Do Dismissive Avoidants Come Back After The Break Up?

Dismissive avoidants are the least likely attachment style to come back after a break-up. Usually when they’re done they’re done, but every now and then, dismissive avoidants come back if they had developed an attachment to an ex and still feel attached to them.

How a dismissive avoidant ex feels after a breakup

After a break-up, dismissive avoidants feel a range of emotions including sadness, regret, relief, guilt, anger etc., but they’re so good at suppressing their attachment-related emotions, compartmentalizing and focusing on something else (work, school, hobbies, friends, partying etc.) that on a behavioural level they show fewer difficulties with break-ups. A dismissive avoidant can go from talking everyday and hanging out 2- 3 times a week and sharing your lives together to nothing and carry on with life like the breakup never happened.

They don’t let a break-up turn their emotions and world upside down which is easy to do because dismissive avoidants often have short-term relationships, take long to fall in love, don’t attach to their partners and prefer to slowly fade away or ghost an ex than go through an actual break-up and all the associated emotions and drama.

And when you break-up with a dismissive avoidant, they develop what I call “Who needs you?” attitude which makes it look like a dismissive avoidant moved on fast after the breakup. In the “who needs you” mental space, some dismissive avoidant quickly move on to someone new or go back to an old ex, but most dismissive avoidant exes stay away from relationships altogether, especially if the relationship ended badly and with lots of drama. It reminds them of why they don’t want to be in relationships and triggers in a dismissive avoidant the fear of getting close to someone.

But while a break-up can trigger in a dismissive avoidant the fear of getting close to someone and make them wary of getting into a relationship again, it does not make most dismissive avoidants want to cut off contact with an ex. They can afford to maintain contact with an ex and even remain friends because they have no “painful feelings” to deal with; if there are any, they’re suppressed and compartmentalized away. As long as there’s no break-up drama, you’re okay with keeping the lines of communication open, and don’t keep bringing up the relationship or break-up, a dismissive avoidant ex will respond to texts and even initiate some texts but they’ll be more distant and slower responding.

Do dismissive avoidants miss you after the break-up?

Dismissive avoidants in general don’t miss exes they weren’t attached to and don’t miss an ex if the relationship was tumultuous. But if a dismissive avoidant had developed a an attachment to you, a dismissive avoidant ex will miss you whether they are the dumper or you broke up with them.

A dismissive avoidant’s way of missing you is that they’ll think of you from time to time because dismissive avoidants don’t allow themselves to sit in the uncomfortable feeling of missing someone. Their coping mechanism somehow finds a way to keep an ex at a distance by suppressing feelings and thoughts of you.

A dismissive avoidant can even go for weeks without thinking about you and only start thinking of you when they receive a text from you, hear about you or run into you. A text from you, hearing about you or running into you brings up thoughts of you which makes them miss you. In some rare cases a dismissive avoidants will check your social media because they’re thinking of you but not reach out, but sometimes they’ll reach out in some way to let you know they thought of you. On most part, the majority of dismissive avoidants think about you briefly and again “forget” about you until something else happens that causes them to think of you and miss you.

Do dismissive avoidants reach out to exes after the break-up?

Dismissive avoidants reach out to an ex after the break-up but it’s rare for them to do so. Unlike anxiously attached and fearful avoidants who impulsively reach out to an ex out anxiety, dismissive avoidants have so much emotional control that even when they know that they’ve pushed you so far away that you will not reach out first, they will take their time reaching out.

Reaching out to an ex means acknowledging that they have attachment needs and that they need you. Showing you that they need you makes them vulnerable to you later using their need for attachment to manipulate and control them. If a dismissive avoidant thinks that you are doing no contact just to see if they’ll reach out first, they won’t reach out just to prove to you that they can’t be manipulated or controlled. They see any attempts to influence their behaviour as trying to control them and will do not reach out to show you that they can’t be manipulated or controlled.

Some dismissive avoidant who think you might be using no contact to try to manipulate them go on social media just to taunt you or send you messages and when you respond, they ignore you. They justify ignoring you as them giving you a taste of your own medicine. Even a dismissive avoidant who “misses” you will postpone reaching out for months if they think you might be trying to manipulate them into coming back.

