Question: I am an anxious attachment and in therapy to get over a 7-year relationship with an avoidant ex. I didn’t know about attachment styles before our breakup and after reading so much about an avoidant attachment style, I found myself wondering why we lasted that long in our dynamic, so I reached out to m ex to try to figure out our dynamic. I told him I wanted to meet get some closure and it’s over a month and no response from him. So I’m trying to figure things out on my own and that’s how I came across your site. I love your articles and many things make sense to me. This brings me to my question. In one of your articles you said, “an avoidant attachment style meets certain requirements for a healthy relationship”, I’m curious to know, in your opinion what are some of the traits of an avoidant attachment style that you think are healthy?
Yangki’s Answer: You lasted that long because you love each other. But when you don’t know about attachment styles, a relationship with an avoidant can be so confusing and in some cases traumatizing. Unfortunately even after you learn about attachment styles, the information about avoidants on most part isn’t very encouraging for someone who wants a relationship with them, or wants to get back together. Most of the time what you read are the negative traits of an avoidant attachment style which make it seems like avoidants are incapable of wanting or having a healthy relationship. It makes sense that you are curious to know what are some of the traits of an avoidant attachment style that I think are healthy.
The article you’re referring to is: Do Avoidants Want A Healthy Relationship? In the article I also discussed why anxious attachment, fearful avoidants and dismissive avoidants are always going to disagree on what constitutes a healthy or ideal relationship, let alone a safe relationship, and why it’ s important to truly understand each other for the relationship to be healthy or safe for both of you.
Truly understanding an avoidant attachment style means not just being aware of their negative traits but also their positive qualities – and avoidants have many attractive qualities.
I first want to emphasize that avoidants exist on different levels of avoidance and self-awareness, meaning that not all of avoidants display all or even the same characteristics of an avoidant attachment style.
A fearful avoidant who leans more anxious for example may display more traits of an anxious attachment than avoidant attachment. And sometimes there is very little that separates a fearful avoidant who leans avoidant from a dismissive avoidant. In addition, many self-aware fearful avoidants and dismissive avoidants just like self-aware anxious attachment also present as securely attached on some traits. And avoidants who have done some self-work or therapy may present more secure than avoidant traits.
These 18 attractive avoidant qualities that in my opinion meet the some of the requirements we generally believe are necessary for a healthy relationship. Keep in mind that not all avoidants are the same. Attachment avoidance exists on a spectrum and avoidants have different levels of awareness and/or earned security.
1. Independence/self-reliance/sense of agency (dismissive & fearful avoidants but mostly dismissive avoidants)
2. Personal boundaries (dismissive & fearful avoidants but mostly dismissive avoidants)
3. Ability to remain rational/logical in highly emotional situations (dismissive avoidants)
4. Good at tuning in to what others are feeling (fearful avoidants)
5. No drama/easy-going (dismissive avoidants)
6. Dislike for manipulation/mind games (dismissive avoidants)
7. Straightforwardness/directness (dismissive avoidants)
8. Questioning/analytical/get to the bottom of the problem (fearful avoidants)
10. Desire for closeness/commitment (fearful avoidants)
11. Alertness/sensitivity to threats to the relationship (fearful avoidants)
12. Positive self-concept/high self-esteem/confidence (dismissive avoidants)
13. Low anxiety over relationships/do not engage with negative information (dismissive avoidants)
14. Less fear of social situations or unfamiliar places (dismissive avoidants)
15. Sensitive/take more information from their environment (fearful avoidants)
16. Reliable confidant/protective of their and your privacy (dismissive & fearful avoidants)
17. Intuitively nurturing when feeling safe (fearful avoidants)
18. Pay close attention to details (fearful avoidants)
I hope you find the closure that you’re seeking from you avoidant ex, but don’t suspend your healing waiting for it. You can still find closure for yourself on your own.