Can a fearful avoidant ex change? Do they even want to change?
Adult attachment research shows that an attachment style can change as a reaction to current circumstances; circumstances like a break-up. The willingness to change is however dependent on if an avoidant perceives the relationship as a ‘valued” relationship. That is, they feel so strongly about their ex that they feel they need to change to have another chance with them.
But what if your fearful avoidant ex is unaware of their attachment style? What if they don’t think anything is wrong with them and they don’t need to change?
Very few people like to be told to change who they are. Even if they know there are behaviours or habits they need to change, they will very likely become defensive.
A study on how much self-work each attachment style does following a break-up found avoidants to be defensive about their role in the break-up. They are also more likely to use avoidance coping strategies to suppress breakup-up thoughts and feelings. This deprives them the opportunity to look honestly at their role in the break-up and ways that they can improve themselves for the better.
So yes, they can change and some fearful avoidants want to change
The problem is as much as you may want to help your ex change, it is not possible to directly change someone else’s attachment style.
It may be easier to increase their emotional self-awareness or knowledge their attachment deactivation system than insist on them changing.
Understanding your own attachment styles probably changed the way you look at yourself and relationships for ever. It also changed the way you see your ex since you can now see how both of your attachment styles played out and contributed to many of the problems in the relationships.
Being able to talk to your ex about what you have learned makes it so much easier to work through your issues, differences and problems and speed up getting back together.
But how do you go about increasing your ex’s emotional self-awareness or acknowledgment of their attachment activation and deactivation system without coming across as trying to change them?
The video discusses some of the things you can do to help an avoidant change.