Is limited contact with your ex attachment avoidance? Let’s see.
When trying to understand how attachment styles help you attract back your ex; one of the questions you will be faced with is whether limited contact is attachment avoidance. How it affect your attachment style and your chances long-term?
No question about it, sending too many texts or calling your ex frequently is a major turn off. It therefore makes sense to try to control the number of times you contact your ex. But does low or limited contact work to get back an ex; or is it a form of attachment? How does doing limited contact with your ex affect your chances long-term?
What is limited contact?
Limited contact is supposed to be an alternative for those who can not do full-on “no contact”. The idea behind “limited contact” is to strategically limit how you contact your ex.
1) Some people limit the number of times they contact their ex. For example: once a week, bi-weekly or once a month.
2) Others limit the method of contact. For example: Contact via social media, no texting or texting only, no phone calls or contact via social media.
Many argue that the goal of “limited contact” is to separate yourself from the pain and sadness of a break up and focus on yourself. And also to make your miss you and realize that they made a mistake breaking up with you.
What is avoidance coping?
Avoidance coping—also known as avoidant coping, avoidance behaviors, and escape coping—is a maladaptive form of coping in which a person changes their behavior to avoid thinking about, feeling, or doing difficult things (Elizabeth Scott, PhD).
Avoidance coping involves cognitive and behavioral efforts oriented toward denying, minimizing, or otherwise avoiding dealing directly with stressful demands and is closely linked to distress and depression (Cronkite & Moos, 1995; Penley, Tomaka, & Wiebe, 2002).
There are times and circumstances when it is necessary to avoid dealing directly with stressful demands; but only as a short-term response to stress. For example, you have a fight with someone, and you need to cool off; and you walk away. It’s only a short-term response to the problem. You are not necessarily dealing with the problem; but a cooling off period will affect how you approach the problem (hopefully).
When used as a solution to a problem (i.e. a strategy for attracting back an ex); avoidance coping not only creates more anxiety and stress, it affects self-confidence in a major way. Most notably:
- Needing to stay “under the radar”
- A sense of inadequacy or defectiveness
- Hopelessness and/or a feeling of being stuck
Should you do limited contact as a strategy to attract back your ex?
So, yes. Limited contact with your ex is a form of attachment avoidance. Should you use limited contact a strategy to attract back your ex?
I personally think that everyone has the right to choose whether they want to do “no contact, “low contact”, “high contact” and whatever else. At the end of the day, it’s your relationship, your heart, your life!
My role as a coach is to help you make an informed decision. And here is what I have found out. “Minimal contact”, “limited contact” or “low contact” can work (up to a point) for people who:
1) Know they are not good at communication in general
2) Don’t have anything to talk about with their ex; don’t have much in common, or simply didn’t take the time to really get to know their ex.
3) Are too scared (for whatever reason) to try to work things out
4) Really have no chance of ever getting back together with their ex.
Limited contact with your ex buys you time to play footsie and/or pretend that you are trying to get back your ex. But that’s just the beginning of your frustration, to put it politely.
Every time you have to make contact (on a few days to a weekly basis), you get a sort of panic attack because you don’t know what to say, or if what you say this time will be what will drive your ex further away.
Then there is the agony of waiting… will they respond or will they not respond.
If you are lucky, you get a few responses here and there. After a while, you start getting the feeling you are bothering your ex. You wonder if they are just being polite responding to your texts, or if may be… they are stringing you along.
So you start waiting a few days before you send your “usual text”, just to see if they’ll contact you, but nope! Whatever you say just isn’t getting that response that shows that your ex still cares… may be even still loves you.
Has it occurred to you that may be… “minimal contact”, “limited contact” or “low contact” is doing more damage to your chances of getting your ex back?
Like with all attachment avoidance strategies, limited contact with your ex creates more avoidance.
When your fear of rejection, messing things up or pushing your ex away is overpowering your desire to approach/move closer to your ex, you will find it hard to maintain contact with your ex. All it takes to give up is your ex not responding to a few texts.
Fear also causes some people to reach out, then go ‘no contact’, then reach out again unaware that their on-and off again contact is making their ex question their motives and suspicious of their behaviour.
What’s sad about fear overpowering the desire to approach/move closer to someone you love is that some people are deeply programmed to be avoidant.
“Giving space” “no contact” or “limited contact” feels so natural to them because that’s how they approach anything undesired or unpleasant.
If I just lie low, keep my distance, don’t make any mistakes, I’ll be okay. Six months, or even a year later, they are still lying low, keeping their distance and avoiding rejection.
Avoiding pain, rejection, unpleasant situations etc. is what feels comfortable to them. This is what feels ‘safe’.
Occasionally they gather the courage to reach out to their ex with the help of some script from an “expert”, lifted from a book or online, but their deeply programmed avoidant attachment style takes over, and soon or later they are back to, “maybe I should give him/her space”, “it’s best to do limited contact” or “I’ll go back to doing NC”.
They don’t know how to move towards what they want in a healthy way.
If they are not completely avoiding it, they are aggressively pushing for it and the outcome is the same, rejection (the very same thing they are trying to so hard to avoid).
Trying to get someone out of fear is the hardest part about helping my clients. I think we are making progress overcoming fear, we get to creating a plan of action, things are starting to move forward, and then… “maybe I should give him/her space”, “do you think maybe it’s best to do limited contact at this point?”, “My therapist/friends/family say I should do no contact. I know fear has won!
You may be asking yourself; what’s the alternative to limited contact that’s not avoidance coping?
Focusing on the quality rather than the quantity of your contact. When the quality of your contact is good; you will feel confident your ex wants you to contact them; and will respond when you contact them.
The easiest and faster way to improve the quality of your contact is by learning to emotionally connect with your ex. When you are emotionally connecting, there is ease and flow to your contacts.