How to avoid the Love Avoidant


I hate to make sweeping statements, but I’m gonna: love addicts need to avoid Love Avoidants. Period. People who suffer from love avoidance are not good or bad, but they are NOT the best choice for a Love Addict.

Of course, I was always attracted to love avoidant men nearly all my life. If I took inventory of the personality traits of all my exs, whoa, they’d almost all be love avoidants. So, when I recovered, I made my list of VALUES (ahem, if you have not done this yet, get on it. It’s one of the most critical steps in your goal to not make the same mistakes again and change the caliber of person you are willing to date). I placed things on my list like “I will never date an alcoholic or a drug addict ever again.” For me, that was a red flag. It was something I could not handle in my life. If someone was into smokin’ a little weed here and there, yeah man, this was a huge trigger for me. I knew, by this point in my life that if I dated a guy like this, I would NOT be able to change my opinion of the habit, nor would I be able to accept it or live with it. It had to go on my list. And when I started to date again, it was an easy red flag to look for. A person’s drinking or smoking habits crop up right away, in the very early stages of getting to know him or her.

But what about avoidance? I put it on my list of values. Well, I put “Will not neglect me” on my list. That should cover it, I thought. But how would I even screen for neglect when most guys in the beginning stages of dating were all over me and into me?  Every love avoidant I’ve ever known never started out love avoidant.

My life depended on this information. I did NOT want to date another one of these types again. And I was beginning to think that all men were avoidant of love, which is completely false and completely dangerous thinking. When you start to think in terms of black and white, in terms of ALL MEN ARE (fill in the blank), you then begin to settle and accept bad behavior as your only option. Not good. So, I came up with two SOLUTIONS that I used during my dating life that changed my ability to have control over whom I dated. Here they are…

1.  I got to know the stereotypical qualities of love avoidants. Yeah, I know, you’re not supposed to stereotype and everyone is so different and blah, blah, blah. I am the first to repeat that you cannot think in terms of all men are this way or that. But, let’s consider this. The human brain stereotypes for a reason: to make intelligent deductive and inductive conclusions about the world so as to be safe and protect himself. When you stereotype you do not say, “All men are assholes.” Instead you say, “Most people from this particular group share these qualities.” People are predictable. They share similar qualities. They can be grouped together so that you can form a general idea about whether or not you belong to this group. It’s how corporate advertisers find their niche market. And why you see high fashion, world travel and anti-depressant ads in affluent magazines like Vanity Fair. And why you see sex tips, romance novels and fake nail ads in magazines like Cosmo.  People fall into lifestyles. Well, it’s the same for avoidants. They too can be stereotyped. Here are some of the qualities to look out for:

  • Over the age of 40 and never been married.
  • Over the age of 35 and never been in a serious, committed relationship longer than 6 months to a year.
  • Possibly drinks excessively, smokes pot or does drugs.
  • Has not treated women well in past relationships.
  • Avoids responsibility in his life (financial, social and personal)
  • Doesn’t take care of himself well.
  • A Peter Pan (someone who exhibits signs of wanting to remain eternally youthful and never grow up).
  • Falls desperately in love with women within the first weeks of the relationship.
  • Not interested or ambiguous about commitment of any kind.
  • Lies.
  • Cheats.

And here are a few more personality traits on Avoidant Personality Disorder from the DSM-IV

▪                Hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism
▪                Self-imposed social isolation
▪                Extreme shyness or anxiety in social situations, though the person feels a strong desire for close relationships
▪                Avoids physical contact because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus
▪                Feelings of inadequacy
▪                Severe low self-esteem
▪                Self-loathing
▪                Mistrust of others
▪                Emotional distancing related to intimacy
▪                Highly self-conscious
▪                Self-critical about their problems relating to others
▪                Problems in occupational functioning
▪                Lonely self-perception, although others may find the relationship with them meaningful
▪                Feeling inferior to others
▪                In some more extreme cases — agoraphobia
▪                Utilizes fantasy as a form of escapism and to interrupt painful thoughts

Before you let your inner-caretaker take over and convince you, “this is a great guy! I feel sorry for him already.” Remember your VALUES. These are the types of qualities in people you want to avoid.

