How Often Do Exes Come Back? (Odds By Attachment Styles)

How often do exes come back based on an ex’s attachment style? Attachment styles offers insights into why exes come back, how often and how they come back.

But first what does the research say on the percentages of exes who come back say. There aren’t many credible scientific studies on percentages of exes who come back. Most studies I found online were conducted by “get your ex back” sites… and let’s just say, take them with a grain of salt.

The credible scientific studies are somewhat old, but they all show that the percentages of exes who come back are in the range of 40-50 percent.

1. A study conducted by Kansas State University found that nearly 50 percent of all exes come back. The exes who got back together assumed their ex had changed for the better; or that they would be better at communicating.

2. Psychology Today, a credible source has on their site roughly the same percentage of 40-50 percent of exes who come back. Exes cited various reasons why they come back; top on the list was lingering feelings

3. Kansas State University also did another study and found that 37 percent of cohabiters and 27 percent of married couples had experienced a breakup and got back together with their exes (Vennum et al., 2014).

4. The JSTOR Journal (for the intellectually curious) sites a study by Dr. Howard Wineberg studied 506 women who attempted reconciliation before divorce was finalized.

  • 50 percent them got divorced eventually.
  • 44 percent were still living with their spouses.
  • 32% successfully got back together and stayed that way for more than one year.

While there are not many credible studies on percentages of exes who come back, there are many studies that draw a direct link between how different attachment styles behave following a break-up and the likelihood of an ex coming back.

1) How often do securely attached exes come back?

The Answer – There is a relatively high chance that an ex with a secure attachment will come back because exes with a secure attachment style face relationship breakups with greater resilience, acceptance, and emotional recovery. But they may not want to come back if you engage in self-destructive coping strategies such as obsessive pursuit (excessive texting, begging, over-apologizing, stalking etc.). The may also be put off by some of the avoidant defensive strategies you use (i.e. no contact, mind games). Secure attached are also least likely to go no contact after a break-up because they believe in direct open communication and negotiating both of your needs, and not avoiding each other. Their use strategies that are empathetic communication, and negotiation of needs and desires gives them greater willingness to reunite and a lower sense of guilt compared to insecure attachment.” (When Love Ends, S.F. Madey & L. Jilek, 2012)

2) How often anxious attachment exes come back? 

The Answer – Of all the attachment styles, exes with an anxious attachment (and fearful avoidants leaning anxious) are the most likely to come back. Anxious attachment have more trouble adapting to a relationship breakup and acting independently, they experience greater emotional distress , anger, anxiety, depression, and loss of emotional control post-breakup, and and often attempt to get back with an ex as a means of navigating uncertainty and distress (Putting Me Back Together By Getting Back Together, M. A. Cope, B. A. Mattingly 2020).

An anxious attached ex’s use of hyper-activating emotion regulatory strategies and “wishful thinking” makes them more likely to be available and responsive after a break-up, and more willing than other attachment styles to stay friends with an ex to potentially maintain close ties allowing for later reconnection. But an anxious hyper-activating emotion regulatory strategies, preoccupation with exes and break-up nonacceptance leads to unwanted pursuit behaviour which pushes exes further away and often leads to a cycle of repeatedly breaking up and getting back together. Exes with an anxious attachment or a anxious-leaning fearful avoidants are also more likely to have self-defeating thoughts and engage in mind games during the course of you trying to attract them back which will likely decrease the chances of an anxious attachment or a anxious-leaning fearful avoidants ex coming back.

More anxiously attached individuals are also more likely to report using self-punishment coping following their breakup, which in turn is related to higher depressive and anxiety symptoms which can affect the chances of them coming back and/or lengthen the period of getting an anxiously attached ex back.

How often do fearful avoidant (disorganized attachments) exes come back?

The Answer –  Fearful avoidants or disorganized attachments are the most unpredictable attachment in terms of how often they come back. A major factor in determining how often fearful avoidant exes come back is if they lean anxious or lean avoidant after the break-up. Fearful avoidants who lean anxious come back more often than fearful avoidants who lean avoidant.

The way an ex reacts to the break-up and acts towards a fearful avoidant ex plays an important role in how often fearful avoidants come back. Very oftendep

which

why they’re said to have a disorganized attachment.A fearful avoidant attachment

This means that after the break-up, a fearful avoidant’s behaviour may be similar to someone with an anxious attachment or similar to someone with a dismissive avoidant attachment style.

