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.