If you are with a dismissive avoidant, one of the questions you ask is how do you get close to a dismissive avoidant if they are known for not wanting to get close? Is it even possible to get close to them?
It’s not just that dismissive avoidants don’t want to get close. It’s also hard to tell if a dismissive avoidant loves you. Most dismissive avoidants themselves don’t even know if they love you.
Two of the most telling signs a dismissive avoidant wants to get close is when they spend lots of time with you; and spends more time with you than away from you. Another sign a dismissive avoidant loves you and feels close to you is when they tell you the things they love about you. This is very rare for a dismissive avoidants because they tend to have a low opinion of others, especially someone they’re in a relationship with.
I don’t know if I love you enough
Even when a dismissive avoidant loves you and has a relatively high opinion of you; they will always find something not to like or love about you. Anything to justify why they don’t think they love you enough, or shouldn’t emotionally invest in you. In fact, one of a dismissive avoidant’s biggest fears is that because they can’t love someone enough, that person will leave. And sure enough, it happens over and over that people leave because they don’ feel loved enough.
A dismissive avoidant may even want to get back together with you, but chooses not to because something wrong with you is that you love them more than they love you. And because they can’t love you back as much as you love them, you will leave too.
Some of the things that a dismissive avoidant sees as “You love me more than I love you” include:
- Begging and pleading
- Acting jealous and insecure
- Sacrificing way too much (including your dreams, values and interests)
- Spending unnecessary amount of money on grand gestures
- Moving or relocating just to be close to them
- Playing mind games and trying to manipulate them etc.
A dismissive avoidants sees sacrificing your dreams and values for a relationship as a weakness. They would never do it for you even if they love you. More importantly, they fear that someone who sacrifices too much to be with them will also expect a lot from them.
A dismissive avoidants idea of a functioning relationship is close but not too close
A safe and ‘normal’ relationship for a dismissive avoidant is: “You do your thing. I do my own thing. When I feel like it, we do something together”.
Asking a dismissive avoidant to consider your feelings, needs and wants is a sign that you “love them more than they love you”.
As far as they are concerned, you should be taking care of your own feelings and needs. If they don’t feel like talking to you or seeing you for example, you should be able to find things to do on your own. Which all makes real good sense, right? Except that with a dismissive avoidant, you will be taking care of all of your needs all of the time.
Feeling that the relationship is unsafe goes both ways
What most dismissive avoidants don’t realize is that feeling that the relationship is unsafe goes both ways. They want you to respect their independence and need for space; and show you are independent and can take care of your needs and happiness, but when they:
- Show no interest or consideration for your feelings
- Constantly ignore your needs
- Disappear for long stretches of time
- Get angry when you ask for their time or try to get close etc.
They make the relationship feel unsafe for you as well. These behaviours trigger anxiety in someone with attachment anxiety. If you are an avoidant yourself, you will pull back or distance as well.
So how do you get close to a dismissive avoidant ex?
1. Don’t chase
Dismissive avoidants don’t chase and don’t like to be chased. Chasing to them is not that you reach out every now and then; chasing to a dismissive avoidant is when it feels like you want them more than they want you.
2. Don’t cut off contact
No contact works only if someone has attachment anxiety. People with attachment anxiety (anxious-preoccupied and fearful avoidants) have a fear of abandonment. When someone cuts off contact they trigger the fear of abandonment.
Dismissive avoidants score high on attachment avoidant but score low on attachment anxiety. If you cut off contact, they emotionally shut down and go on with their lives. Because they suppress all thoughts and feelings of you, they don’t know if they miss you, or not. They take the fact that they “feel nothing” as a sign that they must not love you enough. If they loved you, they’d miss you.
3. Take their offer to be friends
A dismissive avoidant may ask for no contact but it is not to make you miss them. It is more as an annoyed reaction to you acting needy. On the most part, dismissive avoidants are open to keeping the lines of communication open after a break-up. As long as you don’t send them too many texts or pressure them to come back, they don’t care one way or the other. If you want to stay in contact, that’s fine, and if you want no contact, that’s fine too.
If they ask if you can stay friends, don’t turn the offer down.
4. Take things slow, like real slow
Contact for a dismissive avoidant just after a break-up is something they do; and not an emotional experience. This is not necessarily a reflection of if an avoidant loves you and how much they love you. Because they’ve repressed all their feelings and emotions, it will take time for them to start feeling anything again.
Taking is slow will show a dismissive avoidant that you can be secure enough to accept them loving you the way they know how to love.
5. Meet most of your needs on your own
Show them you can meet your needs on your own; and are not sacrificing more then you should in order to be in a relationship with them. And when you do things together don’t push to get too close. Keep things at close but not too close.
6. Allow them to love you
Show (not tell), a dismissive avoidant that you can be secure enough to accept them loving you the way they know how to love. Don’t let your own attachment style get in the way of love.
Whatever your attachment style, always keep in mind that we all want to:
- Feel safe regardless of our attachment style.
- Be in a relationship where we feel that the person we love is looking out for us, and has our best interest at heart.
- Have some kind of guarantee that when we open heart and life to someone (again), they will not hurt us (again).