We desire to have a secure and fulfilling relationship deep down. This does not seem like a big ask, especially if you are the kind that dates for a long-term commitment. However, you may realize not everyone is like you when in love. Sometimes, we date people who are loving initially, but as the relationship progresses, they seem to withdraw into their proverbial cave.
During conflict or when the bond intensifies, do you feel like your partner is running away? Is your partner not great at communicating their feelings, desires, and needs in a relationship? Do you notice them shutting down instead of opening up where a healthy person would generally be reassured and secure? You are likely dating an avoidant person.
In this article, we have explained the 25 proven ways to communicate with an avoidant partner successfully. Let’s get straight into it without stalling any further.
In This Article
25 Proven Strategies To Communicate With An Avoidant Partner
1. Do Not Chase An Avoidant Partner
Attachment styles in adults reflect their childhood conditioning and dynamics with their primary caregivers. It can be due to the deprived care and tenderness they needed as children. Adopting a deflective attachment style protected them from disappointment or getting their feelings hurt. However, this can be a tricky thing to deal with while dating someone with avoidant traits.
If you have the knack of pursuing people who require a lot of space, you will likely chase them away even faster or turn and retaliate. Instead, allow them the space when an avoidant partner withdraws into their reserved mode. It may hurt to let them go momentarily, but running after them will prolong the chase before they come back to you.
2. Don’t Take Their Distance Personally
Avoidant partners distance themselves as a self-soothing mechanism. They have a deep-seated fear of losing themselves. Remember that your partner’s behavior is not personal and a reflection of their inner conflict. If an avoidant partner is too critical of you, it’s not your obligation to absorb any of it. Also, remember that your partner can be self-critical too.
3. Ask For What You Need
When we don’t get what we want in a relationship, it is better to ask rather than nag about it openly. The chances are that your avoidant partner may not have thought of things from your perspective. Rather than being passive-aggressive and making them guess what you need, let them know.
Most partners become responsive when someone they care about speaks of their needs. The cues mentioned below may help you express your needs without sounding demanding.
- “It would make me feel really good if you did this.”
- “I would really like you to…”
- “I feel loved and cherished when you….”
- “Can we spend more quality time together? I need some extra reassurance today.”
4. Reinforce Positive Behavior
Let them know your approval and appreciation when they do things you like. Talk about the things you value the most in your relationship and things that are working well. This can help you create balance in an avoidant partner’s tendency to hyper-fixate only on the negative. Since they are constantly looking for reasons to run, hide, or shut down, positive affirmations and reassurance can help break that pattern and make them feel secure.
5. Extend Your Understanding
One quality that is often short in supply is active listening. Be open to understanding your partner’s feelings and problems when they choose to express themselves. Rather than trying to fix the problem, hear them out. Be there for them or provide compassionate advice.
6. Being Dependable
Avoidant partners expect the other party to drop and be disappointed. That makes it more crucial for you to do as you say and not make promises you cannot honor.
7. Respect The Differences
Understand that your partner may be a step behind, slower than your ideal pace. Communication avoidance does not necessarily imply your partner is not interested in being with you.
8. Cultivate Your Interests
Nobody can complete all your needs. The key to drawing your avoidant partner out of their shell is to be independent and have your own life that you enjoy. Watching you being self-reliant will make them want to share your enriched life.
9. Recognize That You Both May Have Unrealistic Fantasies
Your avoidant partner may have a dream just like yours, which can be unrealistic. Look at each other as humans where it is okay to have unique flaws rather than being swept up in a fairytale.
10. Express Intense Emotions With Care
You need to express your feelings and wants clearly while learning how to communicate your needs to your partner. Emotions expressed intensely often overwhelm avoidant people who cannot hear the message because they freeze or shut down. You are more likely to be heard if you communicate your feelings honestly and openly but in a moderate tone.
11. Give Them Space
You may want to open the emotional floodgates when you feel your partner is inching closer. Instead, live in the moment and enjoy your partner’s efforts to get close without scaring them off.
12. Avoid Rigid Roles
Defining roles in a relationship can shake your partner’s sense of security in the initial stages. So, instead of focusing on the gender role aspects, try to be more flexible with the roles as per your dynamics.
