He loves me. He loves me not.
Is this something you find yourself saying—or asking—all the time?
Getting too close and then falling back into stranger territory? Scratching your head when you thought it was a yes, and now it’s a no?
I get you. The avoidant lover has a penchant for avoiding a lot of things, and that sometimes includes you.
Has Jim been erratic in his emotions lately? Switching from hot to cold and vice versa?
Is Monica playing hard to get? Does that mean she likes a certain guy or is just playing around?
It could be that Monica is a dismissive-avoidant so playing hard-to-get is her way of keeping a safe distance from the ones she loves.
An avoidant can appear emotionally unstable, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. That’s just his nature.
Did you know that 1.5-2.5% of people in the United States have an avoidant personality?
Did you know
Avoidant personality is characterized by extreme shyness and sensitivity to criticism from others and is known as a Cluster C personality disorder or one that involves anxious and fearful personality disorders.
I know a guy named Dave who grew up with a caregiver, and so he learned to cope with separation by becoming distant and indifferent. Today, that’s how he acts when faced with a stressful situation.
Dealing with an avoidant partner may drive you mad—but it’s just a matter of demystifying the dude—whether he likes you, loves you, or hates your guts.
What Is an Avoidant Partner?
An avoidant partner is someone with an avoidant attachment style.
This type of attachment style generally causes a person to push away their loved ones and avoid intimacy. There are two types of avoidant attachment styles:
- Fearful Avoidant
- Dismissive Avoidant
People with a Fearful Avoidant style may struggle to open up and let people in, while those with a Dismissive Avoidant style may try to appear independent and unemotional.
Both can make it difficult for someone to love an avoidant partner. Although the attachment style may cause them to appear distant, there are still signs that an avoidant loves someone.
These signs include demonstrating reliability, taking care of the other person’s needs, expressing gratitude, and showing physical affection when possible.
While it can be hard to understand an avoidant love language, if you pay attention to signs mentioned below, it’s possible to have a meaningful connection with someone who has this attachment style.
It helps to recognize the clues and signs of an avoidant: distant, fearful of intimacy, suspicious, generally oblivious, and protective of their turf. Some may have their quirks—gym addicts, no-shows, or party poopers—but you get the picture that their world may revolve around a painful or traumatic childhood.
Just don’t take hard-to-get and friend-zone moves the wrong way. It’s not you. It’s just how he is.
Before you lose hope in your avoidant potentials, remember that they’re humans too and that they are capable of love. They just express it in uncanny ways.
I’ve come up with a few to quell your confusion. Here are 10 signs an avoidant loves you–
- Great wall of Avoidance
- He said, she said
- Independence Date
- Language of Love
- Subtle Romantic Cues
- Stop, Look and Listen
- Rants About Work
- Make the First Move
- Bonds with You
- The Doctor is in
10 Signs an Avoidant Loves You
1. Great wall of Avoidance
Avoidant people are known for hiding behind a wall of intimacy, which is why they act stoically and devoid of emotion. They think that if you take a peek into their lives, you’ll crush them in the end.
If an avoidant loves you, he’ll let a layer or two drop so that you can get a glimpse of his true self. He’ll even show you his vulnerable side and maybe share a secret.
If he confesses to murdering his neighbor though, run!
Breaking down his emotional wall is the number one sign—and he’ll do it for you, even if it will cost him sleepless nights.
2. He said, she said
Couple shirts can only relate to like-minded lovers. There are times when she says everything, and he doesn’t say anything at all.
Differences exist and need to be respected.
If he recognizes your differences in keeping up with the intimacy pace, his awareness is a sign that he is trying to cope.
His awareness itself deserves a clap. You are acknowledged in the avoidant’s universe. Now that’s a feat.
Food for Thought
There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
3. Independence Date
Being independent and self-sufficient has always been an avoidant Tom’s trait.
When he spotted Lydia having her own “thing” and not acting all lovey-dovey and dependent on him, he began to warm up more with her.
Seems that Tom likes the idea that Lydia keeps her personal space too, so they’re alike that way. With this newfound romance, Tom just likes being around Lydia since she has proven her stalwart character.
4. Language of Love
We can’t expect an avoidant to send passionate text messages or calls all night long. That’s asking too much of an avoidant.
You’re even lucky if he doesn’t keep his phone on mute.
But, if he sends an occasional text, answers your call, and responds to jokes with a “haha!” then that’s a start of a “loving” relationship. A big sign he is into you.
5. Subtle Romantic Cues
Ben may not hold your hands in public, but he shows his love up to his physical threshold.
