13 Signs An Avoidant Loves You

Just when you think you're making progress, your partner retreats into their shell again. You’re often left wondering what you did wrong, and your efforts to fix things only seem to push them further away.

Never knowing where you stand with someone isn't easy. You might even wonder why you're sticking around when your needs aren't being met. If this sounds like your relationship, your partner might have an avoidant attachment style.

Attachment styles refer to how we relate to others emotionally. Because of emotional neglect in their early life, your partner might fear intimacy and be deficient in the skills needed to maintain a healthy intimate relationship.

It might not be that they don't love you—they may just express it differently.

Things to know

  • Avoidant behavior is caused by insecurity that develops in childhood.
  • Avoidants still yearn for emotional connection.
  • Even though avoidants have built up defensive mechanisms to make them feel safe, with time, support, and patience, they can have healthy relationships.

So, how do you tell if your avoidant partner loves you? To help you figure it out, here's what we'll be looking at:


What Is An Avoidant?

As children, we have a strong need to feel loved and appreciated. When we receive that affirmation, we grow up to be emotionally secure.

However, some children are ignored and disregarded by their primary caregivers, causing them to stop seeking closeness or expressing their emotions.

These children learn to put up emotional barriers and avoid intimacy, resulting in what is known as an avoidant attachment style. Therefore, avoidants are simply adults with an avoidant attachment style.


Two Types Of Avoidant

25% of adults have an avoidant attachment type. Although avoidance is generally marked by a reluctance to get close to others, love avoidants fall into two categories: dismissive and fearful.

Dismissive avoidant

Dismissive avoidants are fiercely independent and seldom see the value of romantic relationships. They prefer to be on their own, and when in a relationship, avoidants struggle to develop intimacy with their partners.

Due to core wounds developed in childhood, avoidants fear that emotional closeness will threaten their independence. It’s not uncommon for avoidant partners to put up walls and close themselves off when their partners attempt to get closer to them.

Fearful avoidant

Fearful avoidant attachment refers to ambivalence about intimacy and relationships. Despite longing for romantic relationships, childhood trauma has left them fearful that romantic partners will abandon or hurt them.

Much like individuals with an anxious attachment style, fearful avoidants tend to feel undeserving of close relationships. Suppressing their emotional needs eventually leads to emotional outbursts and troubled relationships.


Avoidants In Relationships

Interdependence and autonomy must be balanced in intimate relationships. When one partner consistently creates distance and maintains a position of autonomy, intimacy suffers. Naturally, this is why relationships with avoidants are so difficult to sustain.

Avoid intimacy

Partners with an avoidant attachment style tend to feel overwhelmed by intimacy. As such, they create distance between themselves and their romantic partners. They also tend to distract themselves with other activities outside the relationship.

These activities may include addictions that are harmful to them and their partners. This often results in strained relationships where partners feel hurt, neglected, and abandoned.

Avoidants tend to get absorbed in their own affairs, so it's easy to feel neglected or shut out by them.

Withdraw when things get serious

Initially, an avoidant might be swept up in the magic of the honeymoon phase. However, as a relationship matures and challenges them to step out of their comfort zone, their insecurities come to the surface.

Avoidants inevitably withdraw, leaving their partners to deal with everything alone. This perceived callousness is what makes most romantic partners consider walking away from an avoidant.

Struggle to articulate their needs

Due to past experiences, avoidants don’t anticipate that their needs will be met or that their feelings will be validated. As such, they lack the skills to articulate their wants and needs to their partners.

Eventually, these suppressed emotions reach a boiling point, forcing the avoidant to distance themselves. The further an avoidant drifts away, the more confused their partner feels.

A different view of affection

Although avoidants seem emotionally unavailable, they still yearn for deep connection. They desire affection but express it differently. For avoidants to be happy in their relationships, romantic partners need to respect their need for autonomy and space.


13 Signs Your Avoidant Partner Loves You

Here's how to tell if your avoidant partner loves you:

1. Subtle displays of affection

If your partner has an avoidant attachment style, they have a hard time expressing emotions and affection. Keep an eye out for subtle, nonverbal displays of affection. Extended eye contact, light touches, and gentle smiles are all signs that your avoidant partner cares about you.

2. They let their guard down

Avoidants maintain rigid boundaries to help them feel safe. When your partner starts to lower their boundaries, they feel comfortable with you. A willingness to let you in is a strong sign that your avoidant partner loves you.

3. They become more vulnerable with you

Opening up isn't easy for avoidants. But, when they start to feel secure, they allow themselves to be vulnerable. If your partner is gradually sharing their thoughts, feelings, and needs with you, they love you.

4. They share their interests with you

If your avoidant partner chooses to include you in something that they usually enjoy by themselves, it's a big deal. Avoidants are fiercely independent, and they tend to guard their interests just as much as their emotions.

