What are the signs you’re dating a fear-avoidant person? And what can you do about it? Dating a fear-avoidant person comes with its own challenges. Sometimes you might want to give up before you go deeper and get yourself hurt.
Let me give you an example. You meet someone and they seem like the best thing that has ever happened to you. You kick it off and your conversations are mind-blowing. It feels like you’ve finally met the one.
A few days later, however, you send them a text and you receive a very flat reply. Their replies are so terrible, you begin to wonder if this was the same person you had the best day of your life with.
This can leave you feeling confused and anxious, probably wondering what it is you did. This doesn’t have to be someone you just met. Sometimes it could be someone you’re dating or have been involved with for a while.
When you guys are together, they make you feel like nothing else in the world matters. At that moment you are the most important thing to them. But when you’re away, you’re neither a friend nor a lover.
That’s enough to make anyone lose their minds especially if you do not understand why. And I’m here to explain to you the different attachment styles humans possess.
The Key is Understanding Attachment Styles
Generally, individuals can have their attachment styles influenced by their parents/caregivers. This eventually plays out into adulthood.
As children, when you have your needs met by a parent/caregiver, you tend to develop a more secure connection to them. This connection affects your personality and your emotions.
It brings about a more secure kind of connection to your friends and partners as an adult. Children who experience this are rarely ever the fear-avoidant kind.
On the other hand, children who do not have their needs met by their parents/caregivers tend to be the opposite. They develop an avoidant attachment style, anxiety and their personalities tend to suffer because of it.
Personality types tend to affect the way we view the world and this affects our lives. Ultimately, you will be affected by your childhood, one way or another. It’s either you run away from relationships or you run towards it.
Being a fear-avoidant person doesn’t always come with antisocial personality traits. In fact, fear-avoidant people tend to desire close relationships with people. Although they fear intimacy, they crave it.
Their fear of intimacy makes it difficult to attain a deeper connection to people around them. Eventually, they hurt these people and themselves.
Fear-avoidant people avoid any form of close relationships because they feel they are protecting themselves of the unknown.
Understanding the various attachment styles can help you identify your style and that of your partner/love interest. It gives you an insight into why people do what they do in relationships. Sometimes it makes it easier when you have closure.
Having a specific attachment style does not mean you have to live with it for the rest of your life. Avoidant attachment styles are a result of lack of care, emotions and understanding as children.
As adults, identifying the problem and working on it can help you build a better relationship with people around you and yourself.
What Are the Attachment Styles?
Generally, we have 4 different types of attachment styles. They are usually formed in the first years of a child’s life and progress into adulthood.
These attachment styles are subconsciously learned by children and it forms the way they view the world and view relationships.
Here are the 4 attachment styles you need to know.
When children have their emotional and psychological needs met by a parent/caregiver, they most likely would develop a secure attachment style.
They would not have a lot of problems trusting people and building bonds. Their relationships would be a lot healthier and understanding than people who don’t.
Children who do not have these needs met, on the other hand, are quite the opposite. They will be a lot more insecure in their relationships and in themselves.
This can make it difficult for them to build bonds and form relationships, both intimate and platonic. However more intimate relationships are a challenge.
An anxious preoccupied individual might find it hard to form bonds with other people. This is mostly due to their anxious nature and need for reassurance.
People with this attachment style always want reassurance that they matter. They can come off as pretty clingy and idolize their partners a lot.
They hold their relationships on a pedestal and need to be reassured as often as possible. This need for validation can make it difficult for their partners to keep up with them.
As you probably will have guessed, the most logical love language for an an anxious preoccupied person would be words of affirmation. But it can become onerous and difficult to sustain for their partners.
A dismissive avoidant attachment style might find it hard to open up to others. They discard any means of being emotionally involved with people.
They practice a form of self-isolation because they do not see the point of engaging in relationships. This can eventually be draining for the people around them.
It’s always difficult to get to know what they are thinking and many people will find it difficult to keep up with that.
And now for the real reason why we are here. The fear avoidant attachment style eventuates from lack of bonding as infants right up to adulthood.
Fear avoidant people fear intimacy even when they still want relationships. The most interesting thing about fear avoidant people is that they seek out these relationships themselves.
However, when they notice it has become intense and serious, they begin to withdraw from their partner and the relationships entirely.
People like this tend to engage more in casual flings/sex than anything serious because they can’t handle it. It becomes too much for them and they panic into bailing.
Dating a fear avoidant person can be difficult for just about anybody. Being a fear avoidant person can be frustrating even to them.
How Childhood Influences Attachment Styles
As mentioned earlier, children tend to pick up their attachment styles at a tender age. Subconsciously they pick up signals and behavioral patterns from the adults around them.
If a child doesn’t get the right reaction and attachment from their parents/caregivers, it can affect them right into adulthood. Lack of attachment in children equals reluctance to attach as adults.
Children who are shown a lot of love and affection by their parents, caregivers and other adults around them tend to develop a healthier bond as adults.
Childhood plays an important role in attachment styles. It also plays an important role in personality types. Your childhood can make a child feel more emotionally secure or insecure.
It can be the cause of a fear avoidant or dismissive avoidant attachment style. These can affect their relationships as they grow older.
People with fearful avoidant attachment styles are often the most complex. This is because of the combination of avoidant and anxious characteristics. People with this attachment style often come from traumatized homes.
This could be a reason why they lack trust in other people and never truly see when someone cares about them.
Signs You Might Be Dating a Fear Avoidant Person
Although attachment styles differ, they can overlap. This can make it difficult to identify the kind of attachment style your partner has.