Maybe Ben’s threshold is holding hands in a more secure location. The other day, your fingers brushed, and he did not move his hand abruptly. That must be it!
Mark usually talks in a monotone or inserts negative phrases as part of his daily routine. Today, his first sentence had a slightly higher inflection, especially when he uttered my name.
Didn’t that sound delightful? That was like music in my ears. Those romantic cues are ways to make an avoidant go for you. Subtle signs which you should read properly.
6. Stop, Look and Listen
Apart from being critical and judgmental, an avoidant partner loves to listen to your needs and thoughts. He might not act immediately on your requested trip to Jamaica, but he knows.
Ten points if he gets you Jamaican food or watches “Cool Runnings” with you this weekend.
7. Rants About Work
As negative as it sounds, once James rages about his stressful day in the office and how his boss Carl can be such a jerk, that’s his way of opening up to you.
Avoidants usually put a calm face in stressful or anxious situations.
Showing you his emotions (stress) means that he’s taken a layer off his avoidance shield and welcomes you into his world, and your partner feels safe with you.
8. Make the First Move
Why does he get to play hard-to-get all the time? Because a person comes to the avoidant, not the other way around.
Avoidants have fear of rejection and most of the time feel insecure, the key is to understand them better.
So try being coy for a change, and let him reach out to you.
If it works, well played.
9. Bonds with You
An avoidant person loves simple bonding activities. It’s not as hard-core as surfing or mountain climbing, but reading in a park looks like an ideal quiet us-time.
There’s no emotion required, but a simple activity builds trust and positivity, best way to make him open up. Those little things may not be a big deal for someone, but for an avoidant partner, they can make your relationship work.
Don’t forget the snacks.
10. The Doctor is in
He is open to the idea of individual or couple therapy, or talking to a relationship coach and get tailor-made advice. Plus 10 claps if the idea even comes from him!
Talking or exposing his innermost thoughts to a therapist means removing this emotional shield, and that can only mean that he loves you to brave that front.
Therapy or talking to a relationship coach may not be the key to a happy ending, but it’s the start of cultivating a deep(er) relationship with an avoidant.
Consider an avoidant a keeper if there’s an effort to diminish the avoidance and be present more. Don’t keep him locked up, though; that might trigger something disastrous.
Not that you’ve un-avoided his love, it’s time to spice up the romance. I’m not talking about sparks and fireworks.
Let’s tone it down to the avoidant level. Let’s see—a glint of what seems to be a smile or taking you out to the movies. Yes, that’s more like it.
Are you up for a game of romantic tag?
Take your love spree up a notch by getting him to miss and chase you. Wouldn’t it be great to be chased this time?
Sit down, grab a cookie, and learn how to make an avoidant miss you.
8 Ways to Make an Avoidant Miss You
Here are 8 ways to make an avoidant miss you:
- Hide and Seek
- Get Interested in a Hobby
- Addicted to You
- Someone to Trust
- Hold it Back
- Make Plans
- Understand their Trigger
- Comfort Zone
1. Hide and Seek
An avoidant values his independence and freedom. He may find being too close to someone and a serious relationship too suffocating.
Why don’t you be the one to take a break or a long vacation (from him)? This time, go on an extended personal adventure and have him seek you.
2. Get Interested in a Hobby
Find a new hobby that you love, and spend time crafting it. You can learn gardening, cooking, or speaking a new language.
If an avoidant retreats into his “world” when he feels too emotionally burdened, he resorts to family members or other activities. Now you have your own “escape world” too.
Since you’re so busy being the next Picasso, you’ve just established yourself as an independent. That means you passed his test and are now a certified “un-clingy girlfriend.”
Missing you means he’ll feel the need to be a part of your new time-consuming hobby. If he doesn’t feel like picking up a paintbrush, he’ll probably pick you up instead.
3. Addicted to You
People with avoidant behavior are notorious for having addictions. They’d rather pour their heart (and soul) into video games, junk food, or gambling—but not you, sorry.
Turn that addiction around by being someone who can do something that sweeps him off his feet.
If he loves curry, cook the best curry he’s ever tasted.
Beat him in his favorite video game.
Show him a thing or two with your poker face.
Do the things he loves without going overboard. When you’re not around, he’ll surely follow you around to get that taste of his comfort zone.
4. Someone to Trust
Want to make an avoidant to chase you? Be such a good sport—reliable and real—, and he’ll be the one to search for you.
Avoidants expect disappointments and fake promises. Shower him with authenticity, dependability, and honesty, so that he will trust you enough —just like a good politician (minus the frills and fluff)—and he’ll be back for more.