What does it means when a dismissive avoidant reaches out first?

Dismissive avoidants generally do not reach out to someone because they’re lonely or feel alone because dismissive avoidants do very well, in fact do much better all on their own. Wanting connecting is not something they crave or seek out. If a dismissive avoidant reaches out first, it is because they:

1) Had developed a strong emotional attachment to you and misses what they had with you.

2) Feel the relationship was relatively good (not many arguments or fights) and therefore you are a “good person” they still want you in their life even though they might not want a relationship with you.

3) Heard something bad happened to you and they think they should show support or concern because it’s the right thing to do.

4) Are having a hard time meeting someone as good as you and either regret breaking up with you or want to if the can do a relationships this time around.

5) Want sex with no strings attached because dismissive avoidants can easily separate love from sex and often call an ex they have no romantic feelings towards just for sex.

6) Want to be friends because they think enough time has passed for you to still want to pressure them to get back together.

The main reason dismissive avoidants want to be friends with an ex is they have somebody to talk to and even hook-up with, but without the expectations or commitment of a romantic relationship. And there is already some level of connection and trust, so less discomfort with closeness and vulnerability.

Sometimes they offer being friends while breaking up and if you say no, they’ll never reach out. But if a dismissive avoidant thinks there’s a chance that they might want to give the relationship another chance, they’ll insist on being friends. Being friends first allows them to test drive what the new dynamic or relationship can look and feel like, without the pressure to commit to coming back or being in a relationship.

Do dismissive avoidant dumpers to come back?

Dismissive avoidants are more likely to come back if they initiated the break-up than if you broke up with them. They may even regret the break-up and reach out a few days later or feel regret for the break-up months later and reach out to see if you want to get back together.

How you know a dismissive avoidant regrets the break-up and wants another chance is they’re very apologetic and tell you that it’s them and not you. This is significant because dismissive avoidants think of themselves positively but have low opinion of others especially the people they’re in a relationship with. So them saying the problem is with them and not you means they know they royally screwed up.

But even when they know they messed up and want you back, most dismissive avoidants will not rush to getting back together. They’ll usually want to meet right away or within a few days because they know themselves enough to know that if they don’t make that move to meet, they’ll convince themselves that it’s better to just forget the whole thing. Despite how they feel, it’s not worth putting anymore effort into making the relationship work.

They’ll also want to meet sooner than later because they want to see how you are going to be with them. If you keep talking about the past, are still angry about the break-up, ask them too many questions to explain themselves or complain about their behaviours, a dismissive avoidant pull back on their regret and convince themselves you and not them were the problem all along.

Do dismissive avoidants come back if you broke up with them?

Most dismissive avoidants don’t come back if you initiated the break-up because they’re too proud to come back to someone who broke up with them or because they don’t want to ever feel sad or hurt again. They may even feel that they deserve better because even if they come back you won’t ever really understand them or appreciate them.

Some dismissive avoidant dumpees even come back because of a bruised ego. If they made an effort to try to be a good partner, they may feel offended that you didn’t appreciate the effort they put into the relationship. Their coming back is not to make the relationship work but to make you realize that you should have appreciated them while you had them

But if a dismissive avoidant dumpee is self-aware or has some level of self-awareness, or is doing self-work and/or seeing a therapist, they’ll come back hoping that they can do better and be less dismissive avoidant.

What makes a dismissive avoidant ex want to come back?

The main reason dismissive avoidants come back to exes is because they are still attached to you and still have strong feelings for you.

The second reason dismissive avoidants come back is the relationship was relatively good, they felt safe and it was different from all past relationships.

The third reason dismissive avoidants come back is the break-up was a positive experience and didn’t trigger in them why they don’ want relationships in the first place.

The fourth reason reason dismissive avoidants come back, and probably the one reason that has the most impact on a dismissive avoidant staying after they come back and the relationship working is they’re in therapy or did deep self-work and take responsibility for their behaviours and actions. This is important because dismissives avoidants very rarely process break-ups, let alone do relationship autopsies. They simply suppress everything and want to move forward like nothing every happened, an when you try to talk about the relationship or break-up, they stop responding and disappear, then reappear again (and still don’t want to talk about the past).

