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Relationships

Walking Away from an Avoidant— Why you Should Let Go!

Sometimes, love is simply not enough. 

If your relationship with an avoidant is causing you more damage than providing you with warmth or support, it’s time you let go. 

I understand, leaving an avoidant partner who you dearly love is difficult, but staying in that relationship will scar you and your mental health. 

couple being avoidant with each other
  • “Yes, I didn’t call! I needed space. This isn’t about you; why do you make everything about yourself?”
  • “I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s take a break.”
  • “Could you get off my back for one second? Why do you nag me so much! God! It’s irritating.”
  • “Let’s keep it casual. I don’t ‘do commitments'”

You must have heard this a thousand times. Unfortunately, individuals with avoidant attachment rarely consider their partner or their partner’s feelings. They are too self-absorbed and traumatized to bother. 

They struggle with their own battles and rely on no one. They neither allow themselves to let out emotions nor accept others’ emotions. 

While the cause of their actions isn’t wrong, those actions do hurt like a bitch, especially if you are an individual with an anxious preoccupied attachment. 

As their partner, you may have tried to empathize with them or even console them to no end. However, you cannot change an avoidant’s mental state; only they can heal it. The worst part is that many people might need to learn their attachment style. You cannot heal traumas you don’t acknowledge. 

If your partner is unaware, it will be a long journey before they become more secure in the relationship. Sometimes, that journey is too long to adhere to because you’d continually get hurt intentionally and/or unintentionally. 

You’d constantly find yourself at the losing end— hurt, exhausted, and alone. It’s time that you let go. It’s time that you chose yourself; it’s time that you love yourself. 

They have probably pulled back from the relationship a million times; it’s your turn. It’s a turn you must take for the sake of your mental health and overall being. 

In this article, we’ll learn how to walk away from an avoidant and heal our own attachment style in the process. 

Before we begin, here’s what you need to know about your partner’s and your own attachment styles. 

What is an avoidant attachment style? 

Avoidant attachment is a type of attachment style that involves the fear of commitment, emotions, and, ironically, abandonment. They fear commitment and intense emotions because of the emotional desert they endure as a child. 

However, deep down, they also desire closeness but fail to accomplish it, given their childhood traumas. 

Infants develop avoidant attachment because of their uncaring, unattentive, and unavailable parents/caregivers. Their scarring childhood forces them to create a defense mechanism that ultimately banes emotions altogether— they reject getting attached to others and reject getting close. They reject the whole concept of love and commitment. 

dismissive partner

Such individuals become distant, aloof, and uncaring of relationships as adults. They tend to distance themselves from others and show little socializing. Their personality may appeal to strangers at first glance, but it’s one hell of a ride for avoidants and their partners. 

They may seem confident and arrogant from afar; however, inside the shell— avoidant individuals constantly fight lower self-esteem and loneliness. Avoidant attachment style is associated with low self-esteem, which often causes the person to have a negative outlook on life and relationships. 

They often have difficulty trusting others and tend to view others through a lens of suspicion, making it difficult for them to form long-term bonds with others.

The hallmark of the avoidant attachment style is the preference for distancing oneself from others (avoidance) and a lack of desire to get close to anyone else (disinterest). Such individuals often experience a lack of interest in forming relationships and an inability to maintain them once formed. 

Why are anxious and avoidant relationships mentally unhealthy?

While it’s not true for every anxious-avoidant couple out there— it’s sadly a tragedy for many. 

Individuals with a secure attachment may heal the relationship and their avoidant partner or choose to simply get out of the relationship. However, it’s more difficult for an anxious-ambivalent individual to sustain the relationship with an avoidant or even let go of that relationship. 

Avoidants often offer a relationship characterized by a lack of affection, intimacy, and closeness between partners. What else is left, then? I mean, these are the strong pillars of any relationship, no? 

  • Avoidant partners are distant and anxious partners constantly try to close that distance. 
  • Avoidant partners are completely unattuned, and anxious individuals constantly seek validation. 
  • Avoidant individuals run away at the thought of intense emotions, and that’s all anxious partners have to offer. 

Anxious-avoidant couples constantly create a push-pull loop— and it drowns the relationship with no hope of floating out. They are both toxic to each other because they trigger each other’s mental traumas. 

An anxious individual constantly forces depth, closeness, and strange intimacy in the relationship that aggravates and triggers avoidant individuals and their mental traumas. 