13. Work On Your Abandonment Issues
An avoidant partner can infuriatingly trigger your abandonment issues, which can be very unhealthy in the long run. It can lead to anxiety, panic, or depression. Therefore, work through these issues in self-healing ways or seeking professional therapy.
14. Don’t Try To Change Or Rescue Your Partner
Trying to change your partner’s basic attachment style is being ‘Bob the Builder’ and will only lead to more fruitless disappointment. If you need to parent your partner, you are ignoring your needs, which is not a healthy trait in a relationship.
15. Be Honest About Your Needs
We often settle for less because we love someone, but love alone is not enough to sustain a healthy relationship. If your core needs and desires are left unmet, love can turn into resentment. So, be honest with yourself about this, and if you think that your partner cannot meet these needs, it is wise to think about going your own way.
16. Set Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are the key to a healthy relationship. Set examples of how you expect to be respected, what is acceptable, and what you won’t tolerate. Love does mean that you should accept dysfunctional patterns.
17. Understand Your Partner’s Limitations
Knowing how to communicate with an avoidant partner may need you to give yourself some personal time and distance. They may never change. Nobody is perfect, and some quirks, if not toxic to your mental and emotional health, are fine living with.
18. Aim At Growth
Every relationship is unique as the human fingerprint, so there are no hard and fast milestones for growth. If you are an anxious person, the journey of healing with an avoidant partner might need the aid of a relationship counselor or a couple’s therapy group. If you love each other, seeking help from professionals to make it last is a good step forward.
19. Understand Your Attachment Style
Although avoidant partners may look cold and unfeeling, they can be equally anxious. If you want to understand the communication secrets for a secure relationship, understanding your attachment style will help a lot.
20. Stay Consistent and Provide A Safe Environment
Your avoidant partner as a child was discouraged or didn’t have their emotions validated by a parent. These children may have felt they were disappointed by their primary caregivers, and hence, the feeling of emotional safety is fundamental to them. Try to be your partner’s safe haven. This doesn’t mean that you try to parent them – it means being there for them when they need you most.
21. Learn To Take Up Your Own Identity
It is tempting to get so involved in a relationship that you lose your sense of self. However, this can be detrimental and self-sabotaging. Instead, retain your identity by building yourself, achieving things for yourself, and taking up equal space to secure your self-esteem as an individual.
22. Do Not Give Ultimatums
Avoidant partner’s distancing tactics often have deep-seated roots. Some may have grown up being overwhelmed by parental pressure, while others may have been conditioned that they couldn’t say ‘no’ to their parents or authority figures. Giving an ultimatum instead of communicating with empathy will make you appear rude because avoidant attachments shut down instantly at the first sign of their emotional safety net shaking.
23. Don’t Beat Around The Bush
Talking in riddles can lead to anxiety or frustration. An avoidant partner will react by deflecting such conversations if they feel uncomfortable. The key is to speak to them regarding important matters or emotional subjects without beating around the bush.
24. Quit Emotional Games
Being vulnerable is scary, especially when you feel like you are dating someone who acts detached. During such situations, your defense mechanism may kick in and push you to act the same way. Unfortunately, this may ruin your peace of mind more than helping you communicate better with your avoidant partner since both of you are walking on eggshells.
Show up maturely in the face of such situations and say things for what they are. You don’t have to pretend not to be affected by their facade and mirror them. Sometimes, what’s needed is a dose of honesty where your earnestness can trigger theirs.
25. Know When To Call It Quits
It is admirable for someone to actively communicate their needs and desire for depth in a relationship. However, if your partner takes no note of it, refuses to work on themself, or can’t provide you the level of security you need, maybe it’s time to call it quits.
It is understandable to be torn when a person is inherently good but has an avoidant attachment, but you are dating them as a whole and not their potential. If their avoidance and detachment hurts and they can’t work on it, maybe they have not reached a stage where they desire true healing. Therefore, it is better to take a break for the sake of your emotional and mental health.
Dating people with a traumatic attachment style can be a slippery slope, especially if it doesn’t make you feel safe in a relationship. It can make you feel insecure, unloved, and deflated whenever your avoidant partner returns to their default shell. You can encourage them to show up openly in the relationship with the strategies mentioned above. However, if nothing works, it is better to let go of your avoidant partner and take a break.
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