Question: My ex and I are both FA, me leaning anxious and him my ex is leaning dismissive. I agree that some people use no contact as a game to make an ex miss them, but I am doing no contact as time away from my ex to improve myself. But what you are saying is you should continue contact and not take time to improve yourself. What if the reason my ex broke up with me is because I was needy, isn’t continuing to contact with them proof that I’m still needy?
Yangki’s Answer: No, continuing contact with an ex is not proof of being needy. Being needy is not about contacting someone, being needy is when you need from someone what they are comfortable giving to you, are willing to give to you, or are incapable of giving to you.
In terms of contact, being needy is contacting your ex more than what they are comfortable with.
Sometimes, exes don’t want you to contact them, that’s their right. If you continue to contact them when they have asked you to stop, then you are being needy.
When someone has not asked or indicated that they want you to stop contacting them, it is not needy to contact them as long as they are comfortable with the amount of contact, the nature of the contact and the reasons for contact.
You only worry about coming across as needy if you do not know when and how much contact someone is comfortable with or wants, or knowingly disregard their comfort level.
If you have an insecure attachment style – anxious or avoidant- it makes sense that you would worry about being needy. The internal monitor that tells you that you want more closeness and connection that the other person is comfortable with (anxious attachment) or are not meeting the other persons need for closeness and connection (attachment avoidance) is faulty.
Moreover, attachment anxious individua’s tend to have no regard for other’s personable boundaries, knowingly disregard their comfort level.
In response to your question, what I am saying is if you work towards being more secure, it is possible to pursue both one’s self-work and maintain contact at the same time if you want to attract back your ex.
Study after study has shown that in times of conflict secure individuals prioritize the well-being of the relationship over self-interest. They have enough confidence in themselves to know that the relationship’s interests at the same time. This is the option I offer. This what makes my advice different from the ‘no contact’ advice.
The approach you have chosen is to withdraw from contact to focus on your self-work, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are aware that:
1) No contact is not going to suddenly turn you from a needy person to someone who’s not.
2) Your ex is not going to wait around waiting for you to “improve yourself”.
Your ex’s life goes on after a break-up. And even when you cut off all contact, they still go on with their lives. They may miss you and try to reach out to you, but if there is no response because you are doing ‘no contact’, they may assume you no longer want them in your life, or that you have moved on.
Even if your ex knows that you are doing ‘no contact’ and will reach out at some point, there is no guarantee that when you do, they’ll want you back in their life. You may even find that someone else has filled the space in your ex’s life that you voluntarily vacated.
I have seen many situations, and you can find some of them in the comments, where after ‘no contact’ someone manages to re-establish contact with their ex, but things are just not the same. Both of them have changed so much in the course of ‘no contact’ that they feel like strangers.
More: Cool Off Period Vs No Contact (Self-Preservation Vs Relationship)