Do Fearful Avoidant Exes Secretly Want You To Chase Them?

Do avoidants want to be chased? No, dismissive avoidants don’t like to be chased but yes, fearful avoidant exes secretly want to be chased. And when you don’t chase or stop chasing a fearful avoidant, a fearful avoidant will chase you and come back. But only to get you emotionally invested then they disappear and want you to chase them again.

To understand why fearful avoidants secretly want you to chase them, it’s important to understand why fearful avoidants feel the need to be chased.

A fearful avoidant ex knows they love you, they just don’t know if you love them or can love them. It’s instilled in them that they are not good enough. Deep in their core they believe nobody can love them or want them. All the games fearful avoidants play stem from their fear that they are not good enough to be loved.

You may not see this constant doubting your love in the beginning of a relationship. Most relationships with a fearful avoidant ex start as:

  • Secure – openly express love over time, seeking closeness and spending time together, confident and relaxed, or
  • Anxious – right away express undying love and commitment, call every day and all the time, feel slighted when the you don’t want to spend time together and generally act needy and clingy, or
  • Avoidant – approach the relationship cautiously often playing hard-to-get and “make-you-miss-me” mind games.

A fearful avoidant ex’s fear of getting close as a relationship gets serious

As the relationship progresses and gets serious, they start to verbally or through actions show fear that the relationship might not work. They constantly question:

  • How they feel (i.e. I don’t feel how I am supposed to feel)
  • The person they are with (i.e. I don’t think you love me as much as I love you.)
  • The relationship (i.e. We have too many problems. We’re incompatible/don’t want the same things. The relationship is too much work it shouldn’t be this hard) etc.

If they lean anxious, they become more needy and clingy. If they lean avoidant they escalate playing hard-to-get and “make-you-miss-me” mind games. Most of the time, they swing from needy and clingy (pull) to indifferent and distant (push).

Even when you reassure them that you love them, they doubt your love for them. They’re always thinking, how much do you really love me, and for how long will you love me.

Avoidant exes manipulate space to see if you will miss them and chase them

Dismissive avoidants mostly use space to control closeness and keep you at a distance. They are rate high on attachment which means that they don’t form strong attachments or bonds with someone they’re in a relationship with. It also means they avoid spending time and independence over relationships.

They also score low on attachment anxiety which means that they don’t:

  • Get anxious when are not around, leave or break-up with them
  • Want you to miss them because then it means you formed an attachment to them.
  • Play mind games or respond to mind games because it interfere with their strong need for independence.

Fearful avoidants also score high on attachment avoidance and use space to control closeness. But they also score high on anxiety and get anxious when you are not around, leave or break-up with them. This is why a fearful avoidant ex keeps coming back. The part of them that formed an attachment with you makes them miss you.

And because being away from you makes them miss you, they also believe that them being away from you, will make you miss them. This is why they play “miss-me” mind games.

These top 5 games are good examples that what fearful avoidant exes secretly do to get you to chase them; and what often happens when you stop chasing an avoidant.

1. Playing hard to get 

Dismissive avoidant exes are hard to get, period. No mind game playing there. This is not to say they are not manipulative, because they are. For example, they use texting and  physical intimacy to control and manipulate how close you can get to them. But this is more about keeping you at a distance than playing games.

Anxious preoccupied and fearful avoidant attachment styles play mind games the most. They play hard to get mostly in the beginning of the relationship to see how much you love them; and for how long. But also because fearful avoidants secretly want you to chase them.

Unlike dismissive avoidants who don’t want you to chase them; fearful avoidants want you to chase them. They are mostly insecure about who they are and chasing them makes them feel that you want them more than they want you. The more you chase them, the more they feel that you love them more than they love you. And to a fearful avoidant this is a good thing. Remember, it’s instilled in them that they are not good enough, and nobody can love them or want them. Here you are chasing them, that a high for a fearful avoidant.

Sometimes it can even become an addiction. A fearful avoidant ex distances, you chase them, and they feel loved. Then after a while, they don’t feel loved again; and their drug of choice… “chase me”.

2. Pulling away and immediately come back 

Some fearful avoidant exes will ask for space when it looks like you are getting closer. But most fearful avoidants pull away when they don’t feel loved and/or the relationship is not doing too well. For instance:

  • A conversation doesn’t go too well or soon after a disagreement.
  • Something happened that made them feel you’re not prioritizing them in your life
  • They asked for something and you said no (or not now)
  • Something you said or did made them jealous

They get away from the situation to feel safe, but also to see if you will miss them; and chase them. If you miss them and reach out, it means you love them; and/or love them more than they love you. Most of them ask for space but keep coming back before the time they asked for. For example, they’ll say a week, but reach out only after a few days.

