Sometimes marriage relationships become stuck in repeated patterns. Couples become frustrated and marriages grow strained. With many clients, I have found that introducing love styles can be a powerful tool to deal with relationship obstacles.
Love styles is a concept that therapists Milan and Kay Yerkovich grew out of attachment theory. This means that how we relate is often a result of how we were imprinted in love in early life.
Knowing our personal stories and how we love can be a game changer in understanding our self and our mate in marriage.
The end result can be a more successful and satisfying relationship.
There are five different love styles: the controller, victim, pleaser, vacillator, and avoider.
Each is very different and has strengths and weaknesses. This month, I will highlight the characteristics of the avoider.
Of all the types, avoiders are the most independent. They have learned to be self-sufficient in many ways, but particularly emotionally. Typically, the avoider’s emotions were not addressed as a child, and the young avoider dulled the role of emotions in his/her life by diminishing or detaching feelings. Unfortunately, this behavior can transfer onto others. The avoider’s spouse might complain of a lack of vulnerability and empathy, and the relationship can become bruised.
Maybe this pattern seems familiar. Here are some common traits to help identify if your love style is that of an avoider.
- It seems as if my spouse has a lot more emotional needs than I do.
- Events, remarks, and interactions with people that are upsetting to my spouse seem like no big deal to me.
- I would describe myself as an independent, self-reliant person.
- When something bad happens, I get over it and move on.
- I have siblings with whom I have little to no contact today.
- I rarely cry.
If you see yourself in at least three of these statements, it might be worth some further investigation. I am happy to help you understand your love style individually or in the context of your marriage. The skill of connecting emotionally and growing deeper relationships sometimes requires outside help.
Written By: Sheri Schulze, LAPC