2. I took my time when I started dating again.  This is one of those things that sounds easier than it actually is. So often we meet someone, and whether we like it or not, our emotions take over. We feel like we’re just along for the ride. Well, get over this. Stop letting your emotions control your behavior. You are emotions are there for a reason: to tell you when you’re hot, cold, angry, sad, etc. They are reflectors of the bigger picture. But they do NOT have the ability to make critical, logical decisions that will guarantee your safety. The biological cocktail of chemicals that ignites when you first meet someone you have chemistry with is a part of the animal urge in us all to procreate. So, hear me good, if you are not an animal, and you do indeed have a human brain, you need to use BOTH. So often even the healthiest people depend on their emotions to guide them. This is not good. There needs to be a balance between logic and emotion. Your logical brain in the adult in you. It is capable of shrewd, emotionless analysis of a situation. It is very possibly the side of you that recognizes the red flags and says  “I need to stay away from this guy. ” The emotional side of you is the child within. It says, “But he’s so hot! I gotta have me some of that.” The child side of you (the emotional side) does not recognize red flags, is apt to put her hand in the fire, and will run out into the middle of oncoming traffic to chase a pretty bouncing ball. This is not the appropriate behavior to employ when making life decisions about things like work, money, housing, and relationships.

You were given a brain. You need to use it. Especially when dating. That means giving up certain long-standing dreamy concepts like “love at first sight.” It means no more “falling” in love. And it means that you don’t have spontaneous, careless, throw caution to the wind sex on the first date. This is reckless behavior for a love addict. And it’s as dangerous as letting a toddler hang out an open window ten stories up. That toddler is you. Close the damn window and be responsible.

Take your time when you date. This means simply enjoying a person with no hoped for outcomes. It means getting the whole “I wonder if he’s the one” out of your brain. And it means giving up the notion that dating is romantic. It’s NOT! You may be attracted to someone, and they may be attracted to you. But dating someone new is partly awkward, and mostly filled with the unknown. I hate to take the thrill out of it. But it’s work. It’s the part of the relationship where there really isn’t a relationship yet. And it’s both of your jobs to see if there should be a relationship or if it’s JUST chemistry.

And speaking of chemistry…we click with lots of people. If you are older and wiser, you know this already. I clicked with so many people in my lifetime I was like a camera. Click, click, click. I found out that clicking didn’t necessarily mean that these men would make for good boyfriends. Having chemistry with someone is a great  precursor to a healthy relationship, it may even be a good “sign” that you will get along. But it by no means, and I repeat…it BY NO MEANS signifies the health of a potential mate or the health of the relationship you might have with them. You can click with an axe murderer. But you wouldn’t want to date one.

Lastly, and most importantly, dating slowly and getting to know someone over months, not just days or weeks (and not just online, but in person!) BUYS YOU TIME. Time is the greatest gift when you’re set to the task of getting to know someone, because only time reveals a person’s true character and allows you to see what they may initially want to hide (like their insecurities about intimacy or their fear of commitment). The is the time you can see for yourself how they relate to others too. But the best thing about giving yourself more time before “falling” in love, is that it allows you to make an educated choice about someone and thus, love consciously, as opposed to just falling for someone recklessly, without thinking.

Warning: flirting with Joe Romance and seducing him, but holding off on sex almost as a tease is not what I mean by buying yourself more time. Pretending you’re not interested in the hottie down the block so he will pursue you isn’t either. Buying yourself more time means taking the sexual and romantic elements out of the equation for a little while. It means getting to know someone as you would a friend. And getting to know a friend is pretty basic. It takes a blend of logic, wisdom, insight, chemistry, and kindness. If it continues to feel good the friendship continues. If it doesn’t, or it’s not mutual, the friendship usually ends.

36 thoughts on “How to avoid the Love Avoidant

  1. Wow, everything on that list, except for the first two (my dude was married and lied about being single) describe my qualifier to a T. If I thought about it, it probably describes most of the guys I got hooked on.

    • A little scary that there actually exists a “type” of person like this and that we keep finding them and dating them! hah. Well, I guess the point of this blog is that we are our own “type” and the best thing to do is move into another type. One of the first steps in doing that is to avoid dating these types of people. The other thing is, which I don’t say within the post, we are the opposite side of this same coin! A love addict is really A Love Avoidant as well. The difference? Where Avoidants avoid other people and relationships, we avoid ourselves. What a paradox.

      • So true. I forgot to mention that a lot of the characteristics on that list could also be used to describe me.

      • I’m with “Imperfect” in that I see myself in the avoidant traits as well. I read somewhere that LAs and LAvs are the same but inverse: LAs fear abandonment, subconsciously intimacy; LAvs fear intimacy, subconsciously abandonment.

        Really good write up, June. Just wish I’d known all this 25 years ago.