If they're letting you into their world, they love you - so if they invite you to a concert or art class, be sure to see it as an invitation into their heart.

5. They want to get help

You know an avoidant partner loves you when they're willing to seek professional help for their attachment issues. An even stronger sign that they care is if they're willing to see a couples therapist with you.

Discussing their feelings and emotions with someone will probably be uncomfortable and stressful, but they want to do it anyway.

6. They want to spend more time with you

Avoidants value solitude. Being alone makes them feel safe and allows them to charge their emotional batteries. So if they're making an effort to spend time with you, it’s a major sign that they're smitten.

7. They express their love in small ways

They may not exactly sweep you off your feet, but when an avoidant expresses love for you in small, understated ways, that’s a pretty big step. These small gestures push an avoidant out of their comfort zone. So if they’re trying, view it as a major win.

8. They put a label on things

Putting a label on things is scary for individuals with an avoidant attachment style. If they’re willing to make things official and call you their partner, they’re seriously into you. Additionally, telling family members and anyone who will listen that you’re together is another indicator that their feelings are genuine.

9. They want to commit

Avoidants avoid commitment, and the thought of being tied down scares them. In a bid to keep things casual, it's not uncommon for avoidants to keep their options open. If your partner has an avoidant attachment style but wants to experience a fully committed relationship with you, they love you.

10. They're serious about meeting your needs

If your avoidant partner is serious about you, they'll make an effort to meet your needs. It may not happen all at once, but over time you'll notice that they become more attentive and supportive.

11. They treat you differently

How does your partner navigate other adult relationships? How do they treat their close friends? How do they behave around their co-workers? Establish their baseline behaviors and see if there's a notable difference in how they treat you.

Avoidants tend to mask their fears quite well, so if your partner feels comfortable enough to show you who they are behind the mask, they have genuine feelings for you.

12. They try to bond with you

Being invited into an avoidant's world is significant, but when they want to join you in your world, too, that's a major breakthrough. Making an effort to bond with you is their way of showing you how much you mean to them.

13. They keep coming back to you

Avoidants have a habit of disappearing or withdrawing when things get intense. However, if your partner comes back to you and tries to make things right, they value your relationship.


What Attracts An Avoidant Partner?

While you can't change your partner, you can do things to attract them. Be warned: you've got to be willing to play the long game. Your goal should be to help your partner warm up to the idea of intimacy.

Don't try to control them

As they are so used to being independent, avoidant partners don't like to feel controlled. Trying to tell them what to do is likely to trigger their defenses. Plus, making them feel tied down or restricted can cause them to withdraw.

Respect their need for alone time

Instead of having a power struggle over your schedules, compromise and find a way to make the most out of your time. Focus on maintaining healthy boundaries. Strike a balance between quality time together and alone time.

Understand that your partner might need more alone time than you do. If you can show them that you love and accept them nonetheless, they'll feel safe with you.

Be more emotionally independent

Like most avoidants, your partner probably internalized from a young age that they needed to be independent to keep a primary caregiver happy. So, they might be reluctant to open up and experience stress or confusion when you try to. To them, you aren't supposed to be needy: you should be able to take care of yourself.

With this in mind, try not to rely on them too much for emotional support. Instead, expand your social circle and lean on them for support. You could also find healthy ways to self-soothe.

Learn to read them

If you need to have an important talk, pay attention to your partner's body language. Look for signs of agitation or anxiety. You might need to take a break and resume the talk later. Persisting when your partner has shut down will only make them defensive.

Validate their feelings

As your relationship develops, your avoidant partner might start to express their feelings more. It's important to validate your partner even when you don't agree with them. By showing them that their feelings are valid, you're helping them change the narrative.


How To Make An Avoidant Feel Safe

Attachment styles can change over time, and if you'd like to support your partner on their journey to a more secure attachment style, here's how to make them feel safe:

Create a safe environment

While your views, thoughts, and opinions are different, it's important to remain respectful. Show your partner that you accept them for who they are. The key is to compromise and find a middle ground. Doing so will create a safe space for your partner to express themselves.

Respect their differences

Your partner might not be comfortable expressing their feelings. So, it's important to be considerate of this to make them feel safe. Be patient and mindful of how they like to show and receive affection.

Give them space

Avoidants tend to get absorbed in their own affairs, so it's easy to feel neglected or shut out. However, it's crucial to show your partner that you respect their need for autonomy and space.

Reframe your statements

Simply changing how you say certain things can have a positive effect. Instead of asking your partner to stop doing something, tell them what you'd like them to do. Refrain from using harsh criticism and focus on positive reinforcement. This will go a long way in making your relationship a safe space.


There’s Hope

Remember, attachment styles are not fixed. With support and patience, an avoidant partner can embrace emotional intimacy.

You've successfully subscribed to Feel & Thrive - Growing Everyday
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully subscribed.
Error! Subscription unsucessful. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.