If you’re doing everything right, but your avoidant ex wants to text but not meet, there is an explanation why 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. 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. Face-to-face meeting takes away some of the control texting provides.
An avoidant will not not initiate a conversation about meeting or hanging out
An avoidant ex will not directly tell you they’re happy texting but don’t want to meet. They’ll just not initiate a conversation about meeting or hanging out. They may toy with the idea if they think it’s going to jeopardize the “texting relationship” but on most part they don’t mention it. I’ve found that some avoidant exes avoid sharing details of their life because they think their ex is trying to see if they have time and ask to meet or hang out.
And when you ask to meet, an avoidant ex who doesn’t want to meet you will use any and every reason including family is visiting, family/friend has an emergency, busy with work, completing a project, have a deadline to beat, travelling out of town/country etc. Some of these reasons are valid and some of them are just excuses for an avoidant to avoid meeting you or hanging out. Surely if they can have the time to travel, hang out with friends, do home repairs etc. they can find time to meet you, but they’re choosing not to control how close you get.
An avoidant wanting to text but not meet triggers attachment anxiety
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?
- Are they 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 don’t respond?
- Should I ask if they don’t want me to contact them?
- Should I give them space/wait for them 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.
An avoidant ex not wanting to meet also triggers avoidant behaviour
An avoidant ex not wanting to meet also triggers avoidance in fearful avoidants. Fearful avoidant like anxious preoccupieds and are overthinkers and over analyzers. When they see that their ex wants to text but not meet, they react with conflicted behaviour – swinging back and forth from anxiety to 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
But unlike anxious preoccupieds who keep pushing and pushing to meet and end up pushing an avoidant even further away, a fearful avoidant’s anxiety has a limit. They ask to meet a couple of times, and if the avoidant still will not meet, a fearful avoidant deactivates and become avoidant too.
Pullin away when an ex does not want to meet also happens to someone with an anxious preoccupied attachment style in the form of protest behaviour.
How a securely attached ex handle an ex wanting to meet in person
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.
How a fearful avoidant ex handles an ex wanting to meet in person
A fearful avoidant ex’s natural reaction when you ask to meet is to be conflicted – wants to meet but is afraid of it too. Texting feels safe for a fearful avoidant because 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. Unfortunately, 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.
Because fearful avoidants are conflicted and want to meet with an ex but afraid of it too, a fearful avoidant ex seeming agree to meet keep pushing meeting up to a future date. This is one thing that makes fearful avoidants look like they’re playing games (and sometimes they’re) but quite often it’s not a game. They want to meet but are genuinely uncomfortable with the idea of getting close.
A fearful avoidant ex may even agree on plans to meet but cancels meeting or date last minute because they felt so anxious and deactivated. This can happen time and time again.
How a dismissive avoidant ex handles an ex wanting to meet in person
A dismissive avoidant will most likely tell you they don’t want to meet if you ask them to meet with you. 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. They don’t want to meet, they don’t want to meet period. An 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?”, a dismissive avoidant 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.
To get a better idea of how often each attachment style comes back, I have written detailed articles on individual attachment styles: why they come back, what makes them come back and how long it takes them to come back. You will find the links at the bottom.