  2. Its so true LJ–funny how theses things come at the right time. I fit all the criteria (except for the doing drugs part) for the avoidant! I have come to the startling realization that I do not actually want a relationship. I have just been filling my time with blaming someone else for not wanting the relationship or the same intensity, etc. This is actually quite terrifying to me. But I found myself repeatedly questioning “why would any want a healthy relationship?” So I realize I have some work to do before I even know how to value a healthy relationship as a goal.

    • Maybe you just need to take a break, Lola and go at your own pace for awhile. That’s OK! In fact it’s a good thing. We should not have to be defined by our relationship status, but by our characters and our ability to bring the gift of who we are into the world.

  3. Pingback: Conversation with a struggling love addict | The Lovely Addict

  4. Hey, thankyou for this post. However, I think avoidance in terms of attachment- in therms of how people relate to their romantic partners- that you’re talking about is actually different from the Avoidant Personality Disorder criteria you’ve also outlined. That’s a different kettle of fish, really:)

  5. I COMPLETELY agree. And yet, we’re all avoiding something aren’t we? WHile the classic avoidant avoids his partner, the love addict avoids herself. Neither are healthy places to be.

  6. If Love addicts attract avoidants as a result of fear of abandonment caused by childhood emotional trauma, it would be best to treat our fears so that we can attract healthier partners in the future.

  7. I’ve been in a relationship with a love avoidant for 13 years. It’s embarrassing to even admit it’s been that long. Everytime we get to the subject of marriage (which took many years to do) it seems he’ll do something to sabotage the relationship and we never make it. He will find any minor reason to walk away and distance himself. Of course, it’s always my fault that he walks away. This last time it was because I told him my needs weren’t getting met. We weren’t spending enough time together. Which was true – I was seeing him maybe once a week! Then he’ll become that “perfect” man again and I’m hooked into another cycle. He’ll point a finger at me and say “you are the one who won’t marry me”…..making it sound as if I’m the one who keeps us in limbo. Well, lately that’s been true because I don’t feel secure with his constant walking away. I’ve said many times that he needs to stop the cycle so I can trust him and feel secure enough to marry him. This last time he walked away for almost 2 months. The longest it has ever been. I decided to cut the cord and went on a dating site. His friend told me he saw me on the site and of course, he wanted me back. I know I’m really not ready to date other men but if I’m honest with myself, I did it as a distraction from the relationship. This time I haven’t bought into his “promises” of changing. It’s difficult, because I am alone. But I don’t want to go through another 2 months of being ignored and stonewalled. That was even more painful. I’m hoping that I’ve read enough books on Love Addict/Love Avoidant, been to enough websites, etc, that maybe I’m beginning to actually gain enough insight into my situation. I don’t feel like I have alot of the love addict characteristics (I’m not really needy) but there’s something not right or I wouldn’t tolerate his avoidant personality. I’m trying to get some clarity on myself and why I’ve tolerated this for 13 years. I’m in executive management and very successful in my personal life – so I don’t need him in a financial way. I feel I’m a strong person in all other areas of my life! I should’ve walked away myself long ago but I was ignored by my father as a child (not abused, just ignored in the household) and I realize I’m trying to get that attention back through this relationship. It will never happen and I just need to let it go. I’m 51 and I’ve wasted all of my 40’s on this man and I don’t want to waste this decade too. I just want a healthy happy relationship. I already feel guilty for not being a better example to my 16 yr old son and 21 yr old daughter. I’m a good mom and good provider but I haven’t given them a healthy example of what relationships should be.

    • YOur story sounds a lot like mine! Good for you for taking the first steps. But I have news for you…you ARE a love addict if you can’t leave in 13 years. And I have more news for you. You said: “I was ignored by my father as a child (not abused, just ignored in the household) and I realize I’m trying to get that attention back through this relationship.” This is not entirely true. You are not trying to get attention from this person, as much as you are trying to replicate the way your own father avoided you! Because your dad avoided you, this became your model of love. In order to get healthy, you have to create a new model of what love is. You also have to accept new and different models. I used to say that I could not choose my father but I could choose a boyfriend and he didn’t have to be in any way similar to my dad. Start there.

      ALso, and most important, Recognize that you are the problem. Not the avoidant bf. He’s just doing his thing and you either love him and accept him as/is or you move on. When we don’t like a large chunk (or even a small chunk that tends to give us a lot of grief) of who we are dating, it is our responsibility to ourselves to get out and move on. It is our DUTY to take care of ourselves and feed ourselves what we need. You needed your dad. You don’t need him anymore. You’re a big girl. Time to go out in the world and find the model of love that represents best what you NEED. Remember too, when we date avoidants or people that ignore us, it’s because WE are are unavailable and WE don’t recognize what it takes to be intimate.

