Avoidant Partners: How to Deal with Them

If you're in a relationship with an avoidant partner, you’ll find yourself constantly in pain. What can you do?
Avoidant Partners: How to Deal with Them

Last update: 10 May, 2021

Have you ever had a partner who seemed very interested in you but with whom it was impossible to maintain a committed relationship? This is because they were mistrustful, insecure, emotionally cold, resentful most of the time, and didn’t know how to manage their emotions. If so, they probably had an avoidant personality. In fact, avoidant partners cause all kinds of problems.

We’re all capable of demonstrating some form of insecurity in relationships. However, when you meet someone who’s clearly avoidant, suspicious, and even hyper-vigilant, you might be faced with someone with an avoidant personality disorder. These kinds of people can have an extremely negative impact on both you and your environment.

They don’t validate feelings. Furthermore, they put up boundaries and destroy partnerships. Moreover, whenever there are any problems in the relationship, they distance themselves. This kind of coldness leads to painful experiences. As remarkable as this personality type might seem, it actually affects between three and five percent of the population.

A man ignoring his partner.

Characteristics of avoidant partners

If you’re looking for a partner to establish a good emotional connection with, it’s better not to choose someone like this. Because the avoidant personality type is better suited to a partner who’s very independent and doesn’t really want any significant kind of attachment.

But most people crave committed, affectionate, enriching bonds. However, someone with an avoidant personality finds it extremely difficult to develop healthy relationships.  Furthermore, they’re the kind of people who play the “I love you/I don’t love you; I need you/I need my space” game. This can be infuriating.

Below, you’ll discover the characteristics of an avoidant personality.

How to identify avoidant partners

When we talk about an avoidant personality, we don’t simply mean someone who avoids you. In fact, it’s a lot more complex. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) describes it as avoidant personality disorder.

Studies conducted at the Free University of Berlin suggest that people with this disorder display marked anxiety, social inhibition, indecision, and feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity. These are stable traits that tend to have a genetic basis.

This can affect relationships, as avoidant partners:

  • Are overly concerned about rejection. This makes them both suspicious and sensitive.
  • Are easily hurt. In fact, to the point that their partner doesn’t know how to act to avoid upsetting them.
  • Never totally commit. Furthermore, they don’t open themselves up to intimacy.
  • Don’t like new or unexpected situations. For example, they won’t want to meet their partner’s family. In addition, they only like doing routine activities.
  • Won’t take risks. For this reason, they’ll never do anything particularly daring or noteworthy for their partner.
  • Don’t know how to come to an agreement. Therefore, if they have a disagreement with their partner, they see it as a threat and become even more distant.
  • Won’t validate emotions. In fact, if their partner expresses their feelings towards them, they’ll rarely reciprocate.
A man looking worried.

How to manage this type of relationship

Avoidant partners in a relationship cause suffering. That’s clear. However, does this mean you should just walk away?

The truth is that it’s always a good idea to give the person a chance. You can adopt a clear strategy to do this. If you don’t see any progress and are unhappy after a while, you can decide what to do.

These are the strategies you can adopt when dealing with an avoidant partner.

Ask them to seek professional help

In many cases, an avoidant personality disorder is caused by a traumatic childhood, depression, or anxiety. Therefore, it’s important for your partner to seek professional help.

Suffering, hypervigilance, emotional security, and fear of rejection and being criticized characterize them. Thus, psychological help will allow them to reach a state where they feel better about themselves, which will allow them to establish healthier emotional relationships.

Make it clear that their behavior has consequences

Avoidance behavior and the “I need you today but won’t tomorrow” kind of attitude isn’t acceptable in a relationship. They need to realize that their behavior creates a great deal of emptiness in the relationship. Doubts, mistrust, emotional distance, and poor emotional management are hurtful. Nobody should have to tolerate this kind of suffering. For this reason, they need to realize that their behavior may eventually destroy the relationship.

Consequently, they have to start acting differently. Indeed, if they’re able to demonstrate changes in their behavior, there might still be a chance for your relationship.

However, everyone has a limit. If all you’re getting out of the relationship is anguish and pain, it’s better to end it. Nevertheless, you should always give them the chance to seek professional help first.

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