You’ll notice a change in your dismissive avoidant’s behaviours and even language when they’re done their own inner work and healing. They’ll be more reflective, be more emotionally vulnerable, open to talking about the past and the work they’re doing on themselves, talk about relationships in more positive light, and they’ll even start noticing things about you that have been there all along but being dismissive avoidant they never noticed before. This is a dismissive avoidant trying to better and be less dismissive avoidant.

COMMENTS: I encourage comments from dismissive avoidants on what makes you miss an ex and what makes you comes back. Let’s all learn from each other.

RELATED:

Why Getting Back A Dismissive Avoidant Takes So Long

No Contact Works Differently With A Dismissive Avoidant Ex

Do Dismissive Avoidants Ever Feel “Longing” For An Ex?

How Avoidants Leave Open The Option To Reconnect With Exes

Avoidant Friend Zone Or Starting As Friends And Come Back

How Does Being Friends Help Get an Avoidant Ex Back?

7 Steps From Being Friends With An Ex To Getting Back Together

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66 Comments

  1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Greg32

    Yangki, in your article on dismissive avoidant breakup stages you said that dismissive avoidant feel relieved that the relationship ended but can also be feel sad at the same. If the feeling when it was over was relief, is that a feeling that can be overcome or is that just relief from the pressures we were both experiencing at the time?

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

      Both. It can be relief that the relationship is over, and it can also be relief from the pressures a dismissive avoidant was experiencing at the time.

      Almost every ex who ends a relationship where they felt there was too much pressure, felt overwhelmed by a partner’s emotions and needs, or where there was constant problem shooting the relationship feels relief when they finally end it.

      Can the feeling be overcome? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. If the feeling of relief is about having the person gone from their life because of something about them that can’t be changed, this often can’t be overcome because it’s more about the person – something about them that a dismissive avoidant feels can’t be changed. If the feeling of relief is about distance from the pressure or from the constant problem-shooting the relationship, this can be overcome because many relationship problems can be worked out.

  2. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Titan

    I’m new to attachment styles and can’t tell if my ex is a fearful avoidant or dismissive avoidant. Are there behaviors I should look out for to help tell the difference?

  3. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Msfitt

    I find your advice more to what I’m working towards becoming. It sometimes feels a bit like learning a new language because my natural tendency is to go in like a wrecking ball. The calmer, warm, appreciative of where we are and deliberate in my efforts to create a sense of safety seems to help my DA ex feel safe and want to reach out more.

  4. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Lena

    The lightbulb on moment for me reading this is realizing that I’ve never missed any of my exes because I dissociate from all feelings and don’t realize I miss them. I thought I didn’t miss them because I didn’t love them enough and a few of my exes said I didn’t do enough to work on the relationship. Now we’ll never know because I have absolutely no intention of reaching out. If they reach out, we’ll see how that goes. But thank you for helping me understand myself a little more.

  5. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Curious J

    Yangki, you said as a dismissive avoidant once you lost feelings for an ex, the feelings didn’t come back. What made you lose feelings?

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

      I don’t speak for all dismissive avoidants, but for me it was someone constantly violating my boundaries for space and time, trying to “change” me by telling me who and what I should do, and too many arguments, mind games and drama. I usually began losing feelings while still in the relationship and kept losing feelings after the break-up especially if I was still angry about what happened during the relationship. At some point I made myself not feel anything, not even anger – complete detachment.

  6. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Kaavaan

    What if DA ex wants to be friends? I don’t want to just be friends but do you think he can later on change his mind and want to get back together?

      1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Kaavan

        Thanks, I’ve read the article. I will follow your advice but one more question, do I tell him I don’t want to be just friends?

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

          Yes, be open and direct in communication with a dismissive avoidant. As someone who had a dismissive avoidant attachment style, one of the things that I didn’t like about my exes with an anxious attachment style is not being direct about what they needed and trying too hard to please or get on my good side. It was so transparent that they were terrified of losing me and I felt like I was responsible for their happiness. This made me want to avoid them.

          So be direct with what you need but don’t make it sound like a DA is expected to meet you needs and don’t pressure for a response right away. You may not even get a verbal/text response but a response in his actions (mentioned in the article). Also look at the links below the article for more guidance.