      Recovery takes a lot of soul searching and learning. Not about the avoidant people in the world, but about YOU. Glad you got started!

      • That helps me, thanks. I helps explain why I diddn’t even recognize the severity of the problem for many years in my relationship 17 yr married. I was quite aloof earlier, but still not nearly as closed off as my wife. She got worse, and I got busy trying to fix things. Which made her withdraw even more. I learned about the importance of intimacy and touch in relationships and It really resonated with me. I could not tolerate the distancing any more. My mom was dying and I needed a shoulder to cry on, instead, she said she wanted a divorce. It has perplexed me why I put up with it for so long.

    • I sound so much like you, Debbie. I’m 40, divorced (married 12, kids are 10 and 7) for 3 years from now what I realize, a classic avoidant (alcohol and pot major issues), had an emotionally absent father, but am successful with a thriving business and lots of friends and other interests. Pretty independent, except when it comes to men. I will lay down on the tracks for them… Maybe my recent story will resonate with you. I started “dating” a man 7 months ago. He presented like we were on the same page. He was deep, attentive- sharing meaningful stories and responding to my thoughts… I was so excited. We mostly emailed and texted- he is a great writer, super smart musician who plays 10 instruments, travels around the world for a living… I really felt like I knew his inner person before we even met. Then we did meet and that was fantastic….then he avoided…then he would get intense…then he avoided…just put that record on repeat! I have realized that I have held on to that early version of him. Meanwhile, I get sad and distracted for weeks when he stops communicating. I really good at creating lots of excuses for him, based on what he tells me: “I’m in the middle of scoring a movie. I’ve been in a creative zone. I’m an obsessed artist.”…. I think for me, I can see what a great person he could be. I sense that his hurt and pain from his childhood could be an avenue for a deeper relationship if he wanted to heal…for us both to heal. Problem is, he would have to want that and be vulnerable in accepting that and not constantly allow his music to be his private island of escape when emotions run high. I’m really just now allowing myself the freedom to let that first version of him go…he has not been that person in action and it is ultimately disrespectful. No matter how great I think he is, he would have to think it too. The last thing I’d want is to be his “teacher or healer” but I do think love can heal anything if the person wants it. I love love, hence my own admission of the reciprocal nature of this relationship… When I realize he is another version of my ex husband I know I have to keep working on myself! The advice to go slow is smart. Next time I’m going to try hard to not jump ALL in…real love would be OK with that…

  8. I just came across this blog as I was doing MORE research on love addicts/love avoidants. I have been on and off with my love avoidant ‘whatever you want to call him’ BF for over a year now. The first 8 months were a constant dance of the push/pull tango. I finally had enough and broke up. I had met someone else and started dating him right away. We ended up dating for 8 months in which 4 1/2 months of those we actually lived together. I thought I was still in love with my ex (and still am today) so I broke up and moved out. My ex and I started seeing each other a little bit. Things would be very intense and then he’d shut down and/or turn me off. We have been doing this on again off again thing since May. Everything will be going great and then he’ll shut me off again. It is so painful and I can’t do this anymore. I know he loves me. The only thing different this time is that he is actually going to therapy now. I just don’t know how long it’s going to take him to ‘get better’….or if he ever will. I spoke to Susan Peabody who wrote the book Addiction to Love. She said that he first needs to ‘commit’ to me and us for 6 months. During that time we need to work with a therapist/life coach to develop a plan for how we can try to make this work between us. She said we should continue our separate therapy sessions too. I can’t even get him to do that. Like I said he just started therapy and is dealing with issues from childhood (alcoholic dad, molested by swim coach, etc). I am doing what you suggested….accepting him and loving him while he does this deep work on himself. I haven’t seen him now in over 2 weeks. It’s killing me. I just don’t know if it’s ever going to work. Any advice would be really helpful. Thanks!

    • Karin, We are usually attracted to men like this (avoidant or unavailable) because WE are the ones who are unavailable. We cannot handle too much intimacy and so we are attracted to men who keep their distance. Perhaps our fathers or mothers were also distant and so, we buy into the idea that we too need to find a relationship that mimics the one we had with our parents. I also want to explain that just because someone loves you and you love them, IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE BOTH, TOGETHER, CAPABLE OF HAVING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. We can be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually attracted to someone who is not ideal for us. Knowing that, you need to know what your VALUES are so that you can find someone who SHARES your same values. If one of your values is, “I want to be with a man who does not avoid me” then this man, obviously, doesn’t fit the bill. What are your other values? Do they include you finding someone healthy? Someone who is stable? Trustworthy? Respectful of you? Consistent? All these things have little to do with “love” and “chemistry” between two people and have more to do with healthy behaviors, values and actions that two people in a healthy relationship can take. Bottom line? Do you want just love and emotion, or do you want love within a healthy relationship? You need to choose.

