Do you know anyone who says they want to be in a relationship, but actually pushes people away?

On the show Seinfeld, Jerry takes this to an extreme. He breaks up with different women for:

  • Eating her peas one at a time

  • Refusing to taste his pie

  • Having large hands

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Silly right? It's because Jerry has an avoidant attachment style.

Attachment Styles

We develop our attachment style based on our experiences as little kids.

Did we get enough attention from our caregivers? Were they reliable? Did they help us build healthy self esteem?

These early experiences shape how we connect to others as adults.

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Avoidants keep others at arms length to avoid getting rejected or abandoned.

So how can you tell if you or someone you know has an avoidant attachment style?

SUPER Independent

Avoidants value their independence more than connecting with their partner. They push people away if it feels like someone is getting too close.

Classic example: Samantha from Sex and the City. She literally fell over when Smith tried to hold her hand in public.

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Focuses On Small Issues

When an avoidant feels like things are getting too serious, they'll focus on small imperfections and use them as an excuse to end the relationship.

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Quiz

Which of these is an excuse an avoidant might use to end a relationship?

Chooses Unavailable Partners

This can be dating someone who is married, is planning to move away, or obsessing about someone who just isn't into them. This is more comfortable for an avoidant because they know things won't get too intimate.

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In season 1 of Glee, Mercedes had a huge crush on Kurt, even though it was widely known he was gay. Because he wasn't into women, Mercedes had no chance of getting truly rejected.

Delays Commitments

When avoidants do pick available partners, they often try to keep things vague and avoid "defining the relationship."

In 500 Days of Summer, Zoe Deschanel was an avoidant. Even though Summer and Tom were in a relationship, she would never commit to being his girlfriend.

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Summary

The good news is: you can change your attachment style to become more secure. But step one is awareness.

Think about your past relationships:

  • Have you been avoidant?

  • Have you ever had an avoidant partner?

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This Byte has been authored by

SZ

Sam Zimmer

Rumie Director of Learning