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 replies on “How Often Do Exes Come Back? (Odds By Attachment Styles)”
  1. says: Odelle

    Yangki, I got my ex back using your book and articles but 4 days ago I messed up and said some things which made her upset and breakup with me again. I waited a day and reached out to her, she responded an hour later saying she’s busy and will call me when she gets home. She called and we talked and I also apologised. She wants us to continue talking says but she is now scared of getting hurt again. Can I still get her back or have I messed up so big that I pushed her to the edge? Please help, again. 🙁 Thanks as always.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Yes, you can absolutely get her back, but this time it’s going to be a little harder than the last time. The advantage you have is that she wants to continue talking. Use it well.

      You did before, you can do it again.

  2. says: Sarah

    I feel like Im stuck. Recently my ex got super drunk and said he wish we are still togehter and wants a family with me but with him theres no turning back. And now i feel like theres no hope left. Is there anything I can do? 🙁

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki C. Akiteng

      I responded to you before with advice, but if you still feel stuck, I am happy to work with you to see where you may be stuck. Sometimes a fresh set of objective eyes does help… 🙂

  3. says: Jefar

    Your website is so helpful and spreads such a positive message. My ex broke up with me two months ago after 5 years together. I still loved her but she says for the moment we can only be friends and see what happens. I have been applying your advice with some success. She’s opening up more and initiating contact more. We are going to a concert we had bought tickets before we broke up in a couple of weeks. We’ll see what happens.

  4. says: Nina Flores

    My fiance broke off our engagement because I wanted to wait to get married til he is financially set but he took it as called off. I contacted him telling him how much I miss him and want him to come back. Is that even possible?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      As the article says, exes do come back, but not in the way you are going about it.

      It’s possible to get back your ex but it’s a complicated process mainly because it’s about ’emotions’. It helps if you know what you are doing.

      Spend sometime here reading about how to attract back your ex.

  5. says: Siya

    I broke it off and he was deeply hurt. I apologised and at first he was hot and cold. Things are a lot better now. He says he still loves me and can see us getting back together but wants to be friends and decide in 6 mos if he wants to get back together. He wants us to date other people but says he is just dating and not looking to get in a relationship. He is open to hanging out and we text once a day sometimes more. I know I messed up and want him to be free to date, and he also said I can date others if I want. I don’t want to be friendzoned and need to set some boundaries for how we move forward. I have your book dating your ex, my question is which other book would you recommend for my situation ‘It’s just a break-up’ or ‘dating your ex boundaries’?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Both books apply to your situation. It’s Just A Break-Up will help with the emotions of trying to get back someone who is dating other people. But I’d go with Dating Your Ex Boundaries 1 & 2 because as you rightly put it, you need to set some boundaries.

      1. Boundaries help you avoid being friendzoned
      2. Boundaries keep both of you from making things worse and ruining whatever chance you might have had.

  6. says: Lauren

    He said I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore, you deserve someone that will put in the effort, you’re a great person, I still want you in my life. I did 1 week no contact, made plans to meet up & say my piece. I cancelled & wrote him an email- I felt seeing him would cause me more pain- no response. I feel I pushed him away in wanting to see him more & move in. Is it possible he’ll come back or is he scare to commit & needs space? Do exes come back in this case?

  7. says: Nelli

    The breakup happened because we were both focused on our careers and it was getting harder to make time for each other. It was an amicable breakup and tough on both of us as we didn’t want it to end but recognized that no matter what we wanted the relationship wasn’t working for either of us. We stayed in touch for a year in which I spent a lot of time on this site practically every night. I realized that I hadn’t been willing to compromise and make sacrifices and told him. He said he was guilty too and we decided to give us another chance. In a way I am thankful for the breakup because I now appreciate him better than I ever did, and I have you Yangki to thank for teaching me that I needed to give love a chance. Thank you.

  8. says: Angie

    OMG! I know I had asked for advice! Mea culpa! But if anybody anyway reads these comments I want to tell you that 1 hour after I posted my last comment (on how freakingly frightened I was about a possibly upcoming phonecall with him) my ex wanted to call me!!!

    So I swallowed again as fast as possible some of your book‘s lessons and – well – it was a kind, warm and friendly talk for about 2 hours! Amazing, I admire every little bit how you offer solutions that work. And I learned so much about my selfish past and how love first and foremost addresses the other person. Not oneself! I listened REALLY, understood and acknowledged his reservations and doubts and kept the line to him. He is still frightened that things could turn out the same nasty way as they did already and wants to keep friends – and wants to call again tomorrow !!! Many, many thanks for your work! LoL

      1. says: Angie

        Dear Yangkie,
        he is back. 3 weeks from “the end of the world” to “better than ever”!! Thank you so much for all your wisdome, humour and good down-to-earth sense!!!
        Much love
        a.

        1. says: Yangki Akiteng

          YES!!!

          You are easy to love, Angie. It makes sense he’s back so soon.

          Don’t thank me, thank YOU. Okay, me a little… 🙂

          Much love back at you!

  9. says: Angie

    Dear Yangki, just some days after having read your book I am in contact with my ex again. Your approach is amazing! He writes very long messages (he obviously has still a lot to say to me) full of accusations but also leaves tiny bits of hope for the future. Suddenly I find myself scared to death when it might come to our first phonecall. We broke up – both in stressful personal situations – neglecting one another‘s needs. I realized that, but he is still fully convinced that his actions were completely right and honourable. I am afraid he would start again by forcing me to prove that I am serious with him. Meaning he expects sacrifices that I – as a Single Mom cannot make. And that would probably mean the end again. Good advice is very welcome!
    Kind regards

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