      • LovelyJune,
        First of all, I wanted to say that I wrote my above comment before I really had a chance to look over your entire webisite/blog…which I believe I’ve covered the majority of by now. I only wish that I had found you sooner…..but then again, our journey is suppose to happen just as it happens, right? So much of your advice is so right on. I love your ‘to the point’ mentality so much. It’s definitely what I need….the cut to the chase/no sugar coating….period. The article you wrote called ‘GO AHEAD, GO BACK’ is just what i needed to hear. Your sarcastic tone and a little bit of tough love is the perfect combination for me. : ) I took what you wrote and actually tweaked it some so that is was personalized to me. I have printed it out and have reread it several times. I also read it to my PoA over the phone this morning. After not seeing him for 16 days with only 1 phone call, a few emails and several texts, he called me this morning. We had talked (via text) yesterday about possibly seeing a movie today. As much as I wanted to see him, when I heard his voice on the other line, I know I needed to read the ‘GO AHEAD, GO BACK’ article to him. To make a long story short (which you’ll find I don’t do very well), he eneded up getting upset and pretty much hanging up. Instead of me frantically texting/calling him, I decided to ‘pause’ like I’m learning to do by reading the book ‘Radical Acceptance’. I decided to jump in the shower instead, get dressed (in a cute little sundress of course—cuz I’m a SLAA girl for sure) and head over to his house for ‘closure’. hahaha…..I know everybody reading this can probably relate. My compassionate loving heart told me to go there so I was really just following my heart, right? He was home. I told him that I just came over to give him a hug and tell him I loved him. I also apologized for breaking up with him last year (after our 8 month ‘dance’) and especially for dating someone so soon right afterwards which was only like a week later. My mother has told me all my life, ‘Karin, you aren’t in love. You’re in love with being in love.’ I always cringed when she that to me but I have finally decided that she was absolutley 100% correct. I might as well be on the cover of the book ‘Women Who Love Too Much’. I have been sober now for a year and a half. Maybe my brain is finally starting to think clearer. Who knows. I have also have ADD which will probably drive a lot of people crazy reading my posts as I go off on tangents but usually come full circle in the end with a logical (if that is possible) ending. So back to my visit to T’s house. Oh, I don’t think I mentioned that he doesn’t live in my town. He lives a good 60+ miles away. He actually seemed ok with me stopping over. We ended up hugging for a long time…and then kissing….and then yup, you know what else. He told me he loved me. He actually said (while we were making love) that we would have a really cute kid. And then he actually came inside me which I totally allowed and encouraged. —Ya know, the whole sex for love thing. Besides, I’m 43 and chances are my eggs are most likely shriveled up and dead by now. At the moment, however, it just seemed so perfect as it always is when we’re together….which like you said in the article–is far and few between. When we were finished making love or whatever you want to call it, he needed to go meet his sponsor. He is a recovering addict as well. The end was sad before I left. I basically just said that we were nothing (as we probably had always been…nothing) and that I need to do the NC (no contact) thing. He seemed totally ok with that which just makes me believe that he doesn’t really love me like he says he does. I know he is dealing with childhood issues that he has never dealt with before and he lives and almost thrives in constant fear. However, I took your advice and came up with a list of VALUES. Ha, what a concept by the way, right? No wonder I am not valued by guys…..I don’t even know values are. The top of my list is that I need to be with someone who is on the same spiritual path with me and is willing to go to any lengths to be with me IF he really loves me. He obviously can’t be on that same path with me right now. So….I said goodbye, drove away and am not looking back. Unless of course, I find out in a few weeks that one of those ‘shriveled up and dead eggs’ of mine aren’t so dead. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I am writing this because I need to be held accountable to all of you out there who have either experienced this or who are going through something similar. We learn by hearing/sharing our experience, strength and hope just like this wonderful blog was started by LovelyJune. ..and Thanks again for that! I hope that I will have a happy & very healthy relationship when I learn to love myself more than the unavailable guys I have invested my life in for probably over 20 years.
        Thanks for listening and sending any advice my way. I am planning on attending a women’s SLAA meeting tonight. I wish there were more LAA meetings out there. However, like I mentioned earlier, I do use sex to get love so i guess I technically am a sex addict too, right. Peace, Love & Happiness to all you crazy Love Addicts out there! –Please know you aren’t alone. : ) k.