There’s a wall avoidant individuals build around them to protect themselves from getting hurt. For avoidant individuals, closeness and emotional intimacy is a threat that can break this wall— a wall they created for years. To protect this wall, avoidants push away anyone who comes close to breaking the wall down. 

On the other hand, an avoidant’s constant lack of emotional availability triggers an anxious individual’s fear of abandonment and much-unhealed childhood trauma. 

The more avoidants push, the further anxious individuals drown in despair. It makes them feel unworthy and unlovable. Further worsening their childhood traumas. 

A small brief about the anxious attachment style

Anxiously attached people have high expectations from their partners. Since they consider themselves unworthy, they expect their avoidant partners to make them feel worthy and loved— Of course, this is a vain thought because avoidants are rarely available. 

People develop an anxious attachment style as a child when they receive inadequate and inconsistent love from their parents. So, they are never sure if their parents genuinely love or even want them. This belief makes anxious individuals clingy and people pleasers.

They will cling to their partners/parents to receive their love and constantly seek validation to know if that love still exists. They please people because they fear abandonment and the loss of love— so they would do anything in their power to please the person to stop them from leaving. 

Moreover, an anxious attachment style makes people very sensitive to the moods of their partners, and they may get hurt easily if the other person does not respond positively toward them. 

Anxiously attached people also tend to seek constant reassurance from their partners, which makes it difficult for them to let go of their partners in times of crisis or emotional stress. 

To avoid relationship failure, it’s crucial for avoidants and anxious individuals to become more secure in the relationship. Individuals with anxious attachment styles must head towards self-love and self-worth practices to develop a progressive self of sense. 

At the same time, individuals with avoidant attachment must opt for professional help that can allow them to regain trust and emotional gravity. 

Secure attachment

Of all the four types of attachment styles, secure attachment is the strongest predictor of a good relationship— the attachment style delivers trust, intimacy, closeness, and growth between couples. 

As a child, secure individuals had attuned and emotionally available parents who encouraged their children to explore, fall and stand up with a toothy smile. Such parents not only celebrate their child’s accomplishments but also their existence— 

  • They comfort their child when they are sad.
  • They show enthusiasm when the child’s excited, even over little things. 
  • They are equally interested in their child’s exploration. Such parents also ensure that the child feels safe when exploring something new. 

A secure childhood ensures adults to become secure as a person— 

  • They trust others and themselves. 
  • They believe in themselves and encourage others/partners.
  • They love to exist, experiment, and explore. Their self-worth relies on their existence, not their accomplishments or others’ perspectives. 
  • They have a positive outlook on life and failure. 
  • They enjoy spending time with their partners and in solitude. They aren’t scared to be alone and enjoy being with themselves just as much. 
  • They have a sense of self that allows them to sew a beautiful life. 

Secure people also tend to be more independent, which helps them feel self-sufficient and happy with their lives.

Anxious avoidant trap

As discussed— the anxious-avoidant trap is a beautifully horrifying tragedy of push and pull. Avoidants distance themselves, and anxious individuals want nothing but to fill the gap. This gap doesn’t allow either one of them to fully embrace or enjoy the relationship. 

If you are trapped in one such never-ending anxious avoidant relationship cycle— let go. Don’t beat yourself down to please your avoidant partner— it will not make them stay. 

“It’s not you; it’s them.” 

Individuals with anxious preoccupied attachment styles must understand that they are not the reason avoidants pull away from the relationship; it’s them, their insecurities, their wall of fear, and their childhood traumas. They don’t avoid you because you are unworthy or unlovable; they avoid you because they fear closeness and intimacy— not just with you but with everyone out there. 

So, before you further puncture your self-esteem, remind yourself, “it’s not you; it’s them.” Sadly, there’s nothing you can do to change their personality. It’s time you choose yourself over your toxic connection— a connection that has hurt you more than they have ever made you happy. It’s time you stop expecting love from others; it’s time that you learn to love yourself. 

How to get over your ex with an avoidant attachment?

If you’re in the middle of a breakup and dealing with an avoidant attachment-style ex, it might feel like you’re losing your mind. You might feel like you’re being controlled and manipulated by someone who doesn’t seem to care about your thoughts or feelings. 