  7. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Sanchorff44

    I’m a DA working on secure attachment and only now beginning to understand why I never reached out to an ex after a breakup. I found relationship to be too much effort and closeness made me uncomfortable. I didn’t respond to messages and when someone complained I felt smothered. I saw expecting me to reply as needy and a weakness and would often lead to me ending the relationship without even telling them why. Then I’d feel angry that I still cared for them but not reach out because I thought they hated me, and I didn’t want to put them through it again.

  8. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Mary1971

    Yangki, my DA ex was happy with me for 5 months. He initiated contact and arranged dates and really showed me he cared about me. The relationship ended because I didn’t know how to deal with him needing space and I wonder if maybe I’d given him space we’d have lasted longer. I read all these things about DAs being cold-blooded and narcissists and deep inside it’s hard for me to accept that what we experienced wasn’t real. Am I convincing myself it was real because I want it to be?

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

      If you felt it was real, it was real. For a dismissive avoidant, he did try with you. Don’t let the narrative that dismissive avoidants have no feelings and are all narcissists devalue or invalidate what you felt and had. If you notice, I do not encourage that narrative on my site. I’m more interested in helping different attachment styles REALLY understand each other and try to work together.

      As for what would have happened if you had dealt with a dismissive avoidant wanting space differently, there’s no way to say for sure that you’d have lasted longer. The way you handled him wanting space did contribute to the break-up, but things could have also ended because dismissive avoidants, like the other insecure attachment styles have deep-rooted issues that make relationships hard and likely to end quickly. Take responsibility for the role you played in the break-up, learn and grow from it; but don’t feel responsible for someone being a dismissive avoidant. That’s theirs to fix.

      1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Mary1971

        Thank you so much for replying. Yes, he had a lot of good traits and it was real. It would feel good if he reached out so I know that he did care about me.

        1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Ruby

          My situation is similar to yours. We also broke up because I was anxious when he needed space and didn’t make him feel safe. I’ve been in NC for 11 weeks and coming to terms with the fact that there really isn’t anything you can do for a DA to “miss you”. They don’t have “longing” feelings like us APs or have the reassuring traits of a securely attached person.

  9. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Edvige

    I gave my DA ex space for 3 months since I read avoidants need more than the standard 30 days of no contact. I then reached out but didn’t make any demands and avoided talking about the relationship (past, present and future). I kept texts short and reached out every 4 days but when he was distancing, I pull back and reached out after 2 weeks. He never initiated contact but always responded and engaged with me. I felt that was making progress and was on a slow path to getting back together. But after almost 8 months of this, I reached a point where I couldn’t deny my feelings and needs anymore and told him I still loved him and wanted to get back together. He said he only wanted us to be friends and not hate each other.

    In retrospect and after reading many of your articles and eBook, I should have made it clear from the beginning I wanted him back, accepted his answer and moved on much sooner. I was too afraid to push him away but in the end the result was the same. I’m not angry with him because he never led me to believe we were getting back together, I just feel sad that I wasted a year believing I could earn him back.

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

      I feel your sadness. A year is a long time. All you can do now is pick up the pieces and keep moving forward with what you’ve learned.

      You’ll be ok.

  10. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Colton

    There is a lot to be learned here. Trust me I know. I’m a dismissive working so hard to fix my attachment style. I’ve never missed someone to the point that I want them back. I don’t think I’ve even ever missed an ex at all. Instead, I become more and more detached with time. With my last ex, she asked for a break but after the 1-month break, I felt so detached and numb, and we ended breaking up. She was more hurt that I was cold towards her and showed no emotion than the breakup itself. I felt bad that I was cold towards her and hurt her more, but I also felt like “spare me the drama”. This sums my feelings about relationships in general. My therapist says my detachment from my own emotions makes me unable to deeply connect. I haven’t dated much since the last breakup 4 years ago.