Like anxiously attached, fearful avoidants are also likely to use self-punishment coping and to experience higher depressive and anxiety symptoms after the breakup which can affect the chances of them coming back and/or lengthen the period of getting a fearful avoidant ex back.

How often do dismissive avoidant exes come back?

The Answer – Of all the attachment styles, dismissive avoidants are the least likely to come back. Their emotion-suppression strategies don’t just create more emotional distance with an ex, they also make accessing suppressed romantic feelings for an ex later on more difficult.

The longer the detachment, the harder it is to recover lost feelings.he chances of your ex coming back are less with a dismissive avoidant. This doesn’t mean dismissive avoidants don’t come back, this means that it’s much harder but not impossible to get back a dismissive avoidant ex.

 

A dismissive avoidant’s emotional detachment in this sense is a conscious decision to disengage from all feelings for an ex rather than inability or difficulty connecting. Meaning, a dismissive avoidant will have difficulty recovering lost feelings for an ex but have no difficulty developing feelings for a new romantic interest.

 

 

Why avoidants in general often don’t come back after a break-up

The main reason avoidants often don’t come back after a break-up is because they use deactivating strategies which create more emotional distance and make it harder to get back together after a break-up. The second reason avoidants often don’t come back after a break-up is because avoidants in general tend to be involved in short-term relationships. They have very little to no emotional investment in their relationships and many of these relationships have lower interdependence, commitment, trust, and satisfaction. So when the relationship ends, most avoidants are ready to move on.

It’s however important to note that avoidants tend to come back more often if they formed a strong emotional bond with an ex, and if the break-up ended with no “hard feelings”.

Because avoidants have a hard time forming strong attachment bonds they may have a hard time forming new relationships and come back to exes. But being avoidant they may not initiate or actively pursue a reconciliation with an ex. They’ll indicate that they’re open to changing their minds and come back, but leave the reaching out, initiating conversations, meetings, hanging out, dates etc., to an ex.

To get a better idea of how often each attachment style comes back, I have written detailed articles on individual attachment styles: why they come back, what makes them come back and how long it takes them to come back. You will find the links at the bottom.

There is more to an ex coming back than just their attachment style

There are other individual factors unique to your ex that may affect whether or not they will come back. (See: 10 Factors That Affect The Chances Of Getting Back Together With Your Ex)

When all is said, don’t be discouraged from trying to attract back your ex because right your chances seem bad. It takes work and it takes time, but it’s possible.

When you feel discouraged and want to give up, these Incredible Success Stories of readers like you who got back their ex might help!

RELATED:

How A Fearful Avoidant Ex Comes Back – Explained In Detail

What Makes A Dismissive Avoidant Ex Miss You And Come Back?

Do Anxious Attachment Come Back – Crucial Window Of Time

Do Exes With A Secure Attachment Reach Out And Come Back?

Attract Back An Avoidant Ex:1 – Attachment Styles Can Help

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54 Comments

  1. says: Godiva

    FAs certainly show a disorganized attachments in terms of how often they come back, I’ve been with 2 of them. The first off all contact after the breakup and ignored all my texts. My more recent FA has broken up with me 2 times and both times we stayed in contact, he leans anxious. Both times he came back 3- 4 months after the breakup asking for another chance and saying I’m the one. We’ve back together for over 6 months but the last 2, his disorganized attachment has worsened. I expect him to bail and run soon. The disorganized attachments is exhausting.

  2. says: Brone

    My ex and I are both FA together 2.3 years. I told myself I didn’t love her and needed to break up. After months of therapy and working on me I realized that I loved her and missed her, so I sent her a text in which I apologized for breaking up. She responded after a couple of days and was polite and kind. Said she did love me too and wished I had reached out much sooner. She’s in a relationship and wishes me nothing but the best. I haven’t stopped crying for weeks. It’s like she broke up with me, but I probably deserve it. I feel like I’ll never find anyone like her again.

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

      I’m sorry you’re so much pain. My heart goes out to you.

      Don’t let the pain keep you in regret. Instead try to see the good that came out this in that you are working on healing your attachment style. This means that you will not again repeat the patterns that caused you this pain.

      It doesn’t lessen the pain, but it at least gives you some hope for the future.

