Is It OK To Text An Avoidant Ex About The Good Times?

Should you remind your ex of the good times, maybe send a good memory text? Yes, it’s OK to text your ex about the good times but it depends a lot on your ex’s attachment style.

Abeyta, Routledge, & Juhl, 2015 did a study they called “Looking back to move forward: Nostalgia as a psychological resource for promoting relationship goals and overcoming relationship challenges” and found that the positive effects of nostalgia vary depending on the extent to which people seek out relationships for psychological security in the first place.

“We found evidence that it is the interpersonal nature of nostalgia that is associated with striving to connect with others”.

Based of this, it’s I think safe to say that if your ex is securely attached, anxious attachment or fearful avoidant leaning anxious, they’ll be more open to talking about the past and even receptive to sharing good memories because these attachment are more likely to seek out relationships for psychological security and to strive to connect with an ex after the break-up.

It does not necessarily mean they will want to relive or recreate those memories especially if the memories make them feel sad, stressed, disappointed, depressed, resentful or angry.

Not all memories are the same, some memories do hurt your chances

It’s important to understand that not all memories are the same and talking about some memories do hurt your chances of getting back with your ex, especially avoidants who tend to rely on themselves for attachment security.

“It really does matter whether [an event is] positive or negative in that most of the time, if not all of the time, negative events tend to be remembered in a more accurate fashion than positive events,” says review author Elizabeth Kensinger of Boston College.

“Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones, he said. Thus, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones.” says Roy F. Baumeister, a professor of social psychology at Florida State University.

What this means for you is even if nostalgic memories have a positive effect on individuals with attachment anxiety and anxious-avoidants (especially anxious leaning fearful avoidants), you should not bank on texting your ex about the good times as a strategy for keeping the lingering feelings of love alive, or even grow them back into in a relationship.

You may even find that the reason your ex doesn’t want to come back is because they remember the good times and seem interested and engaged, then a few hours or days later, they remember negative memories and they are like “I don’t think we should continue contact. It’s preventing me from moving on”; or “I am worried that we’re spending too much time together, I don’t want to lead you on”; or “I don’t see us getting back together.”

You didn’t say or do anything to make them want to pull away, they just remembered the bad times during the relationship and the negative memories were stronger than the good memories.

Is it OK to text a fearful avoidant ex about the good times?

This is more complicated, as the studies show, avoidants have a complicated relationship with memories.
In a 2019 follow-up study “The pushes and pulls of the past: The effects of attachment-related avoidance and nostalgia on approach-oriented social goals”, Abeyta, Nelson and Routledgeb found that nostalgia decreases avoidants intentions to connect with others.

“Avoidants are also generally less concerned with the welfare of others and tend to pursue goals and behaviors aimed at distancing oneself from relationship partners which may explain why nostalgia further shifts highly avoidant individuals from pursuing connectedness.”

The study went further to say, “It can drive people with a history of avoidance further from relationships”.

It makes so much sense that nostalgic memories push away avoidants given the way avoidants deal all things emotions. Fearful avoidants who often have multiple layers of attachment trauma tend to have their memories of the relationship and the break-up clouded by past traumas. This sometimes creates an incoherent and disorganized recollection of difficult conversations and events prior, during and after the break-up.

And if you’re reading this and have tried to talk to your fearful avoidant ex about the relationship or the break-up, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes wonder if they have a borderline personality disorder or something. And when you push for your recollection of what happened they angrily lash out and even cut off all contact.
You get lumped with all the other people who’ve abused them, neglected them, crossed boundaries, ignored their needs, treated them badly etc., even when that’s not “exactly” what happened. To them it is, and that’s why fearful avoidants react attempts to “remind them of the good times” with confusion and incoherency.

When you’re dealing with a fearful avoidant ex whose memories of the good times are mixed up with “unresolved” attachment traumas that have nothing to do with the relationship, break-up or you, texting about the good times is not exactly a smart strategy.

In my work, I’ve also found that rather than address their feelings of loss, abandonment and rejection, some fearful avoidant use social media to mess with an ex’s feelings and emotions especially on social media (Instagram). While most fearful avoidants just want an ex’s attention (and or trigger an ex to reach out), some fearful avoidants post songs, stories, quotes or memes that only mean something to the two of you, but when you respond they ignore you, stop watching your stories or use this as an opportunity to start an argument or fight. This passive aggressive behaviour in fearful avoidants is not just mind game playing to mess with your emotions and feelings, it’s also intended to hurt you back for making them feel abandoned and rejected.

Is it OK to text a dismissive avoidant ex about the good times?

While fearful avoidants have an incoherent and disorganized recollection of relationship and break-up events, most dismissive avoidants just don’t remember most things with emotional content.

When dismissive avoidants say “I don’t remember” specific relationship or breakup memories, they actually not remember, and are not just trying to avoid the subject. You will be surprised to find that your dismissive avoidant ex doesn’t even remember who broke up with who. You think they broke up with you and they think you broke up with them.

When you text a dismissive avoidant ex about the good times and they don’t respond at all or respond with something completely unrelated to the memory, it can feel like they changed the subject and naturally your anxious attached mind goes “It must be too painful for them or think about the good times” or “It must have made them miss me”, when the explanation is simply that a dismissive avoidant doesn’t remember the “emotional” event you’re trying to remind them of.

As I discuss in my article What Are A Dismissive Avoidant Break Up Stages? chances are your dismissive avoidant ex has not processed the processed the break-up at all and may never do; too emotionally and mentally energy consuming,

But wanting to keep the lingering feelings of love alive, or even grow them back into mutual attraction and eventually into in a relationship, you keep texting about texting a dismissive avoidant about the good times thinking it’s making them think about you or miss you. But after a while, dismissive avoidants just stop responding altogether

So next time you’re attempted to text an avoidant about the good times remember that nostalgic memories can make avoidants not want to pursue connectedness and even push the further away.

