Identifying Avoidant Attachment Types in 60 Seconds

by | Jun 30, 2018

Have you ever perceived yourself as ‘highly independent’, value autonomy and being in control more than shared commitment and mutual dependency? Although you do desire for intimate connection and often fantasise about ‘the ultimate one’, but when others try to get close to you emotionally, you often label them as ‘being ‘needy’ and wants to keep others at bay. You are easily overwhelmed by intense period of ‘closeness’ or ‘dependency’ and often claim that you need space and privacy in relationship. Your partners would often describe you as emotionally aloof and you tend not to open up to them. Personally, you don’t spend much time worrying about your intimate relationship or being rejected. But when your dating or romantic relationship start to encroach into your individual space and personal time, you often feel suffocated and trapped, viewing it as ‘signs of control’.

Typically, you are likely to harbour the following thought process:

I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close, and often, love partners want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being.

This is a glimpse of what a person with Avoidant Attachment type is like. For a basic understanding of what Attachment Theory is about, you can read more on Why Is Understanding Attachment Theory Important to Understand Relationship.

An Avoidant Attachment type lies on the other side of the Attachment spectrum. You can also read how more on Identifying Anxious Attachment Type in 60 Seconds to get a fuller understanding of the other type.

Avoidant Attachment Type 2
Photo by Eugena (instagram@itzeugena)

Am I Avoidant Attachment Type?

Based on modified version of ECR (Experience of Close Relationship) questionnaire by Amir Levin and Rachel Heller, you are likely to have avoidant attachment if the below statements largely describe your attitude, thoughts and feelings when dealing with romantic relationships:

1. I find that I bounce quickly after a break up it’s weird how I can just put someone out of my mind.
2. I find it difficult to emotionally support my partner when s/he is feeling down.
3. My independence is more important to me than my relationships
4. I prefer not to share my innermost feelings to my partner
5. I find it difficult to depend on my romantic partners
6. I sometimes feel angry or annoyed with my partner without knowing why
7. I prefer causal sex with uncommitted partners to intimate sex with one person
8. It makes me nervous when my partner gets too close
9. My partner often want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being
10. I miss my partner when we are apart, but when we are together, I feel the need to escape
11. I hate feeling that other people depends on me
12. If I notice that someone I am interested in is checking out other people, I feel relieved – it means s/he not looking to make things exclusive
13. If someone I am dating begin to act cold and distant, I’ll probably be indifferent. I might even be relieved.
14. Sometimes when I get what I want in a relationship, I am not sure what I want anymore.

If the above describes you in a romantic relationship, then you might have an avoidant attachment type. It is important to note that neither anxious nor avoidant attachment is ‘good’ or ‘bad’; having the awareness of our attachment type helps to provide meaningful insights on why and how we function and behave with our romantic partner.

Avoidant Attachment Type 3
Photo by Eugena (instagram@itzeugena)

Am I dating an Avoidant Partner?

If you are suspecting someone you are interested in has Avoidant Attachment type, here are some common interactive experience you are likely to encounter when dating him/her:

1. S/he tends to send mixed signal
2. Values his/her independence greatly (looks down on ‘neediness’ and dependency)
3. Devalues you (or previous partner) – even if only jokingly
4. Uses distancing strategies – emotional or physical
5. Emphasize boundaries in the relationship
6. Has an unrealistically romantic view of how relationship should be
7. Mistrustful – fear being taken advantage of by partner
8. Have rigid view of relationships and uncompromising rules
9. During a disagreement, need to get away or ‘explodes’
10. Doesn’t make his/her intention clear; leaves you guessing as to his/her feeling
11. Have difficulty talking about what’s going on between you

The Lovelossophy of Avoidant Attachment Type

In our modern society, it is hard to deny the seductive theme of independence. For a modern society like Singapore, independence and self-sufficiency are highly valued and extol in our national discourse because it helps us to survive as a small nation state without natural resources. It could also be said that Singapore’s resilience in being self-reliant lies with the narrative that ‘nobody owes us a living’. Hence, framing the background of the successful Singapore Story.

The extrapolating of quality of independence and self-sufficiency may sound intuitively positive for certain aspect of our life like financial management or health promotion, but in the realm of relationship, it has an inverse effect that may be hard to comprehend to a lay audience. There lies the apparent difficulty in unpacking what seemed unreasonable in an avoidant lover, who is likely to face more social face-value support than its anxious counterparts because certainly something good for our country must also be something good at the personal level.

I mean, what’s wrong with independence? The verdict: by itself? Nothing. Juxtaposing it with relationship? Possibly.

Avoidant attachment type
Photo by Eugena (instagram@itzeugena)

The hard truth is that no relationship can be entirely independent. It is rare for two avoidant person to be in a relationship because it simply lack the glue to keep the relationship together. ‘Dependency’ is akin to an imaginary glue that binds people together; this ‘glue’ is exactly how dependency would look like if I were to visually draw out what I could describe in words. If the glue is weak, you can’t really stick two blocks together. This is why relationship with two avoidant person will just fizzle out amicably.

The silver lining is that avoidant lovers do have needs for love and belonging; they are not asexual or prefer celibacy. Once they can overcome their need to escape by practicing being secure (like those with secure attachment), there is also a good chance that their relationship can thrive and become meaningful for them.

In my subsequently posts on lovelossophy, I will proceed to talk about secure attachment type. So continue to watch this space.