Identifying Love-Avoidant Behaviors In Your Relationship And How To Cope

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated September 25, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Being in a relationship with someone who shows signs of love-avoidant behavior can often present difficult situations and spark turmoil between partners. Someone who tends to avoid physical or emotional intimacy, shut down or detach after arguments, or avoid typical relationship-related activities may have an avoidant attachment style. It can be helpful to allow those with avoidant attachment styles to have time to themselves after disagreements, and therapy can aid in improving communication between yourself and your partner. You may attend couples therapy sessions online or in person.

An Introduction To Attachment Styles

Having Trouble Communicating With Your Partner?

Psychological studies have shown four major types of attachment styles when it comes to romantic relationships: anxious, avoidant, disorganized, and secure. Typically, a person’s attachment style presents itself during emotionally intense situations, such as arguments, breakups, or when a relationship begins to shift from casual dating to a more serious stage. 

An anxious attachment is often characterized by fervently seeking emotional intimacy after emotionally intense situations. Someone with an avoidant attachment style typically does the opposite, shutting down or pushing their partner away in times of emotional intensity. Someone with a disorganized attachment style may act irrationally and unpredictably in romantic relationships. Meanwhile, a person with a secure attachment style tends to respond to emotionally intense situations with calmness and warmth. 

According to research, around 23% of people fall under the avoidant category. If your partner seems to lean toward an avoidant attachment style, this can be especially difficult to navigate if you are someone with an anxious or secure attachment style. For this reason, it may be helpful to determine and explore the nature of your own attachment style. Understanding your own attachment style may help you better understand or address your partner’s attachment style. 

Recognizing Love-Avoidant Behavior

There are several behaviors a person with love-avoidant tendencies may exhibit during the course of a relationship. Typically, avoidant behavior shows more prominently during times of emotional intensity. For this reason, it can be common to be largely unaware that your partner is someone with an avoidant attachment style until later on in your relationship, as emotional intensity tends to come with time.  

One of the most common love-avoidant behaviors can be the avoidance of communication. For example, a partner with love-avoidant tendencies might avoid speaking with you or stop answering calls or texts following an argument. They may shut down or show discomfort during disagreements or emotionally intense conversations. Additionally, someone with an avoidant attachment style may respond poorly to being asked to show emotional vulnerability, particularly in the face of relationship turbulence.


How To Communicate With A Love-Avoidant Partner

It can undoubtedly be challenging to communicate with a partner exhibiting love-avoidant behaviors. If you are having difficulty addressing avoidance in your partner, you may want to implement some form of strategy prior to doing so. It could be helpful to evaluate your own attachment style, as well as your overall relationship.

Recognizing whether your partner’s avoidant behaviors have caused recurring issues in the relationship, or if they have only come up recently, might help you determine the outcome you’re hoping to achieve by addressing the behaviors. It may also be helpful to consider your own needs in the relationship and whether your partner may be able to meet them. 

Typically, approaching a love-avoidant partner is most effective when done calmly and with clear goals in mind. If you are attempting to communicate following an argument or disagreement, it may be helpful to give a partner with an avoidant attachment style some space and time before approaching them. 

If you feel love-avoidant behaviors from your partner are causing ongoing issues in your relationship, you may want to consider couples therapy. If your partner is unwilling to try counseling together, individual therapy may also be helpful in terms of emotional support and identifying the next steps. 

Benefits Of Online Therapy

If you have noticed love-avoidant behaviors in your partner that are affecting the quality of your relationship, you may benefit from online couples therapy. Considering the nature of those with avoidant attachment styles, your partner may be hesitant to try face-to-face therapy because of the emotional vulnerability that is often involved. Additionally, it is not uncommon for someone with an avoidant attachment style to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges. If you feel your partner might benefit from professional guidance, speaking with them about online therapy might offer a more comfortable alternative to in-person therapy. 

Oftentimes, couples therapy paired with individual therapy sessions can be particularly helpful. Online therapy can not only offer the option to receive therapy from the comfort of your own home, but it can also allow for additional flexibility when it comes to scheduling. This can make receiving consistent therapy more convenient for you and your partner.

Having Trouble Communicating With Your Partner?

Effectiveness Of Online Therapy

In addition to the various benefits of online therapy, studies show that it generally has the same level of effectiveness as face-to-face therapy. Additionally, research shows that online couples therapy can also be equally as effective as in-person therapy.

Due to the complexity of identifying and navigating the various attachment styles, communicating with your partner with guidance from a therapist is likely to be more effective than addressing these issues on your own. 


While love-avoidant behaviors do not necessarily indicate the end of a relationship, open and healthy communication typically plays a large role in healthy, lasting relationships. If you are experiencing difficulty communicating with a partner that tends to show love-avoidant behavior, it can be helpful to evaluate whether these behaviors are ongoing or could potentially be the result of temporary stress. 

Following an argument or intense emotional situation, it may help to give an avoidant partner additional time and space to process their feelings before addressing them. Determining and understanding the nature of your own attachment style and addressing your concerns with your partner in a calm, composed manner can be helpful as well. 

In any relationship, it can be important to remember that every individual is unique. Continuous problems related to a partner’s love-avoidant behaviors may be better handled with guidance from a licensed therapist, whether you’d prefer to attend sessions in person or online. 

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