Falling in love with an avoidant personality can be frustrating, as avoidants in love can be challenging to understand.
Just how do avoidants show love?
Sometimes it seems that you can’t connect with your partner.
But, just as you are ready to give up, you become the center of their world.
If you have known this person for a while, the roller-coaster behavior is typical of an avoidant personality when they are in love.
And until you understand how an avoidant ticks, you will probably spend days and nights second-guessing, well, everything.
What Is an Avoidant?
Everyone has a shy or uncomfortable moment. But an avoidant person is more than being socially awkward or not knowing how to start a conversation.
A recognizable disorder, avoidant personalities show extreme social inhibition and inadequacies.
They are highly sensitive to negative criticism and react poorly to rejection. These characteristics can cause significant daily interaction problems and prevent the avoidant from forming and maintaining meaningful relationships.
Avoidant personalities can develop to extremes, sharing characteristics in common with other mental health conditions, including anxiety-inducing social phobia, co-dependency, and borderline personality disorder.
However, generalized love avoidants are usually defined as individuals who fear intimacy, despite being in love. People who display love-avoidant behavior come across as emotionally distant or cold, shying away from intimacy and affection.
Surprisingly, roughly 25% of the general population is considered avoidant in their approach to interpersonal attachments.
Symptoms and indications of love-avoidant men or women include:
- Social inhibition or awkwardness.
- Fear of public displays of affection.
- Sensitivity to negativity or rejection.
Those who have avoidant attachment also steer clear of conflict. They believe conflict or anger means they have caused a problem or made someone unhappy. This belief results in a desire to fix or bury the problem.
Therapists use the term withdrawer when referencing an avoidant attachment personality because they have honed their skills at withdrawing from emotional and interpersonal attachments.
And when faced with a potentially intimate or significant relationship, avoidant partners tend to reinforce their independence, taking steps to ensure freedom at any moment rather than embracing intimacy.
Avoidants are self-reliant, believing they can only depend on themselves. They confuse affection with clinginess and use phrases such as ‘smothering,’ ‘my personal space,’ or ‘my boundaries.’
13 Signs an Avoidant Loves You
Is something wrong with your new relationship? Your overly reserved partner may be an avoidant who is in love. Luckily, there are specific clues to avoidant attachment to help you understand this unique individual.
Can a fearful avoidant fall in love? Let’s look at the signs a fearful avoidant loves you.
1. They are ready for intimacy.
Avoidants fear intimacy. Exposing their bodies and souls to criticism and rejection is a constant fear.
So if your love-avoidant partner has indicated that they want a more intimate relationship, understand this is the ultimate sign that they love you.
2. They give you their time.
Avoidants like time alone. They are safe by themselves. If your new love partner is actively seeking to spend time with you, whether it is to read a book or quietly watch TV, it is clear that they have strong feelings for you.
3. They actively listen.
The love-avoidant person doesn’t ever want to make mistakes. Because of this and the newness of being in a relationship, they actively try to be good listeners.
They not only listen but also remember and factor in body language and any other tidbit of information that may give them insight into how to give you and the relationship the attention it deserves.
4. They talk openly.
One of the subtle signs is if they share their day honestly and openly. Reviewing workplace events may seem trivial. Most people rant to their spouses.
But an avoidant does not want to seem weak or give the impression they cannot handle their own problems. So they usually keep quiet. But if they begin to prattle on, then it is a sure sign you are in the running.
5. They are affectionate.
Love-avoidants are extremely affectionate and playful but in a puzzling or atypical way. And because of their unique issues with intimacy and social interaction, they may not assign value to typical behavior.
Instead of a quick kiss, they may pat you on the head or back. Or they may shake your hand instead of a hug. Remember that if they touch you in any way, that is a solid sign they are in love.
6. They confide in you.
They tell you their secrets. Sharing small confidences is a form of self-disclosure. And it is human nature to form intimate connections with people we trust with this highly personal information.
In this way, trust and self-disclosure lead to various levels of intimacy in personal and romantic relationships.
So, if your avoidant partner feels comfortable and safe enough to tell you a secret, it is a billboard signaling that you are now part of their inner circle and they are most likely in love with you.
7. They communicate non-verbally.
Research at the University of Toronto shows that love avoidants react positively to non-verbal cues.
A small smile or a gentle touch are necessary assurances that you are committed to them and the relationship without embarrassing public displays of affection.
