Every relationship has its flaws, but anxious-avoidant relationships are one of the hardest to deal with.
They can seem like an unsolvable puzzle with no solution.
Fortunately, however, there are real ways to fix and improve these toxic time bombs and turn the love light back on.
1) Get a grip on what you’re dealing with
An anxious-avoidant relationship is when one person is afraid of being abandoned and not loved enough. They are full of fear at being inadequate, left behind and ignored.
The avoidant partner, meanwhile, feels overwhelmed by their loved one’s demands for attention and validation. It makes them instinctively withdraw into themselves and become detached.
The result is often a complete disaster:
I’m talking about awful fights…
On-again-off-again dramas that last years…
Feelings of being deeply misunderstood and unappreciated…
It’s horrible. And it sinks even strong connections that have other very positive elements and strong attraction.
That’s why anxious-avoidant relationships are so important to deal with.
By getting a grip on what you’re dealing with, you can begin to uncover and resolve many of the most painful issues that come up in anxious-avoidant relationships.
Be assured as you read this that you are not alone!
Many people struggle with anxious and avoidant tendencies that get in the way of them finding and keeping love.
This experience doesn’t mean you are broken or weak. Think of it as a weight training class that is making you stronger with each time that you learn to lift correctly and breathe deeply.
First, let’s take a look at where you’re at currently…
2) Which element of the relationship are you?
Understanding what an anxious-avoidant relationship also means knowing which you are.
This is not always by the book, and the specifics of anxious and avoidant people vary by situation.
However, in general, the signs you are avoidant or anxious will begin manifesting very clearly.
Some of the specific signs of an anxious partner include:
- Obsessing about how much your partner loves or cares about you
- Seeking “proof” and validation of how much they love you
- Becoming highly upset and depressed when your partner is upset or depressed
- Believing you are unworthy or have never really been loved in a way that would satisfy you
- Feelings of self-pity and victimization because of feeling neglected or overlooked
- An obsession with your partner’s schedule and availability
- Deep distress when your partner is busy or preoccupied and can’t pay full attention to you
- Feeling inadequate and left behind in love.
- Feeling like you have to keep grasping and clawing for attention and love.
Some of the specific signs of an avoidant partner include:
- Difficulty committing to a relationship and a deep desire for independence and freedom
- Preferring not to rely on your partner for emotional validation or reassurance
- Feeling stifled by too much emotional intensity and closeness
- Becoming detached and withdrawn during uncomfortable situations or disagreements
- Seeking time alone rather than communicating with your partner about the relationship
- Wanting to find someone who “gets you” and is a mature adult, but feeling like you keep ending up with needy crybabies who won’t give you space.
- Feeling like you have to keep grasping and clawing just to get basic space and time alone and with your own thoughts and feelings.
3) Face the insecurity
The rotten root at the heart of the anxious-avoidant relationship is insecurity.
The anxious partner is deeply insecure, often because of a difficult childhood where they didn’t receive enough love.
The more they try to push this down or deny it, the more the insecurity rises up like an angry demon, demanding a spotlight and sabotaging the relationship.
The avoidant partner is often insecure about showing emotion or dealing with situations that are emotionally intense.
This can often be part of a coping mechanism that they developed from a young age to deal with dramatic and upsetting situations in life.
Insecurity isn’t something permanent, however.
Insecurity must be faced and accepted. Then it must be countered.
As the YouTuber FarFromAverage says:
“Insecurity is like a Trojan Horse within your own mind, and the moment that you let it in, it will begin to destroy you from the inside out.”
Fighting back against insecurity is not the same as denial. The insecure partner must acknowledge and validate his or her deep feelings of not being good enough.
Then it’s time to work.
Exercise, create, communicate, build and grow. Let the insecurity shrink as you meet it with action.
Trying to run away from the feeling of being stifled or unwanted won’t work.
Only facing it head on, accepting it and then counteracting it directly will work.
Slow and steady wins the race!
4) Communicate, even if it hurts
Lack of communication has killed many promising relationships.
This is especially true when it comes to anxious-avoidant relationships.
The truth is that the problems partners face in these situations are actually quite common.
It’s a form of codependency where two people instinctively go towards someone that reinforces a feeling they have of not being sufficient.
The anxious one feels not good enough and unloveable; the avoidant one feels too detached and insufficiently committed and beats themselves up over it.
That’s why communication is so important.
Open up about how you’re feeling and why. Dig back into the past if necessary.
Talk about what you need to in order to not make it personal. But also do it because you have the chance to forestall the kind of behavior that usually sinks anxious-avoidant connections.
If you’re strong enough to talk it over first, then when you hit speed bumps you won’t give up.
But how can you actually manage to communicate when it hurts?
I get it, it’s hard. But I know ways t help you deal with this problem and take a step forward to communicate.
When I was struggling with communication problems with my partner, I contacted a professional relationship coach who gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship, including practical advice on how to communicate with my partner even when it hurt.
Relationship Hero is where I found this special coach who helped turn things around for me.