You want to fight for the relationship, but ultimately you’d be fighting against yourself and nothing else. So, as hard as it may seem— walk away. Don’t consider it to be an act of revenge against your partner who has walked away and over you a billion times— consider it a step forward towards acknowledging your value. 

Here’s how you can successfully walk away from an avoidant. 

First things first— Don’t let them reach out to you.

Dismissive avoidant after a break up will try to find you! 

Trust me when I say this, your avoidant ex will return to you after you walk away from them— it’s not a sign that they have returned for good or they have changed. They simply return because they also crave intimacy; however, it’s short-lived. Once you allow them in and the relationship reaches a peak of closeness, they will bail out on you again without remorse. 

It’s a very famous pattern avoidants follow not to let the other person leave them altogether— they will keep you at bay for the entirety of the relationship. However, they will come close to you once you try to leave them. 

So, it’s necessary not to fall for their unintentional/intentional trap. Even if they return, stay firm in your boundaries. They shouldn’t play games with you, and you shouldn’t allow them to do so either— so cut them off completely.

  • Don’t try to reach them; instead, invest your time in finding yourself.
  • Don’t let them reach you; block them off from every medium. 

Somehow, if they do find you, don’t make the mistake of allowing them in your life. 

Allow yourself the time to grieve and heal.

Whether you are someone who’s secure in your attachment or insecure, breakups are going to hurt. It’s impossible to skip that part. However, those breakups break you and make you— they are often a blessing in disguise.  

So, cry as much as you’d like and pour your heart out. Let the pain consume you so it can leave. You don’t have to try to hide it; no, feel and accept it. 

Give yourself the time to understand and accept your emotions— eventually, you’d be able to process them more strongly.

child being sad
  • “I’m hurt because they left.” Soon enough, your heart would question softly, “Were they really ever there for you to begin with?”
  • “Did they ever genuinely care for me, love me, or make me happy?”
  • “Did I really have to hurt myself so much just to keep the illusion of them alive in my heart?”

Your heart and body know what you deserve— you deserve love, empathy, and caress, and they will make you realize it. “To cure the disease, you must know about the disease.”

When you cry and allow your emotions to bottle up, you acknowledge the problem, and soon enough, your mind and body will help you lead the way. You have to be firm in the journey; you have to trust yourself. 

Refocus your direction; instead of reaching out to people for love, love yourself and see the change for yourself. 

Acknowledge your attachment style:

Healing from a breakup is more difficult for someone with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style because the breakup triggers them and makes them feel unworthy and unlovable. If you identify as someone with an anxious attachment style, your approach will be a little different from someone with a secure attachment style. 

An individual with a secure attachment will feel pain, but that breakup doesn’t make them doubt their worth. Eventually, they will focus their energy on making themselves happy and finding love that doesn’t hurt them. Their rules aren’t against themselves. 

However, an anxious person will drown in lower self-esteem and self-worth, which will negate the whole healing journey. 

So, determine what your attachment style is—

Do you feel bad about yourself when someone stops loving you? Then, you have an insecure attachment style. Of course, you can heal; it’s very much possible! 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you seek approval from other people? A sign of an insecure attachment style.
  • Do you have a fear of rejection or being alone? Insecure attachment
  • Do you feel jealous? If so, the Insecure attachment style
  • Are you scared of solitude? If yes, insecure attachment style. 
  • Do you have a life outside of your relationship? If not, insecure attachment style. 

Once you acknowledge your attachment style, you’d be able to heal it and become more secure in the relationship. 

Do a case study on yourself:

Sounds weird? Well, that’s the first step towards self-love and self-growth. How do you perceive yourself? Not through others’ lenses but your own. How would you describe yourself? 

Self-analysis yourself: You have faced a lot of criticism, disapproval, mental traumas, and tantrums from your avoidant ex. You have believed them all, but are they really true? 

You were so much in love that you accepted them as something normal or valid. The truth is, they impose their own insecurities on you, and you accept them instead of fighting for yourself. 

happy girl

Let go of how others perceive you and think about how you perceive yourself. “Being gentle and kind is enough of an achievement as a human being.” 

Acknowledge your qualities— even the ones you think shouldn’t be considered. Trust me, every small quality of yours counts; those details make you who you are. Own those qualities and be proud of them because you deserve them. Love those qualities, and that’s not all— Simply appreciate your existence. 

Appreciate the life you were given and live it to the brim— do things that you like, be kind, be loving to others and yourself, and be humane. Love the person you are; love those small details that others consider insignificant. 