5. Hold it Back
Avoidant Jim finally tells Marga the L word. Wouldn’t that make you just want to flood him back with your emotional speeches? Please don’t.
Make him wait. Do not overwhelm.
Give a mutual response, and always respect the space. In adjusting to his intimate language, you just showed what an understanding and level-headed partner you are.
His previous partners got hysterical, and look where they are today.
6. Make Plans
Avoidant individuals hate surprises and unexpected situations and are at the top of the avoidant’s hate list, this might push them away.
Try the opposite. Plan, and tell him about it.
That makes it worth the wait.
7. Understand their Trigger
Mario is stressed out, but he keeps it bottled in his cool demeanor rather than talk to you about it. He was raised not to cry out loud since he got berated a lot as a child.
The only thing that got him to stop crying was a trip to his favorite neighborhood pizzeria down the block.
Aside from his parents, only you are armed with this well-kept pizza secret. When he gets an anxiety attack, you know the pepperoni drill.
The next time Mario gets into a fix, he’ll associate the solution = pizza = you.
Avoidance triggers vary per person, and pizza is not the solution for all. It can be anything tangible or an act of service, like watching his favorite show or bringing home a parakeet.
Remember that everyone is unique, and some apartments don’t allow pets.
8. Comfort Zone
Create a safe space where he is accepted and not judged. He’ll realize that when he’s away from you, things go awry.
When he runs back to his safety blanket (that’s you), the stars align, and things fall into place. Avoidants tend to be protective of personal space, remember that.
How does an avoidant fall in love?
When it comes to falling in love, an avoidant may seem like a tricky individual.
An avoidant is someone who has an Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD) and tends to struggle with intimacy and forming close relationships.
Due to this, they are often perceived as distant, aloof and even uninterested when it comes to matters of the heart. However, just because an avoidant is capable of loving, doesn’t mean that they are incapable of falling in love.
While it can be difficult for outsiders to detect signs that an avoidant loves someone, there are some signs that may indicate their feelings.
For example, if an avoidant starts opening up more with the person they are interested in or if they become more comfortable with physical contact; these can be signs that they are starting to fall in love.
Additionally, while they may still exhibit some avoidance behavior towards their significant other, such as not being able to talk about their own emotions or feeling overwhelmed when discussing deep topics, over time these behaviors should become less frequent with someone they truly care about.
In conclusion, while it may take longer for an avoidant individual to fall in love due to their natural inclination towards avoiding intimacy and commitment; it is possible for them to find and experience true love – just like anyone else!
How To Manage Love Avoidant Behavior?
Avoidant love is a complex issue that can be difficult to manage.
Avoidant behavior is often characterized by a fear of intimacy and emotional detachment.
Signs an avoidant loves someone include reluctance to make the first move, avoiding physical contact, and being uncomfortable with open displays of affection.
Another big sign an avoidant may miss out on is their partner’s hobbies and interests; avoidant people have trouble connecting through shared activities.
If you’re looking for signs your avoidant partner loves you, pay attention to how they act when you’re together.
Do they treat you differently than others? Are they more attentive or responsive to your needs?
Making the first move can help show them that it’s safe to open up and connect with you in a meaningful way.
With patience and understanding, managing an avoidant love relationship can bring joy and fulfillment into both partners’ lives.
How to Make an Avoidant Feel Safe?
The best way to make an avoidant feel safe is to be patient, attentive, and understanding.
Avoidants need reassurance that their feelings are respected and valid.
They may not be ready to open up right away, but if you show them that you care and understand their feelings, they will eventually come out of their shell.
Avoidants with an Avoidant Personality Disorder may need more attention and understanding than those without this personality disorder.
Regardless of the circumstances, If you want to make an avoidant feel safe, create a calm environment free of judgement or pressure. Speak softly and use positive affirmations when talking to them.
Reflect back on what they say before responding and ask open-ended questions to encourage deeper conversations.
Showing empathy is also important as it helps build trust between you and the avoidant.
There are many ways to make an avoidant feel safe; however, patience, empathy, understanding, and respect are key elements in creating a secure atmosphere for them.
How to successfully date an avoidant
Dating an avoidant partner can be challenging, but it is possible to build a successful relationship with someone who has an avoidant attachment style.
To do so, it is important to recognize that your partner may have different needs and expectations when it comes to intimacy.
It is also important to remember that your partner may need more time and space than other partners in order to feel comfortable in the relationship.
When dating an avoidant partner, try not to push too hard for closer connection or intimacy. Instead, focus on having fun together by participating in activities that both of you enjoy.
