style is difficult or impossible.

It’s not.

A good relationship with an avoidant partner is possible by understanding how they function in relationships and working to accommodate their needs.

That approach requires some balance because there is a point where the scales can tip too far in their direction.

Both parties will need to work at making the relationship healthy and fulfilling. The avoidant partner will need to correct some of their relationship behaviors, and their partner will need to offer patience and some accommodation.

1. Avoidant partners typically require less communication and intimacy.

Of the different attachment styles, avoidant partners typically require less communication and intimacy to feel that they are maintaining their relationships.

That may mean not getting a message for a day or two as they go about their lives. It doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking of their partner or value them less than people who require more communication. They just have a lower threshold of need.

Too much communication and intimacy can make them feel suffocated or restricted in the relationship, resulting in conflict.

There is a balance to be struck. A day of no communication isn’t that big of a deal. Multiple days or weeks is a significant problem that may indicate a lack of interest.

It is reasonable to set a time-frame for communication with an avoidant partner. Like, “Can we check in at least once a day?” It’s also reasonable to want to have individual time to oneself, like taking a weekend by yourself to unwind.

Communication is important. If the avoidant partner wants some time to themselves, they can be expected to tell you so that you know what’s going on.

2. Offer patience when the person pulls away.

An avoidant partner feels threatened when their independence and autonomy is threatened. They may pull away periodically because of those feelings of discomfort.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing so long as it doesn’t become a default game of withdrawing and pursuing.

You don’t want to spend your time chasing after someone who purposefully pulls away as a means of control or manipulation. This behavior can be controlled by the avoidant partner if they are aware of it and willing to try to stay engaged and present.

However, the other side of this is that sometimes the avoidant partner will just need time to recalibrate. They may need personal space to sort out their feelings or feel ready to come to the table to discuss a problem.

Pursuing is not a good idea. Pursuit generally makes the avoidant partner feel more threatened, so they withdraw further to create distance.

3. Activities are better for bonding.

Physical activities are typically better for bonding with an avoidant partner because they can easily get lost in themselves and their emotions.

An activity like painting, hiking, or trying something new can help develop and forge a bond better than activities that require a lot of mental investment.

These bonding activities will help create greater trust and intimacy in the relationship.

4. Use compromise and bargaining tactfully.

An avoidant partner will feel like their independence is being threatened if they have to agree to do things that they’d rather not do.

This might include how you spend your time together, the choices you make regarding vacation destinations, or which restaurant you go to.

To help them feel less like they are losing out on the things they want to do, you can compromise and agree to some of their wishes, but you can do so by making a clear bargain that allows some of your preferences to be met too.

For instance, if they really want to go see a particular movie and you have a different one in mind, you can agree to their movie on the understanding that you visit a restaurant of your choosing before or after.

Or if you want them to come with you to see your family whereas they would prefer to stay at home, you can tell them that they can spend the rest of the weekend doing whatever they like – with or without you.

If something is really important to you, you should feel able to tell them that, but even then, you can make them feel more enthusiastic about it by promising to fulfill their wishes another time.

5. Examine the intentions of your partner.

The avoidant partner’s behavior and distance can create fear for an anxious partner. An anxious partner tends to be more sensitive and overthink more than an avoidant partner.

But you can cut through that initial fear-based response by looking at your partner’s intentions and checking to see if they align with their statements.

Suppose the avoidant partner was going on a weekend solo-hiking trip. In that case, it’s reasonable that they will be out of communication range for a little while.

Furthermore, suppose they decided to just stay in and have an evening to themselves. In that case, your partner may not be paying attention to their phone if you decide to message.

Try to avoid assuming your avoidant partner’s intentions and see them as they are.

6. Support your partner as they work on themselves.

Tackling an avoidant attachment style is a large project, but do understand that it is self-improvement.

You can’t fix your avoidant partner’s problems for them, particularly if they don’t view the way they function as a problem. Offer support and patience where you can, but don’t get hung up on the end result.

7. Adjust your expectations of your partner.

If your attachment style is more closely aligned with the secure or anxious-preoccupied styles (remember, it can be mixed and fluid), then you and your partner will have some quite different preferences when it comes to intimacy, communication, and even lifestyle.

