Dismissing Attachment: No Need for Love

Like those with a preoccupied style, those with a dismissing style are also prone to believe that their partners will not reliably be there to support or comfort them. But they protect themselves by unconsciously using deactivating strategies that “turn off” (or deactivate) their attachment system, enabling them to avoid being in the untenable position of feeling a pull to rely on an undependable partner. They effectively suppress, avoid, or ignore their emotions and attachment needs. They tend to remain distant, limit their interactions and intimate conversations, and frequently denigrate their partners.

For example, while a lady often seemed kind as he helped a guy with her finances, which she appreciated, this also allowed him to remain in a distant and superior position, which only increased her negative feelings about herself. At other times, the lady would keep a safe distance and respond to guy’s attempts to be emotionally intimate by telling her that she was “just too needy.” This, of course, only increased her self-doubts.

In the end, dismissing people might truly care about their partners, but they do so without getting too intimate or emotionally entangled.

Generally unaware of their feelings, dismissing people aren’t fully equipped to cope with emotionally upsetting experiences. For instance, when their partners aggravate them, they try to minimize or
deny their anger. However, that anger continues to exist under the surface, often making them tense and unforgiving. This dynamic, of course, does not bode well for their relationships; but it can’t be easily addressed or rectified because so much of it occurs outside of their awareness. This dynamic is most problematic for anxiously attached partners, who tend to interpret the dismissing partner’s anger as evidence that there is something wrong with them.

So why doesn’t the dismissing partner just leave? Even those with a dismissing style need comfort and connection. So they seek out and stay in romantic relationships, even as they simultaneously protect themselves by being excessively self-sufficient in those relationships.

Dismissing people approach their sexualities in the same distant and self-protective
way as they engage in relationships in general.

Because physical or sexual contact can weaken their defenses, many are uncomfortable with connecting through touch, such as with hugs or gentle caressing. They might abstain from sex, sometimes choosing to rely on masturbation. Or they might remain emotionally distant by
limiting sex to one-night stands or short-term relationships that are only superficially close. When they are in intimate relationships, they tend not to be affectionate and may be emotionally disengaged during sex. This can leave anxious partners feeling unattractive and unworthy of love.

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