Look for these 5 Strong Signs An Avoidant Ex Regrets The Break-Up. You may actually be that ‘game changer’; the ex a fearful avoidant can’t let go!
All attachment styles; secure anxious, fearful and dismissing do sometimes regret the break-up. Avoidants are unique in how they feel, their thought process and how they express regretting a break-up because of an avoidants discomfort with emotions and feelings.
Both guilt and regret are powerful emotions
Guilt is a self-conscious reaction or feeling we experience when we do something we shouldn’t have done; or didn’t do something we should have done. Regret is the emotion we experience when we look back on something we did or didn’t do and wish we had done it differently. Most of the time, we feel both guilt and regret.
As you can see both emotions are self-focused. In addition to having a problem with emotions, avoidants also have a problem with self-examination. Fearful avoidants take it to the extreme because of their inherent negative self-view. I discuss this in more detail in my video Do Fearful Avoidants Regret Losing You (Or Just Regret The Break-Up)?
Dismissive avoidants have a positive self view and a negative view of others. This sometimes translates in not taking responsibility for the relationship ending, and mostly blaming it on their ex.
If a dismissive avoidant feels guilt or regret, they will naturally struggle with how they feel and how they express these emotions.
Keep in mind that these 5 strong signs an avoidant ex regrets the break-up doesn’t mean your avoidant ex wants you back or that they will come back. Regret is sometimes just that: wishing one had done things differently.
1. They have no concrete reason as to why they broke up with you
Avoidants in general do not have a good relationships track record mainly because they’re drawn to someone with an anxious attachment and end up in anxious-avoidant relationship. In addition to the anxious-avoidant dynamic, dismissive avoidants always find something wrong with someone and break-up with them; or treat them so poorly that they end up breaking with them. Fearful avoidants get into their own head and let their insecurities, fears and distrust mess up their relationships.
When they meet someone different from all previous relationships (what I like to call the game-changer), they look back and wish things had gone differently. Sometimes they even go out and date other people but can’t find someone who measures up to their ex.
But because avoidants struggle with articulating and expressing regret emotions, they end up talking about all the great qualities that you have, how good you were to them and why they’re sad or disappointed that things didn’t work out. Most avoidants will not say they regret the break-up.
So if an avoidant is expressing these feelings to you, this is a signs their way if saying they regret the break-up.
2. They keep checking on you after the break-up
Typically avoidants respond to break-ups with deactivating strategies. They don’t want to think about it or deal with their emotions; let alone their ex’s emotions.
Even if they wanted to comfort you and go through the emotions of the break-up together, they wouldn’t know how to. As children most of them never experienced sensitive and thoughtful responses from a parent or caregiver when they were distressed. They were left to deal on their own and sometimes punished for showing vulnerability.
For an avoidant to reach out after a break-up just to check in or make sure you’re okay, means:
- They must really care about you to step out of their comfort zone
- If they broke up with you, they feel bad for hurting you and want to show they’re sorry
- If you broke up with them, they feel bad about something they said that hurt you, or how they acted and think that reaching out will some way show you that they’re sorry.
- They want you back and are trying so hard not to deactivate if their constant distancing was the reason for the break-up. They don’t want to make the same mistake of being insensitive to your feelings and needs.
3. They reach out specifically to apologize
An ex reaching out to apologize is a sign of regret. An avoidant reaching out to apologize has a different energy to it.
In my video “Do Avoidants Apologize To You When They Hurt You?” I cited some studies that suggest avoidants downplay the negativity of their actions and the impact on the relationship; and offer a comprehensive apology if they felt closer to someone and had a strong need to be viewed positively.
Fearful avoidants are much more fluent in the language of emotions than dismissive avoidants but still less fluent than people with a secure or anxious attachment style. A fearful avoidant’s apology is therefore more likely to express more regret and because of their attachment anxiety they may go into more detail and give explanations for their actions or decisions. A dismissive avoidant’s apology will have less emotion in it and may see more like an admission of guilt than an apology, but its still an apology.
4. They reach out to talk about their personal growth
Studies on attachment styles and personal growth following a break-up show that people with an anxious attachment style experience the most growth after a break-up because they focus their time and energy of self-work. Avoidant spend more time on self-preservation avoidance strategies and less time on self-reflection. They’re also less motivated to do their self-work.
If an avoidant devotes time and energy on their self-work following a break-up, it means something about the break-up work them up. Something made them want to be better and do better. That’s an achievement on it’s own.
But if an avoidant reaches out and want you know how they’ve grown and changed, they’re trying to tell you they regret who they were and/or the way they behaved and acted when you were together or after the break-up.
This mean they want you to know that if you got back together things will be different. But it may also mean they want you to know that they’re sorry about their past behaviours and wish they had acted differently.
5. They try hard to remind you of the good times
It’s been proven by studies on brain activity that painful memories linger longer than happy memories. This is because negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive emotions.
If an ex talks about good memories it means they’re consciously choosing to focus on the happy times. To be able to do this it means one has to sort through emotions and bypass the negative emotions to get to the good memories.
This is easy if you’re comfortable with all things emotions. Not so easy for an avoidant, especially a dismissive avoidant. So if an avoidant mentions the good memories or makes it a point to mention a good memory from the past, it’s significant effort on their part.
On it’s own its not a sign they regret the break-up but it’s enough to tell you they want to focus on the good part of the relationship.
In my experience, most dismissive avoidants don’t go too deep into the emotions of the memory or talk about it for too long because it brings up the guilt and regret they have towards what happened.
As discussed in Do Fearful Avoidants Regret Losing You (Or Just Regret The Break-Up)?, talking about old memories is a slippery slope because of a fearful avoidant’s inherent negative view. Watch the video and learn what you can do if a fearful avoidant is triggered by a past memory.
If your avoidant ex has done 3 or 5 of these strong signs an avoidant ex regrets the break-up; your chances of attracting back an avoidant look good. You may actually be that ‘game changer’; the ex an avoidant can’t let go!