This explains why an ex with a securely attachment style or healthy attachment reaches out after a break-up, and why no contact does not work with people with a securely attached. It also explains why an ex with a secure attachment style may not want to come back.
How does someone with a securely attachment style handle a break-up?
How someone with a securely attachment style handles a break-up is explained by research. Studies on attachment styles and break-ups show that securely attached break-ups are more likely to be amicable. An amicable breakup also correlates with:
- Greater willingness to maintain contact or reach out after a break-up
- Less apprehension about seeing the ex-partner again
- Greater willingness to get back together again
- Less blaming the ex-partner
- Lower sense of guilt compared to insecurely attached
- Greater willingness to remain friends
- Readiness to start dating again
A combination of all these makes a securely attached ex more likely to reach out after the break-up.
Why people with a secure attachment style are available and responsive after a break-up
When a relationship ends, a securely attached ex will reach out because people with a healthy attachment style in general do not perceive their ex as someone who they need to protect themselves from. They may be distressed by the break-up and be concerned that an ex may react in a hurtful way, but they hold no negative feelings towards an ex. They instead respond with empathy and concern for an ex.
And because people with a secure attachment style are able to regulate their emotions, they see no need to disconnect or distance from someone who may need them to show they still care about them even though the romantic relationship has ended.
Unlike anxious preoccupied who after a break-up engage in protest behaviours that push their ex further; and dismissive avoidants and fearful avoidants who act defensively, securely attached individuals try to work through the break-up as generously as possible.
If for some reason they need to create some distance after a breakup, a securely attached will communicate their needs directly and in a relationship building way; (more: “No Contact” Vs. A “Cool Off” Period After A Break-Up)
If you want space, a securely attached ex will respect your boundaries
Securely attached individuals are capable of allowing you space to heal if that’s what you need. All you have to do is tell them what they need to do (if anything) to make you feel safe and secure. They are secure themselves, they understand boundaries and respect other people’s boundaries.
If you don’t want to get back together that’s okay. A securely attached ex will hurt and miss you; but they are not going to try to ‘make you miss them”. They’re way too secure for that.
If you still want them in your life and want to stay in contact, no problem. Securely attached people neither fear break-up emotions, nor avoid them. They deal with them head on and in a healthy way..
If you change your mind and decide you want to try things again; a securely attached person’s attitude is let’s try to make it work. Break-ups happen all the time and exes get back together all the time. If it works out great, if it doesn’t well, it wasn’t meant to be. At least we both tried.
Will no contact work with a securely attached ex?
You may have read from other get back your ex coaches that no contact works on all attachment styles. But before you cut off contact with your securely attached ex hoping that they’ll miss you or starting “longing” for you and want you back, you need to learn a few things that make an ex with a secure attachment style different from others with insecure attachment styles; and why no contact will not work on a securely attached ex.
According to research published Researchers interested in the psychological underpinnings of making yourself seem more desirable by withholding obvious signs of romantic interest published a study in the journal of Personality and Individual Differences which shows that “If you’re secure about yourself and about others loving you, you’re less likely to get involved in such game-playing — and you’re not playing hard-to-get or pursuing people that are playing hard-to-get. But if you’re insecure you’re more likely to use these strategies, playing and pursuing, and it’s serving a role for both sides.” (Omri Gillath, professor of psychology at the University of Kansas)
So before you go no contact on an ex with a secure attachment style, understand that it will not work on an ex with a secure attachment style for 3 reasons.
1) Healthy attachment and secure-base script
No contact will not work on a securely attached ex because they don’t react to separation (or being ignored) in same as someone who feels separation anxiety or has fear of abandonment .
According to attachment theory, people with a secure attachment style grew up with a foundation based on a feeling of safety, love, self-worth and trust. They have no difficulty forming relationships and have relatively happy, satisfying and lasting relationships. When separated from someone they love and care about, securely attached exes experience pain and heartache but are able to regulate their emotions and feelings in a healthy way. Because they had caregivers who were consistently available and responsive without being overprotective, they developed a secure-base script that reads something like:
“When I feel vulnerable [alone, weak, scared, helpless etc.] I can go to my secure base; they will be available and responsive; I will feel better and can then go on with my day knowing that help [support, understanding, encouragement, validation etc.]; will be available when I need it”.
This secure-base scripts insulates securely attached them from feeling anxious, abandoned, lost or emotionally devastated after a break-up. After a break-up they turn to loved ones including parents and friends for secure-base support.
2) A high self concept and sense of self-worth
A high self concept and sense of self-worth makes securely attached individuals confident that they can provide the closeness and reassurance that someone with attachment anxiety needs; and the space avoidants need. This is another reason why securely attached exes don’t go no contact after the break-up. They are confident that they can deal with their emotions and their ex’s emotions in a healthy and constructive way.
And because securely attached people are confident of their ability to deal with their emotions, a securely attached ex is not afraid or worried about reaching out after a break-up. If you don’t respond, they’ll not take it personally. A secure ex may even become concerned about your well-being and reach out again.
3) Positive view of relationship partners
No contact also does not work with people with a secure attachment style because they do not see a break-up as an end to any kind of possible relationship. This is largely because their brains don’t processes the experience as a threat, or as something traumatic. To them, breakups happen all the time; and an ex has a right to walk away from a relationship they don’t want to be in anymore. Someone with a secure attachment style may not agree with an ex’s reasons for breaking up or the manner in which they did it; but they accept that’s their ex’s right.
People with a secure attachment style also do not see an ex as someone they need to protect themselves from. They have no problem staying in contact with an ex because securely attached individuals generally believe that most people have good intentions; and that any negative behaviours their partner (or ex) may display are temporary and reversible. Only when there is clear evidence that their ex is acting with malicious intent; or is purposefully being hurtful do people with secure attachment attribute bad intentions to an ex; and act to protect themselves.
How do you make someone with a secure attachment style miss you?
You can’t make a secure ex miss you. If an ex with a secure attachment style misses you, it’s not because you did anything to make them miss you. The simply miss you. And if they miss you, a securely attached ex will reach out and tell you they miss you. You don’t have to wonder if they miss you or not; they’ll tell you they miss you.
Secure attachment strategy of attracting back an ex is characterized by open, honest and empathetic communication; and negotiation both of your needs without fear of one pushing the other away.
When you cut off all contact and block all access to communication, someone with a securely attached ex sees it as your inability to negotiate your needs and desire in a healthy and constructive way.
They also see cutting off contact as you being purposefully hurtful, especially if they asked you to stay in contact. You dumped them, they’ve accepted the break-up. They are in control of their emotions; and if you want space after the break-up, they will give it to you. So what’s the purpose of ‘no contact’ other an attempt to inflict emotional pain or emotionally manipulate them. People with a secure attachment style really don’t like emotional manipulation.
A securely attached ex is more willing to get back together
Because securely attached exes are less apprehensive about seeing their ex again; and more willing to remain friends after a break-up; they are also more willing to get back together. But a securely attached ex will not reach out after a break-up or want to get back together with someone who is:
- Is intentionally hurtful and/or toxic.
- Lacks enough insight to know that people have a right to break-up with someone they don’t love or don’t want to be with anymore.
- Does not have enough self-awareness to see that they played a role in the relationship ending.
- Lacks the tools and skills to communicate their attachment-related emotions and needs clearly and openly.
- Is so insecure that they feel they need to resort to mind games to make someone miss them or want them back.