Question: Should I reach out to my dismissive avoidant ex or is it chasing a dismissive avoidant ex if I keep reaching out?
I’m hardcore anxious attachment style and an aggressive chaser. I had decided to go no contact until I came across your site. In your response to one of the comments in your articles on “what makes a dismissive avoidant ex come back” you advised to reach out to a dismissive avoidant ex because they’re not likely to reach out first. But in the article and in many of your videos, you advised not to chase a dismissive avoidant ex because people with dismissive avoidant attachment style don’t like to be chased. My question is, should I reach out to my dismissive avoidant ex or is it chasing a dismissive avoidant ex if I keep reaching out?
Yangki’s Answer: This is a great question because there are two kinds of avoidant attachment styles; fearful avoidant and dismissive and each attachment style responds to you chasing them in very different ways. As you pointed out, dismissive avoidants don’t like to be chased, but fearful avoidants want you to chase them; and chase them hard. And although your question is specific to a dismissive avoidant attachment style, it’s important to note the difference.
Should you reach out to a dismissive avoidant ex?
Yes. You should absolutely reach out and not expect a dismissive avoidant ex to reach out. Every once in a while a dismissive avoidant may reach out first after a break-up, but most see reaching out first as a sign that they need others, and this goes against their sense of independence and self-image of someone who can survive without needing anyone or needing a relationship. This is why you should reach out to a dismissive avoidant if you want them back.
If they don’t reach out and you don’t reach out, nothing happens. You go your separate ways not knowing what could have happened had one of you reached out and kept the lines of communication open.
Is it chasing a dismissive avoidant if you reach out?
Yes and no. Sometimes reaching out can look like you’re chasing an avoidant. The difference between reaching out and chasing an avoidant is that chasing when you keep reaching out and they don’t respond. Chasing an avoidant is also trying too hard to engage them or persuade them to want to be with you even when they have made it clear that they aren’t interested.
You’re not chasing a dismissive avoidant if you reach out and they respond and engage in conversation. The problem is that most avoidants, even those who are interested don’t always respond and may not show interest in the initial stages of trying to get them back. It can feel like you’re chasing an avoidant when you’re the one reaching out, starting conversations, and asking to meet 100% of the time. It’s hard to tell if an avoidant ex has lost feelings for you, isn’t interested and has moved on or if they’re just being an avoidant.
The good news is that an ex showing little to no interest early in the process does not always mean that they lost feelings for you, are not interested or will not come back. Most people after a break-up protect themselves from getting hurt again; and sometimes this looks like an ex is not interested or has lost feelings.
Do avoidants want you to reach out?
Trying to figure out if an avoidant wants you to reach out is further complicated by the fact that fearful avoidants want you to chase them to show you miss them and want them back. When they pull away to see if you will chase them, it can feel like a fearful avoidant is not interested or pulling a slow-fade. But just when you think they’re not interested and stop reaching out, they hit you up and draw you back in. They may not even want you back but want you to chase them because it makes them feel they’re worth of love and attention. And some exes use pulling you close and pushing you away to control how things progress; and even to control you.
A read on how a dismissive avoidant ex feels about you after a break-up is even harder. And as if that is not hard enough on it’s own, many dismissive avoidants are friends with most of their exes. You don’t know if they still have feelings for you and are interested, or if they’re acting friendly and polite to avoid any awkwardness or confrontation.
And because a friendship with an ex requires less commitment and doesn’t have the same expectations and requirement of a romantic relationship, most dismissive avoidants seem more open and less avoidant. They’re not obligated to act in a certain way with a friend as with a romantic partner, this works perfectly for a dismissive avoidant ex. They can go for months without speaking or seeing a friend and it’ll not significantly affect the friendship; something they can’t do in a romantic relationship and hope to maintain the relationship.
How do avoidants feel when you reach out?
How your contacts make a dismissive avoidant ex feel is the difference between reaching out and chasing a dismissive avoidant ex. If a dismissive avoidant wants nothing to do with you, even reaching out once feels like you’re chasing them. But here is what is utterly baffling and confusing about a dismissive avoidant attachment style. Even when a dismissive avoidant ex still has feelings for you, they put up so many boundaries and restrictions on reaching out, hanging out and even sexual intimacy.
And this is where the question, “should I reach out to my dismissive avoidant ex or does reaching out look like chasing a dismissive avoidant?” comes in. In my experience helping people attract back dismissive avoidant exes, reaching out to a dismissive avoidant is not the issue, how often you reach out and how your contacts make a dismissive avoidant ex feel is the difference between just reaching out and chasing a dismissive avoidant ex.
Keep these two things in mind when reaching out to a dismissive avoidant ex.
