Three Signs Your Partner Has An Avoidant Attachment Style

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When early experiences with parents or caregivers lead to feeling neglected, rejected, and unsafe, attachment theory principles teach that the person will disconnect in order to protect themselves. When a man feels unsafe to express himself or open up, he learns to instinctively pull himself away from the natural human need to connect. 

 

This can be a foreign concept and behavior to many women. I’ve coached some women that have a more avoidant attachment style, but what I most often see is the man having an avoidant style while the woman demonstrates an anxious attachment style. 

 

If you’re with or have ever been with a man that has an avoidant attachment style, it can feel so painful and isolating when they seemingly disappear, emotionally entering another world where you have no idea what’s going on inside of it. 

 

Inside of this world, he is self-soothing in a way that’s foreign to most of us, and he’s doing this  because being alone feels like the safest and most secure way for him to regulate his emotions. 

 

I remember early on in my relationship with my husband having times where I couldn’t understand what was happening at all. It felt like rejection, like he didn’t care about me or the relationship when he would need to pull away and find his center. 

 

As I learned more and began to heal my own anxious attachment, I gained a deeper understanding, compassion, and empathy for his need to regulate in a different way, and over time we learned how to support one another in moments of feeling triggered so we no longer got caught in the chaser-runner dynamic!

 

Three Signs Your Partner Has An Avoidant Attachment Style

 

  1. He Disappears In Times Of Conflict

If you’re a woman with an anxious style attachment, you likely find yourself in times of conflict or distance, desperately wanting to connect quickly! Consider it’s the opposite emotional experience for a man that has avoidant tendencies. He has the same visceral reaction, yet it translates into a desperate need to be alone and get away from the conflict or stress. 

 This can feel extremely difficult to understand, especially if you have an anxious attachment style. It can feel so cold and aloof, yet when we learn to understand the deeper trigger, we stop the cycle of a man detaching further for doing what feels safe in the moment to take care of himself. 

 

In my own life, when I learned how to stop reacting to my anxious tendencies, instead allowing the “pull at his pants leg” instinct to pass, and then respond from a clear space, I began to heal a part of me that I didn’t think could be healed. He in turn began to heal his avoidant tendencies, and we learned how to give each other what we both needed to feel safe and secure. 

 

As I deepened my ability to trust myself, and nurture my abandonment triggers by learning how to give myself what I was desperate to get from him, he met me halfway, and we learned to support one another in growing and healing our childhood wounds when they showed up in the relationship. 

2. Difficulty Meeting Your Gaze

Men with an avoidant attachment style may have difficulty making eye contact, especially during times of conflict! 

The theory behind this is that in his early years, eye contact was met with a feeling of being rejected, failure, or disappointment. 

 

If a man didn’t receive love or acceptance for who he naturally was as a boy, he learns to avoid making eye contact to avoid the disapproving or disappointing gaze he may receive when simply trying to navigate and move through his life. 

 

 We can often make a lack of eye contact mean something about us or the relationship, like he doesn’t care, or he’s just blowing us off. If you’re with a man that has an avoidant attachment style, it can be so powerful to your healing as well as his, to instead practice meeting him right where he is without making demands that may send him back to feeling like that wounded little boy. 

 

3.  Interrupting His Down Time Is Deeply Triggering

If you’re with a man that has an avoidant attachment style, interrupting his alone time can feel manipulative and controlling from his perspective. If you have an anxious or secure attachment style, this doesn’t translate as being invasive, rather an attempt to show you’re interested and care.

 

If you’ve ever experienced a strong reaction when unknowingly interrupting his alone time, understanding his needs is a huge step in allowing him to feel safe to connect, open up, and share from a loving space what he needs to take care of himself. 

 

As you deepen your understanding of how he regulates and learn not to take it as rejection, you’ll be much more willing and able to respect his time frame versus demanding that he snap out of it and do things on yours.

This will also help a woman see and heal some of her own anxious style tendencies while creating safety for him to connect and better understand your emotional experience in turbulent times.

It’s in our ability to understand one another’s triggers that creates the flexibility necessary to merge, heal, and create with a man from a loving and empowered space. 

If you could use some support in this area, I would love for you to check out my Get Your Ex Back program which offers 1:1 voice note support for a woman experiencing disconnection with her partner, whether he’s physically left, or seems emotionally checked out!

I wish you well and much love,

 

Jen

 

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