Non-verbal communication is a primary way to win a love avoidant’s heart, and they will reciprocate.
8. They encourage your independence.
Love avoidants confuse the desire for personal space with leaving a relationship. If you are too independent, they will interpret that as a sign you do not want to be with them anymore.
But, if they encourage your independence, this is a healthy sign that they have committed to you and the relationship. A love-avoidant rarely allows a partner their personal space unless they have genuine feelings.
9. They try to bond.
Bonding is a part of evolution. But it can be difficult and requires effort. The ritual of bonding can be confusing for an avoidant personality. They are baffled because the underlying reason for bonding, to create a social group to survive, is contrary to their worldview.
Remember, avoidant personalities rely on themselves, actively shunning help from others.
But, if your partner is consciously making an effort to bond by understanding your hobbies or preferences, this is a solid sign that they are in love and committed to the relationship.
10. They want to get married.
These individuals value their independence and are quite efficient at being self-sufficient. Marriage to them threatens that independence, instilling fear that someone will get too close and smother them.
So, if your partner begins the marriage question or even asks for your hand, it is not done lightly. But it is the most significant sign that this individual is in love.
11. They accept your quirky style.
If an avoidant partner accepts your differences, it is a sure sign that they are in love. Remember, avoidants spend their lives trying to be perfect to avoid criticism or rejection.
But their love and admiration for you show in their acknowledgment and acceptance of your quirks.
12. You do not threaten them.
Avoidant lovers, once they trust, are rarely threatened by an accomplished partner. They are extremely supportive, understanding that your happiness is vital to the relationship’s success.
13. You know their inner circle.
If you have been introduced to your partner’s inner circle, friends and family, this is a sign that they trust you and are willing to move forward with the relationship.
Often called withdrawers, avoidants usually introduce their trusted circle as the last step before committing to a platonic or romantic relationship.
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What Makes an Avoidant Fall in Love?
Avoidants may be socially awkward but are capable of deep feelings, including love and fear.
Avoidants take a hyper-logical approach toward falling in love. They will think about everything in detail, assessing all risks and possibilities.
Love-avoidants will appreciate:
- Non-verbal communication
- Patience and support
- Respecting their space
Love-avoidant individuals always overthink relationships, considering each word or action from every angle. Once the relationship passes the intellectual test, an avoidant will fall in love.
But this mental gymnastics can also lead to irrational and unfounded fears about the relationship and cause distancing.
Overall, love avoidants begin pulling away as soon as a relationship develops. And the fear of rejection is probably why your newfound love suddenly avoids you.
This yo-yo-like behavior requires significant patience and reassurance from a loving partner.
How to Love an Avoidant Partner
Just because your avoidant partner has declared their feelings and brought you into their life, that doesn’t mean that everything is smooth sailing.
There are still things you have to consider if you want the relationship to work on any level.
1. Respect their boundaries.
Although an avoidant in love will be more open, they still need their own space. They will still try to withdraw from big conversations or scary emotions.
Don’t try to manipulate or persuade them. Respect their feelings and their many boundaries.
2. Drop the baggage.
A relationship with an avoidant lover is unlike any other relationship. So don’t compare this one to the others. Leave the baggage at the door. Your avoidant will not understand it, ultimately harming your partnership.
Don’t nag or criticize, even in jest, because your avoidant partner will spiral and be unable to process the negativity.
3. Create a drama-free environment.
The healthiest relationships often put transparency and honesty above all else. This openness is essential with a love-avoidant partner.
So, leave the drama in the past. And your avoidant partner will do the same.
4. Encourage their independence.
Validate and encourage your partner’s independence. Accept that they want to be alone to work through the day’s minutia or solve their own problems. They will run and hide if you force them to open up or attempt to fix their problems.
5. Be open and honest.
Remember that most avoidants are stressed and anxious. They are in constant turmoil, seeing negativity and criticism at every turn.
But if your new lover is open and honest, sometimes brutally so, don’t be alarmed. That is a sign they are in love.
And if you reciprocate, telling them your thoughts and feelings without prevarication, they will begin to feel comfortable in the relationship.
Loving an avoidant type person requires time and patience. Their fears of intimacy or rejection for them can be overwhelming.
But, if you are truly sincere about your feelings, they will sense this and provide a solid foundation for enduring love.