I was blown away by how genuine, understanding, and professional they were.
Sounds impressive, right?
If you’re ready to learn ways to communicate in a healthy manner, don’t hesitate to contact with professional relationship coaches. I’m sure they’ll find ways to help you too.
5) What do you want from your partner?
One of the key things to work out in your communication with your partner is what exactly you want from each other.
If you’re both focused on ways to fix an anxious-avoidant relationship then you are starting at the right place.
That’s cause for hope!
You can both communicate about what’s going wrong and right now, and compare it to the past.
What happened in your past relationships that brought them to an end? Do you see signs of it happening now, or is this quite different?
If you are an anxious person, then you may communicate to your partner that you want more closeness and communication.
Your asks might include:
- Asking your partner to show you more appreciation
- Asking your partner to devote more time to physical and emotional intimacy
- Asking your partner to be patient with you when you get down about yourself and your relationship
If you are are an avoidant person, then your asks might include:
- Asking your partner to give you a bit more space and time alone
- Asking your partner to give you more leeway on your ups and downs with emotional and physical closeness
- Asking your partner to be patient with you when you get withdrawn and detached about the relationship.
These tactics really work.
They sound simple, but when two people who are in love hear the truth from each other’s mouths it makes a huge difference and can even save the relationships.
6) Crank self-care into overdrive
Whether you’re anxious or avoidant, this relationship is the perfect time to get very involved in self-care.
You can’t expect yourself to constantly deal with a stressful and confusing situation with no downtime.
Try meditation, breathwork, go to the gym, do yoga, or start a creative project!
Have you always wanted to paint, or make a beautiful dreamcatcher? Why not do it.
Even if you’re very busy at your job, perhaps you can find a spare hour to start looking into a new passion that will soothe your mind.
Learn to play guitar, or start learning sign language!
You have the power to redirect your focus, have patience with yourself and allow yourself those precious little breaks that soothe the soul.
Don’t forget spa days…
And guys’ nights out…
And soaking in a bathtub for a few hours listening to beautiful music. You might step out feeling remarkably less avoidant and anxious!
7) Stop beating yourself up
Whether you’re anxious or avoidant, stop beating yourself up.
Thinking of yourself as someone who has something “wrong” with them won’t do you any good.
All of us are connected and go through unique experiences that shape us in life.
When our needs aren’t met in childhood or undergo different evolutions, we can experience a lot of pain in relationships that we didn’t expect.
Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t label yourself as damaged or bad.
The scripts that we write for ourselves tend to become second-nature and feed into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The prophecy of you as a damaged person who gets into relationships that make you frustrated and unfulfilled is a very bad prophecy.
You should chuck it in the wastebin where it belongs and write a new prophecy instead.
Here it is:
You’re a unique human being learning how to live and love like all the rest of us. And you’re making immense progress which you should be very proud of.
8) Roll with the punches
Anxious-avoidant relationships aren’t easy, and sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You may even feel like you’re locked in some kind of war where you both have different strategies, approaches and planned retreats.
That’s definitely not the healthy basis of a relationship, plus it wastes a lot of mental and emotional energy you could be spending on more worthwhile endeavors.
Your relationship shouldn’t be a battle, it should be a collaboration!
But in those ebbs when you’re both back at your battle camps and feeling like no truce will ever occur…
That’s when you need to be patient and let things roll for a little bit…
If the relationship is over then so be it.
But if there’s still hope, it may surface in the coming days or weeks.
Don’t be afraid to take time apart and go your own ways temporarily to see if that works out better for you both.
9) You can’t be perfect, but you can be better
Trying to make your relationship perfect only has one result: failure.
You can’t have a perfect relationship, nor should you. We’re all human beings who are growing and learning as we go.
The most you can do is be committed, in love and responsive to learning and improving.
That’s why fixing an anxious-avoidant relationship isn’t so much about suddenly becoming a crisp, clean perfect partner…
It’s more about preemptively recognizing the behavior and patterns you engage in and stopping them before they run off the rails.
If you tend to feel neglected and then sulk and eventually get really angry, prevent yourself from doing that: talk to your partner instead.
If you get uncomfortable and weirded out by strong displays of affection or talking about emotions as an avoidant person, then prevent yourself from going down that road by opening up to your partner about how things work for you.
As the School of Life puts it:
“We cannot – most of us – be wholly healthy in love, but we can be something almost as beneficial: We can grow into people committed to explaining our unhealthy, trauma-driven behavior in good time, before we have become overly furious and hurt others too much.”
10) Give each other space when necessary
Anxious-avoidant relationships tend to be on the rocky side. Both partners aren’t fully aligned with themselves and often start feeling very unhappy.
This can lead to fights and often to time apart or not speaking.
As I mentioned, communication is a key here.
At the same time, if you’re both working through things and have very different communication styles, then it can often be a good idea to respect each other and give each other space.
Anxious-avoidant folks are often locked into instinctual patterns born of trauma.