    1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Uno

      @Colton, you described me like you know me. I’ve tried therapy with several different therapists, and all but one ended in disaster. I clicked on this post because I thought it was help for dismissive avoidants. It’s obviously one of those how to get back an avoidant types. I can’t say I learned anything new about myself or how to resolve my childhood traumas but her take on dismissive avoidants compared to others is in line with my experiences. It’s been 6 years since my last breakup and the closest I’ve come to a relationship is a few hookups and 2-3 month shallow superficial connections here and there. I’m generally happy when I’m single because there’s no pressure to feel anything, but it seems that every year that goes by I get more lonely and isolated.

  11. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Sagegrn

    I’m FA and mostly dated APs who I felt had expectations of me to communicate and be more open with my feelings. This caused me anxiety which then triggered deactivation and avoidance behaviors. My current ex was a DA leaning secure, and as crazy as it sounds, his DA tendencies helped me feel more secure because there were no expectations to communicate and be more open with my feelings and no anxiety from him. I don’t know if anyone else has this experience with DA lean secure.

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

      This is very interesting. If you don’t mind, why did you break up? Who broke up with whom?

      1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Sagegrn

        I broke up with him. The relationship was sexless and I urged him to get help but he never did. I finally told him I had needs and was done waiting. He said he loved me but understood I needed more in a relationship. He apologized for the hurt he caused and asked if we could still be friends. I told him I needed a little time and space and after 2 weeks I reached out, and we’ve been friends since. I actually feel staying as friends has made us get closer because I see parts of him he never let me see when we were romantically involved. He’s also recently started therapy.

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

          Good for you!

          I’m interested in how this plays out. Could you please text or email me? Thanks.

  12. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Novelty

    Yangki, do DAs mean it when they say, “contact me if you need anything?” My ex reached out for the first time in 4 months since the breakup. He said he was checking on me because he heard I was sick. After 2 weeks of begging to get back together, I told him I needed space to heal. He replied that he understood. 2 months later, I reached out and he replies to my texts after 5 days – I week. He’s never reached out first until this week. We had a 30-minute text chat and it felt good.

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

      In my experience, most dismissive avoidants mean it when they you say you can contact them, and most respond (and take their time to respond). He’s not reaching out because:

      1) dismissive avoidants generally just never reach out first unless they’re emotionally invested. There are exceptions as some have pointed out.

      2) you asked for space; he may be thinking he’ll be overstepping the boundaries reaching out, or he just doesn’t want to seem like a bother. He is leaving it up to you to reach out if and when you want.

  13. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Whok

    I’m not your typical dismissive avoidant in that I like good conversations and initiate them often if someone is interesting. What turns me of is multiple texts a day wanting to talk about how their day is going or ask about my day.

    1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Marky

      For me it depends on who and how checkins are done. I had an ex who I think was secure and always asked if I was ok if I go silent for days or was not keeping up with the conversation. I didn’t always respond, but I appreciated it. I had another ex who sent annoying texts trying to be emotionally supportive but always made it about her. It was like she wanted to be liked rather than be supportive.

  14. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: StuckFA

    I’m FA lean anxious and I agree that we’re not much different from a preoccupied attachment. For 2 weeks after the breakup (she’s DA and broke up with me), I did everything you’re not supposed to do after the breakup. I love bombed her so much that she wrote me a long angry text saying she didn’t want to block me but I’m forcing her to do it. I haven’t reached out since but everyday I fight the urge to reach out, the only thing that stops me is that she’ll block me. I read that DAs once they block you don’t unblock you. I’ve deleted her number but deliberately not blocked her in case she wants to reach out. I know everyone says to do complete wipe out but I don’t want her to try to reach out and find she’s blocked or she blocks me. I’m stuck in this waiting game.

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

      When things get to this point, all you can do is wait. But waiting shouldn’t be putting your life on hold, she may never reach out. Use this time to work on you and live your life, if and when she reaches out and you still want her back, you’ll be in a better position to attract her back.

  15. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Just Steve

    I’m dismissive avoidant and I generally find no reason to do not contact or block someone unless they’re unbearable or toxic. If there are no hard feelings and we can still be friends, I’ll reach out just like I do with my other friends. But if we can’t be friends, I’ll leave the door open for you to reach out, but I will never do it myself. I may watch your stories just because I’m curious about what you’re up to and because I want to know you’re okay, but there’s no romantic interest there.