But there are certain ways to identify certain attachment styles. If you’ve ever wondered if you were dating or involved in a fear avoidant person, read further.
These could be signs you’re dating a fearful avoidant person.
1. They Never Want to Define Things
When dating or involved with a fear avoidant person, you might notice how they always want to spend time with you. However, they never want to place a definition on why.
They don’t want labels and might avoid you for a long time if they start feeling you do. This is because they crave love and desire, just like the rest of us. But they also never want to define things.
They want to be ready to distance themselves without the added guilt. The reason why they push you away is not because they are not interested in you. Their fear of intimacy goes into overdrive.
A fear-avoidant partner won’t want to be attached to a person because they fear rejection. So one minute it seems like they really like you and the next minute, you aren’t certain.
You know you are dating a fear avoidant person when they give off these mixed signals. You aren’t sure where you stand in their lives. Sometimes you feel like it could be good but they always find a way to make you rethink.
2. They Avoid Letting You Too Deep In Their Lives
A fear-avoidant person usually thinks everyone would disappoint them sooner or later. So, they try not to let people too deep into their lives.
They rarely ever talk about themselves or ask for help. If you ever offer to help them, they would either ignore or reject it. No matter how much they need it.
It makes them feel vulnerable and vulnerability is something a fear-avoidant person wants to avoid. Because of a lack of help and affection in their childhood, they associate vulnerability to weakness.
You know you’re dating an avoidant partner when they rarely ever ask you for something even when they obviously need it. Their earliest memories of asking for help ended badly. So they associate that with everything else.
3. Talking About Your Emotions Make Them Uneasy
Another thing you should know about your fear avoidant partner is talking about emotions makes them uncomfortable. This includes your emotions and theirs as well. They usually just go silent.
You notice how when you talk about things that hurt you, they never really say anything. Especially when they are the reason. They distance themselves from being that involved with you.
If you confront them about something, they might go AWOL for a very long time. Sometimes even forever till you reach out yourself. You might feel frustrated by this because it seems like they are not interested in you or the relationship.
However, a contributing factor to this is their upbringing and earlier experiences of self-expression. When faced with negative emotions, they respond to them by flight.
4. Communication Can Be Very Difficult
Generally, fear avoidant people can be lacking in emotional intelligence. They may not be able to tell how you’re truly feeling. Sometimes you’re not sad but they might assume this.
Considering they avoid negative emotions by flight, they might not stick around long enough to know how you feel.
Fear avoidant people can be frustrating to deal with especially if they don’t want to face the problem. So, it’s no surprise if you feel out of place sometimes with your partner.
How To Go About Dating a Fear Avoidant Partner
Dating a fear avoidant person could seem very challenging but it’s not impossible. As long as they are willing to work on themselves, they can change their attachment style.
Of course, it’s not easy but it’s possible. However, you have to remember that if they have no interest in changing it, there’s nothing you can do.
The good news is that there are ways you can love them without completely losing your mind. Fear avoidant people crave attention and love. They just do not know how to go about it.
Here are ways to be there for your fear avoidant partner.
Recommended Article- Dating an Introvert (A Guide)
1. Do Not Take Things personally
The very first thing you want to know about dating a fearful avoidant person is this. When they do or say things, you have to understand it’s because of who they are.
Thinking you’re in the wrong always and there’s something wrong with you is bad. It’s a quick way to send yourself over the edge and affect your relationships.
If they let you in, you have to be careful about things you say and do. Never take it too personally for your own mental health.
2. Let Them Know How You Feel
When dating a fear avoidant person, you have to let them know you’re there because you actually love them. They have a skewed view of love and affection and they act accordingly.
They are used to a lack of love and affection. So, it’s no surprise they are skeptical when it’s presented to them on a platter of gold. Let them know you’re with them because you want to and not because you have to.
They can feel they are a burden to you when you offer them help. Emphasize how you enjoy doing it and it’s not a problem. Let them know you truly care for them.
Find light hearted ways to express your emotions and reassure them regularly. Just not too much. Sometimes all they truly need to hear is a simple “I love you and I’m here for you”.
3. Have A Life of Your Own
The last thing you want to do is get heavily invested in their lives that you completely forget yours. It’s okay to want to help your fear avoidant partner have a better attachment style.
Remember to take care of yourself and go after your own daily activities. Sometimes what they need is space. So, give them that. As you do that, have a life of your own.
It’s evident you love your partner and want the best for them, but you need to be in the best mind for that. It can be draining. So, take time for yourself to recharge and continue.
4. Know When to Quit
Unfortunately, you win some and you lose some. If they do not have any interest in addressing the problem or changing, then you should know when to leave.
It might be sad but everyone has a person they are willing to change for. And if that’s not you, you can only accept it and move on. The last thing you want to do is force it.
And you don’t want to be in a relationship that affects your own attachment style. Remember it can go both ways. Either they get better or yours get worse.
It’s a lot of mental energy you are putting in to make them feel like you care. Chasing after someone that doesn’t want to be caught can be exhausting.
Sooner or later, you’ll have to stop and give them the space they desperately need. You can’t force emotions. You can’t force an avoidant person to be more secure.
As mentioned earlier, dating a fear avoidant person isn’t completely impossible. However, it can feel like you’re walking on eggshells. One minute it’s paradise and the next minute it’s like Tartarus (okay maybe that’s a bit exaggerated).
You know what they say, if you fly too high, you can get burned by the sun. No matter what, people only change if they truly want to.
So, think about yourself just as much as you think about them.