The whole relationship with a fearful avoidant is constant tests of how much you love them and for how long. This is all because fearful avoidant exes secretly want you to chase them.

3. No contact 

One of a fearful avoidant ex’s hoops you will jump through to get them back is “no contact”. They can’t ask for space to see if you will miss them; you’re broken up. So they do “no contact”.

It’s just another mind game a fearful avoidant ex is playing to see if you miss them and love them. They want you to contact them, so that they can ignore you to somehow prove their worth. If you contact them while they’re in no contact, it means you miss them. “No contact worked!”, they say. You are not even back together, but that is besides the point. The goals of no contact was to make you miss them, and contact them. The fact that you reached out first means “no contact worked!”. It made you miss them and proved that you still have feelings for them.

If you contact them many times during no contact, it means you love them more than they love you. Most fearful avoidant want to respond but the high of you missing them is too much to resist. But if you don’t contact them at all; it means you don’t love and they must not be good enough to be missed.

Most fearful avoidants say, “I am doing no contact to heal and detach from my ex” or move on. But after 30 days or whatever time the rule is, they reach out to the ex they supposedly detached from. When their ex doesn’t respond or they don’t get a positive response, they go back to doing no contact. I know of fearful avoidants who did 3- 10 intervals of 30 days no contact. They honestly believe that making someone miss you is how you get someone to love you.

4. Provoking jealousy 

Studies show that preoccupied and fearful avoidant attachment styles are the most likely to feel jealous; and to consider rivals as more threatening. They are also the most likely to try to or provoke jealousy on purpose.
The purpose is to get your attention and test your love for them. A Fearful avoidant will:

  • Ignore you to make you wonder that they’re doing/what’s going on
  • Openly flirt with other people more so on social media than in real life
  • Lie about how someone else is interested in them to make you think they have many admirers
  • Post on social media how well they are doing without you etc.

If you feel jealous, then you must love them. Act indifferent, you don’t care about them.

If they lean anxious, as soon as it looks like you are losing interest or moving on they become anxious and start chasing you. Yes, an avoidant will chase you when you stop chasing an avoidant or refuse to chase them. If they lean avoidant they will cut you off completely. They don’t want to be friends, don’t want to hear from you and don’t want to know anything about you.

5. Breaking up for any reason

Most fearful avoidant exes break-up for the same reason as other attachment styles: Poor communication, unmet needs, no commitment, falling out of love etc. But there is another reason individuals with attachment anxiety; anxious preoccupied and fearful avoidants break-up with several times and keep coming back.

A fearful avoidant ex will break up with you to see if you will chase them, fight for them. This is where you see that fearful avoidants are truly the most conflicted and confused of all attachment styles. If you chase them and fight for them, their natural instinct is to play hard to get. They may not respond to your first text, but if you send a second or third, a fearful avoidant is likely to respond. They may even play this game a few times; disappearing and reappearing several times before they finally come back.

What happens when you stop chasing a fearful avoidant ex (or don’t chase them at all)?

What happens when you stop chasing an avoidant or refuse to chase them is that a fearful avoidant will chase you if they lean anxious. But they’ll not approach you directly. They may like your Instagram photos and read your stories, but not contact you directly. The part of them that wants connection is liking your photos and reading your stories. The part of them that fears rejection is stopping them from directly contacting you.

If you don’t chase or if you stop chasing a fearful avoidant leaning avoidant, they’ll likely never contact you. They play hard to get, do things to try to make you jealous, and do no contact.

Is there even a chance of a healthy relationship with a fearful avoidant ex?

Good question. Some people find a relationship with fearful avoidant ex is too much work. It’s too difficult, too complicated, too stressful, too painful and/or toxic. Talk about self-fulfilling prophesy!

But that’s not to say a relationship with a fearful avoidant ex can’t work. It can, if you can provide the safety and security they need to feel you truly love them and will love them for a long time.


How A Fearful Avoidant Ex Comes Back – A Detailed Analysis

Why Do Avoidant Exes Come Back When You Stop Pursuing Them?

How An Avoidant Ex Reacts When You Reach Out After No Contact

Did Your Fearful Avoidant Ex Self Sabotage The Relationship?

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16 replies on “Do Fearful Avoidant Exes Secretly Want You To Chase Them?”
  1. says: Brett

    My FA ex the week after the breakup started posting all over social media how she’s moving on and learning to love herself and stuff. This went on for like 3 weeks, then she stopped posting and now she’s deleted all her social media.

