Dating Someone With Abandonment Issues: 21 Tips To Make The Relationship Work

Dating someone with abandonment issues can take its toll on you, especially if you had no idea that they had abandonment issues in the first place. What presented itself as odd behavior or trust issues may actually be because they suffered severe trauma or neglect. When a person has these issues, there is a reason. 

On the bright side, once you have a connection and develop trust, these relationships are packed with love and loyalty. 

What You Need To Know About Dating Someone With Abandonment Issues

A person that has abandonment issues will display certain behaviors that you might not be used to during the course of your relationship. Their fear of abandonment can present itself in different ways. It does require a little bit more work on your part, and more patience. The end results, though, are amazing. 

There are a few things that you’ll need to keep in mind in these relationships.

1. People with abandonment issues might be insecure

When a person has issues like these, they are scared that people are going to leave them. This can lead to thought patterns that involve them thinking that people leave them because there is something wrong with them. 

The end result is that they develop quite a bit of insecurity. This could be their looks, personality, eye color, or simply that they are insecure about the fact that they often deal with insecurity. You’ll see them as having low self-esteem even though this behavior results from their fear of abandonment. Symptoms of insecurity include: 

  • Jealous of others
  • Fake things 
  • They have a hard time accepting blame for their mistakes
  • Insecure people appear to be pessimistic because they frequently find faults in every person and place
  • Likes and followers on social media are very important to them
  • They brag about accomplishments and expensive things
  • Insecure people are more likely to want revenge
  • Making fun of other people is common
  • They’re really judgemental

This website offers some great tips to help insecure people feel a bit more secure about themselves.

2. Anxiety is common

When a person is consistently scared that you’re going to leave, they’re bound to have some anxiety. Even if they don’t feel as though they are full of fear, they might still experience anxiety. It’s important to note that abandonment issues are actually a form of anxiety. 

Anxiety comes on a spectrum. Some people may have panic attacks, which can also be referred to as anxiety attacks. This can include chest pains, shaking, and symptoms like throwing up. Other people might cry a lot. Simply feeling more anxious can also be their main symptom of anxiety. Keep in mind that it’s different for every person. 

You can keep an eye out for signs of anxiety like these:

  • They doubt your feelings for them
  • They sabotage the relationship
  • Constant worrying that you’re going to leave them
  • Not enjoying good times
  • Crying a lot
  • Faster heart rate
  • Acting nervous, such as sweating or fidgeting

If you notice that your partner is feeling anxious, stop what you’re doing to check on them. Ask them if they are okay. People that are feeling anxious might have a hard time asking for help.

3. Don’t try to fix them

When we love someone, it’s only natural that we want to save them. We don’t want to see them suffer. Watching them have a panic attack instantly makes you want to make sure that they never go through that again. 

This is understandable, but you can’t fix it. You can do certain things to make your relationship more pleasant for both of you. You can help them. For example, you can teach them tools that you may know to help them work through their anxiety. Make sure that you don’t mistake that for being able to fix them. The only person that can fix their issues is them, not you.

4. The fear of abandonment can take time to get through in new relationships

Some people will believe that you’re different from the time that they meet you. Others will always think that you’re going to leave, even if you’ve been in a relationship for ten years. If they do get through it, it might take time. You need to understand that. 

As you learn to understand that, it’s important that you also understand that this is different for each person. One person might feel better once they start to trust you. Another might not trust you to stick around for several years.

5. There are often other issues as a result of the trauma

there are often other issues as a result of the trauma

When I say trauma, most people think of someone experiencing extreme violence as a child. However, that’s not always the case. A parent leaving and not talking to their child again can also be traumatizing. 

With that trauma can come multiple issues. Along with abandonment issues, you might also see trust issues, issues with men or women, or fear that can’t seem to be explained. People with abandonment issues are also more likely to suffer from mental illnesses or personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder. 

While there is a chance that a person could have any other disorder with their anxiety, these are some of the most common co-occurring disorders that are seen with anxiety: 

  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Terminal illnesses
  • Chronic health problems
  • Health anxiety
  • IBS
  • ADHD
  • OCD
  • Sleep problems/disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse

If your loved one is experiencing any of these, it’s important that they seek help. While you can’t fix them, you can encourage them to take the steps that they need to in order to get help.

6. Relationship maintenance is a must

You can’t always tell how another person is feeling. Relationship maintenance is important, but it’s particularly important when your partner has abandonment issues. Abandonment issues can cause a roller coaster of emotions. Having a weekly talk with your partner can help you both make sure that your needs are being met in the relationship.

7. People with a fear of abandonment issues need a lot of reassurance

Your partner will usually have a fear of abandonment at the beginning of the relationship. They might get scared that you will leave when you argue with them. It’s also common for a person to fear that you’re losing interest. They have a constant fear of abandonment, so you’ll find that they need a lot of reassurance.

8. They need compliments too

A fear of abandonment breeds insecurity. They might blame themselves for the abandonment, even if it wasn’t their fault. Because of this, they might need quite a bit of reassurance just that you like them.

9. Open communication is very important

Keep in mind that this is important in every relationship. It’s even more important in a relationship with someone that has abandonment issues. If you keep secrets or are not open with them, they can sense it. They’ll feel a gap between the two of you. 

This is why it’s so important to make sure that you communicate how you’re feeling about life, yourself, your girlfriend, and your relationship. 

Consider having a weekly talk with your partner if they have abandonment issues. During this talk, both of you are completely honest with one another about how you’re feeling. This can help soothe your partner if they are having a particular fear. It can make sure that both of you are on the same page, too. Remember, it’s important to practice healthy communication.

