Thought Catalog Agency

3 Potential Signs He Has An Avoidant Attachment Style

Attachment theory originated in the 1950s and was created by John Bowlby, M.D., and Mary Ainsworth, Ph.D. as a means to explore children’s relationships to their parents. Then, in the 1980s, Cindy Hazan, Ph.D. and Phillip Shaver, Ph.D. applied attachment theory to adult relationships. Dr. Hazen and Dr. Shaver identified four main attachment styles in adults: anxious, avoidant, disorganized, and secure.

Understanding attachment styles can be beneficial because it helps uncover not only our own biases, fears, triggers, histories, and patterns in our relationships but also those of others.

If you’re currently dating someone who you can’t seem to get a read on or get closer to no matter how much you try, it may be because of his attachment style. Here are three signs he has an avoidant attachment style.

1. He is very independent.

Someone with an avoidant attachment style prefers to do things on their own, on their own terms. In fact, they pride themselves in being self-sufficient and not “needing” any help to accomplish the things they need to do. They’ve got everything handled, thank you so much.

Avoidant attachment develops during childhood when someone’s needs weren’t met in the way they needed or wanted from their caregiver. This usually presented in emotionally unavailability in their parent, meaning as children, they had to learn to cope with their feelings and issues by themselves. And in adulthood, this presents as hyper independence.

2. When you do try and foster more emotional intimacy, he shuts down or distances himself from you.

Vulnerability is incredibly difficult for him. The very second you start discussing something more intimate and emotional, a wall rises between you both immediately. He then may pull away in the moment and the days that follow. It’s almost impossible to get him to open up.

This behavior may be a result of being brought up to believe emotions were burdensome (and needing support made him a burden). He may even struggle to express “positive” emotions because it feels too unsafe for him to do so. As a result, it’s hard to get a read on how he’s feeling because, most times, you’re not really sure if he’s feeling anything at all.

3. He avoids conflict at all costs.

Problems in your relationship aren’t just swept under the rug, they are forced there. Conflict is a no-go territory for him. If it appears a fight may be on the horizon, he will withdraw emotionally and physically. Basically, he avoids conflict at all costs (even if that cost is a relationship).

If a conflict is unavoidable, he may get defensive or belittle your feelings. It is hard to get him to see things from your point of view.