    Now, if I still have romantic feelings for you, I’ll reach out within a few days to a couple of weeks of the breakup. My reasons for waiting to reach out are because I don’t want to cause you anymore pain than I already have. So when I’m reaching out, I’m basically checking to see if you hate me and testing the waters. If I get the green light, I’ll reach out again, if not, I will leave you to reach out to me.

    We avoidants are not all the same, but this is how I approach things.

    1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Bekkah

      It’s really interesting to hear it from the side of an avoidant. I’m a secure but sometimes become anxious.

  16. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Hope

    I thought some of you might benefit from my story and not make the same mistake I made. I hope the comment gets posted because it’s too long. Here goes.

    I ended it with my DA ex, I just couldn’t do it anymore. He reached out the next day saying he wanted to check up on me and I told him I was ok, but right now wanted no contact. 35mins later he was at my house, looking do down. We talked a bit about the breakup and he had tears in his eyes and begged me not to end things ‘this way” meaning with no contact. He said he would respect whatever contact I was comfortable with. This was the first time in our 2-year relationship that I’d seen him vulnerable in this way. He also said he’d never felt this way about anyone. I told him it made me angry that he hadn’t said these things when we were together. Long story short, he asked for a hug and held me tight before letting go and walked to his car.

    Two days after the end of 30 day no contact, I reached out. He replied within 5 minutes, “Thank you for letting me know you are much better. However, it’s best to keep things the way they are now. You’re an amazing woman, I’m sure you will find what you’re looking for very soon” and a hug emoji. There’s been no communication for 1.5 years.

    I have questioned my decision to do no contact a million times. Would things have been different? Was him saying he never felt for anyone the way he did for me his way of saying he loved me? Would he continue to show a more vulnerable side of him? Could we have worked?

    I’ll never know because I made the decision to do no contact. Do yourselves a favor, educate yourselves on DA attachment style. I spent the last year doing exactly this and see the mistakes I made but because I was focused on my DA behaviour didn’t see how I was triggering him.

    Yangki, thank you for posting this, if you do. I love your articles and your videos. They’ve really helped me understand DA attachment style so much more.

    1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Emma

      Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story. I have my own experience with a DA quite similar but not to the extent of him telling me he never felt for me the way he felt for any one. That would have made me stick around a little longer 🙂

      Maybe Yangki, can answer this for me. Do DA get anxious, I thought you said they were low anxiety?

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

        All attachment styles feel a certain degree of anxiety. People with a secure attachment style and dismissive avoidants score low on anxiety spectrum, but this doesn’t mean they never feel anxious. The anxiety they feel however is so low as not to course problems in the relationship.

        In this case however, I see more vulnerability than anxiety. And yes, dismissive avoidants are capable of being vulnerable. They just have trained themselves not to allow it. Most dismissive avoidants were discouraged/not allowed as children to show vulnerability (express needs and feelings). Others grew up with parents/caregivers who never showed vulnerability; the dismissive avoidant is modeling that behaviour.

        1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Robert F

          I’m a dismissive avoidant and really don’t even think about my partner when they’re away or when I need space to clear my mind which is quite often (awful, I admit). I have a very demanding career and I get stressed and need to be alone to decompress. I don’t get anxious because I’m thinking about other things. But when I feel connected and my partner stops responding for some reason, I feel anxiety. I think something may be wrong that I haven’t been aware of. This is something quite recent and I don’t like when it happens.

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

            I think what you feel is vulnerability. It can feel scary especially at first, but a little anxiety is not a sign something is wrong with you, or wrong with the situation. It’s actually a healthy human response to uncertainty.

            I suggest letting yourself feel vulnerable but not act on it. With time, it’ll start to feel “normal” to be vulnerable.

  17. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Samlee

    I thought my boyfriend of 3 years was a dismissive avoidant, but it turns out he’s secure. I found this out in therapy. The more my therapist and I looked at my behaviours and the reasons we fought a lot, the more I realized that I caused many of the issues in our relationship because of my anxiety. For instance, he repeatedly told me to find my own friends and hobbies, and not always expect him to be my everything. I thought he never cared and was pulling away. This started the protest behavior and stuff, which made things worse. I’m not saying my ex didn’t play a role in things ending the way they did, secures have issues too.

