Did My Avoidant Ex Love Me? (Still Loves Me From A Distance)


Avoidants distance and break up even when they still love you more often than most people realize. Sometimes I think, if anxiously attached knew an avoidant breaking up with them or not wanting a relationship with them doesn’t mean that they stopped loving them, they wouldn’t be not be so torn up and asking themselves over and over did my avoidant ex love me? Does my avoidant ex still love me? They’d probably also not do things that make avoidants lose all feelings even the lingering feelings they still had after the break-up.

One of the reasons people with an anxious attachment don’t handle break-ups well is because they believe that someone breaking up with them or not wanting a relationship with them means that they stopped loving them. The fear that people don’t really love them and don’t want to be with them is at the root of an anxious attachment. Everything they do including working too hard to be loved, losing themselves in relationships, abandoning themselves and their needs, feeling more attracted to someone when they pull away, and pursuing people who don’t love them and care about them is all about, “Please show me you love me and care about me”. This is all they wanted from their caregivers and all they want from a romantic partner.

When an anxiously attached is with someone who shows them that they love and care about them, their anxious attachment doesn’t show up and this is why most anxiously attached think they’re securely attached. They may still feel “it’s still not enough”, but they’ll be able to manage their attachment anxiety. When someone breaks up with them, it triggers their worst fears that their ex didn’t really love them because they don’t want to be with them. They spend hours and hours on the internet looking for signs that their ex did love them, and they didn’t imagine it and/or their avoidant ex still loves them and will want to be with them again.

The fear that their avoidant ex stopped loving them is also the reason many anxiously attached (and fearful avoidants) go no contact. If an avoidant still loves them, then they’ll miss them and even reach out or even come back. They just want to know, “Do you still love me? If so, show me you love me and care about me.”

What most anxiously attached don’t know is that both fearful avoidants and dismissive avoidants distance from an ex they still love, still have feelings for and still interested in. Anxiously attached think ‘If you love me, you’ll be with me”, but avoidants (and securely attached) can separate love for you from the relationship, “I love you, but I don’t want the relationship”.

An avoidant ex can love you and even still love you after the break-up but distance or break-up because they don’t want a relationship.

A dismissive avoidant breakup with someone they love plays out something like this:

Anxious attachment: You act like you don’t care, like I mean nothing to you.

Dismissive Avoidant: I act like I don’t care?

Anxious attachment: I just want to know we’re okay and that everything is fine between us.

Dismissive Avoidant: I don’t want to have this conversation again.

Anxious attachment: But I need to know you care. Do you even love me?

Dismissive Avoidant: I need space right now.

Anxious attachment: Why are you pulling away? All I asked if you love me.

Dismissive Avoidant: I can’ deal with this anymore. I need space.

Anxious attachment: Please, don’t leave me. I love you.

Dismissive Avoidant: I can’t do this anymore.

It’s like two people having a conversation in the language the other doesn’t speak or understand. An anxiously attached is talking above love and wanting to be shown love, a dismissive avoidant is talking about the relationships and how they feel about being in the relationship.

Dismissive avoidants have a problem showing someone they love them

Forget all the things you read about dismissive avoidants being love avoidants, dismissive avoidants want to love and be loved just like everyone else, and most of them have no problems finding someone to fall in love with them. What dismissive avoidants have a problem with is showing someone they love that they love them.

A dismissive avoidant ex may still have feelings for you and even love you, but keep you at a distance because showing love feels unsafe and something about being a relationship makes them feel trapped and unable to be as independent as they want to be. When they leave, they’re leaving the relationship not because they stopped loving you but because being in the relationship hurts more than not being in one.

What most dismissive avoidants don’t realize that all an anxious attachment and fearful avoidant partners and exes want is for them to show that they care, and that they love them.

Dismissive avoidant doesn’t love for you versus doesn’t want a relationship

Every now and then dismissive avoidants meet someone who checks all the boxes – makes them feel safe, respects their boundaries, lets them have their independence, doesn’t smoother them or try to control them, isn’t pushy, needy or clingy etc., – but dismissive avoidants go out of their way to find something “wrong” with you to justify why they don’t want to get close, lost interest attraction or interest, lost feelings, don’t want a relationship with you and don’t love you anymore.

