This articles explains in detail how an avoidant ex reacts when you reach out after no contact. Pay close attention to the research and studies. They give you deep insight into how an avoidant ex reacts to perceived threats and to someone they think did something wrong.
You’d think that an avoidant wouldn’t get angry when you ignore them. They ignore you all the time, right? Wrong. Avoidants get angry when you reach out after no contact, but not for the same reasons as someone with attachment anxiety.
Let’s own it. Every one gets angry sometimes; and every attachment style gets angry. It’s perfectly natural to get angry. It’s how we express anger that always destroys relationships with the people we love.
Attachment styles and what they do when you make them angry
Research on attachment and expression of anger has found that individuals with attachment anxiety (preoccupied and fearful avoidant attachment) report feeling more anger compared to securely attached and dismissive avoidant attachment. Fearful avoidants were also found to feel more anger when jealous than anxious-preoccupied (Dutton and colleagues (1994); but less antagonistic than anxious-preoccupied.
The general consensus is that anger hyperactivates attachment anxiety. And because most people with attachment anxiety already have poor emotional regulation, their expression of anger is often unhealthy and may be uncontrolled.
Anxious preoccupied react aggressively while fearful avoidants react passive aggressively. Dismissive avoidants as expected react with suppressing anger for two reasons:
- It conflicts with their goal of maintaining independence and;
- To keep their attachment system deactivated.
The suppression of anger over time causes a build-up of anger that can potentially result in an outburst; and even violent behaviour.
Anger could in fact be an avoidant attachment way of maintaining distance
This is valuable information as most people find that when they reach out after 30-days of no contact; their avoidant ex seems angry, aloof, cold and even hostile. It’s not the reaction they hoped for.
Contrary to common belief that when someone reacts with anger; it implies that they still have feelings or are emotionally invested. Research on attachment styles is showing that outward expression of anger could in fact be an avoidant attachment way of maintaining distance. Expressing anger often motivates avoidance behaviours in others (Lang et al., 1998).
While avoidants get angry to keep others away, individuals with attachment anxiety react with anger with the hope that the same negative experience will not happen again.
How a fearful avoidant ex reacts when you reach out after no contact
When you first reach out after no contact, fearful avoidants leaning anxious are curious as to why you are reaching out and what you want. They will not respond right away, but wait a while to respond. Once they find out you want them back, fearful avoidants both leaning anxious and avoidant start:
- Sending mixed messages and being intentionally ambiguous
- Acting nice and warm but actually being cynical or intending to criticize
- Sharing something on social media that seems innocent but is actually aimed at you
- Ignoring texts for long periods of time
- Reaching out and disappearing
- Texting but refusing to meet
- Pulling away and/or distancing themselves
How a dismissive avoidant ex reacts when you reach out after no contact
Dismissive avoidants often don’t respond at all. When you go no contact, a dismissive avoidant ex suppresses all their thoughts and feelings of you. They may be aware that you are ignoring them but choses to suppress all feelings about it. When you reach out after 30-days of no contact, you find that you’ve been emotionally shut out. You wonder why your avoidant ex is ignoring you. All that is left is coldness. Some dismissive avoidants respond to tell you they are comfortable with things remaining as they are; with no contact. Ouch!
The percentage of dismissives who respond after no contact is very minimal.
How your ex feels about you doing no contact affects not only your chances of getting back together; it also affects the new relationship if you end up getting back together.
How an ex with an anxious- preoccupied attachment style feels after you ignore them
Remember anxious-preoccupied worry that a relationship partner is/will be unavailable and unresponsive to their need for closeness. No contact confirms their worst fear; and because of an anxious preoccupied’s tendency to hold a grudge, their fear of you being unavailable and unresponsive is exacerbated after no contact. Even after you get back together, they’ll continually dwell on thoughts of you one day abandoning them and cutting off all contact again.
How an ex with a fearful avoidant attachment style feels after you ignore them
Fearful avoidants have the hardest time trusting others, and often feel alone and unworthy of love. No contact intensifies and reinforces a fearful individuals’ hesitance to get close’ and in some cases makes it worse. They feel that if you can abandon them and treat them like they don’t matter; maybe they really don’t matter. Maybe they’re indeed unworthy of love and better off alone. The inability to trust you and feeling that they maybe better off alone will create the push-pull dynamic in the new relationship.
How an ex with a dismissive avoidant attachment style feels after you ignore them
No contact and ignoring a dismissive avoidant strengthens their disregard for close relationships. As far as a dismissive avoidant ex is concerned; what’s the point of being in a relationship when two people can be perfectly okay with ignoring each other. Maybe they’ve been right all along; relationships are overrated.
Re-introducing you back into their life after weeks of no contact is inviting back expectations; demands for their time and space; drama and everything they don’t like about relationships. If you get back together, they’ll always have one foot out of the door. They’ll always be thinking of the time when there was no contact and they could be themselves, do whatever they wanted; and ignore you back without any guilt.
Can your ex get over how they feel about ignoring them?
If you’re reading this and have been confused and puzzled as to why your avoidant ex reacts with anger or is cold when you reach out; now you know why.
It may take a while for your ex to get over their feelings about you doing no contact and ignoring them; and some exes may never get over it. Next next time you think about doing no contact, don’t think just about how you feel in the moment; think about how your one action now will affect your chances later.