10 tips for dating with an avoidant attachment style 

1 Sometimes we think that “the perfect person for us” will just know what we need and prefer, and how much, without us having to ask for it or tell them, and while finding that unicorn of a person would be a great fantasy, that’s just not realistic. Everyone is unique in their needs and people can’t read our minds. But your match will want to know what you want so that they can show up for you. And they’ll do it simply because they make you happy. There isn’t a catch! So practice owning and stating your needs and boundaries (and remember, you don’t have to create a fake story/excuse that “sounds legitimate” to speak your needs. You are worthy of having preferences and limits and speaking them. The fact that you want it, is reason enough!).

2 Know that you are in charge of your freedom. And that the person who shares your same values and loves you for you, will respect your need for it, and support you. They’ll want you to be happy. How much do you trust yourself that you’ll give yourself enough freedom in the relationship? That you’ll speak up and not let yourself get swallowed up. Because no one can force you to do anything you don’t want to do. But you can trust yourself to be able to express your boundaries and only stay in situations with people who will honor them.

3 Given an avoidant attachment is often created by not having your needs met as a child, many times you look to the outside world for validation – incorporating other people’s values as your own. Try to avoid valuing other people’s opinions above yours. Remember, you’re lovable. Feel lovable and don’t look at a partner to validate that for you, or look for someone to pick you in between two options, to prove that to you.

4 Know that you striving to be “perfect” is just another way of you trying to keep yourself safe. When you are “perfect” you are just blending in and camouflaging yourself, and then consequently, you become unhappy in your relationships. Conversely, you think that if you ask for what you want, your partner’s needs won’t be met, so either way you lose. Therefore, you end up not shooting for love and happiness, but shooting for safe. You can choose 100% safety, or love, but not both.

5 The way to choose love is to tackle things day by day, and not run. There’s not a right person that won’t suffocate you. Anyone will. So deal with getting the alone time you need, and don’t extrapolate onto the other person. It’s not: “you’ll find a magic person who won’t suffocate you.”

6 Further, we learn by doing. And when you find the right person, it’s all worth it and you alleviate your doubts. But in order to get there, you need to take a lot of risk. You need to put full trust and commitment in the relationship to see if it works. Otherwise, you’re not in and you’re not out. So you can’t lose but you also can’t win. You can’t determine if it will ever work from the outside/with one foot out.

7 Recognize that there is an avoidant tendency to fantasize about the “perfect” partner, which allows you to minimize the value of a current partner, and keep looking for someone better (what a creative way to avoid intimacy!). This also works with exes — you may fantasize about past loves because your avoidant tendency to feel engulfed or flee or view them as being too needy, is gone now, so you think about them again, and think things could be different this time around. Realize that these same avoidant tendencies would arise, if you were to get back together. Again, there is no perfect partner, just the one you choose to do life with and grow. The grass is not greener on the other side.

8 Since you tend to fault-find in order to avoid intimacy, check yourself on what is fear versus a true incompatibility or concern. Make a list of the top five values you want to share with a partner and get clear on your non-negotiables. This can help parse out what is a true dealbreaker versus something you’re using to let yourself off the hook and run. When you notice yourself going high (meaning, you are looking down on them), recognize that this superiority complex is a common coping mechanism (many times unconscious) used by avoidants to be able to avoid intimacy and relationships (like a: “well I don’t want it anyway”).

9 Watch out for assumptions you make about people’s intent and fact check your story. Check in with them. When you have an urge to write them off, this is exactly when you can practice leaning in. Practice being vulnerable and telling them what you think you’re picking up on to see what is coming up for them, or simply be curious and ask a question. Figuring things out on your own helped you growing up, but this doesn’t help you in relationships. Cultivate a dialogue with your partner. Don’t keep it all inside because chances are you aren’t getting the full story. I know I know, you think YOU are, but practice questioning this and checking in. Not everyone has ulterior motives or is playing games.

10 While dating, you might feel guilty that you have an obligation to not string them along if you’re not totally sure you want to be with them yet. Especially if they already know they are into you or they have already decided they want to be with you. You might think: they don’t know me well enough to like me — clearly they’re not trustworthy/of sound mind. Or you might also think: if they went out of their way to show up extra for me, now I feel as though I need to give them something or do something for them too. So you feel pressured and bolt before giving yourselves a fair shot. Remember, they are responsible for their own feelings. They sign up for the risk of getting hurt when they sign up for dating. You don’t have to feel pressured to know if they are the one within a few dates, just take it one date at a time.

Realize that what activates you into your avoidant behaviors tends to be unique to each individual, so working with someone to uncover these activations can be helpful in working through them and heal so that you can bring your authentic self to the relationship and connect from the heart, and not self-sabotage out of the connection/relationship you crave.

If you are growth-oriented and want to learn more about yourself — your conscious and unconscious patterns — and how you can connect and create a relationship with a partner in a more aligned and harmonious way, this is what I help my clients with.

Remember, attachment styles are fluid and you can work to build a secure attachment and partnership.

Sign up for a complimentary consult call and let’s start coaching today! 

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