It is important to note that neither approach is right or wrong.

But if you and your partner’s preferences differ, you will have to consider whether your expectations of them and what you believe a relationship should be like are realistic in this instance.

Again, don’t confuse this with bowing to their wants and needs 100% of the time. There does have to be an element of effort from both parties to accommodate the other and how they wish to exist and express themselves in the partnership you seek to forge.

Still not sure how best to cope with an avoidant partner and make the relationship a success? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is it like dating an avoidant?

Dating an avoidant person can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

People with an avoidant attachment style see others as being unreliable, untrustworthy, and unable to fulfill their emotional needs.

Sure, they may crave intimacy, love, and affection like anyone else, but emotions are triggers for them. This causes them to push their partner away to retain (or regain) their independence and guard against rejection and pain.

As such, it can feel very much like they’re giving you mixed signals…

One minute they are vulnerable with you, the next you can’t get them to respond to your text.

One day you’re talking about the next phase in your relationship, the following day your partner is talking about needing space or just outright ghosting you.

It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re dating Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Knowing where you stand while dating an avoidant can be difficult because it is a challenge for them to identify and communicate their feelings to their partners.

If you are someone who craves your partner’s attention or loves to hear words of affirmation, you may have to find someone else who will be willing and able to fill your needs… or learn to live without those needs. Because, while an avoidant may love you, he/she will disengage defensively from the emotional aspects of your relationship. Talking about their feelings is not their strong suit.

When you’re dating an avoidant, you need to be comfortable being independent and not being attached at the hip. Because being clingy or needy is the fastest way to get an avoidant to run in the opposite direction. When they run, you need to be secure enough in yourself to give them the space they need.

While you may be tempted to think that you’re the problem in your relationship, it’s not you at all. The real culprit is the fear that plagues your avoidant partner.

All their commitment-phobic behavior stems from their fear of getting hurt or abandoned. Their behavior is their response to the fear of losing you. Getting your avoidant partner to confront their fear, overcome it, and trust you is the biggest challenge your relationship will face.

Do avoidants want relationships?

While it may seem like the complete opposite is true, avoidants do actually want to be in a relationship. They desire to love and be loved, just like everyone else.

Due to their life experiences or how they grew up, however, they don’t think other people can be relied upon to support or love them. They suspect that the people in their life will eventually disappoint or leave them. 

So, they build up a defense mechanism to protect themselves and suppress their attachment system. That’s why independence is very important for avoidants. From experience, they know they can only depend on themselves. They, therefore, avoid even the appearance of depending on other people, disconnect from the emotional aspects of relationships, and show little vulnerability with their partner. 

Though they want to be in a relationship or crave platonic relationships, they struggle with being vulnerable or intimate because it triggers their fear of abandonment and rejection.

How do you tell if an avoidant loves you?

It can be difficult to tell if an avoidant loves you when your relationship burns hot one minute and cold the next.

People with avoidant attachment styles can fear intimacy and cling desperately to their independence, all the while being completely in love with their partner.

They reject being emotionally vulnerable not because of a lack of emotion, but out of the fear of rejection and loss. This fear causes them to protect themselves by pushing their partner away. It does not mean they are incapable of loving other people.

With an avoidant, you won’t see the normal signs of love you are probably used to seeing. Instead, be on the lookout for the following:

  • They become vulnerable – Because they fear intimacy, avoidants have a hard time opening up to their partner. So, if your avoidant partner shares their secrets with you, that’s a sign that they love and trust you.
  • Nonverbal signs of affection – Romantic gestures like holding hands in public or covering for you during an argument.
  • Regular communication – They attempt to text or call you and sometimes even share good jokes.
  • They want to get intimate – Whether emotional or physical intimacy, it’s a big step for people with an avoidant attachment style.
  • They want to spend time with you – You’ve become their comfort zone and they want to spend quality time with you and bond with you. For avoidants, bonding is very emotional and doesn’t happen often with many people.
  • They welcome you into their inner circle – They’ve introduced you to their close friends and family.
  • Talks about stressful situations with you – Avoidants usually put on a calm face in anxious situations. If your avoidant partner complains about an annoying boss or a stressful situation to you, it’s a sure sign that they love you.