        Here’s the article I tweaked and read to my PoA today:

        Karin, go ahead. Go back to T! You know you want to. AND if you want to and feel as though you should, surely that means it was meant to be, right? Why not! Every emotion you have, even a burp or a fart has huge significance. Right? A sign from God. So follow it and go back to him.

        And when you go back….enjoy! And be happy! Be happy that he’s IGNORING you. You don’t deserve to be paid attention to anyway. In fact, everyone including friends and loved ones SHOULD ignore you. Because what you have to say is not very important. You are not important. Other people (friends,work people, AA friends/sponsees, admirers of his books, FB friends, etc) are so much more important than you.

        And when you go back….feel the amazing feeling of the CONFUSION. It’s fun and exciting to never know what to expect from one day to the next. T runs hot and cold! One day he loves you, the next he doesn’t–or so it seems at least. Perfect. Instability is probably just what you’re heart desires.

        And when you go back…feel the intense love that, let’s face it, you are most likely creating on your own, because, let’s face it, half the time he’s off with another woman. Oh the LIES, of the BETRAYAL! WHen I was a child. I always dreamed of having a loving relationship filled with these things. I also wanted a guy I had to fight for. Nothing comes easy! Love is meant to be painful and filled with suffering.

        And when you go back….celebrate the good times! Because they are very few and far between. And well…they don’t exist anymore. Because he’s usually gone again before you know it. But who cares! He comes around every so often, and isn’t that a sign from God that he’s still hanging on and wants to come back? Because people who love you really only want to spend as little time as possible with you. Ah…the memories! They will keep you warm at night.

        And when you go back….rejoice in the REJECTION and the SCRAPS that he’s feeding you. Why take anything else? You are not ready for anything better. Rejection and scraps are right up your alley and you are worth it! There’s no way you could handle a decent, warm meal. Not you! You’re too rugged for that. You prefer to eat your meals out of the garbage can.

        ……so SAD but yet soooooooo TRUE!!

        SO yes! Next time you wonder if NC (No Contact) is just getting in the way of this great relationship of yours, if NC is not worth it, if NC is just a waste of your time…then I DO suggest going back. And maybe then, you’ll remember why you left in the first place.

  9. I am writing in hopes that use of this blog will be helpful as my relationship with the avoidant just ended…he ended it but I was ready….the pain was unbearable….and interestingly enough my therapist called me the love addict and him the love avoidant…investigating further brought me here. Your opening article parallels his persona. I too, like many others I am reading about, am a highly educated female that really has enough brains to know better. I was married to the love addict for 13 years…and find it interesting that you say love addicts can be avoidants as well….that was so true in that marriage as I would have been both. For 7 years I find myself now to be the love addict and attracted to the love avoidant. There is one man that I have had the on and off relationship with for 7 years and during that time….not one time has he said I love you….all along excuses, justification, accusation of my behavior or emotional outbursts being the ‘reason’ he won’t emotionally invest. My ‘modified behavior’ is the only reason he won’t emotionally invest. What he fails to see is that HIS avoidance creates this feeling of not good enough and triggers the core within me. He would always say ‘go find yourself’ and because I had other issues to deal with, I always justified understanding why he couldn’t love me. It becomes very difficult to sort out responsibility nonetheless I know that I ‘hang onto this hope’ that after he goes through his own therapy (which he states he is going to) that he will be able to verbalize his feelings to me and we can be back together. For me now….am hopeful this blogging becomes part of my recovery.

    • Hi Michele– I’m happy you’re here. Keep reading and learning! One thing that struck me in your post was this: “What he fails to see is that HIS avoidance creates this feeling of not good enough and triggers the core within me.” THIS IS SO TRUE. Your moods and behavior are most likely inspired by this person, BUT (and here’s the part you’re not going to like to hear), YOU determine whether or not you stay with someone who creates this less than desirable behavior in you. We are different with different people. Don’t try to change this person. He can’t say I love you. Too bad for him. What you can do, is get your control back and recognize that you deserve to be with someone who says “I Love you!” You are worthy of that. We so often think that when we “LOVE” someone, it can be one sided, or we will work with what we’ve got. That’s pure silliness and it’s not love. I don’t know what it is–maybe limerance–but it’s not love. Love is mutual. It is not only spoken between two people, but it is a clear action. Think of the people in your life who really, truly love you. Your mom? A sis? A friend? How do they treat you? Do they tell you they love you? How does that make you feel? Your romantic relationships should imitate your favorite relationships in your life. And remember, it’s not all about what you call “love.” Any two people can love each other. It’s about having a healthy relationship– and for that to occur, you need a whole bunch of other stuff (respect, trust, friendship, kindness, compatibility, and so on). Again, keep reading! That’s the only way I learned and healed.