  2. says: Lia

    I’m going through FA testing behavior right now. He reaches out and when I reply, I’m left on read for days until I reach out again, then he responds. Was super anxious after the breakup and reached out every few hours, then he pulled back and went avoidant for 5 weeks. He commented on my IG story , I replied and were messaging every day for hours. I felt we were getting close again then one day he left me on read. I didn’t reach out again and he stopped following my stories for 5 days, then started following again. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, reach out or not reach out. He did say a few weeks after the breakup he wants me to chase him!

  3. says: Pinera

    I’m FA and I get “too close”, freak out, end it, then I chase them and draw them back in, get “too close”, freak out etc. This was fun when I was younger, but at 31, it drives me crazy but I don’t know how to stop it.

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      Have you tried asking for space for a specific number of days rather than end it? This way you can always come back and not have to chase someone to draw them back in. Try to break the pattern.

      Long term though, you need serious self-work or therapy to address the root cause of this behaviour.

    2. says: Jayson

      I can relate to having freakouts especially after spending an amount of time together. I start to feel like something is wrong because it felt good and maybe I’d expect it again and again and push them away, or next time it would not be as good or maybe I acted clingy. These thoughts crowd my mind until I feel the need to create distance or send a text ending things. I honestly felt like I was crazy for these contradictory thoughts and feelings. Finding about attachment styles is bittersweet. On one hand it’s a huge relief to recognize the patterns and what triggers it, and on the ther hand, it makes me really sad to how I was making my partner feel and how I was self-sabotaging my own happiness.

  4. says: Dorian

    I don’t like that I’m a fearful avoidant because I need constant reassurance that you still care. When you reach out just check in or ask me if I’m okay, it shows you care. I may not reply but I appreciate it. But I don’t also want it to be too much and suffocating.

    If you ignore me it makes me feel that that I was right, and you never cared and I’m worthy of your time. It’s a constant struggle for me to trust someone truly cares about me even when their words and actions show they do.

    1. says: Katey

      I apologize if these seem like dumb questions. I’m not trying to be disrespectful of your feelings, I’m just trying to understand FA attachment style.

      1. Do you think about someone when you are distant and what do you think about?
      2. What do you tell yourself when you don’t reply?

      1. says: Dorian

        1. I think about them constantly if I have feelings for them. I think about what they’re doing, who they’re talking to, if they’re thinking of me and all that stuff. I also think about the things they did in the relationship that hurt me, sometimes I think about these more I think about the good stuff. I guess it’s my way of justifying why I pushed them away. But mostly, I distract myself so that I don’t have to think of them.

        2. It depends. If I’m feeling neglected and ignored, I tell myself they have to prove to me that they truly care. I also don’t reply because I don’t want them to know I’m thinking of them and not make any effort.

  5. says: Biani

    I am FA working on secure and I can say I loved the chase especially in the beginning when there’s push/pull tension and things are exciting. But as soon as someone is interested in me or I am interested in them, I don’t like the chase anymore. It seems that I got their attention and interest and I lost interest all together. I start to dream about chasing them again and push them away. I notice now as I move towards secure that the pushing/pulling is not exciting to me anymore. I like things straight forward with communication and being vulnerable.

  6. says: James J

    I pulled away (fearful avoidant), she acted very anxious in a bad way, I broke up with her. She obsessively texted me for two weeks, I ignored her. She stopped texting. She reaches out again two months later and wants to meet. I ignored her for a month. She reaches out again wanting to meet. I agree. We meet, I realized I still have feelings for her. All of a sudden roles have reversed, and I’m the one reaching out and she’s ignoring me. I ask to meet, and she agreed and basically told me she needed space to reflect on our relationship and what she wants. No contact for 1 week and I’m more anxious than I’ve ever been.

  7. says: Jovi R

    I thought I was over my fearful avoidant ex. We broke up 6 months ago and I hadn’t reached to her in all this time. Then I ran into her and all my feelings for her came flooding back. We had a brief conversation and I tried to act emotionally distant. At the end she said, we should catch up sometime and said she’d text me. That was a month ago and she’s not texted me.

    Do you think she’ll reach out or does she want me to chase her? Should I reach out?

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      If she didn’t reach out in 6 months, I doubt she’ll reach out. There is no indication that she wants you to chase her. It’s more likely she said she’d text you to make the encounter less awkward or said it out of politeness.

      You can reach out to her if that’ll make you feel that you tried; but don’t expect her to respond. If she responds, don’t get too excited. Take things very slow.

  8. says: Ed

    I’m Fearful Avoidant and I get into my own head and I’m probably also testing partners to see if they’ll chase me. Having been disappointed so many times, I try to avoid disappointment from people who can potentially do it.

  9. says: Maya

    I’m secure and I find the fearful avoidant games extremely frustrating. I can take a little bit of playful flirting but trying to make me interested, miss them or chase them is pointless.

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