Can a relationship with an avoidant ever work?

Making a relationship with an avoidant work is not as impossible as it may seem. It just requires understanding that their attachment style is not a reflection of you or their feelings for you. But rather, it’s a sign of the fears they grew up with.

If your partner has an avoidant attachment style, try the following tips to help improve your relationship:

  • Give them space – Avoidants are fiercely protective of their independence and personal space. When your avoidant partner indicates they need space or “me” time, give it to them. Chasing after them will make them feel suffocated and more eager to leave.
  • Don’t take it personally – Putting distance between the two of you is a method they learned from past experiences to protect themselves. They’re creating space because they’re afraid to depend on you only to lose you or be rejected or be disappointed. If your partner is pushing you away, it’s out of self-preservation.
  • Be reliable and dependent – Avoidants expect people to disappoint or leave them. Show them they can trust you with their feelings and their secrets. Ensure you keep your promises.
  • Listen – Avoidants struggle with talking about negative emotions. So, if your avoidant partner is talking about a stressful situation or a difficult relationship, listen to them. Don’t judge and don’t try to fix it. Just listen to understand.
  • Be self-sufficient – Clinging to your avoidant partner is a sure-fire way to ensure they run screaming in the opposite direction. Cultivate your own interests. When your partner retreats, rather than pursuing them, focus on your own pursuits. This might even help draw them to you when they see that you’re not becoming clingy.
  • Be mindful of your strong emotions – Avoidants are not good with emotions, especially negative emotions. When you display intense emotions, people with avoidant attachment styles will withdraw or shut down emotionally and completely miss your message. You’ll have a better outcome if you communicate your feelings in a moderate tone.

Do avoidants move on quickly?

Avoidants tend to suppress their feelings of grief and loss, so it can seem as if they move on quickly or as if they’re cold and unfeeling. 

Every avoidant has the deep-rooted fear of losing their autonomy and independence in a relationship. For them, intimacy is a trigger because it signals their dependency on their partner. The increasing intimacy in your relationship could even be the real reason for the end of your relationship.

So, when an avoidant ends a relationship, the initial emotion they feel is one of relief. Relief because their autonomy and independence are no longer threatened, they’re no longer experiencing anxiety and fear when faced with your negative emotions, and there’s no pressure to be more emotionally or physically intimate than they’re ready for or capable of.

Since the cause of those feelings (that is your relationship) is gone, they go back to what is safe and comfortable for them, being alone.

Eventually, relief wears off and the normal, negative emotions surrounding a breakup rise. And because avoidants have difficulty handling such feelings, they try to avoid the pain and sense of loss by jumping into another relationship.

They may date a lot of different people or even sleep with some of those people to cope with the pain of the broken relationship. A fearful-avoidant, in particular, will go from rebound to rebound to rebound in an attempt to cope after a breakup.

Will an avoidant ever commit?

With all the pulling away or shutting down or distancing strategies that avoidants use to disengage from the emotional aspect of their relationship, it’s not surprising that people wonder if an avoidant will ever commit in a relationship.

While it is possible to change attachment styles and work through deep-rooted fears, this can only be accomplished if the person in question seeks to change. 

If you’re in a relationship with an avoidant and wondering whether he/she will ever change and commit, the simple answer is it depends on if your partner wants to change.

Remember, your partner’s attachment style was borne out of negative past experiences that caused them to fear the loss of their autonomy and freedom in an intimate relationship. Their behavior is caused by fear. If that fear is not addressed, they will continue to struggle to believe that their partner will not reject, hurt, or abandon them.

However, if they can recognize that their avoidant coping mechanisms will bring about the very thing that they fear, that is loss, they will be able to work through it, learn how to trust, and open themselves up to a committed and intimate relationship.

To get an avoidant to commit:

  • Both parties need to understand their triggers – When you both know and understand the triggers for the avoidant partner, you’ll both know what to look out for. This will help the non-avoidant partner not take certain behaviors personally. For example, if during a disagreement, the avoidant partner appears to be shutting down or avoiding conflict, the non-avoidant partner can pause the discussion for a later time without feeling bad.
  • Show them you are trustworthy – When they pull back, give them the space that they need. If they share an uncomfortable situation with you or complain about another person to you, just listen. Because you understand that the only emotions they are comfortable sharing are positive ones, when they discuss one that isn’t, don’t advise or try to fix the situation, just listen.