      • Thank you lOvelyjune and to keep reading does help simply because what I read from you is no different than what I had heard when our relationship ended in the past and I sought professional help or what my closest friends would tell me….I truly don’t think I had the strength to feel ‘ok’ in the past…..everytime we connected again in a relationship I know now that I continued to go back to that ‘comfortable environment’ or ‘all I knew’ from my own baggage to be in a set up of where I had to prove myself. I remember feeling the desperate, anxious, love addict behavior :) to need to return to him….and feeling oh so gracious because he took me back. I truly do not feel that now. I am sad it is over….there are endearing qualities I do miss….but that anxiety is gone, that lonliness is gone and I truly feel at peace in the big scheme of things. Because I had my own past issues to deal with over the years, his comment that I needed to ‘find myself’ worked for a while. Any emotional outburst I would have….and there were a few….was always bar none related to his lack of emotional investment…striking my own adult child core. My final thoughts to him were that our relationship was very consistent of the chicken and egg concept. His claim to NOT emotionally invest was because of my not finding myself (which is a crock in every other aspect of my life) and without that emotional investment the relationship would not ever create the environment and atmosphere that 2 people should have. Finding myself meant to leave because the pain was too great to stay. Interestingly that you say any two people can love….fundamental element with his own issues in that he saw love as such a separate feeling or level of our relationship and because of his own issues saying it must have created such a great sense of suffocation. He was incapable of loving much of anything just because….he told me once that when his eldest was a baby….he had no idea what to ‘do’ to love her. I remember thinking then….you don’t ‘do’ anything….you just ‘feel’ it yet I don’t think he could. My therapist had seen us together twice; he adored me, cared deeply for me and it most likely scared the sh** out of him. I think most helpful on your website is the characteristic list of the avoidant….totally amazing to be in a place now where I ‘see it’. Thanks again….Michele

      • Very nice that you’re moving on. But a word of caution. One of the things I tend to “preach” on my blog is this: when we date people that cannot love it means we can’t either. When we date men who are emotionally unavailable, it means that we are not emotionally available either. How can that be? you might say. I was desperate for his love. I was ready and willing to be emotional with him!

        And yet, like attracts like. Water seeks its own level.

        Time to stop looking at him and his flaws and start to question why YOU would date someone and stay with someone who could not love. Only then, do you truly get to the bottom of it all and recover! :)

      • I totally understand and hear what you are saying and I would agree that the avoidant behaviors were and ‘are’ to some extent existent within me as well….I also would tend to believe I fell more into the love addict definition (not that that is much better :)) albeit I understand the carryover of one to the other. I think one of the reasons our relationship was what it was for so many years was that he used a lot of his psycho babble on me….in regards to my own issues I had not dealt with…and when we met I had not. The obvious missing element of ‘finding myself’ was absent….I really didn’t know what values there were in life and really have the ability to examine those from what your site posts and see what resonates within me to be missing as well. When I was with him, all I saw was that I was a graduate degreed successful, hard working single mother with a lot to ‘give’….time, energy, money, affection etc and since the sexual part of our relationship was enhancing….it was ‘enough’. My kids went through their own addictions several years ago and it forced me to 12 step and individual therapy. The glowing theme through any individual sessions was that I was accepting of crumbs. I didn’t believe myself to be ‘fixed’ and because my past still haunted me….the relationship was one in which I didn’t realize was of choosing a partner because of a comfort level of discomfort. We went to Europe this summer….and while it should have been the most romantic time for a couple, I found it to be quite miserable at times. Much the same as the relationship has been since. I was no longer comfortable with the emotional unavailability….and it wasn’t because of me not seeing the affection. It was his dissatisfaction and irresponsibility with most everything in life. The Debbie Downer and Negative Nellie just reeked in nearly every conversation of every aspect. There have been several times over the course of the years that we had an explosion but always reconnected…always had the second chances and I always had this craziness within me while we were apart to check up, bring gifts, send how are you dear messages and anxiously waited till we wiggled back together. I don’t feel any of the anxiety now…I have no desire to check up, bring gifts or hope for a reuniting. I am okay with the relationship being finished. It is not because he is ‘screwed’ up but more because I feel very happy within myself. All the therapy I have had (and still am going) continues to bring me a bit of peace that Michele is okay. I am worried that I may be in denial and still missing something :( and is why I am not jumping into dating or ‘finding the one’. I want to be okay by myself and discover more about me. It is scary….I met and married my ex at a very young age so being ‘alone’ is very new. I supervise most of my friends…so I need to develop friendships in my neighborhood and truly take life a day at a time. Other suggestions? happy to hear them :)