And you know when a dismissive avoidant doesn’t love for you or stops loving you versus doesn’t want a relationship with you because they’re usually direct in the language they use to describe how they feel about you as a person. They talk about you not being “right person”, “By now I should be in love”, “My feelings are not growing”, “I need to feel more in love”, etc.

A few times, I’ve told a dismissive avoidant client, “Maybe they’re not the wrong person. Maybe you are not feeling what you want to feel because you don’t allow yourself to feel anything” and they agree.

The best thing you can do for your chances of getting a dismissive avoidant who still loves you back is:

1) Understand that just because a dismissive avoidant broke up with you or doesn’t want a relationships with you doesn’t mean that they don’t still have feelings for you, and stop acting like they stopped loving you and you need to manipulate and/or trick the into loving you. You just make them lose all feelings for you and even stop loving

2) Stop confirming the fears and beliefs they have about relationships so they can see that they can love you and be in a relationship with you, and it’s safe. And the fastest way to make lingering feelings after the break-up is engage in protest behaviours.

3) Learn to communicate in ways that make dismissive avoidants feel listened to and heard instead of having conversations in the language the other doesn’t speak or understand.

4) Set healthy boundaries that not only project you but protect the relationship as well.

The same advice works for a fearful avoidant ex who distanced and ended the relationship even when they still love you with some slight difference in how you approach disproving their fears and beliefs about relationships

While dismissive avoidants mostly have no problems finding someone to fall in love with them but have a problem with showing someone they love that they love them, fearful avoidants find it difficult to finding someone who truly cares and loves them because they mostly hide who they are and how they feel, and sometimes are not sure about what thy want or even how they feel. This causes them to swing between wanting a relationship and distancing, and it feels like mixed signals because they are as I explain my article Fearful Avoidant Dumpers Who Didn’t Want To Break Up.

RELATED:

Did An Avoidant Ex Get Attached – Still Attached?

Can A Dismissive Avoidant Truly Love?

Why Avoidants Lose Lingering Feelings After The Breakup

Should You Tell A Fearful Avoidant Ex You Love Them?

Do Dismissive Avoidants Come Back After The Break-Up?

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18 Comments

  1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Jen

    I’ve been working through the book, and my avoidant ex and I have started hanging out more (I think he’s fearful leaning avoidant) and it’s been fun and fairly relaxed, I limit my text contact, and am working to make sure he feels emotionally safe by showing I can manage my own emotions and problems.=. Most recently, he started reaching out and offering assistance (can he bring anything on his way to dinner, etc) should I read this as a good sign that we’re beginning to emotionally connect and that he still has feelings for me?

  2. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Carol

    Is an FA able to access their feelings that they shut down, again once they break up? My ex, FA, said he shut down his feelings after I asked for space for both of us to work on ourselves, which ended up us breaking up because he couldn’t feel them again after a month. He said he valued our friendship, would miss me a lot and wanted me in his life as a friend. I declined, as I feel I have to move forward.

    1. Love Doctor Yangki AkitengLove Doctor Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      Yes avoidants can access their feelings that they shut down after the break-up. But it takes them much longer to access and process their feelings because they try not to feel anything after the break-up as a strategy to cope and function.

      Whether after they process their feeling they’ll want to give the relationship another chance depends on many things including how long they’ve been deactivated and how strong their feelings for you were before they deactivated.

              1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Saggy

                If I’m still taking to an ex, I may still deactivate but it’s a much slower process than if there’s no contact. It’s a case of out of sight, out of mind. I’m dismissive avoidant and don’t really think about my exes that much.

  3. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Jesse Blanc

    I’m just discovering attachment styles reading your articles and believe my ex is a dismissive avoidant attachment style. She let me know early in the relationship that she had problems with intimacy, didn’t like cuddling, kissing or PDAs. We texted here and there but not a lot. She had had only 1 serious relationship that wasn’t good so I chalked it up to lack of experience. Everything else between us was good except for this.

    I was frustrated with no intimacy and told her I needed more from her. She pulled away and did not respond to my texts or calls. I blocked her and went full no contact. After 30 days, I unblocked her and asked if we could talk. She said she wasn’t sure if we should talk. I told her I needed to understand what went wrong to get closure and she agreed to meet.

