15 Early Signs You're Dating an Avoidant - and What to do
By Jim Hall, M.S., Relationship Coach
This article will help you understand:
Early signs you might be dating someone avoidantly attached-- including how they might act, how they show up, behaviors you'll notice, and what you can expect.
If you are insecurely attached, you may know that someone with an avoidant attachment has the least capacity to meet your relationship needs for intimacy and connection. Thus, you may not want to end up in a relationship with someone with an avoidant attachment. Recognizing early signs of dating an avoidant can help protect yourself before getting too attached.
Being a love addict or someone with an insecure or anxious attachment style, you tend to gravitate towards relationships with people who are love avoidant, and them to you.
Here is the problem: Someone who is love avoidant is by far, the worst type of person you could ever date and have a romantic relationship with.
The primary reason being, that a person with love avoidance is the least likely to meet your relationship needs for intimacy, closeness, emotional availability, and security.
Note: For most love addicts-- these needs just mentioned are the most important relational needs for love addicts. And when you have a partner that can meet these needs it is only then you can feel safe, comfortable, and satisfied.
Secondarily, a relationship you have with someone love avoidant tends to trigger the most distress, anxiety, and pain - especially when you have to experience love addiction withdrawal once a breakup occurs.
So if you're serious about your recovery-- and serious about finding the right partner to have a relationship you can be happy and secure in, then it will be in your best interest to avoid any or all romantic relationships with a person who is love avoidant.
How can you determine if someone you're dating might be love avoidant? Is it possible to identify a love avoidant on the first date, or soon thereafter?
Absolutely, if you know the early dating signs of love avoidance.
The love addict (who desires intimate contact) and a love avoidant (who fears & evades intimate contact), together in a romantic relationship are like oil and water- they will not mix well! ... as both repel one another, and cannot create a healthy and unified attachment.
Being love addicted, you probably experienced one or more relationships with a love avoidant (you likely did not know this). Early on, the chemistry was probably like fireworks and you quickly felt nothing but ecstasy and bliss.
Someone who is emotionally unavailable, or love avoidant... is the least likely person to meet your needs for intimacy, emotional availability, and security in a relationship. * never feel shame about your needs
And almost from the start, you concluded, he/she is the “one”, and the fantasies proliferated.… with thoughts and images of being together forever “in love”, your needs being met- of affection , closeness, attention, intimacy and love reciprocated back to you, and ultimately being rescued and liberated by your new “Soul-Mate And Redeemer”.
Of course, to your devastation, this does not happen. Time passes and within weeks or months, he/she begins changing from the seemingly charming, caring, and attentive person to someone cold, uncaring, distant, and unavailable.
From then on he/she begins to reveal their true colors… that being, their love avoidance and emotionally unavailability. Your fantasies begin to collapse, and as hard as you try to get back what you “thought” you had in the beginning, you cannot change who a person is.
If you relate to this, have you ever thought, “I wish I could have known early on that he/she would turn out like this, being a love avoidant?"
Or have you ever asked yourself, “Was there warning signs early on, I could have identified to know he/she was love avoidant, because if so, perhaps I could have prevented having to go though all the pain, distress, and heartache”?
Consider this —
When our partner reciprocates our need for intimacy and closeness, our happiness increases, and we are better able to thrive in other areas of our lives. On the contrary, when intimacy and closeness is one sided and our partner stifles it, our joy and satisfaction with the relationship decreases, our well-being decreases, and our capacity to thrive outside decreases…
It goes without saying, if you want a partner who enhances your well-being and happiness and satisfaction in your life, you must never, ever again, choose a romantic partner who is emotionally unavailable/love avoidant.
For love addicts, the risks of choosing a partner who is love avoidant are clear - Avoid a love avoidant like the plague.
Which leads me to my main point: You are not a victim of your circumstances.
As an adult, YOU have the power of choice.
You are not destined for relationships with love avoidants who have not the capacity to meet your most important needs. From here on out, you can avoid relationships with love avodiants.
How’s is it really possible to know if someone I am dating is love avoidant? Thanksfully, most people tend to reveal a whole lot about themselves very early on (it is true!).
The key is to know the Early Warning Signs. You can reliably predict if a potential dating partner is love avoidant by knowing the Early Warning Signs, being a keen observer and well-honed listener.
Below are the Top 15 Early Warning Signs You’re Dating Somone Emotionally Unavailable or Love Avoidant.