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

      Good for you for realizing you needed to work on your attachment anxiety. My respect!

      You’ll be surprised (or not) to know that you’re not alone who’s made this assumption. I’ve worked with anxious and fearful avoidant clients who also came to realize the ex they thought was a dismissive avoidant, was actually more secure than they realized.

      Dismissive avoidants and securely attached share some common traits due to both attachment styles having low anxiety and a positive self-view.

      And yes, some secures have issues too. Some securely attached may have started with an insecure attachment style and earned their secure attachment through self-work, therapy or in relationships with someone secure. Some of the triggers from attachment trauma may still be present but dormant and get triggered in some situations and relationships.

  18. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Chris P

    I think too many people are confused about us because they forget that we dismissive avoidants have feelings just like everyone. We just hide them and ignore them better because we have many years of experience doing so. Our deactivation comes from a place of trauma build-up that makes it difficult for us to express ourselves and trust others to meet our own needs.

    Like everyone else we want love and affection (we never got), but we try our hardest to not let anyone know how badly we want it. We convinced ourselves that relationships, emotional intimacy, hugging and cuddling and all that stuff isn’t important, and even if it is, it’s not for people like us.

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

      I talk to dismissive avoidants, and they say exactly what you expressed here: “We want love and affection just like everyone else”. It’s good for others to hear directly from a dismissive avoidant. Thank you.

  19. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Tom C

    I haven’t reached to my DA ex since the breakup 5 months ago but have been thinking about it. I tell myself her not responding wouldn’t bother me but honestly it would probably make me feel worse. I don’t know if I want to open myself up to that.

    1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Dribrah

      Same here. Dumped by DA and no contact for 3 months. Every day I find myself leaning towards ‘why not just do it?’ What’s the worst that can happen? She doesn’t respond, I move on. At this point I don’t think she’ll ever contact me.

  20. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Kayleen

    I’m a dismissive avoidant attachment and clicked on this looking for advice on how to get back with my ex with a secure attachment style. We were friends for 2 yrs before I realized I was in love with him and were together for 2 happiest yrs of my life! The relationship ended because I didn’t want to have kids. Tbh, I didn’t think I’d ever meet anyone I want to have kids with and every relationship I ever had, I said I didn’t want to have kids. I know now that I want kids with him, but he thinks I’m just saying this to get him back. I’ve never before tried to get back with an ex but I’ll go to the ends of the world to get the love of my life back. Any advice on how someone with a secure attachment style handles breakups and how to get them back?

  21. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Futurefocused

    This question is for Yangki. I’ve read that dismissive avoidants take longer to begin processing the breakup, is this true in your experience working with them?

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

      Not all dismissive avoidants are the same, but generally yes. They take much longer to start processing their feelings. That’s why they seem to handle break-ups much better than individuals with an anxious attachment style. They have an unmatched ability to compartmentalize their feelings and emotions and function as if the breakup never happened.

      The pain of a breakup hits some of them much later, but only if they had emotionally invested in the relationship. But since dismissive avoidants generally don’t emotionally invest in relationships and their relationships end too quickly before they get emotionally invested, they may never process the break-up at all.

      1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Futurefocused

        So what you’re saying is if you leave them alone for longer and reach out they will have processed their feelings and decide if they want you back or not?

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

          No, that’s not what I’m saying. Leaving them alone has little to do with whether or not a dismissive avoidant will begin processing their feelings or even process them. You can’t manipulate them like that. Dismissive avoidants pride themselves in being their own person not influenced by others.

          In my experience, sometimes “leaving them alone” for an extended period of time actually helps them completely detach from all feelings about an ex, the relationship, and the break-up.

          People with an anxious preoccupied attachment style and fearful avoidant attachment style only pretend to “erase” an ex using no contact. Dismissive avoidants can actually emotionally “erase” all existence of an ex. They pack you away like all the other emotions and traumatic experiences they refuse to deal with.

          1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Futurefocused

            So why do they insist on staying friends after the breakup? Mine begged me to reconsider being friends after I told her I didn’t want to stay friends because I still was in love with her.

