If you are reading this article it means that you’ve probably heard or read that taking it slow is the best approach to getting back your ex. But what does taking it slow with your ex really mean? And how do you take it slow with a fearful avoidant ex when they act hot and cold?
What does it mean to take it slow with your ex really mean?
Taking it slow in anything means slowing the pace at which things are moving forward so that you can go further much. It does not mean completely disconnecting from your ex or stop trying to attract them back. It means:
- Instead of rushing through the process, you take one small step, see it’s impact and then take the next small step.
- Constantly asking yourself, “What can I say or do that will move my ex the smallest step towards them making a decision to get back together?”
- Not rushing your ex to make a decision that they are not ready to make and waiting until they’re ready to make one.
The most important part of taking things slow with your ex is “moving forward”.
If there is no movement because you are giving them ” space”, you are not taking it slow. Instead you are foot-dragging and not taking necessary action. As a result, you are nd missing opportunities to move things forward.
Taking it slow ensures that you are not getting far ahead of your ex’s feelings for you. It also ensures that you are not putting an enormous amount of pressure on your ex.
By taking small measured steps, you are able to see the effectiveness of what you are doing. In addition, you will be able to course-correct before things reach the point of no return.
The problem is if neither of you has any experience “taking things slow” you might want to take things slow but not know how. This is especially true if one or both you has attachment anxiety. Talking for hours in the initial stages, feels normal. And if your ex is a fearful avoidant leaning anxious, they may respond positively. But then they pull away, or complain that you need more attention and time they can give you. You are left wondering, “but you were okay with it, even initiating most of the contact”.
But how does one take it slow with a fearful avoidant ex is?
When trying to attract back a fearful avoidant, they will from time to time withdraw from contact or respond but are cold and distant. Just remember that fearful-avoidants want and desire contact but fear getting no response or feeling rejected.
When they pull away, “giving them space” helps the part of them that needs to distance and that it a good thing, but it does not address the part of them that still needs connection.
In other words, if you give an avoidant “space”, they will appreciate the “space” but also feel rejected ad abandoned if during that time they reach out because they need connection. And when you give them more space than they needed, then reach out, they’ll be cautious and sometimes even resistant to emotionally opening up. To a fearful-avoidant opening up means getting close and getting close ends in rejection. But too much distance also means no closeness and that hurts, too.
Try to figure out a fearful avoidant’s pattern of closeness and distancing
Since each fearful avoidant is different in terms of how close they want to be, how they distance and for how long, it’s your responsibility to figure out their closeness-distancing pattern. So, you can set the pace for taking it slow.
What has worked best for my for my clients especially ones with an ex who is a fearful or dismissive avoidant is:
1. Do not “actively” try to get back together
For a month or two depending on what stage of the process you are in, don’t talk about the past (old relationship) and don’t talk about the future (getting back together). Just focus on the present – emotionally connecting and getting to know each other all over. This is especially effective if one of you has reservations about trying the relationship again, or even staying in contact.
2. Have a plan
Don’t just go with the feelings of the moment especially if you have very strong sexual attraction. Instead plan when to go out. For example, plan on going on a date 2 weeks or a month from now if everything goes okay. If that goes well too, plan on another date if things keep going well… and so forth.
3. Live your life
Don’t start drastically changing your life just because things are going well at the moment. Do all the things you’ve been doing to make your life full and happy on your own, and schedule the “new relationship” with your ex to fit in, instead of the other way around.
4. Work with what your ex is comfortable with (and makes them feel safe)
This is especially important if your ex wants to be friends and see where things go. Do the things that friends would do together (see: 3 Ways Being Friends Can Get Back Your Ex).