How to deal with avoidant attachment and dating

avoidant attachment and dating
Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

I recently re-read Attached, a seminal book on the topic of attachment styles in romantic relationships. One section of the book addresses the issue of avoidant attachment and dating.

People with avoidant attachment style, the book argues, dominate the dating pool because their style values independence over relationship and avoids emotional intimacy.

People with avoidant attachment style dominate the dating pool because they value independence over relationship and avoid emotional intimacy. Click To Tweet

Securely attached people, on the other hand, tend to get into relationships and stay in them. They are comfortable with intimacy and communicate effectively. So, even though they make up more than half the population, they are less prevalent in the dating pool.

Anxiously attached people fear being alone and tend to go from relationship to relationship. Usually, those unions end because their neediness and poor conflict resolution scare partners off. They spend little time in the dating pool before finding a new love interest.

Independence over connection

Since avoidants value independence over deep connection, they will often bail when things get serious. Or they will never get past the non-exclusive phase to take the relationship to the next level.

They often see nothing wrong with their style as their minds have programmed them to view themselves highly and others critically. They believe their self-sufficiency equates with strength.

These are the people who consistently find something wrong with potential partners (no one is good enough). Or subconsciously push people away when they get too close.

You might recognize this quality in previous people who shut down attempts at deep conversation. Or who refused to discuss matters that would help both of you grow and understand each other.

It can be confusing when they seem so nice and outgoing, but refuse to leave the surface. You might start to second guess yourself and feel like you’re wrong for wanting more.

It’s also possible you’ve been avoidant and now realize those traits have prevented you from finding a fulfilling relationship.

Healing avoidant attachment

avoidant attachment and dating

If you want to move away from avoidant attachment and towards an intimate relationship, you need not pretend to be someone you’re not. Though minds are malleable and can transform through hard work, I don’t believe in fake it till you make it.

I do believe in understanding the hallmarks of avoidant attachment style in dating (read Attached) so you can see it in yourself and others. Then, steer clear of those who share your type and seek out securely attached partners instead.

As mentioned, these gems are more rare and, as a result, it will take longer to find one. In the meantime, view dating as a growth process. Rather than feeling defeated, take the opportunity to learn more about yourself.

View dating as a growth process. Rather than feeling defeated, take the opportunity to learn more about yourself. Click To Tweet

Remain open to self-examination and change. Are you making excuses not to see someone again? Withholding your thoughts and feelings for fear of moving closer?

You don’t have to give up your independence for a relationship. If you prefer to see someone once a week rather than every day, that’s not bad at the beginning.

When things get more serious and you need time alone, let the person know. Denying your true feelings will only bring up old habits of pushing people away. Open communication is key to a successful relationship.

If someone pushes your buttons, that may be a sign they’ve arrived to help you work on yourself. But it may also serve as a warning to run for the hills.

Each situation is unique and as you pay attention to your triggers and heal your attachment style, you’ll trust yourself to make healthier decisions. These informed choices move you closer to that connected, lasting relationship you desire.