Are You Dating Someone With An Avoidant Attachment Style? Here Are 15 Indicators
1. Sends mixed signals; seems unreliable; words are incongruous to their actions (e.g., does/says one thing, and then soon after does/says the opposite).
2. Comes on very strong; is seductive, overly charming, flattering, and flirtatious; may quickly say, “I love you,” “You’re so perfect”, “Where have you been all my life,” etc.; may portray a “perfect/idealistic future together”; and/or quickly pressures you for commitment or loyalty.
3. Communication is foggy or vague; talks in roundabout terms about present circumstances or in sharing of past relationship/’s; seems secretive or mysterious.
4. Has not been in committed relationship for a long period (years); he/she may attribute his/her long-term single status to external circumstances, such as not meeting “the perfect one”, or needing an “ideal textbook love partner/relationship”; (consider this sign if they are over 30).
5. Drinks, smokes pot, or does drugs excessively; and/or is a workaholic; or has some other apparent addiction or compulsion (gambling, porn, etc.).
6. Appears controlling; wants you to change your look (clothes, hair, etc.), or change what you do (your work, social activities, who you spend time with, etc.); may constantly text or call; expects/demands all of your time, especially on his/her terms-- may become angry, distant, moody or cold if you don’t respond.
7. Fiercely values independence, freedom, or self-reliance (he/she may or may not state this).
8. Wants or prefers casual sex; is okay having “friends with benefits”; words/discussions lean more on sexually connecting, much less on taking time to get to know one another; may try to pressure you to be physical/sexual.
9. Devalues, criticizes, even in subtle ways; may say or do things which make you feel inferior, incompetent, unworthy; may use sarcasm and claim ”I’m just teasing”, as a method to demean you. May also degrade or speak negatively of others, previous partners, etc.
10. Reluctant to introduce friends or family members (especially troublesome after two or three months);; may be hesitant to share his living environment * if kids are involved, flexibility should be given as he/she may be considering child’s well-being, feeling it is too early for their kid/’s to meet someone new until a relationship is established.
11. Seems distrustful or suspicious of others, past partners, you; fear of being used, or taken advantage of.
12. Says or implies, “I don’t think I’m ready for a commitment”, “I’m not good at relationships, “the timing is not right.”
13. Is married or in a current romantic relationship; history of cheating, affair/’s in past relationship/’s; may justify or defend reasons for behavior (e.g., “She/he was crazy,” “We didn't get along, it was over anyway”, “he/she never wanted sex”). * If the person says, “I changed” or “I’m different today,” w/o doing any counseling/therapy for a lengthy period- do not believe it.
14. The conversation is consistently all about him/her; asks few questions about you, your life, family, work, interests, etc.; and/or seems checked out mentally during conversations.
15. Is uncomfortable when you communicate candidly-- your feelings, needs, wants, or desires in about what you are looking for in a relationship partner. You may say, “It’s important for me to have a partner who’s supportive, I can rely on, and wants to grow together”-- pay attention to their response; if he/she responds by ignoring, discounting, quickly changing subject, or says for example, “You’re so sensitive/demanding/serious”, etc., count this as a big early warning sign. * This Warning Sign May Be The Most Important, pay close attention
Using these Early Warning Signs of avoidance in a person is a powerful tool to uncover a person’s capacity to meet your needs for closeness, intimacy, and dependability.
Recognizing one or two of these Early Warning Signs may not necessarily prove a person is a love avoidant. HOWEVER, typically when you find one or two, you will often find many more- so pay close attention.
The effort you put into being a keen observer to whether or not a dating partner displays avoidant risk factors / early warning signs can pay off significantly in helping to promote future relationship happiness and duration.
If you are dating a person where no Early Warning Signs are apparent, that is good news. Then you can move forward, take it slow, and continue getting to know this person.
On the other hand, what should you do if Early Warning Signs are apparent?
What to do if you recognize multiple Avoidant Warning Signs in a person you are dating
People often ask me how can you date a person who is avoidant and make it work? And it is a simple answer- Run, Fast. That is if you desire a partner who is capable and does not shun intimate connection.
If Early Warning Signs are apparent in a dating partner, then you must first make the obvious conclusion, that he/she would surely be an unavailable and unreliable partner— and the relationship would be as painful as it is tumultuous, leaving you chronically dissatisfied.
This is not loving. This is not a real relationship.
Secondly, what you must do is straightforward — you should move on, and promptly. You must detach from the person or you risk becoming too attached and addicted. Do not stall.
