Avoidant attachment style is a type of insecure attachment where a person feels insecure in close relationships.
An avoidant tries to create distance in their close relationships. Since relationships are all about bonding and closeness, this upsets and frustrates their partner.
Avoidants, like all human beings, have a biological need for connection. But their childhood experiences have shaped them in a way that makes them avoid relationships.
Often, children who were physically and emotionally neglected by caregivers grow up to become avoidants.
Avoidants were left to fend for themselves from a young age. They have a strong need for independence. They believe needing someone means being weak. They don’t understand the concept of interdependence.
Avoidants are constantly in survival mode. They’re hypervigilant and keep scanning their social environment for threats. This makes them perceive threats where there are none, and they’re easily triggered.
Why do humans bond at all?
If your partner is an avoidant, before trying to make them love you, you have to remember why humans love at all.
Simply put, we love those who meet our needs.
A relationship is a win-win contract. If both parties entering a relationship can’t see how they can ‘win’, they wouldn’t enter it in the first place.
This means if you want to make an avoidant love you, you have to:
- Understand their needs
- Meet their needs
Different attachment types have different needs and expectations from their relationships. This is the primary cause of relational friction and conflict. Once you understand an avoidant’s needs, you can not only reduce conflict but also lay the path for a more secure relationship.
Making an avoidant love you
Based on the needs of avoidants, following are the things you can do to make them love you:
1. Make them feel emotionally safe
Avoidants fear expressing their emotions because they fear getting invalidated and shut down. If an avoidant shares their feelings with you, it’s an excellent opportunity to bond with them.
Listen to them, validate their feelings, and make them feel like they express anything they feel like expressing.
2. Communicate clearly
Since avoidants are immersed in themselves, they can easily forget your needs. They believe everyone should take care of themselves.
It’s not that they don’t care about you. They’re too preoccupied with themselves to pay attention to you. When the time comes to show you love and care, they will.
Do not take it personally when they need time and space for themselves.
You must state your needs clearly and often. The clearer you can get about what you want from them, the more they’ll meet your needs. And they’ll love you for being so clear and direct.
3. Give them space
The easiest way to suffocate an avoidant is to take their space.
Avoidants can defend their space like gladiators. They’ll get very defensive if you continuously interrupt them or invade their space.
While for you, it may be easy to transition from being alone to being social, avoidants need time to make that transition. It’s like crossing a bridge between two worlds for them- like going into another dimension.
Again, it’s not that they love you any less. They just need to be in the right frame of mind when they’re with you. They need to make space for you. Let them do that.
4. Don’t be controlling
Since avoidants are hyper-independent, any sign of controlling behavior from you can be highly triggering for them.
If you’ve been with an avoidant partner for a while, you’ve probably been accused of being controlling.
When your behavior seems controlling to an avoidant, reassure them that you’re not trying to control them. Give them opposing pieces of evidence. You can say things like:
“If I really wanted to control you, I wouldn’t let you do X.”
“I’m not controlling you. I’m trying to give my input for Y because Y affects me.”
5. Criticise behavior, not character
This applies to all humans, but avoidants are particularly sensitive to criticism.
When you criticize an avoidant’s character, you touch their inner shame wound of “I am flawed”. This can be highly triggering for them, and they’ll probably overreact.
When you criticize their behavior, they’ll take it well and see it as feedback for growth. Growth is the number priority in life for most avoidants, and they’ll love you if you help them grow.
6. Be your own person
You’re probably too clingy for an avoidant if you’re an anxiously attached person. Avoidants dislike clingy people. They want you to be more like them, more self-reliant. They want you to be able to meet some of your own needs.
Making a dismissive-avoidant (DA) love you
All the above points apply, plus:
1. Avoid conflict
Dismissive avoidants hate conflict. If you want to communicate your needs to a DA, the worst way to do that is via a conflict.
When you fight with a DA, they enter survival mode and will try to win. Instead, try communicating your needs more harmoniously.
2. Avoid being overly demanding
Be careful how you demand a DA’s time, energy, and attention. Make sure you don’t come across as overly demanding, or they’ll push you away.
Saying something simple like, “When will you be free?” will make a DA fall in love with you. You’re showing them you respect their time, energy, and space.
Making a fearful-avoidant (FA) love you
All the above points for avoidants apply, plus:
1. Be honest
If you want an FA to love you, never break their trust. Never lie or hide things from them. An FA would rather you hurt them with the truth than comfort them with a lie.
2. Be consistent
When FAs show their typical hot-and-cold behavior, you must be patient. They’re prone to mood swings.
If you’re inconsistent, too, the relationship will hit the rocks.
If you consistently show your love and presence, an FA will love you.