If your ex is an avoidant person then you may have difficulty when the time comes to reconnect.
Avoidant people tend to be more stubborn, less able to admit their mistakes and more difficult to reach.
But there are actually a few reasons that avoidant exes may be MORE likely to give you another shot if you’re able to break through these walls.
How To Tell If Your Ex Is Avoidant
Let’s talk a bit about attachment styles. Basically attachment styles are how we bond with another person in a relationship. There are three attachment styles: secure, anxious and avoidant. It’s basically about the way you form attachments in a relationship.
Do you cling to your partner, desperate to get closer to them because you’re terrified that they’re going to leave you? Then you have an anxious attachment style. Do you put up walls to try to keep the other person out and deny affection in order to keep your distance? Then you’re avoidant. Do you feel like you’re easily able to maintain your boundaries and build intimacy? Then chances are you have a secure attachment style.
If you’re reading this then that means your ex has shown an avoidant attachment style. First off, avoidant exes tend to be the most common type of ex, and they’re more likely to be the exes you want a second chance with. This is because avoidant people are more likely to end a relationship suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere because they’re prone to running from their problems.
If you’re not sure if your ex is avoidant, here are a few hallmarks of avoidant people:
1. They put up walls
It’s great to have boundaries. They’re vital to a healthy relationship. But walls are a different story. Walls are boundaries that are unspoken, rigid and get in the way of proper closeness and intimacy. This includes things like refusing to communicate feelings and then exploding when questioned, giving the silent treatment, and closing down when you try to discuss your feelings or needs.
2. They run hot and cold
Avoidant people will be loving and expressive one minute but when you get too close they’ll shut you out and go completely cold. This can be extremely confusing for someone who is used to more secure attachments.
3. They struggle with emotional intimacy
Avoidant people struggle most when it comes to opening up emotionally and expressing their feelings. This is often a defense mechanism stemming from early childhood trauma and it’s very difficult for them and their partners.
As with most things, being avoidant is a spectrum. Some people put up stronger walls than others, some change attachment styles over time and most avoidant people are able to overcome these issues and create healthy relationships with the right person. But you need to be aware going into this process that your avoidant ex isn’t likely to change even if you are able to win them back.
This is a part of who they’ve always been and there’s nothing you can do to completely change their personality. You have to ask yourself “is this something I’m willing to live with long term?”
Are They Avoidant Or Are They Just Avoiding You?
Then there’s something else to consider: is your ex actually avoidant or are they just avoiding you? Think carefully here. It’s very easy to misdiagnose a cold ex as being avoidant rather than just being done with you and with the relationship.
You need to look back on your relationship carefully and see if they showed signs of being avoidant BEFORE your breakup. Because it’s pretty common for an ex to put up walls and just straight up avoid you after a breakup. In fact, this is healthy.
Why It May Be Easier To Get An Avoidant Ex Back
So now that you know that you’re dealing with an avoidant ex, how does this change your approach to getting them back? How are you supposed to get them back if they’re so good at avoiding their feelings and keeping you at a distance?
Well first off, let’s talk about why there may be more hope than you expect. I think of it this way: since avoidants run away at the first sign of trouble, they’re more likely to leave a relationship with unfinished business.
They didn’t have a really good reason for breaking up so they may still be interested in trying again under the right circumstances. And because there was no huge protracted fight that led to the end of the relationship, chances are they still think of you fondly and remember the relationship as largely a good thing.
They’ll most likely blame themselves for the breakup (and with good reason) so they think that if they’re able to get out of their own way, then maybe trying again isn’t such a bad idea.
How To Get Your Avoidant Ex Back
Well first off, you need to be firm on No Contact after a breakup. Spend at least 30 days separate from your ex completely. This means don’t stay in contact in any way. No text messages, no emails, phone calls and especially no in person meetups. This is something that I advise with every breakup but it’s especially important with avoidant exes for a couple of reasons.
First, avoidant people NEED their own space. One of the reasons that they end things in the first place is often because they feel smothered so if you disconnect completely, you’re giving them a chance to reset and see what their life will be like if you’re truly gone from it.
Second, avoidant exes will try to keep you in their lives in a more limited capacity. While this may give you hope of something more, the truth is this is exactly where they’re most comfortable. Since they’ve decided true intimacy is not worth the trouble, they’ll be perfectly happy having you as someone they text once a week and see through mutual friends.
This is exactly why you shouldn’t be friends with your avoidant ex. This is never going to go anywhere and it’s just a recipe for disaster in the long run. Instead, stick to No Contact and if they try to push for more, make it clear to them that you’re not interested in being just friends with them.
So once No Contact is over, I still recommend the typical re-attraction phase that I’ve always advocated for. Send a few texts. Keep it light and funny and slowly rebuild rapport. With an avoidant ex you need to be extra cautious here when it comes to how frequently and intensely you reach out to them. Keep this to a minimum and let them take the lead as much as possible.
When it feels right, push for an in person meeting and capitalize on your natural chemistry to take you the rest of the way. Once you’ve reconnected, now is the time to change your approach.
RELATED: Should I Tell My Ex How I Feel?
I often advise against having intense conversations this early on in the process but I think things are different when it comes to avoidant exes. You need to be clear and direct with them about what you want. They really appreciate this approach because it avoids ambiguity and hurt feelings. By the same token, you need to communicate your boundaries and needs to them in as simple a language as possible.
I know you may have been avoiding this because you’re afraid to scare your ex off and that’s totally understandable but you need to know something about avoidant people: they’re looking for a partner with a great deal of self respect and independence. They need someone who is able and willing to stand up to them when they’re being unreasonable.
They want clarity and that’s what you’re offering by being honest with your own needs and boundaries.
This is a great alternative to letting them take the lead and then getting anxious when they won’t let you get closer to them. This leads to either resentment or clinginess on your part and that’s going to create an even bigger issue down the line.
At the same time, you need to nurture your own independence to take pressure off of them and the relationship to be your one source of happiness. Unfortunately, a relationship with an avoidant person is going to be lacking in emotional connection at times and you’ll need to find that in other places in your life.
I know that this may be unsatisfying to a lot of people and that’s why you need to be very sure that you’re able to make this compromise before restarting a relationship with someone with an avoidant attachment style. There are plenty of situations where this is just not going to be viable and that’s totally okay. You need to understand that some relationships just aren’t meant to be and moving on will be your best option.