It might go without saying, you don't want to win them over, try to get them to love you, or try to get them to commit
The Early Warning Signs are notifying you loud and clearly that this person is emotionally unavailable. They are who they are and you nor anyone will change them. Do not waste any more time or energy.
You need to communicate with him or her that you cannot continue seeing each other. You could say to something like, “It’s been good knowing you, but I know we’re not a good match, and I don't want to waste your time or mine, good luck to you.”
You do not have to say anything more. Just be clear and direct. Do not feel like you have to explain yourself- you do not.
Do not feel guilty if the person gets hurt- he/she is an adult - they will be fine. What he/she feels, thinks, or does in response, is not your responsibility or issue.
You are not obligated to the person. You do not owe him/her anything else, but your truth.
Even if you are attracted to other traits (even a lot of traits) that you find appealing in a person; and yet, you are recognizing the warning signs, beware! He or she is still, love avoidant.
Do not justify, by saying something like, “I’ve always wanted someone who is ambitious, has a fantastic job, loves traveling, and wants a family”.
Perhaps this could be true, nevertheless —the person is still, a love avoidant! ... One who cannot or will not meet your most important relational needs, and who will make you feel dissatisfied and disillusioned.
If you want to find real satisfying love where your needs and wants are met and respected... The Early Warning Signs of an avoidant must be a bottom-line, a non-negotiable, a deal-breaker, yes, the ‘nail in the coffin’- period!
Also - do not leave any wiggle room for continued contact.
Do not say for example, “we could be friends.” If you do, you leave the door open for him/her to manipulate you back into contact and put yourself at risk for becoming too ached.
Halting, early on, a relationship with a love avoidant -- is about honoring YOUR wants, needs, and desire to find a partner who is NOT avoidant, someone unable to meet your most important relationship needs. That is all that matters.
When early warning signs show up... Depart and let go, with a clear understanding of why then give yourself a big pat on the back and congratulate yourself for taking care of you.
Be cautious as you begin to search for a suitable partner. If you keep blinders on… ignore, disregard, or justify any Early Warning Signs, you will put yourself at great risk to fall back into the trap of settling for crumbs… steering you back to great heartache, disappointment, and disillusionment.
Always keep this in mind... The type of partner we choose to enter a relationship with can have far-reaching effects in our ability to flourish … having a great influence on our emotional wellbeing and physical health, our belief in ourselves, our self-esteem, and our future outlook and motivation to achieve our hopes and dreams.
You are important! You are enough! And You matter! Moreover, what you need and want most in a relationship partner, really-truly matters! So honor them 100%. If you are interested in helping yourself to better find the right partner on your dating path- I can help you- consider Love Addiction Coaching (see below).
CHOOSE YOUR RELATIONSHIP PARTNER WISELY.
TAKE THESE EARLY WARNING SIGNS SERIOUSLY!
Don’t settle. For less.
Early Warning Signs of Love Avoidance - Key Points
Take Seriously - the Early Warning Signs.
Do not minimize or justify - Early Warning Signs.
Early warning signs indicate a person you would be chronically dissatisfied within a relationship.
Never play games in dating. Playing games may help you win someone over (unhealthy), but it likely will not be the right one.
Always be yourself; be real; and communicate clearly what you are looking for and what you want--this is what secure people do; so be that secure person by simply being authentic.
Do not let "feel good" thoughts deceive you; like, “but he/she really is so into me”, "the chemistry is amazing”… just because it feels right, does not make it right. Stay in reality – stay focused.
They are called warning signs for a reason – the are warnings so you can accurately predict, early on, if someone your dating is love avoidant (bad choice) or not.
A love avoidant is the least likely person to meet your needs for intimacy, emotional availability, and security; and make you happy in a relationship.
Remember: Love addicts equate love with obsession, infatuation, and intensity with love… this is NOT love.
If you are a love addict or have an insecure attachment style- intimacy and closeness are very important to you— do not settle for a person who would stifle what is important to you, your needs.
Never, ever feel guilt or shame about what you need in a relationship partner. Having a “need” is not bad. Stop being afraid of coming off needy, express your needs and as mentioned above, just be YOU, that is enough.
Oh and one more thing ... You will not change them! No one will. Do not try. They are who they are.
About the Author:
Jim Hall MS is a Love Addiction Specialist and Author of 3 Books on Love Addiction and Healing. Through his Online Recovery Practice and writings, Jim teaches guides and supports those struggling with love addiction how to heal and overcome unhealthy relationship patterns and how to attain healthy fulfilling love relationships.
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