Can A Fearful Avoidant Ex Trust You Again?

Can an avoidant ex ever trust you again and will they take you back if you lied or cheated?

It depends on if your ex is a fearful avoidant leaning anxious, a fearful avoidant leaning avoidant or a dismissive, and if the deception is forgivable.

In addition to the 5 behaviours mentioned in the post How to Get Your Ex to Trust You Again And Want You Back, your ex’s attachment style plays a significant role in the types of behaviour (positive or negative) that shape feelings of trust, and may determine how long it will take your ex to trust you again, or if your ex will ever trust you again.

Some of the behaviours that may be different in how attachment style shapes feelings of trust include:

1. Your ex’s reaction to uncovering the deception

According to the findings on the study on the the role of attachment styles in communication patterns and potential termination of romantic relationships following discovery of deception (Su Ahn Jang, Sandi W. Smith, and Timothy R. Levine):

Securely attachment style

People with a secure attachment style reported that they were more likely to talk directly about the issue with their partners following the discovery of deception. They were also unlikely to break-up or to end the relationship following a deception incident. By initiating talk about the deception event and talking with their partners, secures dealt with negative feelings constructively.

These findings reinforce a similar finding by Planalp and Honeycutt which showed that individuals who engage in communication after uncertainty increasing incidents often enjoy positive relational outcomes.

How to make a securely attached ex trust you again: If a secure attached ex initiates a conversation about trust or wants to trust-related event, talk openly and directly with your ex and deal with negative feelings constructively. Talking openly and directly about trust-related issues will help them not only feel positive about their feelings for you but also feel that with time they can trust you again.

Anxious attachment style

Preoccupied and fearful avoidants leaning anxious also reported being able continue their relationships and not break-up but were more likely to report talking around and avoiding the issue when they engaged in communication with their partners after the discovery of partners’ deception, especially if they thought that direct discussion of the incident might upset the partner.

In general individuals who score high on attachment anxiety (preoccupied and fearful avoidants) do not talk to their partners about issues in the relationship and have poor quality communication with their partners. There are two conflicting views on why individuals who score high on attachment anxiety have poor quality communication with their partners. Some researchers suggest that this is because preoccupied and fearful avoidants argue with their partners more than securely attached or dismissive avoidants, and others suggests that preoccupied and fearful avoidants avoid talking about the specific event because they may not want to jeopardize their romantic relationships, though they continue to engage in general communication with their partners.

The findings match previous results by Planalp and Honeycutt which showed that preoccupied and fearful avoidants leaning anxious keep the lines of communication open with their partner, and this helps them remain in the relationship.

How to make an anxious attached ex trust you again: An ex with an anxious preoccupied attachment style and fearful avoidants leaning anxious may avoid a direct discussion of the trust-related incident or talk around issues of trust. Don’t try to force them to have conversations about trust if they are not comfortable doing so. Work on showing them you can be trusted. As research shows, for an ex on high on attachment anxiety to want to continue the relationship, it is not important that you talk about the specific trust-related event, it is important that you keep the lines of communication open.

Avoidant attachment style

Respondents with an avoidant attachment style reported not only avoiding their partner after uncovering their partners’ deception, they also did not talk to their partner at all.

Highly avoidant individuals already have more doubts about their relationships, fear intimacy, and have difficulty completely trusting and depending on others, it’s no surprise that they avoid communication that is linked with negative feelings or outcomes. They’d rather break-up, end the relationship or cut off contact, as was found by the study.

How to make an avoidant ex trust you again: A dismissive avoidant ex and a fearful avoidant ex leaning more avoidant may avoid talking about the trust-related incident, avoid you or not want contact all.

Same as with an anxious preoccupied attachment style and fearful avoidants leaning anxious, do not try to force them to talk to you about why they don’t trust you even if you know that communication matters and talking about whatever caused the loss of trust would help rebuild trust.

Undermining your ex’s perceptions of trust may reduce your ex’s attachment security and reducing attachment security may undermine your ex’s perceptions of trust.

2) What makes your ex feel they can trust you

Studies show that while feeling confident about the relationship was the main trust-related goal for all the attachment styles, feeling secure was an additional goal for anxious-preoccupieds and fearful avoidants leaning anxious, and feeling in control was an additional goal of dismissives and fearful avoidants leaning more avoidant.

How to make anxious/fearful avoidant leaning anxious ex trust you again: Make them feel confident about the relationship and also feel secure. The more secure they feel, the more likely that they will trust you again.

How to make a dismissive/fearful avoidant ex leaning avoidant trust you again: Make them feel confident about the relationship and also feel that they are in control of what happens on a day-to-day basis.

Take-away from these studies

Being deceived by a romantic partner can create relational conflicts that result in couples going through difficult times, and doubts about the partner as well as the relationship, but the discovery of the deception does not automatically lead to a break-up or end of a relationship if couples talk about it directly and openly and deal with negative feelings constructively.

Communication with partners was beneficial to staying in the relationship. Even talking around the deception issue and avoiding the deception issue while still talking to one’s partner was related to continuing in the relationship.

This further confirms findings by communication researchers McCornack and Levine. In their study McCornack and Levine found that the significant predictor of a break-up after the discovery of the deception was avoiding the person and not communicating. They concluded that communication matters and a lack of communication hurts romantic relational partners after the discovery of deception,

This explains why avoidants initiate break-ups or end a relationships most often, as they tend to avoid the person after relational troubles.

RELATED: How to Get Your Ex to Trust You Again And Want You Back

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    1. For some people a few hours and for other a few months.

      It depends on 1) what kind of relationship you had/how strong your ex’s feelings for you are, 2) why you broke up, 3) how you broke up, 4) what’s happened since the break-up, and 5) what you are doing to motivate your ex to get engaged.