How to deal with someone with avoidant personality disorder?

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I had a 7 months online relationship with a guy who suffers from avoidant personality disorder. We used to talk for 4 hours every single day and knew each other deeply. He broke up with me when we were about to meet in person. I forced the issue and when we met he had a panic attack. He is a virgin, and even though I am sure he loved me, I could understand how limiting his disorder is.

It’s been 2 years since we broke up, and I haven’t seen him since.

Lately we exchanged some emails and we will be having a video call on Sunday.

He still feels guilt for having let me down and fears being completely inadequate for romantic relationships. He is still a virgin. I don’t think he has stopped loving me. He just doesn’t know how to deal with these feelings. At present he is 25 years old, and I know if I don’t help him, he will never be able to have a healthy sexual and romantic life. I love him deeply and want to help him.

How can I not scare the hell out of him? How can I help someone who suffers from avoidant personality disorder?

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  • Posted

    It seems to me that the Internet is the perfect place for someone with an avoidant personality; online you can have an Intimate relationship without physical contact. It's also easy online to present yourself to others as the person you want to be, (rather than who you really are, defects and all).

    In my experience, as much as we may want to help someone else, it's impossible to make or even help another human beIng to change. This  is often true even when they express a desire to change.

    You wrote that you don't want to scare hIm, and that you want to help hIm, but could it be that he's usIng the Internet as a way to avoId change? He may be gettIng all of his needs met already. The questIon is: Are you gettIng what you need from this relationship wIth him? Would It be better for you if you found another companIon?

    Either way, I wish you the best.

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    • Posted

      Dear Mary,

      I agree that internet was a safe place for him and it allowed to experience love, something that would be almost impossible in the real world.

      I do want more than what internet has to offer, and that is why he broke up with me, 2 years ago.

      I just want to take advantage of the fact we are going to have a video call on Sunday. I don't want him to feel he is failing with me again. It is too painful to both of us.

      I just need some advice on how to approach him. How to deal with someone that suffers from this disorder? That is my question, and I hope someone gives me suggestions instead of questioning if it is worth it.

      I love him, and he is giving us a chance to communicate again. How to take advantage of this chance?

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  • Posted

    In case anyone is curious, we had the call yesterday. He started by saying it would be our last contact because he can’t bear so much drama. He showed many signs of panic. It was very painful for me to realize I can cause him so much distress. Despite that, he said I have helped him, and he hopes someday he can have a healthy relationship with someone. It was a relief to know that I didn’t discourage him to pursue happiness.

    The effect this call had on me was devastating, though. I feel quite pathetic, and just want to withdraw, so I apologize in advance if I don’t reply comments that might be given by you. I thank you all for the advice.

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  • Posted


    He is not getting help. His own condition prevents him to search for that.

    My psychiatrist was the one who first enlightened me about his condition. I then studied the matter and agreed with his conclusion. I presented it to the guy and he also could relate.

    There are many online tests, and he falls in the category. None of us has doubt about it.

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  • Posted

    what you can do showing support and encourage him to research about avoidant personality disorder if it sounds like anything he might have or experienced. Telling that you truly care about him and most importantly his well being and that you will be there for him no matter what happens. 
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