    Basically she took responsibility for lack of intimacy and said things got “too deep” for her. I asked if she meant she was falling in love with me and got scared, and she said it wasn’t that. She cares about me very much but she doesn’t think she loves me. She said she has a hard time opening up and it’s something she needs to work on for herself. She also said we both need time apart but if I reached out she would respond because she cares about me. I was devastated and haven’t reached out.

    1. Love Doctor Yangki AkitengLove Doctor Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      You’re right. Sounds like classic dismissive avoidant.

      40 OMG Signs You’re A Classic Dismissive Avoidant

      She is right though that this is something she needs to work on for herself.

      You didn’t say how long you were together. As I’ve said in my videos and articles, dismissive avoidants are more open to giving a relationship another chance if the relationship was relatively good, and if it was longer than 3 years. From what you say, your relationship was relatively good except for lack of intimacy, which she said she’s working on.

      What Makes A Dismissive Avoidant Ex Miss You And Come Back?

  4. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Madelyn

    “show they care with acts of service” is so true.

    My DA ex does the same thing. He checks up on me every few days (I’ve debilitating illness that outs me in bed for days), has offered to walk my dogs, and paint my front porch without me asking. Initially I said no to his acts of service because I didn’t want to be just another ex he’s friends with, but the more I read about their attachment style, the more I opened up to his way of caring. At this point, I y don’t mind if we’ll just be friends but I hope we can be more, if that makes sense.

    1. Love Doctor Yangki AkitengLove Doctor Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      It makes sense. I don’t know the circumstances of your break-up, but what I advice with a ‘friendly DA ex” is to make clear that you are happy with being friends but you would want more than just friends in the future. If you are direct and clear about what you want and don’t want to do (without putting pressure, criticizing or blaming), most DAs will appreciate it. This is how they communicate though sometimes it comes across as cold to APs and FAs. Clarity is very important to DAs.

  5. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Mika47

    I think my DA ex uses my son as an excuse to see me. We dated for 3 yrs and he and my son have a strong bond, so strong my son blamed me for the breakup. I ended it because he didn’t want to commit. He comes to pick up my son and when he drops him back he lingers around sometimes stays for dinner. He’s helped fix things around the house that need a man and even came one weekend just to cut the grass.

    Yangki said in one of her videos that DAs stay friends with exs because they can turn off their feelings and just be platonic. But I’m wondering, it’s 6 months since the breakup and he’s not dating or seeing anyone as far as I know. Could he still have feelings for me but maybe doesn’t want to say it because he thinks I’ll reject him?

    1. Love Doctor Yangki AkitengLove Doctor Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      Yes, he still has feelings for you. Based on your story, him having feelings for you was never the issue. The issue was commitment. Like many DAs, he probably feels bad that he can not give you what you want and either trying to make up for it, or hanging around you hoping that with time, he will want to commit and the two of you will get back together.

      There is also the possibility that if he does not have children of his own, he could have a strong parent attachment to your son and can’t imagine the two of them separated. It may even be bringing up some childhood trauma re: his relationship with his dad.

      1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Mika47

        I’ve been thinking about this too. His dad left him mom and remarried when he was around my son’s age. He said his parents divorce was the reason he can’t see himself married. I mean the man is 51 and never been married, had one long-term relationship that lasted 7 years, the rest have been a year or months long. I am his second longest relationship.

        You said in one of your videos that in your experience, DAs come back if the relationship was longer than 3 years. We were together slightly over 3 years.

        1. Love Doctor Yangki AkitengLove Doctor Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

          Yes, that has been my experience. If the relationship was longer than 3 years, they most likely developed a strong bond and are more willing to try things again.

          I would not be surprised if the current situation is ideal for him as a DA. He sees you when he feels like it, gets to play Dad to your son, be the man to fix things around the house, no intimacy/pressure to be intimate and no commitment. It’s like you’re trying things again but the only thing is that this works for him but not for you.

          But it could also be that this is his way of showing he cares. Dismissive avoidants may not be as expressive about their feelings as anxious people. They show they care with acts of service.

  6. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Sapro09

    My avoidant ex ended the relationship saying he couldn’t make me happy, and after learning about attachment styles and reading stories of avoidant exs, I now realise my ex did his best to give me enough reassurance that he loved me. I wasn’t able to see or feel it because I was anxious he would break up with me anytime. Even during the breakup, he was sad and said he really loved me but we’re incompatible and he has to move on. We haven’t spoken in over 2 years but I still miss him very much.

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