10. Let them open up when they are ready

let them open up when they are ready

When a person is closed off, it feels as though they are hiding something. The thing is, when you’re around people with abandonment issues, you’ll notice that it almost always feels like this. That’s because they haven’t opened up to you yet. 

It can be tempting to encourage them to open up. It’s because you want to build trust, help them and build a relationship. However, pushing them to let down their walls for you can actually result in them experiencing more fear than they already were. Then, they will pull away. Instead, give them time. They will let you in when they are ready to.

11. Try to avoid enabling them

People with abandonment issues can be pretty manipulative. You’ll find that they might say things like “I knew you were going to leave anyway” or “I never thought you really liked me.” This results in you instantly offering them reassurance. The argument stops and it is suddenly all about them. 

Validate their emotions, and offer quick reassurance, but don’t ignore the problems in the relationship. Keep in mind that they aren’t doing this intentionally. When they get reassurance, they don’t feel fear or worry about abandonment. Because of this, tactics like this one are a defense mechanism.

12. Don’t let arguments turn into abandonment discussions

This goes along with the prior topic of enabling a person with abandonment issues. Arguments can frequently turn into discussions about their abandonment issues. While these conversations are good, you can’t let this happen with every disagreement. If this happens, your own needs won’t be met.

13. Remember that it’s not about you

It’s easy for us to take things personally, especially in relationships. However, you need to remember that this isn’t about you. Their abandonment issues are not your fault, and they are not about you. They are about them.

14. Know that they are going to push you away at times

This is another defense mechanism. When they push you away or avoid getting close, it doesn’t hurt when you leave.

15. Don’t make promises you can’t keep

dont make promises you cant keep

Keeping secrets or making empty promises can damage even healthy relationships. The damage is even worse when you’re in a relationship with a person with abandonment issues.

16. Show them a healthy relationship

People with a fear of abandonment might not know what healthy relationships look like. You can show them. Explain what healthy boundaries are. Teach them that it’s okay for adults to have lives outside of each other. In fact, this is a very healthy relationship. She can learn how to respect her boyfriend and his boundaries, and you can learn how to be more accommodating to her needs, too.

17. Don’t try to meet all of their needs on your own

The more severe a person’s abandonment issues are, the needier they are. It can be tempting to want to be their everything so that you can make them feel better, but this can take up all of your time. It can also be exhausting for you. Instead, encourage them to have some other people meet their needs too. For example, they can talk to friends or family.

18. Learn about their trauma when they’re ready to teach you

Learning about someone else’s trauma can help teach you why they are the way that they are. It can give you key insight as to why they may act a particular way. Often, our behaviors as adults are linked to things in our childhood. The more you learn, the more you’ll understand what it takes to be happy in a relationship together.

19. Consider couples counseling

Couples counseling is always a great idea. A therapist can help you both learn healthy communication skills. They can help you both learn how to talk to each other. As you grow together, your relationship will also grow. This can present challenges for both of you, and a therapist can help you work through them as they come. Benefits of couples counseling include: 

  • Improved communication skills
  • Having another point of view
  • Finding the root cause of common problems
  • Increased intimacy
  • Addressing issues before they become major problems
  • Shared support

The great thing about going to therapy as a couple is that the therapist is there to support both of you as a couple. They don’t instantly choose sides like your friends and family will.

20. Individual therapy can be helpful too

individual therapy can be helpful too

Encouraging the person that has abandonment issues to attend individual therapy sessions can be wonderful. Some people have trauma that was never fully processed. They may have developed unhealthy coping skills as a result of their trauma. It’s also common not to have healthy boundaries.

21.Learn their triggers

As the relationship progresses, you’ll find that certain things trigger your partner. There are certain things that can instantly make them scared that you are going to abandon them. Other things make might them feel anxious. Common triggers in people with abandonment issues include: 

  • Feeling lonely
  • Disagreements
  • Not enough quality time
  • Not feeling good about themselves
  • Too much time apart
  • Not communicating
  • Raising your voice
  • Disruptions in normal routines in your relationship

These are just a few of the things that can instantly make a person feel like you’re about to leave them. Encourage open communication so that both of you can work through those triggers, and feelings, together. It will both build trust and help show them that you’re not going to leave. 

FAQs

How do abandonment issues affect relationships?

One person might be needier than the other. It can take time to find balance in the relationship. One person might feel the need to save the other. The person with abandonment issues usually needs more validation and reassurance. 

What happens when you leave someone with abandonment issues?

They will more than likely try to manipulate you. For example, they might say that they knew you just felt sorry for them or that you never really liked them anyway. Them playing the victim is also common. You might reinforce their abandonment issues, but you have to do what is best for you too. 

What are the signs of abandonment issues?

Signs of abandonment issues often include the signs of low self-esteem and anxiety. Common signs include: having difficulty trusting others, not wanting to get close to others, seeming like they don’t enjoy or appreciate good moments, having a fear that you’ll break up with them or cheat on them, and not opening up are commonly seen. 

How do you overcome abandonment issues in a relationship?

It’s important that both partners work together to overcome these issues. Having open communication, such as not keeping secrets, is very important. Make sure that you communicate with each other often, and maintain intimacy. 

What is legally considered abandonment?

State laws vary regarding abandonment. Most states reference a time period that must pass when a parent has no contact with the child and does not support them. Spousal abandonment usually includes the same criteria. The spouse leaves and does not intend to return nor provide any support for the family

In Conclusion

Dating someone with abandonment issues can be a challenge, but you can have a happy, healthy relationship. Have you ever dated a person with abandonment issues? What advice would you give to them?

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