Have you ever tried connecting with someone with whom you clearly have incredible chemistry, but they always seem to dodge emotional intimacy? It could all be so easy if they weren’t a flighty, little moving target. Why are they sabotaging what could potentially be a really good thing?
Well, they might be a love avoidant.
While the term defines itself, Mark Groves, Human Connection Specialist and founder of Create the Love, weighs in for detail.
“A love avoidant is exactly what it sounds like—someone who avoids love and closeness. They might desire it. They might even be capable of getting close for a moment, but they tend to use what are called ‘distancing tactics’ in order to create more space between themselves and others.
“Ultimately, love avoidants are afraid of closeness and intimacy. At the core of this fear is a lack of trust in others they want to be close to and a lack of trust in themselves when opening up to others. This lack of trust shows up as a hot/cold type of behavior.”
Hmmm. This makes us think of many a situationship we have collectively suffered.
Mark goes on to explain, “The person you’re pursuing might be a love avoidant if they are inconsistent in their behaviors. One moment, they’re speaking about a future and the next, saying they don’t believe in marriage and/or relationships. They are also usually inconsistent in their communication by first making you feel like you’re cultivating a deep relationship and connection before becoming distant and unavailable. There may be long gaps between texts, or they may not text you back at all.
“You may feel anxious about this mismatch of words and actions. In the case of unpredictable behavior, anxiety is a normal response! It’s a sign to avoid opening up further to this person without more information. Or it’s time to move on.”
Listen to that gut instinct.
It may seem cruel to abandon a relationship with someone who is clearly troubled or intimacy-challenged. But unless they are willing to immediately work on it via reflection and therapy, you’re not going to get what you need out of the situation.
Mark reminds us of some green flags of a healthy relationship:
- Consistent communication
- Someone who clearly states what they’re looking for without being wishy-washy
- The initiation of plans and dates with follow-up communication afterwards, especially if these interactions involve physical and/or emotional intimacy.
- A non-reactive response to your questions about the relationship, where it’s going, and what they might be looking for. People who are reactive to boundaries and expressing our needs and desires are waving a big red flag.”
And to that we say, “Retreat! Stand down! And move on.”
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