In this article, I discuss the common reasons anxious attachment (including anxious leaning fearful avoidant) exes who pursued an avoidant hard after the break-up stop reaching out, pull back and don’t want an avoidant back.
Immediately after the break-up and up to about 4 months after the break-up, most people with an anxious attachment style experience severe emotional distress. Individuals with an anxious are highly sensitive to rejection and abandonment, and break-ups heighten this sensitivity leading to intense obsession with the break-up and with an ex.
Many anxious people find themselves obsessively thinking about their loss and missing and yearning for an ex. Their primary goal and main focus is often to get back with an ex and restore the lost attachment bond. This period of obsessive pursuit of an ex often lasts from 0 – 4 months. This is the window of time when most anxious attachment come back.
After 4 months most anxious attachment stop reaching out to avoidants exes
After repeated failed attempts to reunite with an avoidant ex, most exes with an anxious attachment start to lose steam. Many feel hope fading away and some anxious attachment become depressed and bitter and disillusioned with love and relationships.
When an avoidant reaches out, shows interest or seems to want to try the relationship again, anxious attachment exes get excited and hopeful only for those hopes to be dashed again and again.
By the 4th month after the break-up most exes with an anxious attachment style can’t sustain the same level of pursuit as they had in the days, week and months after the break-up. They still have recurring thoughts about their ex, still miss their ex and want their ex back but the longer the separation drags on, the less excited an anxious person is about getting back with an ex. Many exes with an anxious attachment start to reach out to an ex less and sometimes completely stop reaching out.
Stopping reaching out is not the only change that happens to an anxious attachment after 4 months of the break-up. If your anxious preoccupied attachment ex or anxious leaning fearful avoidant ex has stopped reaching out and doesn’t want you back, ther is a very high probability that:
1. An anxious attachment ex went from anxious to avoidant
An ex with an anxious attachment style may stop reaching out to an avoidant because they deactivated and went from anxious to avoidant themselves. Sometimes this is protest behaviour and temporary in that they return to being anxious very quickly. But sometimes extreme high anxiety accompanied by deep feelings of rejection and abandonment can make someone with anxious attachment avoidant; or more precisely anxious-avoidant, which is another name for fearful avoidant. This is something many people doing no contact do not know about.
Avoidants, when you cut off contact; it triggers the fear of rejection and abandonment in someone with an anxious attachment style. Once triggered it causes them to frantically try to re-establish connection to help relieve their anxiety and feelings of abandonment. When you don’t respond, the attachment system remains fully or partially activated. But because an individual can’t continue to function and do day-to-day things in a state of hyperactivation, the attachment system at some point begins to deactivate. This is to protect the individual from getting too overwhelmed or going into a mental break-down.
An ex who previously was so anxious and blowing up your phone stops reaching out, and may even become cold and distant. Because feeling “no feelings” (distant, cold and disconnected) is a strange feeling for most people with an anxious attachment style, they interpret this as they “lost feelings” or attraction for you and should therefore move on.
2. An anxious attachment ex stopped trusting you and doesn’t feel safe
An ex with an anxious attachment style may not come back because they they feel that you are not safe. If your ex is aware of attachment styles and that no contact is designed to trigger attachment trauma and make them feel abandonment and insecure, they will not want you back because you are unsafe. Even exes who are not aware of attachment styles are sometimes aware that something you did is making them feel unsafe. The feeling that they are not safe comes from:
- Having no confidence that you will be available to when they need connection.
- If you respond, will be you be there for them in a safe and calming manner (or will you re-traumatize them).
Sometime with an anxious attachment may even be afraid that you will see them reaching out in a vulnerable way as a weakness to exploit or take advantage of, and hurt them again. These are real fears from past experiences. The people who said they loved them acted and did things that made them feel even unsafe, suspicious and distrustful.
Once you use someone’s attachment trauma against them, it will be very hard for that person to trust that you will always have their back. This is why many people after no contact struggle to emotionally connect and/or get an ex to open up. Even when your ex comes back, the fear that you will abandon them again will make your ex cautious and unable to fully open up emotionally or fully trust you. Most relationships don’t last after getting back together because of this nagging fear in someone who an anxious attachment style.
3. An anxious attachment ex feels that they deserve better and can do better than you
Studies show that people with attachment anxiety are more motivated to commit to self-improvement after a break-up than avoidants. As a result they report developing more new interests and changing things that need changing. They also reported discovering that they are stronger than they thought they were. They start to see themselves as deserving of love, security and commitment.
The same studies also show that anxious individuals were only more likely to go on the rebound after sufficient time had passed since the break-up, suggesting that the initial shock of a more recent break-up may temporarily neutralize their tendency to seek new partners. But after some time has passed, exes with an anxious attachment style seek new relationships because being in a relationship is so important to them.
Maybe your ex was anxious-preoccupied or fearful or avoidant when you broke up but the work they put into their self-growth has made them feel that they deserve better and can do better than you
4. There’s just too much damage to get back together
An ex with an anxious attachment style may not come back because they they feel that there’s been to much damage to make a relationship work. This is often the case when someone with an anxious attachment style feels that their needs were neglected for far too long or there was abuse in the relationship. Even when they still love you, they find it hard to move past the what happened in the relationship. It’s very likely that the relationship brought back memories of years of being ignored, abandoned, neglected in childhood and by past relationship partners.
You can’t be in a relationship with someone, neglect them and their needs and make them feel that you don’t love or care about them; then after a break-up instead of making them feel loved and cared for, ignore them even some more because you want them to “miss you” and then expect them to want to come back.
Exes with an anxious attachment style need connection, closeness, love and affection to feel safe and secure; and they need frequent validation and reassurance that you love them and are committed to makings things work. If you are not meeting their attachment needs, they’re more likely not coming back. All the things you’re doing to get back an ex with an anxious attachment style will not be enough to get them back and make them stay.