If you feel confused by the mixed signals from a fearful avoidant ex, you’re not alone. “I’m confused” are words that everyone who has tried to attract back a fearful avoidant ex will say at one point or another; words you will say many times throughout the process of trying to attract them back and even long after you stopped trying to get back together.
A fearful avoidant attachment also known as an anxious-avoidant attachment or disorganized attachment describes individuals who 1) want to get close but are afraid of getting too close, 2) want to be in a relationship but are suspicious and don’t trust romantic partners, and 3) don’t trust their own feelings, attractiveness or ability to make a relationship work.
What you have is someone who is not only confused about their own feelings, and doesn’t believe they know the right thing to say or do to be attractive or make a relationship work, but also someone who sends out very conflicting and mixed signals about contact, what they want from an ex and what an ex can expect from them.
And it doesn’t help that there are all kinds of conflicting interpretations and advice out there. You are left confused about what what your fearful avoidant ex feels about you, if they’re interested in you or if your ex is just confused about their feelings about you.
I’ve seen clients go deeper and deeper into denial because they misinterpret mixed signals from their fearful avoidant ex. I’ve also seen cases where someone with a good chance of attracting back a fearful avoidant gave up on trying to get back together because of a fearful avoidant was sending too many confusing mixed signals. And there have been cases where someone completely ruined their chances because they misinterpreted their ex’s mixed signals.
These 10 confusing mixed signals from a fearful avoidant ex will help you figure out what’s going on and hopefully increase your chances of attracting back your fearful avoidant ex.
1. If a fearful avoidant ex is still angry or upset with you, it means they still love you
It’s a proven fact that negative feelings and memories last longer than positive feelings. Intense feelings of anger towards you, being mean or spiteful is your ex’s way of trying to deal with break-up feelings and emotions.
But with a fearful avoidant ex, it’s hard to tell if they’re reaching out or responding because they’re not over you or reaching out because they’re still angry and upset.
Fearful avoidants are known to break up with someone because they thought the person was going to break up with them. Often times they regret the break-up and reach out or send signals via social media that they want you to reach our – or even chase them. But sometimes, it’s not over-OVER for a fearful avoidant because they’re angry or are having a hard time getting over whatever is bothering them. This does not mean they have a hard time getting over you. You find them reaching out, being mean, then disappearing only to reach out again and repeat the cycle.
This is confusing to most people because on one hand a fearful avoidant is acting like they are not over you and even want to get back together, and on the other, they’re being keep appearing and disappearing, and even are mean and hurtful.
In another article (link below), I explain an avoidant ex’s confusing mixed signals when you reach out after no contact.
2. If a fearful avoidant avoids seeing you in person; it’s because they’re afraid they’ll fall back in love with you
If the break-up was due to bad timing or external forces and not because of something happening in the relationship, some exes may indeed force themselves to stay away so as to move on. But someone avoiding you may also be because:
- They think it’ll help you with the grieving process
- They’re trying to trigger fear of rejection/abandonment in you/cause you anxiety and panic so that you run back to them
- Not ready see you in person/take things to that level
- Want nothing to do with you.
If they maintain contact but refuse to see you in person, it could also they’re keeping you on a leash for their own reasons.
3. If a fearful avoidant ex contacts you, it means they miss you and want you back
An ex’s attachment styles plays a big role in if your ex misses you; and if they will contact you when they miss you. Avoidants in general don’t contact you even if they miss you. Fearful avoidants more than dismissive avoidants are more likely to contact you when they miss you. But missing you is not the only reason your fearful avoidant ex is contacting you. Maybe they are
- Checking to see if you still love them
- Offering you the opportunity to try to get them back )or chase them)
- Feeling guilty for breaking up with you
- Lonely, drunk, or looking to hook-up
Some fearful avoidants contact you even when they don’t want you back but want you as a friend.
4. If you disappear for a while, a fearful avoidant ex will forget the bad memories and remember only the good ones
Remember that time when you had a fight and you thought all was forgiven and both of you had moved on, and weeks or months later your fearful avoidant ex brought it up? Contrary to common belief, time does not heal all wounds. It may ease the intensity of an emotion but it does not make it go away.
Disappearing for a time is not going to make your fearful ex forget how you acted so needy, neglected their needs, said in anger, cheated etc.