1) Relationships are low on a dismissive avoidant ex’s priority list
Dismissive avoidants let you know in big and small ways that a relationship is low on their priority list. This doesn’t change when the relationship ends, in fact a relationship drops even further down a dismissive avoidant’s priority list after the break-up. Someone who has such low priority on relationships isn’t going to chase after one or feel good about someone trying to get them back into a relationship. They’d rather work, party, visit family, hang out with friends, pursue their interests and hobbies etc., than get back into a relationship.
So don’t expect a dismissive avoidant ex to reach out or put in the same amount of time and effort into getting back together. Most dismissive avoidant exes are happy with things going really slow and having enough time to explore their feelings for you.
They don’t like you reaching out to pressure them into doing things they’re not comfortable (e.g. more contact, communication or closeness). They also don’t like you reaching out for reassurance that things are going somewhere; to a dismissive avoidant ex this feels like they’re being chased. You want something from them that they’re not ready to give you or want to give at the time. And you may be asking a dismissive avoidant ex to give you what they’re incapable of giving you. When they feel the pressure (real or imagined) to give, it feels like you’re chasing them; and dismissive avoidants really, really don’t like to be chased.
2) Dismissive avoidants don’t like feeling like your happiness depends on them
If you have an anxious attachment style, it means that you obsess over relationships and become preoccupied with your ex after a break-up. It also means that you struggle with accepting that your ex isn’t fixated on you the way you’re fixated on them. This fixation with an ex is what causes you to chase people who don’t want to be chased; and push away those who care about you but don’t want you chasing them.
Dismissive avoidants don’t want you chasing them and find someone chasing them annoying in the same way they find someone being needy and clingy annoying.
Chasing, longing, yearning or pining after someone comes from the same place as “needing” someone. Dismissive avoidants learned from a very early age that needing someone is a weakness. When you need someone or show them that you need them, you make yourself vulnerable. They may use your need for them to manipulate or control you. This is the psychological script that drives a dismissive avoidant’s determination to be independent and self-reliant.
When a dismissive avoidant sees you acting like your happiness depends on them, they see weakness; they see someone who can be easily manipulated and controlled and it turns them off. They’re no only uncomfortable with someone being so vulnerable or showing so much vulnerability, they also don’t want that kind of vulnerability directed towards them.
Any communication that looks like you’re seeking validation or approval from a dismissive avoidant comes across as depending on them for your happiness; and consequently chasing them. This includes apologizing too much and unnecessarily, fishing for compliments, changing your views to match theirs, pretending to understand or be interested what they’re saying, acting timid and scared (not assertive enough) to express your thoughts or ask for what you need.
So yes, reach out to a dismissive avoidant ex because if they don’t reach out and you don’t reach out, you’ll go your separate ways not knowing what could have happened had one of you reached out and kept the lines of communication open.
How many times should you reach out to a dismissive avoidant ex?
Reach out to a dismissive avoidant ex at least two times and if they don’t respond after two attempts, stop reaching out. Wait a reasonable amount of time and then try reaching out again. If a dismissive avoidant ex is still unresponsive, don’t reach out again. You’ve shown them that you’re interested, and if they’re interested, they’ll reach out to you.
But if a dismissive avoidant ex is responsive, they’re giving you consent to reach out. Reaching out in this case is not chasing. A dismissive avoidant is not trying to run away from you and may even be coming towards you if they’re sending bids for connection. But don’t keep reaching out to a point where it feels to a dismissive avoidant like you’re trying to get them back into a relationship when they’re not ready; or can’t live without them because they’re your happiness.
Don’t work too hard for a dismissive avoidant’s attention and affection
As mentioned above, in the initial stages of trying to attract back an ex, you may find yourself doing 100% of the heavy-lifting. That’s expected. But if you’re doing all the right things, by 4 – 6 weeks, you should things start to balance out with your ex putting in some effort. The amount of time and effort they’re putting in should increase over time for it not to feel like you’re chasing a dismissive avoidant.
If a dismissive avoidant ex is responding and it feels like they’re just being polite or putting in low effort, don’t try to work even harder to get their attention. The harder you work to get a dismissive avoidant’s attention, the more it feels like you’re chasing them.
Keep reaching out and building your connection but spend more time on you than you spend looking for signs and reactions from a dismissive avoidants. Check-in if they don’t respond for a week, but don’t double -text. And most of all, don’t start some low-grade drama because you’re frustrated that a dismissive avoidant is just being a dismissive avoidant.
The amount of time and energy you put into creating a relationship with a dismissive avoidant is not always going match with what you get out of it. This is because anxious people and dismissive avoidants have different relationship needs when it comes to closeness and connection. But if you can find a way to work together so that both of you can get your needs met within the relationship, and with open and vulnerable communication and trust, a relationship with a dismissive avoidant can absolutely work.