Q&A: Avoidant Attachment Style

Hi Brit and Catherine,

This may be a stupid question but what is an avoidant attachment style?

“Mel” (not her real name)

Dear “Mel”,

Thanks for your question. It’s certainly not a stupid one. We welcome all questions about love and relationships.

“Avoidant attachment style” is a concept in a theory called “attachment theory”. According to this theory, a bonding process normally occurs between a child and her caregiver during the first few years of the child’s life. When this initial attachment between child and caregiver is lacking, the child grows up with an impaired ability to trust other people. They implicitly believe that they must always be on guard.

People with an avoidant attachment style tend to avoid close romantic relationships and close friendships.  They have difficulties with intimacy and closeness and are more likely to engage in casual sex than to have sex in a monogamous relationship. They have difficulties sharing their feelings with friends or partners because most of their emotions are hidden away from their conscious mind.

People with an avoidant attachment style typically do not seek to change the past and do not explicitly hope that they can one day create a secure relationship to another person who genuinely cares about them. Their childhood has shown them that these relationships or friendships do not exist.

Hope this helps.


Dr. Brit and Catherine

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