What are avoidants attracted to?

Avoidants are usually attracted to people with anxious attachment styles, which makes for a complicated and tangled dance of need and disconnection between the two parties.

People with an anxious attachment style are typically needy. Ultimately, both attachment styles fear abandonment. But while the avoidant will push their partner away to avoid intimacy or becoming dependent, the partner with an anxious attachment style craves connection and closeness and is triggered by their partner pulling away and will pull even closer to stop it. 

The more the avoidant tries to put distance between them in order to self-protect, the more the anxious partner clings. The more the anxious partner is clingy and displays neediness, the more the avoidant feels smothered and struggles to get free. On and on it goes in a vicious, and often toxic cycle. 

Why not date someone whose attachment style is more suitable, you might wonder? Well, the ongoing cycle of push and pull is addictive for avoidant-anxious couples.

At the beginning of their relationship, the anxious person showers their avoidant partner with a great deal of love and affection. The avoidant is everything the anxious partner could hope for: caring, charismatic, romantic, and so on.

That is until things get a little too real for the avoidant and he/she pulls away. This then triggers the anxious partner who clings, complains, and becomes needy, pushing the avoidant further and further away.

The anxious partner eventually gets tired of chasing the avoidant and finally ends the relationship and leaves. When it appears as if the anxious partner has moved on and there is no way to repair the damage to the relationship, this is when the avoidant feels free to express his/her emotions.

The avoidant then goes back to being the person the anxious partner first fell in love with. Unable to resist falling back into the relationship, after all, this is exactly what they wanted, the anxious partner gives the relationship another try.

For a while, everything is perfect… until things predictably get too real for the avoidant and the cycle starts again.

Are avoidants cheaters?

According to research conducted at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Psychology in 2008, avoidants tend to cheat in their relationships more so than other attachment styles.

The studies conducted on 415 people showed a strong correlation between infidelity and people with an avoidant attachment style. It is interesting to note that gender did not play a factor in the propensity to cheat. In fact, the correlation with infidelity was just as strong with both genders.

But when asked about their motivation for cheating on their partners, the urge to distance themselves from commitment and their partner was the number one reason cited. 

The study theorized that avoidants used infidelity as a regulatory emotional strategy. It helped them avoid commitment, put distance between them and their partner, and keep their space and freedom. In short, infidelity was used as a tool to sabotage their relationship and push their partner away. 

Hal Shorey, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, posits that when an avoidant feels trapped or smothered by their partner, they start to criticize their partner in their thoughts. The avoidant will then seek sexual connection with another person as a welcome distraction or a form of exciting entertainment. They usually have no intention of leaving their relationship at all. 

The act of infidelity is not about seeking love, attention, or nurturance from another person. Often the avoidant feels more connection with their partner than the affair partner. Avoidants use infidelity simply to create space between themselves and their partner. 

Why do avoidants end relationships?

Simply put, avoidants end relationships because of fear. Much of the behavior of avoidants is cloaked in fear. Avoidants are afraid of:

  • Losing their autonomy and freedom in a relationship
  • Becoming dependent
  • Being rejected
  • Opening themselves up to intimacy and losing it
  • Negative emotions: Yours and theirs
  • Being abandoned
  • Being hurt

So, to avoid all of that, they will either sabotage their relationship by instigating fights, ghosting, or cheating on their partner. Or they’ll end the relationship. 

Generally, avoidants run away from love to protect themselves, and guard against getting hurt. When they happen to fall in love (really and truly), they try to destroy it to prove that it wasn’t real. So they will push away their partner, end the relationship, and even hurt the people who show they care about them the most.

It’s a true self-fulfilling prophecy, where avoidants fear they will be abandoned or rejected, then go about ensuring a relationship environment that will ensure exactly that. 

Do avoidants ever change?

By facing your fear of commitment/intimacy and being aware of your avoidant triggers, it is possible to change from an avoidant attachment style over time. 

However, since attachment styles were developed because of upbringing and past experiences, it will be a herculean task for an avoidant to change on his/her own without the intervention of a licensed professional.