  10. I like this part of your advice…..Take your time when you date. This means simply enjoying a person with no hoped for outcomes. It means getting the whole “I wonder if he’s the one” out of your brain. And it means giving up the notion that dating is romantic. It’s NOT! You may be attracted to someone, and they may be attracted to you. But dating someone new is partly awkward, and mostly filled with the unknown. I hate to take the thrill out of it. But it’s work. It’s the part of the relationship where there really isn’t a relationship yet. And it’s both of your jobs to see if there should be a relationship or if it’s JUST chemistry.

  11. I disagree with a post above. I am preoccupied. As a preoccupied, I CAN handle love in all its depth. What I have realized is that I seem to be looking for someone who has issues, that will change (for me, also combined struggles potentially create more emotional closeness) so I can say to myself “See! You ARE lovable and you ARE worth it for someone to go to greater depths to be with you!” (And, by proxy, I’m looking towards my mom – who didn’t know any better – and nodding).

  12. Pingback: Fear of abandonment or enmeshment? | The Lovely Addict

  13. Hello,

    I am a bit confused, about what ` stereotype` i am myself.

    Can it be that one can be a love avoidant in some relationships and in others a love addict?
    To me i think in the early years, i have avoided any commitments, never got married, didnt want kids, focussed on work and made a career while numbing my feelings, and now since my spiritual awakening that i have been looking for love in a different and mire meaningful way and as a result attracted a love avoider who triggered all my wounds, and started to enmesh and go crazy?

    I have read about `switch hitting` and maybe that is what happened to me, and it came with the increased spiritual awakening?

    Now i am focussed on getting my ` self inventory` in order but the last thing i want is to get lost again in a relationship with an avoider(woman) , or alternatively be in a relationship which is not nurishing and i am the avoider because i am afraid?

    • Hi Sebatian,

      Sorry for the late response. I too could be a love avoidant AND a love addict, and in that sense, I began to see myself as “Ambivalent.” I guess you could call it switch hitting too. The thing is, nature seeks balance. And when two people fall in lust for eachother (not love), there’s a balance that is subconsciously, automatically saught. If one person’s level of intimacy is extreme and overwhelming, the other person will noticeably start to back away and seek breathing room. The tables can turn within the same relationship too, especially if two moody, drama-driven people have fallen in lust. This is often due to poor communication skills. If, for example, he gets hurt by something she says, and he stonewalls her (ignores her), she comes running back and wants closeness. As soon as he comes close, she moves away again. It’s maniupulation, mixed with a high dose of ambivalence for the partner.

      I guess my overriding point is, we need to seek balance. If you are not at peace with yourself, if you are extremely desperate for love, say, you will automatically attract people who are avoidant. If you are in avoidant-mode, you will attract love addicts. The trick is to be balanced within yourself. If you’re a love addict, you need to learn to feed your own hunger. If you are avoidant, you need to embrace the idea of intimacy. If you are both, then you need to learn more about improving your self-esteem, loving yourself with right action and making peace with what you think is a VOID within yourself. Does that make sense?

  14. Your blog entry makes me sad. I guess you haven’t met the real guys with Avoidant Personality Disorder. The guys who don’t want to be recognized. The guys who avoid social contact, thinking that others would surely dislike them. The guys who don’t want to go out in the world, partly because of people like you telling things about them. I am a guy who was almost diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder. I may fit the criteria of the DSM well, but i don’t fit any of your “qualities” stuff. I find it insulting to be put into one category with drug users. I hate drugs – don’t drink, don’t smoke.

    PS: I hope you don’t think i lied to you…

    • Hi Jan,

      This website is for love addicts. And unfortunately, love addicts and love avoidants do not mix. They are a toxic, unhealthy combination. Love Avoidants should also not be confused with people who suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder, although they share many of the same traits. Finally, if you are looking for a romantic relationship yourself, I would strongly suggest staying away from Love Addicts. Their personalities are toxic to yours. Love avoidants, as I stated, are not bad people while they do tend to avoid healthy love and intimacy, this blog is not written expressly against them. But it IS written to the love addict who needs to find someone else more compatible and avoid seeking out or dating this personality type. I hope that makes sense?

  15. Thanks for this. I feel like I just received a good stern talking to , which is just what i need right now. I recently discovered I get attracted to emotional avoidants and I really need to get some insight & control over things. Sounds like you have come a long way .I am learning alot from your blog.

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