This Explains Avoidant Exes And Mixed Signals About Contact

Mixed signals and a fearful avoidant attachment style go hand in hand. Studies on attachment styles say this is a learned avoidance strategy for coping with mixed feelings and emotions; and break-ups bring up so many mixed feelings and emotions.

In this article I explain in detail fearful avoidant exes and mixed signals about memories, missing you, no contact and reaching out; and what these mixed signals mean for your chances of getting back together?

Why fearful avoidant exes send mixed messages is explained by studies on how attachment styles react in the initial phases of a break-up. Studies show that individuals with an anxious-preoccupied and a fearful avoidant attachment react with the most difficulties following a break-up. They report being more anxious, more depressed, more confused, more “cheated”, and more attached to their ex.

Because of their high sensitivity to rejection, both attachment styles have been observed to react to a break-up with a mixture of anger, hostility, and longing for their ex. While anxious-preoccupied tend to engage in obsessive pursuit of an ex, exes with a fearful avoidant attachment react defensively by organizing their behaviour to minimize the pain of a break-up.

Fearful avoidant exes and mixed signals about good memories and bad memories 

The same studies also found that individuals with a fearful avoidant attachment become consumed with thoughts of regret when a relationship ends. Regret for their actions (e.g., If I hadn’t pushed him away, we would still be together.) and inactions (e.g. If only I had been more open, she wouldn’t have broken up with me).

Many of these regrets are a result of a fearful avoidant’s negative self-view. They feel that they don’t matter and don’t think others think their feelings matter. When they meet that one person who made them feel like they mattered, they blame themselves for losing them.

This why reminding your ex of the good times may be a mistake with a fearful avoidant ex (More: Do Exes Remember The Good Memories Or The Bad Memories?)

Many fearful avoidants I work with miss the good feelings and memories with their ex. But more than the good memories, it is regret for their inaction that makes them miss their ex. And sometimes the need to fix what they did and didn’t do; is the driving force for wanting to get back together.

Fearful avoidant exes and mixed signals about missing you

Based on the studies, how a fearful avoidants reacts in the initial phase of a break-up determines when they miss you. Fearful avoidants miss you soon after the break-up if:

  1. The relationship was relatively good.
  2. They felt that you were good to them and treated them well.
  3. The relationship has more positive memories than negative ones.
  4. They felt safe because you respected their need to distance once in a while.
  5. There were not too many arguments and fights.
  6. You made a strong connection whether the relationship was short or long.
  7. Your friends and family liked them – they will miss you and miss them.

It will take an ex with a fearful avoidant attachment longer to miss you or want you back if they feel you: 1) didn’t treat them well and/or 2) meet their needs. And if they think the relationship wasn’t a good relationship in general; an ex with a fearful attachment will not be in a hurry to come back.

Fearful avoidant exes and mixed signals about reaching out

This is another area where you see a fearful avoidant ex’s mixed messages play out. Whether or not they will contact you depends on how a fearful avoidant reacts to the break-up. A fearful avoidant ex will more than likely contact you first if they believe that:

  1. You will respond
  2. It will be a pleasant experience for them
  3. You might still be attracted to them
  4. There is a chance you will get back together

A fearful avoidant ex will not reach out if they think the risk of rejection is high. They may also not contact you  first because they don’t want to look like they love and care about you more than you love and care about them. They will miss you and hope and pray that you miss them enough to contact them first.

Fearful avoidant exes and mixed signals about no contact

Fearful avoidants of all the attachment styles are the most likely to react to a break-up with doing no contact.

They see no contact as a way to cope with emotions that are out of control or discomforting; and also see no contact as a way test if you will miss them. They want you to chase them to prove to themselves that you love them. They also see how long before you contact them as a test of how much you love them.

If a fearful avoidant leans avoidant, they’ll most likely stick to the no contact period and not contact you even if they miss you. If a fearful avoidant leans anxious, they may not be able to go through with a 30 day no contact period. The part of their attachment style that desires contact and connection (even if they fear it) will override their attempts to do ‘no contact’, and they will contact you.

If a fearful avoidant goes through with the no contact period, and they still want you back, they will contact first. They may send a text or indirectly reach out by liking your photos or commenting on your Instagram stories.

If you contact an ex with a fearful avoidant attachment who’s not doing no contact; they’ll likely respond immediately. But they may also take a while to respond because fearful avoidants don’t want to seem too eager. If they lean anxious however, 90% of the time they will respond immediately; unless they are listening to a coach, therapist, or advice not to respond right away.

They may respond quickly to the first text and even a few more, then pull back. It does not mean they do not want you to contact them. It is just what fearful avoidants do; they want contact and connection and fear it at the same time. They may even like photos on your Instagram but not respond to texts. Then after a while, they start responding again.

Should you contact a fearful avoidant or wait for them to contact you?

That depends on if you want to prove to them you love them; and if they are worth chasing. If the break-up was because you did not show them enough that you love them, contact them once (or twice). If they do not respond, don’t reach out again. Wait for them to reach out to you.

At the end of the day, you can’t control someone else’s reality: what they think, feel or do

Learning about attachment styles; how each attachment styles plays out and how they interact is the first step to a functional, lasting and rewarding relationship.

But trying to decode every single avoidant behaviour is a trap you may never come out of. No question about it, being able to decode, interpret and predict an avoidant’s behaviour gives you some control of the situation. But how can you control the a situation when some avoidants don’t even know how they feel or why they do the things they do.

What you can control is your reality. How you show up whether someone is a fearful avoidant, dismissive avoidant or anxious preoccupied.

How you show up is what separates securely attached from insecurely attached

Instead of asking “will my ex miss me”, “will a fearful avoidant reach out first?” Ask yourself: How do I want to love and be loved? Do my thoughts, feelings and actions reflect how I want to be loved? Do my actions make the person I love feel safe, secure and loved?

This is the framework from which securely attached approach relationships. And there is increasing evidence that a partner’s attachment security plays an important role as a motivation to maintain and persist in a relationship. Attachment security is also a factor in an avoidant’s willingness to open themselves up to the risk of getting hurt or rejected.


10 Most Confusing Mixed Signals From A Fearful Avoidant Ex

How An Avoidant Ex Reacts When You Reach Out After No Contact

7 Reasons Why Fearful Avoidants Do No Contact

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