Almost everyone trying to get back with an avoidant has at one point in the process wondered how they can emotionally connect and get my avoidant ex to reach out more.
You have been doing all the reaching out and your avoidant at times doesn’t respond. And when they finally reach out days or weeks later, it’s not to respond to your text. Instead they’re reaching out with something completely random like “”Hi, I wanted you to be the first to know that I got that job promotion.”
When you get one of these random texts after days or weeks of no response, you will experience conflicting emotions. You may even tell yourself “I don’t even feel like responding”. One part of you is happy that your ex finally reached out, and you’re even happy that your ex got the promotion, but the other part of you is upset that they did not respond to your text and now reaching out like everything is okay. You feel like you should ignore them like they ignored you, but you also don’t want to seem that you’re not happy for them – and they said they wanted you to be the first to know about the good news, that must mean something.
How to emotionally connect and get your ex to reach out more
Dr. Gottman the architect of “Bids For Emotional Connection” explains someone reaching out to try and emotionally connect (e.g. your ex reaching out to tell you about his job promotion) a bid for connection.
When one person sends an emotional bid for connection and another turns towards the person asking for connection, both people experience a positive moment of emotional connection.
Gottman says that when you “turn towards” the other person’s bids for emotional connection, they hear:
- I’m interested in you.
- I hear you.
- I understand you (or would like to).
- I’m on your side.
- I’d like to help you (whether I can or not).
- I’d like to be with you (whether I can or not).
- I accept you (even if I don’t accept all your behavior).
You probably have had these positive moments of emotional connection from time to time, but often it’s ‘accidental’. It’s possible however to consciously duplicate or sustain enough emotional connection to create momentum by being mindful, fully present and aware in your interactions.
It’s okay to feel resentment but you don’t have to act on it
How do you experience a positive moment of emotional connection with your ex when you feel upset that they ignored you for days, maybe weeks? You change your attitude.
How you feel doesn’t have to change because you need to be true to yourself and honour your feelings and emotions, but you change how you approach the situation. You make a conscious decision to focus on your ex’s bid for connection. This doesn’t mean that your feelings don’t matter (they do); it means looking at the bigger picture and the long-term benefits of a stronger connection instead of trying to get short-term relief from venting your feelings in a manner that does not create a sense of safety for both of you – and to someone who may not be ready to hear how you feel.
Chose in that moment to turn towards your ex’s bids for connection and only when it feels safe for both of you do you communicate how you feel about something they said or did. When you make your ex feel heard, listened to, understood and valued, they’ll be more willing to return the generosity of spirit. And instead of creating emotional distance, the interaction brings the two of you even closer. More positive interactions with your ex will make your ex feel safe to reach out more and respond more regularly.
The small moments of connections add up to a stronger bond
Every time you turn towards your ex’s bids for emotional connection, you’re making a deposit in your Emotional Bank Account. These little moments add up, reminding both of you of your commitment to supporting each other through all of the experiences you share.
By simply changing how you think about the situation and focusing on your ex’s bid for connection, you change the trajectory of the interaction and progress towards trust and attraction.
To see momentum or progress towards getting back together, it is important that you recognize and respond to your ex’s bids for emotional connection, whether it comes in a form of a text message, email forward, social media post, phone call etc.
You may not always feel like responding but to fail to recognize a bid for connection, miss your ex’s attempts to connect or respond with no conscious attempt to emotionally connect is self-sabotage. It sends the message that you do not care, are not interested, or are dismissive of them (and their thoughts, feelings or experiences).
Strive to be a source of safety and stability
It’s very easy to miss or fail to respond to a bid for connection appropriately and in a timely manner when you are all worked up about “how often to contact your ex” or obsessing about how to word your texts.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how well you space your contacts or how perfectly worded a text is, if your ex feels that for some reason you are just not “connecting” in a way that they feel that they can trust you with their heart, you are not getting back together.
It’s even harder for your ex to believe things can be different if the reason for the break-up was that your ex just wasn’t feeling it anymore or felt that they had to break-up with you because you weren’t able to communicate and connect at a deeper level.
So take time to recognize, respond and reciprocate an emotional bid for connection. It makes a whole lot of difference. Like a whole lot!