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

              I’ve wondered about that myself, and discussed it with some of my dismissive avoidant clients, who as you pointed out are friends with almost all their exes.

              Perhaps… this is only my theory; it’s their way of consciously stopping themselves from fully detaching. They can compartmentalize their feelings and emotions but still be able to access them when they talk to an ex or see them. Just a theory of mine…

              1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Futurefocused

                Hmmm. Food for thought!?
                Thank you for answering my questions. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  22. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Emily29

    My dismissive ex and I got back together after almost a year of being friends with benefits. We’ve been together for almost 14 months and thanks to therapy, he’s better at communicating when he needs space, and this helps with my anxiety. The intimacy however seems to have gone from bad to worse.

    When we were friends with benefits, we had spar of the moment sex. He’d call me up or I’d call him and we’d get on with it. Now that we spend more time together, he just doesn’t have the desire for sex. We’ve arranged to go to sex therapy as a couple, as a last-ditch effort.

    I love him with all my heart, but I don’t want a friends with benefits situation for the rest of my life. I want to settle down and have a family, but I don’t want a sexless marriage.

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

      I hear you. So much of the advice focuses on giving an avoidant space (I’m guilty of it myself), but what is really at the core of a dismissive attachment style is a problem with intimacy (emotional, physical, and sexual). The friends with benefits situation worked because there was “no risk” to him.

      Should You Be Friends With Benefits With An Avoidant Ex?

      I hope that therapy helps you stay together and have the family you want. If it doesn’t improve anything, don’t feel bad for wanting a marriage with sex. As you grow older, you realize that sometimes the old adage “love is not enough” is true. You can love someone but if they can’t meet your core needs, love won’t be enough.

  23. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Barb

    My ex is dismissive avoidant and I miss him so much it’s hard to explain. Yes, he’s distant at times, but our connection is undeniable strong, and this is mutual. I can’t imagine not having him in my life.

    We’re friends right now and have had several conversations about our dynamic and he’s said he needs to express his feelings better and open up more. But he still will not go to therapy.

    I’m in therapy and working on my anxious attachment issues. I believe that if I’m more secure I can handle his distancing better.

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

      Dismissive avoidants are stubbornly self reliant, and often look at therapy as “depending on someone”. I know because I get a lot of “I don’t want to depend on you” from many of my dismissive avoidant clients. It’s almost like they’re embarrassed that they’re asking for help.

      This doesn’t mean you should not “gently” encourage him to seek help. In the meantime, you’re right, your best chance at making a relationship work is to work on becoming secure.

  24. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: steph

    I’m a dismissive avoidant currently in therapy to work on my deep seated issues. I was dumped by a securely attached ex after a little over a year relationship. I’ve never contacted an ex after w broke up but lately, I catch myself thinking about my ex more than I’d like to. Through therapy, I’m realizing that she loved me but I was not healthy enough to recognize or receive the love she showed me. I’ve wanted to reach out to her and thank her for pushing me to go to therapy and also tell her what I’ve learned about myself and about us. My therapist says it’s ok to reach out and it might actually help me learn vulnerability. But here is the thing, I’m not afraid of her rejection, I’m more concerned that reaching out now, 8 months after the breakup is not fair to her. I’ll be reminding her of the hurt I caused her and I don’t want to do that. What do you think Yangki, should I reach out?

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

      It takes lots of courage to look at oneself and say, “I need to change” and actually do the change. My respect!

      Yes. Reach out. I know 8 months is a long time, but because she’s securely attached, she will most likely respond and hear you out even if she’s reminded of the hurt, has moved on or doesn’t want you back. Securely attached are ‘’generous” and resilient like that

      You never know… it may turn out to be the first step to something more. Please come back here and let us know what happens either way….

      1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Steph

        She responded and was happy that I’m therapy and offered to help any way she can. I’ve been reaching out with updates of my healing journey, and we had one 4-hour phone call. I’m ok with us being friends for now. Therapy brought up a lot of attachment trauma and I need to work through it before I can be good for her or anyone.

        Thank you for encouraging me to reach out and for all your wonderful articles and videos. I’ll definitely be reaching out at some point for 1-on-1 coaching when I’m ready to try to get her back.

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