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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  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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… 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. says: Randy

    Yangki, I spoke with you about a month ago. I have been keeping things easy light and fun and she has initiated small conversations everyday. She even started calling me for small chats. I am concerned about the rapid pace at which things have moved and scared that I may move things too fast and then have that abrupt stop you talk about. Do you think I need to be worried.

    1. Any progress means something is working, and that’s good. But you are right, if you feel that things are moving too fast, they probably are.

      Use the advice in the book on how to slow things down a little without causing any alarms. If you abruptly slow things down or slow them down too much, she may think you are pulling away and shut down again or pull away herself.

  6. says: diane

    5 months after the break up and constant communication i talked to my ex about still having feelings for him… he said he didn’t know if we should get back together but kissed me and hugged me for hours. we met again after that and the same thing happened… i think i’m on the right path but feel anxious about what he’s thinking. should i ask him or just wait patiently?

  7. says: Anja

    I found your site seven months ago when I just broke up with my ex. It was the toughest time of my life but your words and advice gave me comfort and hope. I started all over again to slowly build our relationship. Step by step, day after day things got better and better. I finally created enough momentum to ask him if he wanted to get back together. He said yes. So we are back together. I know if it wasn’t for your advice things could have turned out differently. I am truly grateful.

  8. says: Walt

    Yangki, best advice I got from your book was not to be too bothered if she says “lets be just friends”. I turned it around and used it to my advantage. I flirt and touch her and make jokes about it being a friend thing to do. It seems to relax her and last night she initiated a kiss on the mouth and then said “it’s a friend thing to do’. I don’t know if this means anything, but it feels real good to just be relaxed and be myself with her again. Am I on the right path?

    1. Yes! You’re on the right path.

      The fact that she not only initiated the kiss but used your own joke on you is a good sign. Like you said, she seems relaxed around you and that’s always good.

      Some distance to go, but on the right path for sure.

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