This will help create a safe space where your partner can relax without feeling overwhelmed.
By understanding and respecting their boundaries, you can create a meaningful relationship with someone who has an avoidant attachment style.
Are avoidants cheaters?
Generally speaking, avoidant people tend not to cheat.
Those with an avoidant attachment style are often fearful of being judged or rejected, so they are less likely to engage in cheating behavior.
Avoidants tend to be uncomfortable with close relationships, and they may struggle to form meaningful connections with other people.
Therefore, having a partner who might discover their cheating would be too risky for them.
While it is impossible to generalize an entire group of people, most avoidants typically do not cheat on their partners.
Are avoidants lonely?
Avoidants are often seen as lonely people, but this is not necessarily true.
While it’s certainly possible for an avoidant to feel lonely, it does not have to be the case.
Avoidants tend to focus on their own interests and hobbies and may even enjoy spending time alone.
This doesn’t mean they don’t want companionship; rather, they prefer to choose when they interact with others.
Understanding avoidants better can help us appreciate their need for independence and autonomy while also providing them with meaningful relationships if desired.
Sometimes, their aloofness can come across as a sign of loneliness, but in reality, they may simply be enjoying their own space.
So, are you running away from your avoidant admirer to test if he’ll miss you?
Is his empathy clearer now that it’s coupled with positive responses to simple questions?
If Alan sits one seat apart from you but two seats away from Marla, then that’s got to be a good hint.
I hope that this list has helped you uncover a budding romance with an avoidant. Otherwise, if he’s not into you, time to avoid him for good.
The love signs of an avoidant may be subdued, underwhelming, and on the dull side of the passion spectrum. They’re the opposite of the fireworks and romance overkill hyped by Hollywood.
What if the chemistry is there? What if you realize that overkill isn’t your thing too?
Well, that’s a story you’d like to tell—but mind the distance, please.
You might want to check out these special Relationship Guides to take your relationship to a new level:
I do understand what you’re trying to accomplish here is trust. However, what you are also advocating is a door mat as a partner. You’re missing the fact that the partner of an avoidant is human too and they need TLC from time to time. The partner can’t take on just the role of entertainer, supporter, cheer leader, care taker etc.
A relationship is give and take and if the partner is constantly making the hard adjustments and the avoidant is going with their comfort zone in the long run, things cannot be sustained. You may not want to advocate sacrificing one’s values because you want the relationship so bad. It is very harmful and leaves individuals feeling responsible for the entire relationship than just their share. A relationship is a place where both people have to step out of their comfort zones. The chase will have to come to an end at some point and life has real demands and needs real partners to roll up and help do the dirty work.
Farnaz you said it all, I just learned about the attachment styles and my boyfriend just broke up with me a few days ago I just realized we were in the anxious-avoidant trap. He is dismissive-avoidant and I was reading this and beating myself up so much because I didn’t know what to do when he would send mixed signals when he would never compliment me or help me with my struggles, the relationship worked pretty much on his dynamic. He finally said I love you (mind you, during sex!!!) but that was not enough for me, I was exhausted and receiving very little in return, and after he broke up I keep going back and thinking about what I should have done different but I shouldn’t be the only one working to accommodate his needs I wanted my needs accommodated too… this whole article is not fair to the other party…
Hey Jenna I’m so sorry you went through this because I am literally days out of a relationship with an avoidant and I’m even convinced he gas lighted me. He broke down everything I love, tried to change everything I did. My religious beliefs, how I look after my dogs, my exercise routine, told me I have no friends etc. I kept going back and even now I think if only I love him more he will change but he doesn’t see anything wrong with his behavior. So condoning it is also wrong. I’ve spoken to his exes and they all experienced the same things I did. It’s heartbreaking because they also deserve love but ultimately so do we and a person can only change if you want to
Very good observation!
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
This really puts everything into a much needed perspective.
Thank you so much for weighing in on this difficult topic.👍
I’ve been seeing an avoidant for 2 years. It took a while to adjust to his push me/pull you way of thinking. Studying about this attachment style has done wonders for me. A month or so ago he said he loved me when he said good night. I kissed him and made no reply. I’m secure with some anxious tendencies. He shows me he loves me, never forgets anything I say and respects me. I think learning about his style has made a tremendous difference in our lives. And…im not a door mat.
Good to hear that
I am happy for you that your dismissive- avoidant partner of two years is not treating you like a door mat.
I suppose there are degrees and levels of dismissive avoidants.
In my case, it has been over 3 years, (going on 4) and things are just getting worse, bordering on unbearable. I cry all the time.
