4 Ways To Take It Slow With A Fearful Avoidant Ex (Try It, It Works)

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:

  1. Instead of rushing through the process, you take one small step, see it’s impact and then take the next small step.
  2. 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?”
  3. 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).


How A Fearful Avoidant Ex Comes Back – A Detailed Analysis

What Makes A Dismissive Avoidant Ex Miss You And Come Back?

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131 replies on “4 Ways To Take It Slow With A Fearful Avoidant Ex (Try It, It Works)”
  1. says: Yuen

    I never believed that going back to an ex was a wise decision, but it’s been different this time. I wanted her back and read every article you’ve written and also got your book. I’m glad to say that she has agreed to give me another chance.

    For everyone still trying to get your ex back, Yangki’s advice works. You just have to make sure to address the problems that led to the breakup and show her that you have changed. Another thing that you have to remember is that reading all of this advice isn’t the same as putting it into practice

  2. says: Vincent

    Your advice has definitely helped me a lot. I have been able to remain calm and not put pressure on her or talk about what happened. I just focused on what has been going on in her life, making an emotional connection and being honest with everything. Although we are not back together, she says she sees I have changed and are more positive. I wouldn’t have been able to change the way that she views me had I not come across your blog and book. I want you to know you are always appreciated. Thank you so much.

    1. I think you are on the right track. Changing the way your ex views you is the most important part of getting back together.

      Don’t worry too much about when you’ll get back together, keep taking the right steps and things will fall into place.

      All the very best!

    2. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      It’s always good to read stories like yours. I accept the thanks but as they say, any advice is only as good as the person using it.

      You made it happen for you. I am rooting for you… 🙂

  3. says: Stevo

    My story is similar except that I was the one who emotionally checked out of the relationship. When she saw that I wasn’t there for her, she stopped caring as well. We finally broke up, she did the breaking up. That’s when I realized how much I really loved my ex. I’ve since then apologized and doing everything to show her that I have changed (I’m following your book). She says she sees that I have changed and part of her wants to give us another chance, but she’s afraid of getting hurt again. How do I get her to the next step?

    1. Looks like she’s leaning more towards “yes” than “no”. Using the guidelines for the “trial period”, see if you can get her to agree to a couple of months “trial period”, and follow the steps on implementing this period.

      If she agrees to it, and you handle things well, she’ll eventually say “yes”.

  4. says: JoeR

    I do feel like we are “just friends” at this point, but I do not want to push too hard and push her away. She knows I still have feelings for her, but if I push hard, she will off contact. Right now we have some contact which is good. I have also invited her out a couple of times and she has said yes both times but she was kind of acting distant. I had half-expected this. It’s been 6 months and I’m just not sure where to go from here. I think my best option is to just wait and hope that things change.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Things will not change without you doing anything to change them. I think that your problem is not that you do not know what to do, your greatest obstacle is that you are too afraid to take any action because you are afraid of losing her.

      I’ve seen so many men and women like you, tip-toe around their ex for months, only to be told “I met someone else”… then the same people get upset that they were led on/used.

      1. says: Kweni

        Yangki. Thank you so much. I believe that No Contact doesnt work at all. Instead of making the heart grow fonder, it makes the heart find another. When my ex tried to communicate with me I immediately reached out to her. We are now seeing each other, having over nights and stuff… And we are still intimate. I guess all you need to do is prove to them that you can always do better.

        1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

          You are right. You need to prove that you can always do better, be better. You can’t do that when you are not talking to each other.

          I hope you can make it work this time around. All the best.

  5. says: JoeR

    Right now I’m giving her space but keeping the lines of communication open. She says she just wants to hang out a few times as friends and also says if I want to see other people she does not mind. We’re both in our 30s if that helps.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      I hope you do not give her too much “space” because sometimes “too much space” can lead to things settling into “just friends”.

      As the article says, you must consistently DO what moves your ex towards making a decision to get back together. People don’t fall in love (again) just because you are giving them ‘space’. What makes people fall in love is words and actions that make them FEEL they are in love, again.

  6. says: Dayna

    I bought your book last week and it has really helped. We had our first date last night and had a great time. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and I was prepared for things to be somewhat awkward. After our date, I sent her a text telling her I had a wonderful time and wished her goodnight. She immediately replied saying it was nice to see me again and also wished me goodnight. This morning I woke up to a text from her. This is the second time she’s initiated contact since we reconnected two months ago. I don’t want to rush anything but also don’t want to make huge mistakes. My question to you is, do I now let her initiate most of the contact?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      It’s never a good idea to let someone initiate most of the contact. That’s giving them too much control over the relationship. Besides, she’s only initiated contact once, who is to say she’ll do it again.

      At this point, continue doing what you have been doing until she is initiating contact as much as you are doing or slightly more. The more engaged she is, the better.

  7. says: Mesak R

    This website has made me more self-aware and act in ways that are emotionally stronger, more honest and more caring. She broke up with me and in retrospective I can see why. I am not trying to “actively” get her back but showing her I still love her and interested in dating her again. She seems more open to this, and also going on a date a months from now (technically 2.5 weeks remaining).

  8. says: Aisel

    I’m getting closer to my ex again. The reason for the break up was he didn’t want to be in a relationship because we were fighting all the time. I went limited contact for a month but he was only responding to some of my texts. He didn’t initiate any contact. I started showing him I changed and we stopped fighting and arguing like we used to. He has started acting like how he was when I first met him and seems more open to talking to me and telling me stuff. I’m trying not to jump to conclusions and rebuilding what was lost by starting a NEW relationship.

  9. says: Linet

    The breakup for me has been a huge eye opener! I realized that i’d really just lost myself and was needy and clingy. He wanted space and we broke up. But we kept in touch because we just care for the other very much. I have been making many changes and I can see it’s making him want to come around but very slowly. This is really very hard but I think that I have a very good chance.


      If you’ve made changes, he’s noticed them and is coming around… I too think you have a very good chance… 🙂

  10. says: Gulio

    Hi Love Doctor, is her sending me a photograph and asking what I think an emotional bid for connection? I’m still trying to get the hang of it, I think it is but not sure 🙂

    Btw, your book is amazing, i’ve learned sooo much. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Yes, it is an emotional bid for connection…:)

      Thanks for the kind words. It’s people like you open to learning new ways of loving that make it worthwhile.

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