“It might be necessary to work on these avoidant tendencies first; before throwing nostalgia into the mix or find a different approach altogether” says Andrew Abeyta researcher and assistant professor of psychology Rutgers University–Camden.

You have a better chance of getting an avoidant to respond and even reach out when you create new and better memories than rely on the old good times.

RELATED:

5 Strong Signs An Avoidant Ex Regrets The Break-Up

Why Did My Fearful Avoidant Ex Block and Then Unblock Me?

Is It Okay to Watch A Fearful Avoidant Ex’s Instagram Stories?

Dismissive Avoidants And “Longing” For An Ex (Explained)

Should You Talk To Your Ex About What Went Wrong – Clear Things Up?

What Are A Dismissive Avoidant Break Up Stages?

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16 Comments

  1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Debbie

    Hi Yangki,

    Just wanted to say a big thank you for this site. It’s so refreshing to find such honest, constructive and frank advice which doesn’t revolve around mindgames or manipulation, but instead focuses on healthy, honest and respectful communication.

    I’m so happy to report that following your guidelines, my ex is now telling me he loves and misses me too, we have had some really good times together and are even planning to spend some of Christmas together next month!

    Thanks so much, you are an absolute blessing xx

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

      Thanks… and so are you!

      I am happy for you and wish you much love and happiness.

      Have a great Christmas TOGETHER!!!!

  2. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Katt

    Hi Yangki. I want to thank you for your work as it has helped me get through some of the toughest times in my life. I also got ur eBook and it has helped me tremendously. I have a question which I am hoping you may help me with. What is the difference between “reacting” and “responding” as mentioned in ur blog above? Thank u in advance

  3. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Jillian

    Yangki, thank you for your eBook. I followed your advice and established contact with my ex. He responds to all my texts and also initiates contact. However, he responds to some questions but ignores others. I don’t know what to read from this. Is he interested or is he just being polite?

    1. If he was just being polite, he’d not be initiating contact. There seems to be some interest there but not enough emotional connection.

      Don’t push. Work on creating a safe environment for those kind of conversations to happen, and you will see him open up more to emotionally difficult conversations.

  4. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: David

    Something happened today. We broke up two weeks ago, I didn’t contact her and she didn’t contact me. Today I had this strange feeling to be honest with her and basically tell her, I still love and miss her. All my friends told me not to do it but I wanted closure and being honest and open with her was the only way I was going to get it. She replied right away and said we needed to talk. We messaged each other for 2 hrs as I was out of town. She asked me what time I’d be returning, I told her I’d call her when I was home, which I did. We ended up meeting and just hung out for hours talking about the issues we had in our relationship. It was really great. Your advice is the best. Thanks!

    1. Open and honest is risky business, but the rewards are far greater.

      You didn’t ask me a question, so I’m assuming you are really not looking for my advice, but I’ll give it anyway. Disregard it if you think you don’t need it…(:

      Talking about the old relationship in the very initial stages can seem like a good idea short-term, but is not something that I’d advice. You run the risk of not only dragging back all the issues of the past into the present, it also makes “starting over” impossible. You may even get back together, but it’ the same old relationship because you just continued from where things ended. Soon or later, you’ll break-up again.

      You may actually have a good shot, just try to do it right.

  5. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Manuel

    I have been looking all over the internet and this is the first site that I can honestly say strikes the right code for me. I don’t think no contact or the other things that many experts advice is healthy and especially at our age, we are both in our 50s. I also bought your book and everything seems clearer than it has ever been. I was a jerk and she put up with so much because she loved me, she couldn’t do it anymore as she told me and ended the relationship. I want her back and doing the things you advice to get her back. For the first time yesterday, she seemed more open to talking to me but said it does not mean we are getting back together. I know I have a long way of me, but thanks for this resource.

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

      Like you said, you have a long ways to go, but at least you are on the right track.

      Let me know how else I can be of help.

  6. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Danielle

    Hi Yangki,

    What do you suggest qualifies as “effective contact” and how do you transition from minimal to effective? I read the Ebook but I am not sure what sort of comments or exchanges are needed to move forward. I have kept things positive and light and my ex responds but very basic. I also am keeping things distant since he still seems angry. Thank you for your smart approaches by the way!

    1. 1. There is no such thing as “effective contact”, contact is just contact. I spent quite sometime explaining the difference between contact and communication, and communication and effective communication (pages 164 – 170).

      2. The whole section on “Contact” Pgs 80-162 is about regulating your contacts and the type of topics that can make him/her want to respond. The section on “Effective communication” Pgs 163-222 is about sustaining conversation to get him/her to want to initiate contact and want to be engaged in back and forth communication. Pgs 223-293 “Emotional Bonding” is about triggering the right emotions.

      3. All those three sections help to move things forward. It’s not just one thing but a series of things. That’s why I spent time writing over 200 pages just on that alone. If you do this right, things begin to fall in place. It’s the foundation for asking him to try things again.

  7. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Hover

    First I wanted to say thank you for the session last week. What you said about issues with control made a lot of sense to me. It made it a lot easier for me to face my fear and anxiety over contacting her. She hasn’t responded but I didn’t expect her to since it’s been almost 3 months since we had nay contact. I’m going to contact her again next week and hopefully I get a response. Even if I do not, I’m still glad I’m finally working through my issues with fear and control.

  8. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Escape

    This is really helpful. I am an anxiety sufferer and struggled with it for years. It gets worse with separation but I am working on being positive as much as I can.

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