Often disappearing after doing something to upset someone does three things:
- Makes your ex very happy that you finally left them alone.
- Increases feelings of resentment if your ex was expecting you to apologize, take responsibility or make amends.
- Creates more negative feelings and memories. Your ex may have been expecting you to wish them a happy birthday, congratulate them or send condolences and you didn’t. This will be added to all the other bad memories.
With fearful avoidants who
5. If an avoidant ex says they want to be friends, they are not ready to let you go
If you were good friends before you became a couple or were each other’s best friend in the relationship, your ex may indeed not be ready to let you go. Their head may be telling them to let you go but their heart is still hoping that things can change.
“Let’s be friends” is also another way for someone to release you gently. “Let’s be friends” can also mean “friends with benefits” or a way for someone to use you to get over you (keep you around for emotional support until someone else come along).
“We can be friends” or “I want to stay friends” is especially a confusing mixed signal if it’s coming from a dismissive avoidant ex.
6. If a fearful avoidant ex acts jealous, it’s because they still love you
This is a confusing avoidant mixed signal because it’s both true but not always the case.
Studies show that preoccupied and fearful avoidant attachment styles are the most likely to feel jealous. Your ex may feel jealous and act jealous but because they want you back but it’s important to keep in mind that jealousy is, and always will be about the person feeling jealous – their insecurities, fear of rejection or abandonment, past relationship experiences etc.
Even when an ex feels and acts jealous because they may think that you seeing someone else means they have lost you forever, it’s still about them. Some exes feel and act jealous even when they hate you because they are so insecure and/or possessive.
7. If your ex hides or withholds information about seeing or dating someone else, it means your ex still has feelings for you
Exes like most people withhold personal and private information because 1) they don’t trust you, 2) fear being judged 3) do it to manipulate your perception of them and/or the situation, and 4) feel it’s none of your business.
Your ex may not tell you that they’re seeing someone for the above reasons, and because they:
- Do not want to upset or hurt you more than they already have,
- Are not sure how they feel about the new man or woman
- Feel that think they have to tell you since you are not together
- Think it may hurt their chances of getting you back
8. If a fearful avoidant ex posts something on social media, it’s their way of reaching out to you
This is a confusing avoidant mixed signal that is both true but not always the case.
Sometimes what your ex posts on social media is about you. They maybe afraid to talk to you directly and using social media to do so. Social media can also a passive aggressive tool for your ex to say what they can’t say to you directly.
But not everything your ex posts on social media is about you. Just because you are thinking about your ex all the time does not mean that your ex is thinking about you all the time. Your ex may be living his life and doing them.
Even if the posts are about you, reading too much into their social media is like chasing the wind; you know it’s there but you cant see it. It means very little if they are not making any effort to reach out to you and talk to you.
9. If a fearful avoidant ex acts warm and friendly towards you, it means they are interested in you
If you have never experienced an amicable break-up, never dated or been in a relationship with someone who is securely attached your ex acting warm and friendly after a break-up maybe confusing. The reality is that not all exes are mean, vindictive, angry or are avoidants. Some people (mostly well-adjusted and secure individuals) consistently act warm, friendly, loving and caring no matter what the circumstances are. It’s just who they are.
If however the warm and friendly behaviour is coming from an avoidant ex, it can be a confusing mixed signal. You can only tell an avoidant ex is interested if they are actually doing things that show that they are interested beyond acting warm and friendly. For instance, responding quickly to text message, responding most of the time, initiating contact etc.
10. If your ex still calls you honey, baby, babe, sweetheart etc., it’s because they still love you
This is a confusing mixed signal whether your ex has an avoidant attachment style, an anxious attachment style or s secure attachment style.
Sometimes an ex calling you honey, baby, babe, sweetheart etc. is a sign that they still have feelings for you and still see you the way they did before the break-up, but sometimes it could just be something they say out of habit especially if it feels like the old relationship all over.
Calling you honey, baby, babe, sweetheart etc., has to be accompanied by actions that tell you they still love, otherwise these are just words.
Keep an open mind and don’t read too much into one word or one action. Like I said, I’ve seen men and women ruin their chances because they misread what their ex said or did and acted on it.