I have ended up in counselling over it, and this push-pull, on-off dynamic which has totally stripped my emotional gears has now begun to take a toll on my physical health as well.
I have been officially advised to get out NOW.
Enough is enough.
When you love someone, breaking up is hard, even when you are the suffering, disregarded partner.
I have no family and and am also a senior citizen, so I don’t look forward to being alone.
……But, that is the unfortunate choice I now am faced with.
Hope one day you get to read this.
That was not an avoidant, but rather a plain narcissistic man. They have a good game of love bombing and once you take the bait, you become their puppet and they strive to take down all your confidence in a way that you’ll always be dependent on them.
Remember that you’re loved and you should spend your time with those who see value in you
Oh Carol, I feel so bad for you. I have just started dating a dismissive avoidant partner. We talked on the phone all of the time for over 2 weeks. He opened up to me about all of his inner most feelings and trauma. Something he said he has never done before. When we met it was an instant attraction and chemistry. But now a few weeks later there are no more compliments, affection or anything I feel should be going on in a relationship when it’s brand new. He has a very dry sense of humor and is narcacisstic in a lot of ways. I am also a senior citizen who lost my husband over a year ago in a car accident. I don’t have the time, emotions or stamina to deal with a person like this although I really, really care for him a lot. So I guess I’ll get out before I become too emotionally involved.
Yeah, I have mixed feelings too about this article. Its informative, but from experience if you live this way for an avoidant they end up looking down on you as easy or a doormat and ultimately dont appreciate you. This article is literally the groundwork for developing an abusive relationship with someone who is possibly a narcissist. No one should have to give so much just to get a little in return in a relationship because over time it will break you down as a person and you will lose sight of your worth and how you deserve to be treated, even to the point you forget who you are. Be careful playing with fire by following this advice. If someone makes you feel like you have to bend over backwards just to get their “love” then it’s not worth sticking around because they probably had alterior motives for you and the “relationship” from the start.
No no no no no ,
If your partner is avoidant, to the point that you cant have emotional intimacy… Just run. They cant change unless they are putting in
therapy work themselves… They never will because its easier to just avoid everything. What will happen if you do not leave is the constant arms length they keep you at will make you addicted to their attention when it does come around once in a while, and you’ll have a heartbreaking experience, the relationship will always hurt, and when you break it off you’ll go through like drug withdrawals.
They are not capable of having a real relationship, they will stonewall you and cheat on you… They are adult babies. You have to leave to protect yourself.
I’m an avoidant dismissive type and I agree and disagree with aspects of this article when it comes to being in a relationship with somebody like me.
I would agree that separate hobbies and time apart are essential, not because I don’t like spending time with my partner but because I need my own space to process my internal emotional experience from time to time. I like my partner to have their own hobbies because I can use the time they are engaging in their hobby to do that without worrying that they are feeling neglected or dismissed by my physical and/or emotional absence. Joining in on my hobby however is likely to be counter-productive. I use my hobby as an escape so I’m likely to feel suffocated by my partner inserting themselves into that space when I’m trying to spend time alone. Honesty, dependendibility and consistency are also key. I don’t trust that other people can meet my needs, not in a way that I can do myself, and it’s only through time and through honesty and consistency that I’ve been able to let my walls down with somebody and start trusting that they can and will do what they promise.
That said, this article does make it seem that all the effort should be one sided and all relationships have to have give and take and I understand that I need to step outside of my comfort zone occasionally to fulfil my partners needs too. For example, my partner comes from a very large, very close family which is completely alien to me. His family want regular conversations with him and they want me involved in those conversations. Their need to feel close to me as a part of their family makes me uncomfortable because of my attachment issues but I understand that if I were to reject them then my partner would feel this was a rejection of him by extension so I make sure to speak to his family, engage in the gossip and take part in the numerous, numerous family events despite this being an excruciating experience for me because I know he puts up with my eccentricities.
Somebody like me is never going to completely change. Our distancing is a coping strategy, it allows us to feel safe and we need that from time to time in order to fuction without having an emotional break down. You shouldn’t be with somebody who makes you miserable and you shouldn’t be with somebody who never makes an effort to fulfill your needs however if you love somebody with avoidant dismissive attachment disorder you may need to accept that your partner may not always be emotionally present when you want them to be. I would advise deciding before getting into a relationship with somebody like me whether you can be in a relationship with somebody who isn’t always able to express affection and emotional presence when you need it. If you’re quite needy the you’ll likely end up hurt and you’ll likely end up making the other person’s attachment issues worse.
Thank you Darren