Signs a Fearful Avoidant Loves You
Does a fearful avoidant love you?
You’ve been on many dates already and feel like it’s meant to be. You have that feeling in your heart that this is something special. The spark is there. But they wouldn’t openly confess their love to you. So what gives?
Well, they’re likely a fearful avoidant type, unable to form the emotional attachment you expect. It’s not like they don’t love you; their attachment style prevents them from expressing and accepting love for you to themselves or you. There can be many visible and some rather subtle signs that a fearful avoidant loves you.
While we’ll discuss those signs in detail, you’ll also find advice on dealing with such a situation. If you believe they are a keeper, it’s worth sticking around. And besides, isn’t love about supporting through thick and thin?
Before discussing the signs, educating yourself on the fearful-avoidant attachment style is important.
What Is Fearful Avoidant Attachment?
It’s human to seek love, support, and emotional attachment with others. However, how we form and cultivate relationships can be very different and, in many cases, unhealthy. Attachment styles describe the pattern of attachment, particularly in romantic relationships.
According to the Attachment Theory by renowned psychologist John Bowlby, there are four attachment styles. One of these is the fearful avoidant attachment style.
An individual with a fearful avoidant attachment style fears getting close and may prefer independence. At the same time, they crave emotional attachment and often rely on the support of others. Such individuals depict unstable and unclear behavior.
It’s not like they don’t want intimacy or love. Their attachment style doesn’t let them trust or be vulnerable with loved ones. They are capable of love, just not secure enough to embrace or show it. At times, their behavior may also be caused by a fear of rejection.
Fearful-avoidant attachment is unhealthy as it can rob the affected person of true love and supportive relationships.
The Attachment Theory suggests that attachment styles are developed during childhood and heavily depend on the child’s relationship with their parents.
Signs a Fearful Avoidant Loves You
Unlike a person with a secure attachment style, saying ‘I love you’ can be a difficult task for a fearful-avoidant. Their fear of rejection and assumption of the worst-case scenario makes it harder for them to express love openly. However, despite their closed-off, introverted nature, they’ll display clear signs that they’re in love with you. You just have to look a little harder.
Here are 10 signs that a fearful-avoidant has fallen in love with you:
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1. They initiate things, romantic things
One of the biggest tell-tale signs that they’re in love with you and believe you’re special is that they’ll initiate things like dates or getaways. Something like a romantic weekend getaway may be normal for most people, it’s a big deal for someone fearful of attachment.
They normally wouldn’t do such a thing to avoid being closer to someone. So if they’re asking you to go on a trip with them or try a restaurant that has been on their mind, know that you have a special place in their heart.
2. They share personal things and secrets with you
Very strong personal boundaries typically accompany a fearful-avoidant attachment style. Such personalities find it hard to share personal things, especially those involving emotions and feelings. They just don’t want to be that close with people to tell how and what they feel.
That said, if they share personal stories, they bring their walls down. They often fear the worst outcome and refrain from sharing intimate stories. So if, out of the blue, they shared a poignant anecdote about their mother, you can be sure that their feelings for you are getting stronger and stronger.
3. They no longer shy away from loving gestures
One of the obvious signs of a fearful-avoidant attachment style is that the person doesn’t allow or respond to gestures of love, both verbal and non-verbal. If they’re beginning to hold your hands in public and let you give them a goodbye kiss at the end of the night, it’s a strong sign that they’re in love with you.
This is all the more obvious if, in the past, they avoided giving or receiving any form of a loving gesture.
4. They show their love and care non-verbally
Remember that fearful avoidant attachment doesn’t mean there’s no capacity or need for love. While such individuals are not big on gestures, they do want people. Verbal communication, especially for expressing affection, isn’t their thing. So they often resort to non-verbal ways of showing their love.
This can be a little tricky to pin down, but if you’ve seen them for a while, you’ll notice a visible change in their body language around you. A soft touch on the hand, smiling while looking you in the eyes, or hugging for more than a couple of seconds are just some subtle ways they display their love for you.
5. They listen to you
A person with a fearful-avoidant attachment would normally not see a relationship going very far. So naturally, they avoid being invested too much. That, in turn, often makes them a not so great listeners.
Being a good listener is an amazing quality that not many have. So if they’re trying to listen to you and paying attention to every little thing you say, you can be sure their feelings for you have entered the love territory.
6. They share things about their past relations
As mentioned, opening up about personal things is hard for avoidant personalities. They normally avoid sharing details about past relationships. It can be just a result of them fearing you’d leave them after learning something about them. Also, it can be their inability to be more expressive and open.
So if they’ve brought up their past relationship on their own or when asked, it’s a sign that they will be more open with you. And you don’t have to be a genius to know that such a move is a strong sign of
7. They want to spend more and more time with you
They want you if they’re eager to spend a lot of time with you. Now that’s generally a sign of love with everyone, but when it’s a person with a fearful avoidant personality, it’s a pretty big deal. Their eagerness to do things with you, even mundane things, indicates they’re not resorting to the worst-case scenario. They’re allowing themselves to embrace your companionship.
They can be hesitant sometimes, but they will invite you to events and even call you to their place just to spend more time with you.
8. They introduced to their family and friends
Meeting family and friends is a big move in dating, in general. Most people only introduce someone they’re seeing to their close circle if they are ready to take the next step, for example, propose or move in. So, if your boyfriend or girlfriend has done that, they’ve fallen head over heels for you!
9. They are not afraid to be intimate
Fearful avoidance can transpire into a fear of intimacy. Individuals with this attachment style often try to avoid getting physical because it’s a sign of closeness for them. It’s not uncommon for such persons to delay sex even after several dates or not have the same passion as you.
If this was the dynamic initially, and now they’re not fearful of getting intimate, they’ve finally given in to their feelings. They’re ready to be closer to you, even if they don’t express it verbally.
10. They show you their vulnerabilities
Avoidant personalities, including those with fearful avoidant attachment, think they can only be loved if they’re perfect. As a result, they try to hide their weaknesses because they fear the other person will reject them. Therefore, showing weaknesses is a strong indication of love for such individuals.
If they’re willing to be vulnerable with you, they will take the next step. And they’re in love with you!
What Should You Do If a Fearful Avoidant Loves You?
Navigating the path of love with someone with a problematic attachment style can be challenging. If you’re certain they’re in love with you but are having trouble expressing it, give them time to attain the courage to do so. Compared to a person with a healthy attachment style, it may take more time and effort for a fearful avoidant to confess their love. However, slowly but surely, they’ll be more open to it and may even express the magic three words soon enough.
If you’re in love with them, you should be patient and let them process their feelings. Remember that the more comfortable you make them, the more openness they’ll show.
That said, there can be ups and downs sometimes. If you believe that they’re struggling or sabotaging the relationship intentionally despite showing signs of love, you may want to consult a relationship coach or therapist.
Couples therapy can be great for both partners in a relationship where one has a fearful-avoidant style. Individual therapy for your partner is also an option, as counseling can help them understand their attachment style and learn how to cope with it.
Everyone deserves love, so going the extra mile is never bad!