If you’re doing everything right, but your avoidant wants to text but not meet, don’t take it personally. Many avoidants want to text but not meet in the early stages of trying to get them back. It is easier for an avoidant to control closeness when texting. They can simply ignore a text or not text back. Meeting in person is “too much” closeness they are not ready for or want.
This does not sit well with an anxious preoccupied or fearful avoidant leaning anxious. Sometimes it’s weeks or months of good texting but when an anxious ex says “Can we meet?”; an avoidant ex starts distancing and the anxious preoccupied starts pursuing. The trigger is almost always an anxious person wanting more closeness and an avoidant avoiding it.
Anxious attachment – avoidant attachment triggers
The trigger can be something as simple as “Can we meet?” and the avoidant saying, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to meet”. That is enough to trigger attachment anxiety.
- Why doesn’t she think it’s a good idea to meet?
- Did I act needy by asking to meet?
- Was it too soon?
- Is she leading me on?
- Is there someone else? Should I ask?
- What do I say?
- Have I ruined my chances?
- Should I reach out?
- What if they doesn’t respond?
- Should I ask if they don’t want me to contact them?
- Should I give them space/wait for her to contact me?
Keep in mind, the avoidant didn’t say anything about “needing space”; they just said “I don’t think it’s be a good idea to meet”. The avoidant didn’t even say I don’t ever want to meet.
Fearful avoidants like anxious-preoccupied are overthinkers. When they see that a dismissive avoidant wants to text but not meet, they react with both anxiety and avoidance.
- What if they pull away because I asked to meet
- I don’t want to be annoying, maybe I should give him space
- Maybe they want me to reach out first
- I need to apologize if it made them feel bad.
- What if they never contact me again?
- I need to reach out to show then I still love them
- Maybe they think I am angry that they don’t want to meet
- I don’t want them to think I don’t care
The real reason dismissive and fearful avoidants want to text but not meet
Text messaging and social media are an avoidant’s preferred way to communicate. But what many people with attachment anxiety (including fearful avoidants) don’t realize that there is a very simple explanation why avoidant want to text but avoid meeting.
The obvious reasons are:
- Feel that it is too soon to meet.
- Fear that the feelings they still have for their ex will overwhelm them and they don’t want to deal with those feelings.
- Just be enjoying the attention via text but have no intentions of meeting in person.
But the real reason an avoidant wants to text but not meet is that with text; an avoidant can control closeness. Face-to-face meeting takes away some of the control texting provides.
Secure, fearful and dismissive react to attachment anxiety in different ways
How a securely attached ex and an avoidant ex responds to an anxious person asking to meet couldn’t be more different.
1) Securely attached on why they want to text but not meet
Most securely attached exes are happy to meet you with no problem at all. But if a securely attached ex thinks meeting you might give the impression they’re ready to get back together right away; they’ll straight up tell you they don’t think meeting in person is a good idea. But they’ll also do their best to reassure you that “I don’t think it’s a good idea to meet” doesn’t mean they want to end contact; that they are pulling away or don’t want to get back together. They just think it is too soon to meet, they are not emotionally ready (not yet there) or they want to take things slow.
2) Fearful avoidant on why they want to text but not meet
A fearful-avoidant’s natural reaction when you ask to meet is to avoid contact. They don’t know how to stay in contact or what to say when an anxious ex is triggered. But because they want contact and connection as much as they fear it, they will respond to texts and reach out every now and then but generally stay under the radar (limited or low contact).
The good news is that limited contact actually works if both people are fearful avoidants. On a superficial level it looks like there is still closeness because there is some form of contact even if it’s random and shallow. The bad news is that contact that is random and sometimes far between does not build momentum; not to mention bring two people close. After a while, the contact fizzles out and because both people are fearful avoidants neither party has the courage to reach out; it’s over.
3) Dismissive avoidant on why they want to text but not meet
A dismissive avoidant will also straight up tell you they don’t want to meet. But unlike a securely attached ex who will explain to you why they think meeting in person is not a good idea; a dismissive avoidant will not respond to any questions about why they don’t want to meet. They will either get upset or pull away when a triggered anxious and fearful ex starts acting needy and clingy.
Unlike a fearful avoidant, a dismissive avoidant is not conflicted about contact or closeness. As far as they are concerned, they don’t think it’s a good idea to meet and their ex can take it anyway they want. Accept it or not accept it. They don’t need to explain anything.
When an anxious ex asks, “What did you mean by ‘it’s not a good idea’ to meet?”, they will respond that it’s just not a good idea. They will not give further explanations because talking about thoughts or feelings makes them vulnerable; and in the mind of a dismissive avoidant, vulnerability is weakness.
If the anxious ex pulls away (in the name of giving space), a dismissive avoidant will not reach out. To them, needing contact, connection or closeness is a sign of weakness. They can’t afford to be weak by being the one initiating contact. But there are exceptions where dismissive avoidant exes reach out.