Why No Contact Doesn’t Work With A Dismissive Avoidant Ex

The argument often proposed for going no contact on an avoidant ex is that it’ll give an avoidant attachment style the space to miss you and reach out, or when you reach out they’ll be excited because they missed you.

To understand exactly how no contact affects a dismissive avoidant ex, one must first understand why a dismissive avoidant attachment is called “dismissive” or “dismissing”.

Most people focus on dismissive avoidants as being highly independent, fear and avoid closeness or intimacy, want too much space, are cold and distant etc., and that’s all true. In terms of how someone comes to be a dismissive avoidant most of us know that they were raised by parent(s) who was controlling, strict, regularly ignored or minimized a child’s attachment needs, and didn’t show or encourage the expression of emotions or physical affection. This is also all true, but where and how did the term “dismissive avoidant attachment style” come from? Let’s go to the very beginning of attachment theory.

Attachment theory has gained so much attention and become more relevant over the years because the strange situation experiment mirrors adult romantic break-ups and attempts to reunite with an ex.

Very briefly, Dr. Mary Ainsworth’s strange situation was to understand how different children react to separation and reunion with the attachment figure, in this case the mother. The mother was asked to leave the room briefly and a stranger who had previously interacted with the child in the mother’s presence was re-introduced to the child and tried to interreact with the child in the mother’s absence. The mother then returned and the stranger left.

Dr. Mary Ainsworth classified the group of children who showed little to no distress when separated from the mother, didn’t seem to need any comforting in the mother’s absence and acted like they didn’t notice her return as having an avoidant attachment style (later amended to dismissive avoidants or dismissing attachment style) referring to their indifferent, unconcerned, trivializing and even contemptuous attitude and behaviours to separation.

Indifferent, unconcerned, trivializing and contemptuous is the same attitude dismissive avoidant have to no contact. When you go no contact or stop contacting them, a dismissive avoidant ex many not even notice you’re doing no contact or notice it but not be affected by it the way no contact affects someone with an anxious attachment or even fearful avoidant attachment style.

Trying to understand a dismissive avoidant from an anxious person’s mindset has created so many misconceptions about dismissive avoidants in general and an how no contact works with dismissive avoidants specifically.

I’ve worked with so many anxiously attached people who want my help “getting back” their dismissive avoidant ex. When I ask how the break-up happened, they say they stopped reaching out because they were not getting what the wanted from their dismissive avoidant partner and a dismissive avoidant didn’t reach out even one time. The anxiously attached client felt they’d been ghosted and/or broken up with. When they reached out months later, the dismissive avoidant couldn’t understand why the anxiously attached was referring to the time when they didn’t talk to each other as “the break-up” or “the time you broke up”. They just assumed an anxious attachment was unhappy and needed time and space away and they gave it to them.

Because anxious people have a high anxiety over relationships, it’s hard for someone who feels separation anxiety to imagine that an ex can love you and when you break-up, they notice your absence but go on with life like you never left. They think that surely at some point they’re going to feel the void of my absence and feel sad and miserable just like I feel sad and miserable without them.

This is what many people hope will happen when they go no contact with a dismissive avoidant ex. They think a dismissive avoidant feels separation anxiety just like an ex with an anxious attachment, the only difference is that the effects of the break-up take time to hit for a dismissive avoidant. They wrongly assume that eventually, no contact will make a dismissive avoidant obsess about an ex and be preoccupied with getting back together. And when they reach out after no contact, a dismissive avoidant will be excited and happy about the reconnection. But that’s not what happens.

No contact makes dismissive avoidants lean away from contact with an ex

Studies on adult attachment are consistent with Dr. Ainsworth’s findings. When asked to imagine being permanently separated from their partners, highly anxious individuals had strong negative emotional reactions, whereas highly avoidant individuals did not. One study (Fraley RC, Shaver PR 1998) shows that when separating at airports, dismissive avoidants seek less physical contact with their romantic partners and display distancing/distraction behaviours very similar to the strange situation. This doesn’t mean they love less or aren’t going to miss their romantic partner, this means that while separation makes someone with an anxious attachment want an ex and a relationship even more, no contact makes dismissive avoidants lean away from an ex or relationship.

It doesn’t matter if a dismissive avoidant is just imagining a separation, physically separating from a romantic partner or if the separation is temporary or permanent their behaviour is consistent – separation makes dismissive avoidants act distant and distracted.

You’ll spare yourself a lot of anxiety, frustration and confusion by understanding (and acknowledging) that a dismissive avoidant ex responds to separation and no contact differently. It may even increase your chances of getting back a dismissive avoidant if you understand why they act the way they do when you go no contact.