  3. says: Juanita

    How I wish I’d found this site a few months ago. My ex and I were on-and-off for 4 years. I had no idea he was a dismissive, I just assumed he wasn’t committed to the relationship. After learning about attachment styles, I realize how I triggered him with constant need for reassurance. I’m working on my anxious attachment style and would love to reconnect with him and try to make it work. But I’m now aware that if there’s no change, it’ll end the same.

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

      I hear you, but I think that if you’re working on your anxious attachment style, and now that you are aware he is a dismissive avoidant, you will not trigger him the way you did before. Things will therefore not be the same.

      Having a partner who is safe and feels safe actually stops an avoidant from consistent distancing. The safer the relationship, the less need they have to distance. They will still distance because they’re avoidant, but it will be less often and for shorter periods of time. Some avoidants develop a secure attachment style just by being in a relationship with someone secure.

  4. says: Meagan

    Definitely a different and positive vibe in this site. I feel more hopeful than I have felt since he broke it off with my 2 months ago. Thank you.

    1. says: Jenni

      I agree. Yangki’s articles and videos have passion in them and she puts effort into it and does really care. I’m almost angry at myself for wasting my time on sometimes soulless click bait expert advice.

  5. says: Christina

    Previous anxious preoccupied leaning secure here. I know very well how no contact made me feel, and ultimately I ended up not wanting him back.

    I’m more secure and providing safety and security to my fearful avoidant ex, and he seems to be responding positively. I don’t know if we’ll end up together, but it feels good to have no anxiety when he does not respond, and to love him and set him free.

    Keep up the good work, Yangki. I’ll make sure to share your work.

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

      I like “love him and set him free!”… 🙂

      Welcome to secure attachment. It definitely makes relationships, even with a fearful avoidant less stressful and frustrating. Hope things work out for you.

      I appreciate the help.

  6. says: Nathalie

    Yangki, I have a secure attachment style and agree with your advice on attachment styles. There is so much misinformation on the damage of no contact, I feel like your voice is being drowned in all of it. How can I help? I have always seen no contact as cruel and self-interested, but that’s just me, I am securely attached, lol.

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

      Thanks for being honest. Secure attachment is not a lost cause (yet). I feel like the tide is slowly turning… but maybe that’s just me, I am securely attached… 😉

      You can help by spreading the word! There are share buttons at the end of each article. I appreciate any help I can get.

  7. says: Idris Nafisat

    My ex broke up with me three months ago and I did all those post break up mistakes, I begged him after two weeks and he said me begging him he felt guilty after searching different site I did no contact for 3weeks to stop myself from acting needy and access the situation, I found your page ago advising against no contact, and I reached out to my ex, at first he was responsive for 2weeks but getting to the third week he was acting cold, he does not reply to my texts and even if he replies it’s one word answers and he has never initiate contact and I do give space before I make another contact I don’t know if I should give up already , it’s actually hard work getting an ex back

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

      There are several reasons why your ex changed from being responsive to being hold and cold.

      1) It could be something you said or something you are not doing enough of to make them attracted to you.

      See: How to Pull Your Ex Closer Vs. How To Avoid Pushing Away Your Ex

      2) It could also be your ex’s attachment style.

      Try reading articles here of people who might have your similar situation, You can try a site search on words like “ex one word answers” or “ex hot and cold” and other keywords related toy our situation.

  8. says: Mikhozi Namara

    Wow! I’ve spent serval days reading your articles and I have to say, this is the most positive advice on getting back with an ex on the web, wait, the whole world.

    You truly know what you are talking about, and I like that you see things from both sides. I took an online course on perspective-taking and it is a joy to see it in practice. Keep up the ‘good work’, the good Lord is watching over you.

  9. says: Edna

    My ex said he had made up his mind and he is the kind to not change his mind. Lucky for me I had found your site so I asked to keep in contact and at first he said what is the point, I am not changing my mind, but then he said yes. I followed the advice in your ebook and after a month of text messaging, I asked to meet up, he said he did not want to give me the wrong message. I waited a week and asked again and this time he relented. We had a great time and were laughing and holding hands. When he walked me to my car he kissed me on the lips and said he does not know what the future holds but he knows that he does not want to lose me forever. Today he initiated his first text and wished me a merry Christmas. I know in your ebook that it is not much to go by but it feels good to know he still wants me in his life. I am going to keep implementing your advice and see where it goes. I really believe we will get back together.

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

      You are right. It’s not much to go by, but it’s enough to show that things are moving in the right direction. What you’re doing is working, so don’t change it or get needy and try to move things faster.

      I believe with you!

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