From childhood, avoidants were conditioned to believe that love was inconsistent. They learned that people will hurt or abandon them and that the only person they can depend on is themselves. 

Because of those fears, they unwittingly take steps to ensure that their partner will leave them. They rationalize and justify their self-sabotaging actions, failing to realize that they are being pushed by deep-rooted fears.

But with therapy and a commitment to change, avoidants may be able to confront their fears, understand their triggers, and learn better coping skills. 

However, because avoidants also fear losing their autonomy and freedom, they can’t be tricked or manipulated into wanting to change their behavior. Before you’ve taken two steps forward, they’ve already jumped to assumptions about your motivations, pushed you away, and run off to protect their space.

They must seek a change of their own volition. The best way to help them do that is by pulling back when they pull back from you. That will give them the space they need to consider their actions.

What triggers avoidant attachment?

Past experiences or upbringing can trigger avoidant attachment in people.

Some researchers believe that attachment styles are formed within our first year of life, somewhere between 7 to 11 months.

Avoidants usually had caregivers that were distant, often dismissive, disconnected, or not responsive to the needs of the child. This led the child to think their needs won’t be met.

Some avoidants had caregivers who were frightening, causing the child to develop a deep fear and distrust of others, despite wanting close connections. This could include caregivers who were abusive or neglectful.

It is also possible that significant relationships impacted and subsequently influenced a person’s attachment style. A person may have developed a secure attachment style growing up, but because of betrayals, infidelity, and abuse, they’ve developed an insecure attachment.

As a result of the negative lessons learned during their formative years, avoidants believe they can only rely on themselves and that everyone will eventually disappoint or abandon them. To avoid all those negative emotions and scenarios, they strongly guard their independence and run away from intimacy. 

When they feel someone getting too close, they compulsively employ distancing strategies to protect themselves, not because they don’t want to connect, but because they believe the person will eventually hurt them.

So, rather than getting used to that connection and being emotionally vulnerable with someone only for it to be ripped away, they prefer to remain on their own. 

Can two avoidants be together?

Two avoidants can do well together, but it would be difficult for either party to overcome their fears to initiate a relationship.

If they were able to, you’d have a relationship with two individuals who understood the importance of personal space without taking the need for distance personally.

There might not even be a need for distancing because intimacy is a trigger for both parties that they avoid at all costs. Since there is no intimacy, there is no need for space.

Neither party would be that invested in the relationship or deeply connected. As such, no one would feel emotionally neglected or unfulfilled.

The downside, however, is that just because avoidants fear intimacy and being connected, doesn’t mean they don’t actually want it. They’re just afraid of the resultant pain when their partner eventually disappoints or abandons them. By dating another avoidant, there is no hope of getting that need met.

Also, because neither party is vested in the relationship, no one will do the work required to fix any issues that may arise. Both have a “why bother” attitude where they believe they’re better off alone. This could lead them to quickly end their relationship when faced with minor challenges. 

Is avoidant attachment narcissism?

Narcissism is a personality disorder, while the avoidant attachment style is one of four attachment styles that we learned growing up in response to our relationships with our earliest caregivers.

While there are similarities between narcissism and avoidant attachment style, narcissists can have any of the four attachment styles.

Narcissists are characterized by self-involvement to the degree that it makes a person ignore the needs of those around them. They disregard others and their feelings, and they don’t understand the effect their behavior has on other people. Often, they are charismatic and enjoy being surrounded by other people who will feed their ego.

Some of the behavior of narcissists is similar to that of people with avoidant attachment styles. Avoidants often appear as if they are ignoring the needs of their partner when they push them away or refuse to help or support their loved ones. They can appear cold and unfeeling in emotionally charged situations. Also, they are quick to end a relationship and move on to the next person.

The difference is that the behavior of avoidants is the result of fear and experiences with inconsistent love as children or in previous relationships. They are ultimately trying to protect themselves with their behavior. Narcissists, on the other hand, believe they are superior to others and deserve special treatment. They believe others should be obedient to their wishes and that the rules don’t apply to them.

Want some specific advice about your relationship with an avoidant partner? Chat online to a relationship coach from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.

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About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.