They may react very strongly at first and only later on reflection think about how they could have dealt with something better in their interaction with you.
On sober second thought, they may apologize, tone down their behavior or otherwise make a positive effort.
This is a good thing, but it takes space to happen.
So give each other space when necessary and don’t always try to fix everything all at once.
Pain takes time to process.
11) Avoid common AA pitfalls
One of the best ways to fix an anxious-avoidant relationship is to avoid the common mistakes that couples make.
Let me be honest…
AA relationships can be incredibly toxic…
Full of miscommunication and acting out.
When this happens, psychologists refer to it as “protest behaviors.”
This isn’t like protesting the World Trade Organization or Monsanto, it’s more like acting like a raging lunatic because your anxious or avoidant behaviors are being triggered badly.
Common protest behaviors from the anxious side include:
- Refusing to accept that your partner needs space and obsessively texting or getting in touch regardless
- Threatening to break up and throwing down ultimatums unless your partner acts how you want
- Withholding sex until your partner starts giving you the emotional validation you want
- Playing games with money and disagreements in order to blackmail your partner into spending more time with you
- Expecting your partner to read your mind and getting angry or upset with them when they have no idea what you’re talking about
Common protest behaviors from the avoidant side include:
- Ghosting your partner and being hostile to their attempts to communicate
- Using your partner’s emotional vulnerability and desire for love against them
- Using the anxious person’s fragile state as a way to sexually or financially exploit them
- Leading on the anxious person when you don’t really have strong feelings for them out of a fear of confrontation and dealing with a break up
- Threatening to break up unless the anxious partner starts burying their emotions…
As you can see, both of these protest behaviors have a lot of destructive elements.
Avoid engaging in them if at all possible!
You’ll be happy you did.
12) Work on yourself first
If you’re in an anxious-avoidant relationship, the desire to fix and repair things can be overwhelming.
You just want to grab your partner, look them in the eyes and tell them you love them and to stop being an idiot.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work out too well.
The kinds of fights that happen in anxious-avoidant relationships are like slow-rolling storms that creep up on the horizon and then eventually flatten everything in their path…
It can feel like you just weren’t “meant” to be with this person.
You might even think you’ll always be alone if it’s not the first time you’ve been stuck in an anxious-avoidant loop.
But when it comes to relationships, you might be surprised to hear that there’s one very important connection you’ve probably been overlooking:
The relationship you have with yourself.
I learnt about this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. In his incredible, free video on cultivating healthy relationships, he gives you the tools to plant yourself at the center of your world.
And once you start doing that, there’s no telling how much happiness and fulfillment you can find within yourself and with your relationships.
So what makes Rudá’s advice so life-changing?
Well, he uses techniques derived from ancient shamanic teachings, but he puts his own modern-day twist on them. He may be a shaman, but he’s experienced the same problems in love as you and I have.
And using this combination, he’s identified the areas where most of us go wrong in our relationships.
So if you’re tired of your relationships never working out, of feeling undervalued, unappreciated, or unloved, this free video will give you some amazing techniques to change your love life around.
Make the change today and cultivate the love and respect you know you deserve.
Click here to watch the free video.
13) Let the obsession go…
If you’re in an AA relationship, you’re probably ready to throw in the towel.
Friends of mine who’ve been involved in these relationships tell me that it starts being like pulling teeth.
Anxious folks are terrified of being seen as needy and insecure…
Avoidant folks are full of regret at being seen as uncaring and removed…
But here’s the thing:
These hang-ups actually cause and worsen what they’re intended to avoid.
It’s like if I tell you not to think of a ruby red sportscar. Don’t do it!
Let me guess, you just did it, right?
When you obsessively try to avoid being what you’re worried you might be, you end up retreating right back into familiar and habitual behaviors;
You beat yourself up for it, too!
It’s a toxic cycle of shame that won’t get you anywhere good.
The solution is to really focus on the relationship with yourself and begin to let the obsession go.
You don’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to erase your neediness.
You just have to work on being the real authentic you who was born to be a creative and powerful individual!
Love can work with you if you let it…
Can you really ‘fix’ a relationship?
If you’re in an anxious-avoidant relationship, you’re probably feeling confused, frustrated, and a little resentful.
What did you do to deserve this?
Why can’t you just be happy?
It can start to seem like the whole universe is ranged against you, or like you have “bad karma” that brought this on you.
I want to suggest that this isn’t the case.
In fact, if you’re a woman, there’s one more thing that you can try if you want to fix your relationship.
Relationship expert James Bauer has developed a concept that has revolutionized the way women understand how men work in relationships.
It’s called the Hero Instinct and when you trigger it in a man, all his emotional walls come down. He feels better in himself and he’ll naturally begin to associate those good feelings with you.
What’s more, he’ll feel motivated to love, commit, and protect you.
So if you’re ready to take your relationship to that level and get out of the traps of the anxious-avoidant pattern, be sure to check out James Bauer’s incredible advice.
Click here to watch his excellent free video.