Are you thinking of seeing other people or dating someone else even as you try to get back with your fearful avoidant ex but wonder how a fearful avoidant ex will feels about you seeing other people or dating someone else, or will act when they feel jealous?
First of all, and I want to make it clear, the decision to date someone else while still trying to attract back your avoidant ex is entirely up to you. If you are not ready to start seeing other people, you’re not ready. If you feel you should date other people, then date other people. It’s not my place to make major decisions about your life for you, That’s taking away your power over your life. But it’s my job to help you make informed decisions.
My personal opinion and experience as a coach is that there is nothing unhealthy about seeing other people while trying to get back with your ex. It’s not like you are cheating because technically you’re single, it’s not like you’re cheating. Will it take focus away from trying to get back with your ex? Yes, it will. But because it takes so long to get back together with most avoidants sometimes months or years, a little focus away from trying to get back with an avoidant ex may actually help take off the pressure off you and off your avoidant ex. It’s unrealistic for your avoidant ex to expect you wait for months even years for them to make a decision as to whether they want you back or not.
But how will seeing someone else while trying to get back with a fearful avoidant ex affect your chances?
When a fearful avoidant ex finds out that you’re seeing other people or dating someone new, they’ll initially feel more anxious than avoidant.
Even if they are classified as avoidants, fearful avoidants want to feel wanted and valued and for someone to show them that they love them and want them (and even chase them). Even though this makes them sometimes want to pull away, at least they feel that someone loves (loved) them and wants to be with them. This is important for fearful avoidants who believe that they’re not worthy of love and sooner or later people leave, or sooner or later they (FA) will lose interest and push someone away.
Finding out that you are seeing other people or dating someone new triggers their own feelings of being not good enough or unworthy of love. If they lean more anxious they may react with jealousy behaviour and even obsess about the fact that you are seeing someone else. But they will not directly communicate their feelings or what they think about you seeing other people or dating someone new because that’s too vulnerable. Some fearful avoidant exes even completely ignore the news, but privately, it’s all they think about.
Because they’re anxious side is hyperactivated, you’ll notice increase in contact and more engagement and connection. Some fearful avoidants even become consumed with trying to make you choose them over the new person. However, the hyperactivated reaction to you seeing other people or dating someone new doesn’t mean a fearful avoidant now completely trusts you and wants to get back together, or trusts that they will not lose interest in you as soon as the other person is removed from the picture.
Most fearful avoidant exes remain conflicted and confused about what they want, and afraid that getting back together might not be the right thing to do. The more they think about you seeing other people or dating someone new and the longer your new relationship continues, the more they feel rejected and abandonment. They also obsess over you treating the new person better than you treated them, and this brings up all the negative feelings they have about the relationship. Slowly you see them start to deactivate and even completely detach – and move on.
If your fearful avoidant ex leans more avoidant you, hasn’t been initiating contact or showing that they’re emotionally invested, or if they’re also seeing someone else, they may create even more distance as they deactivate and detach from you. And depending on previous relationship experiences, overall mental health (i.e. struggle with depression) and other life stressors, a fearful avoidant ex may also react more avoidant than anxious when you start seeing other people or dating someone new (see: What Happens When An Avoidant Ex Gets Jealous?).
It’s hard to predict how a fearful avoidant they might react to you seeing someone new
Now you know how a fearful avoidant ex feels about you seeing other people, the decision to start dating someone else should be one you make carefully because things can go either way. And with fearful avoidants, because of their disorganized attachment, it’s hard to predict with accuracy how they might respond or react to you seeing other people or dating someone new.
Some fearful avoidants after deactivating may reach out again a few weeks or months later or if they find out that your new relationship ended, but they’ll come back more fearful avoidant than before, because now they have confirmation that you are capable of easily replacing them. But the fact that they reached out again is comforting. It’s a sign that their feelings for you are likely stronger than their fear of rejection and abandonment. They have proof that you think there is someone else out there more worthy of your love, but they are still willing to take the risk of you again choosing someone else over them.
So if your decision to start seeing other people or dating someone else is because the process of trying to get back together with a fearful avoidant is taking too long, do it with the understanding that it may affect your chances, but you are willing to take that risk because you can no longer keep putting your life on hold waiting for them to decide whether they want you back or not.
If your fearful avoidant ex asks if you’re seeing someone new or going out on dates and you are, be honest and tell them you started going out on dates but what you really want is to get back together. You don’t want to rush them into making a decision and are going on dates not because you’re looking for someone else, but because it helps you not feel alone and undesirable.
It’s better to be honest with an avoidant and let them process the information in their own time and pace, than for a fearful avoidant to find out that you’ve been lying and confirm that it was only a matter of time before you did something to disappoint them or prove that you can’t be trusted.
Don’t apologize for seeing other people because you are not doing anything to purposefully hurt them. If they say, but they’re not going out on dates or indicate that they’d rather you don’t either, ask directly if it bothers them that you are seeing other people and if it does, you won’t do it. Then tell them that if they start seeing someone else that you hope they’ll be as honest and open about it with you.
The goal here is to make your fearful avoidant ex feel safe, but also let them know that you’re not overly dependent on them. You make your own decisions but also want to protect the connection you have. Remember, avoidants in general value independence and personal responsibility.
Going out on dates or seeing someone else to make a fearful avoidant jealous is making them feel unsafe
But if you are thinking of seeing other people just to make a fearful avoidant ex jealous or miss you, there is a high chance that it will backfire. According to research (Marazziti, et al 2010) individuals with the preoccupied and fearful avoidant attachment styles more often become jealous and consider rivals as more threatening; and individuals with the preoccupied and fearful avoidants are also more likely to try to provoke jealousy in a partner or ex.
Your fearful avoidant ex may also start seeing other people and even start dating someone new just to get even, and the person you will hurt most is you. Making your ex anxious and jealous may seem like fun in the moment, but seeing that you moved on so quickly, will make your fearful avoidant ex think the relationship didn’t mean much to you. They may decide that it’s best for them to move on as well; and that’s the last thing you want.
Let’s just say, your fearful avoidant ex feels rejected and abandoned and they come back; they didn’t come back because they want to be with you, they came back because they felt threatened by your “rebound relationship”. Because of this, you may find yourselves having arguments and fights about the fake rebound relationship.
The probability of the two of you breaking up again as soon as your ex thinks the rebound man or woman is out of the picture is also very high unless of course you keep pretending to be seeing other people to keep your ex’s insecurity level high. And what kind of relationship is that?
Wouldn’t it be really wonderful to know that someone came back because they love you enough to want to be with you and no one else? That it was love that brought them back and not a dirty trick?
Again, if you feel that you need to start seeing other people or dating someone else while trying to get back your fearful avoidant ex, do it knowing very well that there is a chance that it could hurt your chances short-term and long-term, but you are making a choice to risk your chances because it is what you need to do while trying to attract back your ex.