A dismissive avoidant may send an angry text when you go no contact

When you go no contact, a dismissive avoidant ex may get angry if they wanted to stay in contact. Thy may reach out with an angry text or phone call asking, “Why aren’t you responding?”. A dismissive avoidant ex may even send an angry “If you don’t want to talk, I’ll not contact you again” text. This is not a text from someone missing you or feeling separation anxiety. This is a text from someone angry and feeling slighted that they’re not given the respect they feel they deserve.

A dismissive avoidant may have thought staying in contact would make you see them in a “good light” or as them trying to make up for the hurt they caused you. When you cut them off and go no contact, dismissive avoidants see it as a slap in the face.

It’s important to understand the difference between a dismissive avoidant reaching out to connect and one reaching out because they are angry. A dismissive avoidant attachment trauma and core wounding also stems from perceived or real unacceptance, ridicule and contempt from parent(s) toward the child. As a result, a dismissive avoidant may be sensitive to behaviour they see as spiteful, unkind or intentionally hurtful. It’s not only a bruise to their ego, it’s also a grudge they’ll hold against you. Dismissives avoidants never forget a slight, and may seek revenge (to teach you a lesson) in their dismissive avoidant way.

A dismissive avoidant ex may see no contact as you needing space and time

Some dismissive avoidants may see you go no contact as you needing space and leave you alone. They’ll not reach out because they think you need time to get your emotions in control and when you’re ready, you’ll reach out. This is what they expect others to do when they need space to self-regulate. They expect others to respect their need for space,  and will give you the same respect when you need space and time to self-regulate.

But the longer the no contact goes on, a dismissive avoidant’s ex’s thoughts about you needing time to get your emotions in control and get yourself together change. In a dismissive avoidant’ mind, it shouldn’t take you that long to get your emotions in control. It usually takes them a few days to a couple of weeks at most to self-regulate and be ready to re-engage. If you struggle this much to get your emotions in control, how can they trust that your emotions won’t be a problem if you get back together.

You needing so long to process your break-up emotions and feelings can be seen by a dismissive avoidant as a weakness. They’ll not reach out or want to get back together because they think your emotions will become a problem.

It doesn’t help that many people with an anxious attachment keep wanting to talk about the break-up, or are in a rush to talk about getting back together. Some anxious attachment won’t even talk to their ex unless their ex guarantees them that they want to give the relationship another chance. Even exes who try to ‘take it slow” still keep creating emotional mini-dramas because they’ve not learned how to self-regulate their emotions.

Does no contact work to make a dismissive avoidant ex miss you?

Not in the way you hope it will. Keep in mind that most dismissive avoidant relationships have either been “casual” or didn’t last long and many dismissive avoidants at some point or another in the relationship ask themselves “Am I In love?” . They don’t have many experiences of “falling in love” or “being in love” and sometimes they think they are but aren’t sure. When the relationship ends, they really don’t know if they love you or if it was just lust or the familiarity of being in a relationship. So while you’re “giving them time to begin longing for you”, your dismissive avoidant may have concluded that because they don’t miss you the way other people miss or long for their exes, they may not have been in love after all.

If you feel that you need no contact to get your emotions in control and get yourself together, do it because it’s the right thing for you. And if as you say you’re still not ready to reach out to your dismissive avoidant ex, don’t feel pressured to “hurry up” your healing process for a dismissive avoidant. No one should ever feel that they need to please someone else to be loved. But if you go no contact because you think it’ll make a dismissive avoidant think of you, miss you, reach out and come back, you will be disappointed.

1. You will be disappointed because being in control of one’s emotions is a big deal for dismissive avoidants. If you’ve shown them that “you have a problem controlling your emotions”, 30 days, 45 days, 60 days of “needing to get your emotion under control” is like waving a red a red flag to a dismissive avoidant ex

2. You will also be disappointed because a dismissive avoidant ex who wants to stay in contact may see you going no contact as an attempt to manipulate them. Believe it or not, dismissive avoidants read articles, watch videos and listen to podcasts on “no contact” and some of them even lurk in ‘no contact’ discussion forums. They know why exes go no contact and if there is something dismissive avoidants really, really don’t like, it’s someone trying to manipulate or control how they think or feel.

No contact plays no role in a dismissive avoidant reaching out or coming back

Here’ s the inconvenient truth you’ll probably not find anywhere else on the internet. No contact plays no role in a dismissive avoidant reaching out or coming back. It’s nice to think that you made a dismissive avoidant miss you and reach out by going no contact, but that’s just an illusion of control. If you don’t believe me, watch how things quickly go back to a dismissive avoidant controlling how and often you talk to them. You can’t manipulate and control someone whose existence is about resisting being controlled.

