How Long Should I Wait To Check-in On My Avoidant Ex?

Question: How long should I wait to check-in on my avoidant ex?

I was following your advice on balancing giving my fearful avoidant ex space but also meeting his need for connection. I felt I finally had some momentum, and we were actually in a better place since the breakup. He was responding faster, and our text conversation were longer and more engaged. He even reached out a couple of times. But two weeks ago, he got laid of his job. He didn’t tell me he had been let go, he just went off grid. Our pattern had settled to every 2 -3 days contact but because he had not responded to my text, I waited 5 days to check in. He responded and told me about his job and said he might be depressed. I reached out again after 3 days just to check in on how he was doing but it took him 2 days to respond. Usually, he responds immediately or within a few hours.

My question to you is, should I keep reaching out every 2-3 days like I was doing before, or should I now reach out every 5 days since he obviously needs space. I want to show him that I care and I’m here for him and worried that if I reach out 2-3 days I’m not giving him enough space and if I wait 5 days to check-in he will think I don’t care. Please advice on what I should do?

Yangki’s Answer: Each fearful avoidant ex is different in terms of how much space or connection/closeness they need but all fearful avoidants become more unpredictable when other external factors such as losing a job or depression are added to their already limited emotional capacity and bandwidth.

Showing a fearful avoidant that you care and are there for them is an important part of making them feel safe, and checking on them and not just assuming they need space is important. Because they’re anxious avoidants, sometimes fearful avoidants want someone to talk to about their problems, bounce off ideas, or vent to, and sometimes they withdraw from all connection to deal with things on their own. Most of the time though, fearful avoidants bounce between wanting connection and pulling away and they may also feel that they’re bothering you with their problems.

The approach in this kind of situation is to adjust how often you reach out and still be able to maintain a balance between connection and space.

The pattern was every 2 – 3 days but if he’s responding 2 days later, you obviously can’t still reach out every 2 – 3 days without it becoming “too much” for a fearful avoidant. Reach out every 4 – 5 days to give him 2 – 3 days to respond.

Sometimes reach out with a check in and other times with a bid for connection. If his responses become faster, then decrease the spacing of your reach outs until you are back to the 2-3 days pattern. If he takes even longer to respond then increase the spacing of your reach outs to give him time to respond. But don’t go more than 7 days of no communication; this will likely trigger his fear of abandonment and may make him think you don’t care.

After he finds another job and isn’t depressed anymore, try to create more momentum to a point where you are talking as often as both of you feel comfortable. The emphasis here is “feel comfortable”. Some fearful avoidants are comfortable texting every day and even several times a day and others are comfortable with a text every other day or couple of days. You will need to talk about how much contact feels comfortable for both of you.

But remember, spacing reach outs is just one thing that makes an avoidant feel that you care and are there for them. How you are there for them – what you say, how you make them feel, how you support them, your trustworthiness etc. – is just as important, if not more important to a fearful avoidant than how much space you give them.

This is an attachment style that was formed mainly because the people they wanted love and care from also frightened or betrayed them. Their need for space is often a reason of this early in life experiences. When you focus on only on giving them space, you fail to show the kind of “showing you care and being there for them” a fearful avoidant needs the most.


How Do Avoidant Exes Feel About Checking In On Them?

How Do I Give My Avoidant Ex Space? (And How Much Space)

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  1. says: Becky

    The last time my fearful avoidant ex and I texted was 3 weeks ago. I am really worried about him. He has a history of depression and also uses drugs to self medicate. Should I send a check in text?

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

      Yes, a check-in is overdue. Avoidant or not, 3 weeks is a very long time to wait to check in on someone you say you’re really worried about; especially knowing his history of depression and drug use.

      This is what makes most fearful avoidants think people don’t care about them. People keep proving it to them over and over that they don’t care about them.

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