How to Cope With an Avoidant Partner

How to Cope With an Avoidant Partner


There are, for many of us, few people as attractive
as the avoidant; the sort that are permanently a little mysterious; who don’t speak so
much; around whom one never quite knows where one is; in whose eyes there is a faraway look,
and perhaps a certain melancholy too; in whose hearts we intuit a sadness we long to, but
never quite can, touch; people who seem to promise us intimacy and connection, and yet
who remain – however long we have been with them – mesmerisingly unreassuring. Unsurprisingly,
it is not so easy to be the lover of an avoidant person. The tendency, very often, after the
heady early days, is to give into the insecurities they end up provoking in us: do they really
care? Do they love us back? Why are they never the ones to call? Beset by such questions,
we may get cross, tearful or stern. We may accuse them of neglect and selfishness, of
betrayal or egocentricity. These sort of inquisitions can be counted on to fail. At the first signs
of critique, avoidant people pull up the drawbridge. They are experts at fleeing the messy consequences
of other people’s desire for them. They go off to play sport, abscond on a long journey
or discover new responsibilities at the office. One is left hammering in vain at the gates
of their personal citadel. On a bad day, they may also get furious back. They will deny
that we have any kind of point at all. They aren’t trying to deceive us; they genuinely
can’t see the issue. They aren’t – they assure us with mounting vehemence – distant
and cold, they are simply busy and not into certain kinds of sentimentality. It is we
– needy, weak, hysterical and over-demanding, as they put it – who are the problem. We
almost agree. To survive, we should hold on to the
idea that, despite their robust outward manner, the avoidant are, above all else, scared.
Their frostiness is the result of fear rather than indifference – and what they are afraid
of is to let down their guard and then meet with betrayal and abandonment. Their outward
strength masks a gelatinous interior. There will, inevitably, be a rather touching backstory
to their advanced subterranean fears. They were, way back, most likely let down very
badly by someone they depended on a lot when they were defenceless. In response to a grave
childhood disappointment, they grew an extra thick skin and plated themselves with armour.
They vowed, in a way they may not now even recognise, never to trust anyone fully again.
Related image So they are distant and prone to put up barriers not because they don’t
care, but because being cared for with kindness generates unfamiliar and daunting feelings
for them. They skillfully undermine their chances of being close, because they have
no experience of reliable love – and are drawn to try to spoil it to prove to themselves
that it can’t be real (and that they haven’t, therefore, missed out on quite so much). We
should avoid getting stuck in cycles of claim and counter-claim; that they might be too
cold and that we might be too hot. Far better to address the fears circulating beneath the
surface. Rather than provoking their panic or denial, we should – as best we can – make
closeness feel safe. We should remember that we are dealing with someone who finds vulnerability
frightening and therefore not meet their impulse to flee with punitiveness. But more crucially, we might along the way, start to ask ourselves
a few key questions. How similar are we to them, beneath the apparent differences? It
is easy to claim that one has an uncomplicated desire to be close – so long as one isn’t
put to the test, because one has carefully picked out a person who has problems being
so. Yet in truth, how simple is closeness for us really? Might we not be as scared as
they are – but simply have passed our share of the problem on to them to hold? Shouldn’t
we be suspicious of the way that we managed to reject other warmer candidates in favour
of this distant figure? Is it really an accident that we are with them? Or isn’t it in some
way satisfying to us as well, allowing us to claim that we want intimacy without having
to bear any of its costs? Through such pointed questions, we stand to realise
that, most probably, the fear of closeness exists on both sides. It’s just that they
are directly distant and we are so by proxy. We can break away from caricatures and, as
a couple, own up to our mutual terrors of dependence. We can start to sympathise with
one another’s techniques for warding off anxiety and help each other to accept the
common risks of love. That will be the beginning of true closeness – and bravery – on both
sides. Did you know we also have an app to help you meet people with whom you can have deeper more meaningful connections? Follow the link on your screen now to download it.

37 Replies to “How to Cope With an Avoidant Partner”

  1. If you want to chat more to your fellow School of Life audience members, be sure to download our free app: https://bit.ly/2WqVXzm

  2. I say be genuinely interested in healing yourself rather than focusing on fixing the other person. Accept who they are and move on to self care and love. Relationships go through phases and what matters is being there when you need each other. I have an attachment wound and am admittedly needy, been married to an avoidant man for 11 years. Personally I love and nurture myself and if he's there so be it. If not I'm ok.

  3. i'm in this video and i don't like it. literally every sentence about the avoidant is so accurate its almost scary- from the frostiness being the result of fear, to being let down very badly by someone they depended on a lot, when they were defenseless. fhdshg stop this
    seriously though, these videos have helped me feel more valid in my behaviorisms and that means a lot to me, and i'm sure, many others as well

  4. Wonderful knowledge. The bible says knowledge is more valuable than anything basically. Also peeps hit my short vid up too if u can thx! Superpayaseria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPOOInzcjo

  5. Anyone fit the person described in this vid?? Also peeps hit my short vid up too if u can thx! Superpayaseria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPOOInzcjo

  6. You can only establish connection with this sort of people provided they allow you to. Otherwise don't waste your time

  7. I recently broke up with my avoidant partner. At the start she put in effort, but as time went on there would be no physical or verbal intimacy unless I initiated it. I always felt like she didn't actually want to be with me, and whenever I brought it up I would be stonewalled or have to talk to her mother instead. I was told I had to be considerate of how she was, she could take years to open up, but how I felt was never considered. But I put up with it and dimly believed she actually loved me. The last straw was when I found out she was texting her ex in secret, and claimed not to tell me because she didn't want me to worry. She could put effort into talking to someone who was threatening our relationship, some days more than she talked to me, but couldn't even send me a good morning text when I sent her one every day. Some avoidants use their attachment style as an excuse to put little effort or empathy into the relationship, which means they can't properly bond with their partner, and would rather find a new relationship when the old one bores them.

  8. avoidant people should be removed from our proximity immediately. They are harmful to themselves and everyone around us.

  9. I’m terrified because i never realized i was afraid of being in a relationship. I’ve always been the one reaching for people who are impossible to be with…..

  10. This video was incredibly illuminating as it pretty much exactly described what my ex was suffering from. Unfortunately my weakness tends to be a more anxious style and this unfortunately did not make it work. I felt alot of empathy and compassion for where she must have been coming from. I wished I could have found this video earlier to have anticipated on her problems better but I am relieved to know now what was at the source of our relationship problems.

  11. It's a bit creepy that everytime I'm going through something a School of Life video pops up in my recommendation and it's always something related to that specific situation I'm going through. How?

  12. I would recommend that you only contact @redhackpro on Instagram. he is an expert in accounts and website hacking, he helped me hack my cheating partner's device, it seemed that my life was out of control when he discovered that my partner had someone else. and I could read all the text. You can also send him a message on WhatsApp +1(937)815-1491

  13. Every time I read or watch educational videos about avoidant partners, I get similar information about their horrible upbringings. My ex was incredibly avoidant. But his parents are lovely, functional and supportive of him, always. From what I have seen and heard, they are model parents. Does the avoidant attachment style always have to stem from a rocky childhood?

  14. I was the avoidant partner during my last relationship. Although there were times that she was overbearing, ultimately i was the cause for her insecurity. Now in my closed mutual relationship, im getting hints that my partner is an avoidant. The tables have turned and now i guess i deserve it…

  15. Admittedly, I am the avoidant partner. In my past relationships I was scolded and left for being “to clingy” or expecting too much. Now I am so terrified of being vulnerable that now it’s hard for me to show any emotions.

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