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Mental Mondays: What Is Avoidant Attachment Style + How Does It Affect Relationships?

Mental Mondays: What Is Avoidant Attachment Style + How Does It Affect Relationships?



ome folks rate their freedom to the point where they struggle to get too close to others. We may even know someone who finds it excruciatingly difficult to show emotional intimacy in their relationships or feels uneasy when their partner wants to communicate. This could be the sign of someone with avoidant attachment issues. If you suspect you or someone you know might be experiencing this, then you should read till the end. This article will explore the term, and discuss the impact it has on relationships.

What is attachment theory?

Attachment theory is a psychological model that describes how people form emotional bonds with others. On the other hand, attachment styles are the patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings that people develop in response to their early experiences with caregivers. They shape the way we form and maintain relationships throughout our lives.

Avoidant attachment style is the tendency to avoid emotional closeness and intimacy in relationships. People with avoidant attachment styles are reluctant to rely on others. They may avoid getting too close to others, may become uncomfortable with expressions of emotion or affection and be emotionally withdrawn, and prefer to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves rather than communicate them with others.

The impact on relationships

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Having an avoidant attachment style affects your relationship in numerous ways. You may struggle with emotional intimacy in relationships, avoid physical touch or affection, and may become uncomfortable with expressions of love or emotion. These traits make it difficult to build strong relationships with people. And when you try to be emotionally intimate with your partner, you struggle to trust others. This is because you’ve learned to rely on yourself for emotional support and protection. You cannot fully express your feelings, or empathize with the feelings of others.

On several occasions, you might struggle with communication with your partner, or sharing your thoughts and feelings with them. You may find it hard to listen and tend to prioritize your independence and self-reliance over the needs of the relationship.

Coping with avoidant attachment style in relationships

Photo: Julia Larson/Pexels
  • Try being vulnerable: The first and possibly most challenging step of dealing with an avoidant attachment style in relationships is being vulnerable. Even if it makes you uncomfortable, try to be more honest and open with your partner about your thoughts and emotions. Learn to trust your partner, communicate your emotions, and consider their perspective. It’s an effective method to develop empathy.

  • Trash the negative beliefs: Find any limiting beliefs you may have about intimacy and relationships, challenge them, and strive to replace them with more reasonable and realistic ones. Avoid any self-doubt and allow yourself the opportunity to experience emotional intimacy with your partner and enjoy a better relationship.
  • Improve your communication skills: Be a good listener. A great way to reassure your partner that you’re committed to them and the relationship is to practice active listening and work on clearly and respectfully expressing your thoughts and emotions.
  • Take counseling: Think about getting professional advice from a therapist or counselor who can assist you in understanding your attachment style and developing better relationships.

For partners of those with an avoidant attachment style

Photo: Julia Larson/Pexels

Know that you have a part to perform if your partner functions this way. You can help them develop better relationships by employing these strategies:

  • Be patient: This is easier said. But try to be patient and understanding as you both work to strengthen your relationship. Even when your partner closes off and fails to show empathy toward you.
  • Communicate: Discuss your feelings and ideas with your partner honestly and openly. Tell them how their deeds make you feel. Additionally, avoid using harsh language or tone. Your tone of speech should encourage them to engage in conversation with you.
  • Don’t take it personally: Keep in mind that your partner’s attachment style is simply who they are and not a reflection of their emotions for you. Do not be alarmed by their emotional withdrawal or evasion. Allow them time to develop their interpersonal relationships and communication skills.

The importance of therapy

Photo: Antoni Shkrab/Pexels

Therapy can be an important tool both for those with avoidant attachment style and their partners. In recognizing and challenging limiting beliefs, enhancing communication, and fortifying emotional ties, a therapist can offer assistance, practical tactics, and direction. The underlying causes of avoidant attachment style can be explored and resolved in therapy’s supportive and secure environment.

When solving the problem on your own becomes challenging, it is best to delegate to a therapist. Although it may be challenging at first, it is possible to create more secure attachment styles and stronger, healthier relationships with a willingness to recognize and resolve these patterns.

Featured image: Lyndon Stratford/iStock

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