Signs Your Partner Has an Avoidant Attachment Style

Signs Your Partner Has an Avoidant Attachment Style
Sofía Gimbert

Written and verified by the psychologist Sofía Gimbert.

Last update: 05 April, 2023

An avoidant attachment style can complicate communication and connection between partners. That’s because it increases the probability of difficulties in establishing close, healthy, and intimate relationships. In this article, we’ll explore the main signs that your romantic partner exhibits this kind of attachment style and how you should approach it.

John Bowlby’s attachment theory claimed that individuals are biologically programmed from birth to establish links with others. However, an avoidant attachment style is characterized by the need to maintain independence, avoid intimacy in relationships, and emotional disconnection.

In fact, individuals with avoidant attachment styles have learned that emotional closeness is dangerous for them. In effect, they’re afraid of losing their autonomy. Consequently, they avoid becoming emotionally involved with others.

An avoidant attachment style has its origins in experiences of the first years of life. For instance, emotional unavailability, a lack of response to the infant’s needs by their caregivers, or feelings of abandonment. This lack of connection leads to them developing a fear of intimacy and being too dependent on others, resulting in an avoidant attachment style in adult relationships.

Signs that your partner has an avoidant attachment style

How can you tell if your partner has an avoidant attachment style? You need to figure out if they exhibit the following signs.

1. Fear of commitment

Have you ever noticed that your partner gets nervous when you talk about moving in together or getting married? One of the most common signs of avoidant attachment is fear of commitment. Therefore, individuals with this attachment style may feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed when discussing future plans or setting joint goals.

2. Avoidance of emotional intimacy

Does your partner seem to keep themselves to themselves about their feelings and emotions? Avoidantly attached people tend to have difficulty expressing affection or sharing their deepest thoughts and worries. This behavior can make those close to them feel left out or emotionally disconnected.

Couple takes selfie while moving in
Fearing joint future plans constitutes an avoidance alert.

3. Excessive need for space and autonomy

Do you feel that your partner needs too much time for themselves? Or, do they look for activities that take them away from you? Indeed, another indicator of avoidant attachment is associated with the need to maintain a really large private space. Although we all require time for ourselves, the constant desire to keep a distance can be a red flag.

4. Defensive behavior

Does your partner get defensive when they feel vulnerable or emotionally exposed? This posture can take on different manifestations. For example, sarcasm, irony, or passive aggression. Such behaviors represent a way in which they protect themselves from intimacy and maintain emotional distance in your relationship.

What to do if your partner has an avoidant attachment style

If you suspect your partner has an avoidant attachment style, there are several strategies you can employ to improve communication and connection between you.

“Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.”

-Brene Brown-

1. Encourage open and honest communication

Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings with you, and make sure you do the same. Indeed, open and honest communication is essential for building trust and establishing a deeper emotional bond.

2. Respect their need for space and autonomy

While it’s important to foster emotional intimacy, it’s also essential to respect your partner’s need for space and autonomy. So, set boundaries together and find a balance in the relationship that works for both of you.

3. Be patient and understanding

Changing behavior patterns and overcoming avoidant attachment takes time. Be patient and understanding with your partner as you work together to improve your relationship. Try to provide them with emotional support and understanding during this process.

4. Consider individual psychotherapy and couples therapy

In some cases, seeking the help of a psychologist is beneficial in repairing attachment styles. A psychotherapist helps identify destructive behavior and communication patterns. They also provide guidance on how to successfully change them. Couples therapy could also be useful.

Upset woman avoids her boyfriend
It’s common for partners with avoidant attachment styles to hold back their feelings and thoughts.


Undoubtedly, an avoidant attachment is a challenge for any relationship. That said, if you can identify the signs of this attachment style and use strategies such as open communication, mutual respect, and patience and, if necessary, the outside help of a psychologist, you can improve the emotional connection between you and strengthen your relationship. In fact, understanding avoidant attachment and how it affects you will help you to be more empathetic and understanding of your partner’s needs and concerns.

Also, remember that every relationship is unique and what works for one couple may not work for another. Therefore, your willingness to work together is essential, with the purpose of finding solutions that adapt to your particular needs and dynamics. Finally, collaboration and mutual commitment are always the keys to healthy and satisfying long-term relationships.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bowlby, J. (1979). The bowlby-ainsworth attachment theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2(4), 637-638.
  • Cassidy, J., & Shaver, P. R. (2016). Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (3rd ed.). Guilford Press.
  • Sheng, R., Hu, J., Liu, X. et al. (2022). Longitudinal relationships between insecure attachment and romantic relationship quality and stability in emerging adults: the mediating role of perceived conflict in daily life. Curr Psychol.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.