I want you to create a list of all the things you like about yourself (physical appearance and personality), and I want you to appreciate them. 

Now, create a list of all your insecurities and genuinely ask yourself if they should actually make you feel this bad.

“I’m unlovable because I’m not pretty.” You are pretty because you are unique and one of a kind. Beauty measures will come and go, but what you consider beautiful is up to you— it’s subjective. 

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Those who consider you unlovable or ugly are imposing their insecurities/ugly mentality on you. “7 billion perceptions— whose would you choose?” yours, honey! The world will change. 

Now, focus on getting better— physically, mentally, and emotionally. Do things you enjoy, explore new things, and find the beauty of this world— it’s beautiful out here; you gotta look. 

Don’t hold yourself responsible for your partner’s or avoidant exes’ behavior.

“Accept your faults, but don’t accept the ones that aren’t your mistakes.” Don’t entirely blame yourself for ruining the relationship. While you were ready to become more secure and support your partner, they never made an effort. 

If you have tried your best and genuinely tried to undo your attachment style, it’s not entirely your fault. Not every downfall in the relationship was your fault, so stop blaming yourself. 

Instead, refocus your energy on being more secure and finding someone who’d love you securely and powerfully— who’d try to grow with you and make an effort to have you. Until then, get better at being secure in your relationship. 

Maybe you still wanted that relationship, and it is your avoidant ex who broke up with you. At least this is what they did well for you. A toxic person getting out of your life on their own is a blessing, sweetheart! 

You don’t belong in a place where you are being criticized for the faults of others. When feeling insecure about them, avoidant partners will blame others for not facing reality.

Heal your anxious attachment style:

Yes, your avoidant ex was not the only mainstream character responsible for breakups, but darling, you too.

You tend to rely on the person ultimately, which might burden others— you are insecure with yourself, too. You need to heal your anxious attachment style because it would make you less burdensome on your partners and more confident in your future relationships. 

Why? First things first, it will help you initiate stable and healthy relationships. Second, it will improve your mental health and lead you toward a life full of self-love and self-growth

So, how do you heal your anxious attachment style? 

Let go of the low-esteem talk

Individuals with anxious attachments constantly project a negative view of themselves and the world. They rely on others to make them feel loved, valued, and treasured. Once the person who made them feel loved and valued runs away from their life, they lose every sense of self-worth or self-love. 

  • Recognize yourself, your values, your qualities, and your innocent existence. Journal your qualities and appreciate them genuinely. Try to be kinder, better, and more empathetic to yourself and others. 
  • Stop self-sabotaging yourself: As anxious individuals, we don’t need others to sabotage us; we sabotage ourselves. Monitor that habit and stop yourself from demotivating and degrading yourself. Focus on the good and focus on getting better. 
  • Practice self-love: before you expect it from others, love yourself. 

Find a life for yourself and with yourself.

We constantly try to find happiness in others, knowing fully well that it’s not ours to take. For a change, get a life for yourself. What do you enjoy doing? Do you have any hobbies? What do you like? 

Make a list of all the things you like doing and start doing those activities asap.

finding happiness within friends
  • Do you like dancing? Well, nobody is stopping you from dancing. Get dolled up and hit the clubs. Get a little boozy and forget the world in your moves. Don’t give a shit about the world, and focus on doing what you like! 
  • Join a club: What do you enjoy? Is it writing, singing, dancing, traveling, standup comedy, or live theaters? Well, get on with it— what’s stopping you? 
  • Fill days with vigorous activities: There’s so much to do and so little time to achieve, so live every day with adventure. Go for a hike or camp in the wilderness. Travel to a new country and find the world’s beauty through a new lens. 

Spend time engaging in your interests and your fascinations. Go on a date with yourself.

Make yourself aware that you are the whole person that your heart wants. Your happiness doesn’t lie in this world; instead, it’s there within yourself. 

Try affirmations and know that you are worthy of love:

You may have yawned with a lousy response, “it is not easy and will be boring to affirm or meditate.” Trust me; it’s worth it. 

I’m not asking you to meditate like a monk but to manifest positive things in life. 

girl hugging herself
  • you deserve a secure partner.”
  • “You don’t deserve the wrong or mistreatment your avoidant partner offered you.”
  • You deserve your own love. 
  • “You are worthy and a beautiful human being.”
  • “Don’t waste time seeking validation; invest time creating the best life for yourself. 
  • “Others don’t decide your worth; you do!”
  • “you don’t want to be with a dismissive avoidant man/woman.”

