In any relationship (platonic or romantic) we all have our own attachment style, shaped primarily by past experiences. There are four attachment styles: Secure, Anxious, Fearful, and Avoidant.
Here, we’ll take a look at some signs of an avoidant attachment style and how it’s developed:
What are some signs of Avoidant attachment?
Someone with an avoidant attachment style needs a lot of emotional space and independence. They may be uncomfortable with strong displays of emotion or conflict. Here are some possible signs you have an avoidant attachment style:
- Preferring to keep quiet and let issues resolve themselves
- Trouble talking about how you are feeling or expressing vulnerability with partners or close friends
- Feeling like you aren’t sure how to respond when your partner is displaying strong emotions or seems distressed
- Sometimes giving people the impression that you aren’t interested
- A need for personal space (and feeling suffocated if you have to spend all your time with your partner)
The avoidant attachment style is low anxiety, high avoidance. (Think of a cat – a bit standoffish and aloof.)
How does someone develop Avoidant attachment?
For many, their upbringing plays a key role in developing an Avoidant attachment style. Maybe their family didn’t express emotions very often or there wasn’t a lot of warmth and openness.
Any combination of experiences that hinder emotional closeness can cause someone to “shut down” emotionally. As adults, those with an Avoidant attachment style often struggle when they need to talk about things like sex, communication, parenting, or emotions (since they may have never done it before).
What is the best way to manage Avoidant attachment?
If you or your partner have Avoidant attachment, there many things that can help! Here are a few:
- Raising Awareness: It’s important to address and try to understand each other’s emotional preferences to find the right balance in your relationship.
- Open Communication: Someone with an avoidant attachment style needs a safe environment to express emotions without fear of judgment or resentment, so good communication is key.
- Personal Space: Avoidantly attached people need a lot of personal space, so it’s important to respect their boundaries and remember it’s not a reflection of their feelings for you.
- Relationship Training: A relationship involving different attachment styles needs a little help sometimes, and a relationship coach can help address and resolve any issues.
Can Avoidant attachment be cured or changed?
It’s important to remember that there’s no “wrong” attachment style—it’s simply a person’s preference. That said, there are certainly ways to help change this type of attachment style if it’s something you’d like to do. The changes don’t necessarily occur within the person but in the relationship. For example, you can improve how you manage communication and conflict.
Remember, your attachment style is not permanent and can always be altered to improve your relationships, whether you use therapy, a relationship coach, or the support of your partner. The best way to resolve attachment issues is a trusting, stable relationship, which is something we can all benefit from, regardless of attachment styles!