Dismissive avoidants as you should know by now do what they want to do. This is why many people find them very difficult to be with. If a dismissive avoidant ex wants to reach out or come back, they will whether you go no contact or not. If a dismissive avoidant ex doesn’t want to reach out or come back, they will not reach out or come back whether you go no contact or not. This is how independent dismissive avoidant are and how they protect their independence.


Dismissive Breakup Stages After A Break-Up?

What Happens When You Ignore A Dismissive Avoidant Ex?

Do Dismissive Avoidants Ever Feel “Longing” For An Ex

How Avoidants Leave Open The Option To Reconnect With Exes

This Is How An Avoidant Ex Reacts To You After No Contact

Do Avoidants Want A Healthy Relationship? (Ideal Vs. Realty)

What Makes A Dismissive Avoidant Ex Miss You And Come Back?

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6 replies on “Why No Contact Doesn’t Work With A Dismissive Avoidant Ex”
  1. says: Hydee

    I’ve been expecting My DA to reach out for 4 flipping months and I’m so angry at myself for following the advice of YouTube coaches. I should have accepted it was over and move on.

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      4 months is a long time to hold your breath waiting for a dismissive avoidant to reach out. Try to reach out before giving up and moving on. Dismissive avoidants often don’t reach out first but may respond when you reach out even after 4 months of no contact. If he does not respond, you can move on knowing that you tried to re-open the lines of communication.

  2. says: Lucile

    We are broken up for almost 8 months and every day I think of reaching out to my dismissive avoidant ex but I’m reminded of what he told me about his ex before me contacting him after 4 months of no contact, after he had moved on with me. She text stalked him for months until he told her to stop, or he’d call the cops. He was traumatized by the experience and wanted me to know that if we broke up and I did no contact, I should never contact him again. But staying in contact after he broke up with me was too painful. I miss him every day.

  3. says: Em

    Yangki, you have no idea how much you’ve changed my life and saved my relationship with my dismissive avoidant. He major deactivated due to work stressors and some other stuff going on with him financially and wanted to breakup. All the advice said to go no contact and leave him alone, but I’d gone no contact in my previous relationships, and it created further distance from each other that we were never able to recover from. This time I followed your advice and didn’t take it personally. I brought up how I felt when he was so distant using the soft start up approach you advice and he said he understood but couldn’t give me time and energy because he was working 16-hour days to save his job, but he was okay with me checking in once a week and also said he didn’t want me freaking out if he didn’t respond. I said I wouldn’t because I trust us, which he seemed to like. Long story short, we ended up not breaking up, he dealt with the work stuff, and one day showed up at mine with a large bouquet of flowers. I asked him what it was for, and he said it was for not giving up on him. I’m tearing up as I write this. He is DA but he’d an incredible human being and I love him so much. We are learning how talk about both of our needs and how to meet each other’s needs. We’re the happiest we’ve ever been and I just wanted to say THANK YOU.

  4. says: Ella

    I knew going no contact that my chances were very low since everyone says dismissive avoidants usually don’t come back, but I needed to stop obsessing over her and focus on myself and also give her space to miss me. Now I realize that I probably made it up all in my head that she was missing me and once I reached out, she’d be happy to hear from me.

    I’m not saying no contact doesn’t work, just how stupid it is to build up all this hope about someone who probably has already moved on and doesn’t even think about you. If I had to do it all over again, I’d have reached out sooner and would have moved on 4 months ago. I guess now I’ve to start my healing all over ugh!

  5. says: Msfitt

    Yagkni, you are so right. My ex (DA) told me when I blocked him that he avoided me out of respect for my need for space. After he broke up with me he continued to reach out with superficial conversations but then I watched all the YouTube no contact advice and got angry that he was having his cake and eating it too. So I went no contact and blocked him and only left a chat app open so we could contact each other about our son. His attitude and behavior completely changed. He stopped reaching out and when we did the pick exchange, he barely spoke to me or even looked my way. Then I read some of your articles about DAs and reached out. He didn’t respond but 3 days later during the pickup and drop off of our son he said “hi” but didn’t look at me. That evening I reached out about something to do with our son and he replied after 2 hours.

    Long story short, we’ve slowly opened up communication and although it’s still me initiating most of it, he’s initiated a few texts and called me a couple of times to chat about our son but we ended up having really good conversations lasting over 30 minutes. I took a risk and asked if he was ever going to reach out to me if I hadn’t reached out to him first and he said no, he had accepted that I wanted to move on.

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