Spend time with yourself and focus on reforming your values. Start celebrating yourself, my friend.

“It’s when you love yourself that you can love someone else.”

Ask for advice (from a genuinely mature person) & plan days with friends.

Who do you genuinely trust, and who do you think has a secure personality in your circle? Talk to them, and ask them to assist you if they are free to assist you. Please don’t force them, of course. 

However, if they do have time, they would love to beat sense into you as a friend. Your friends would constantly tell you when someone is toxic, and they wouldn’t hold back. 

group of friend group being happy

Similarly, they would also tell you when you are being toxic to yourself. Instead of getting offended, ask them how not to be toxic. They will give you advice, and you shouldn’t take it for granted. The most important aspect of this interaction is to LISTEN! 

List down all the advice you receive and follow them with complete determination. Your friends will try to make you feel as beautiful and confident in your skin as you are; don’t resist it! 

You should hang out with your friends and spend quality time doing fun activities. 

Oh! Make sure you hang out with a friend who isn’t mutual with your avoidant ex’s friend list.

Learn the beauty of maintaining boundaries 

Establishing and maintaining boundaries is one of the significant green flags for almost every healthy relationship, including one with yourself.

Boundaries to respect your partner’s personal life and boundaries to respect your own life. Individuals with anxious preoccupied attachment styles often don’t respect or understand the whole concept of boundaries. 

guy drinking coffee and being happy

However, you’d need them to make your next relationship successful. Being a couple doesn’t mean you have the right to barge into your partner’s life whenever and wherever. 

Space is required for relationships to exist. Before being your partner, they are also human beings, somebody’s friend, a son/daughter, and an individual. The more space you allow in the relationship, the more beautifully it will grow without suffocation. 

Please understand wanting personal space doesn’t necessarily mean they love you any less. It’s not just avoidants who want personal space but every secure person out there. So, practice boundaries; it will help you create less suffocating relationships. 

FAQs 

Dismissive avoidant keep coming back; should I forgive them?

First of all, stop waiting for them to return; they are toxic for you. 

Forgiving them doesn’t necessarily mean allowing them in your life. Your dismissive avoidant ex will indeed return to you once you let go of them completely, but don’t allow them in. 

They might return because they actually love you, or they might simply return because they don’t want to let you go completely. Even if they love you, don’t expect them to have changed. 

Hang on! Don’t just melt over their cheesy and emotionally mellow drama. Avoidants are good and well-rehearsed at that. The relationship would still remain awful because you both have mental traumas to heal. Reconnecting would only make a difference if you both healed or began the healing journey. 

Remember, it’s not just your avoidant partner; your attachment style must also be blamed. So, instead of forcing all the mistakes on your ex-partner when they return, be fierce in your boundaries and tell them a simple NO! 

Do avoidants come back? 

Yes, they come back and will surely try to win you back. However, it doesn’t guarantee good things, don’t be tempted. If you chose to walk with them again, you would be forced to walk on the same spiked road. 

They might have returned, but they haven’t changed. You don’t want to trigger your traumas again. Don’t let them in, and focus on healing your own attachment style. 

Stop romanticizing your ex! 

How often do dismissive avoidant come back?

Once you have broken up with a dismissive avoidant partner; they will keep coming back to you as long as they see a chance of winning you over again! 

What to do when a dismissive avoidant ex wants to be friends

Taking them back into your life when you are not over them or when you aren’t healed— wouldn’t be a wise choice. Instead, let them know that you are not ready for friendship with an ex for the time being. 

However, if you have healed and have no problems reconnecting and being friends with your avoidant ex, be my guest! 

Takeaway

“Sometimes, walking away from someone is a blessing in disguise.” Believe in the statement and bring it to life.

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by Genesis Gutierrez

Genesis is the founder of Harness Magazine, a digital media company that celebrates and elevates the voices of women around the world. A first-generation college graduate, Genesis holds a degree in from UCLA with hopes of going back for a Masters in Social Work.

Through her work as an editor-in-chief of Harness, Genesis has dedicated herself to amplifying the stories of women specifically marginalized communities. She is committed to creating space for those who are often left out of mainstream conversations, and believes that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have for building community and sparking social change.


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