What An Anxious Attached MUST DO To Get Back Their Ex

What should someone with an anxious attachment style do to get back their ex? First and foremost they should stop getting in their own way. Everyone with an anxious attachment style or a fearful avoidant attachment style has at least self-sabotaged their chances with their ex not once, but a few times. And unfortunately, until anxious attached individuals stop getting in their own way, whatever they do to get back their ex isn’t going to work.

After a break-up, individuals with an anxious preoccupied attachment style and a fearful avoidant attachment style have a strong desire to protect themselves from getting hurt and prevent the pain of rejection and abandonment. This in itself is a normal and healthy reaction to a break-up. But when trying to get back with an ex, the fear of getting hurt or abandonment is why anxiously attached and fearful avoidants hesitate, second-guess and self-sabotage their chances of attracting back their ex. Many miss out on opportunities to emotionally connect with their ex and fail to get back together when they had a real good chance, and don’t understand why.

Understanding anxious attachment self-sabotage

Self-sabotaging behaviours are often deeply ingrained that it’s hard to recognize how your actions are hurting you and how your reactions to situations end up causing bigger problems in the long run. You may even be doing everything right to get your ex back but get in your own way every now and then.

Self-sabotage can be conscious and subconscious. Conscious self-sabotage is when you are aware that what you are doing is hurting your chances of getting back your ex. Conscious self-sabotage includes:

  • Over texting your ex to get attention or annoy an ex
  • Begging, pleading and using aggressive strategies to get back together
  • Starting unnecessary fights or drama
  • Sending nasty texts to get a reaction
  • Stalking an ex on social media or offline
  • Sexting or engaging in sex with an ex who shows no interest or is mean and cruel etc.

Subconscious self-sabotage is when you do things in an attempt to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario, manage anxious thoughts or worrying, or avoid abandonment. Subconscious self-sabotage includes:

  • Harbouring resentment and anger (negative energy)
  • Send passive aggressive texts criticizing your ex
  • Suddenly changing approach when things are going well and progressing,
  • Stop responding, pull away or go no contact when you should be trying to connect and engage etc..

In many instances, you’ll find that your goal has shifted from actively trying to attract back your ex to passively undermining any small effort your ex may be making to make things work.

To get back an ex, anxiously attached must stop getting in their own way. These 10 tips will help you stop self-sabotaging, increase your chances, and successfully get back your ex.

1. Identify the source of your anxiety and worry

To stop self-sabotaging, you must first recognize when you’re getting in your own way. Try looking at your behaviours as an outsider and identify the fearful thoughts driving your anxiety and worry. If necessary write them down.

I’ve found that when a client can see their fear-driven thoughts written down and in front of them, they begin to see how they’re getting in their own way. But this is only if a client is open and willing to be honest with themselves and doesn’t get defensive or try to justify their fear-driven thoughts. The ones who justify their fear-driven thoughts very rarely get clarity and keep self-sabotaging their chances of getting back their ex.

2. Manage the triggers that drive self-sabotaging behaviours

The next step is to acknowledge that these thoughts have triggers and identify the root cause of these triggers. It’s only through intentional self-reflection that deep insight, understanding and the process of change possible.

In my experience, self-sabotaging behaviours when trying to attract back an ex stem from the fear of getting hurt, fear of failure, feelings of self-worth and inability to recognize limiting beliefs and habits. I’ve also found that for some people self-sabotage is as a screwed-up way of controlling an outcome.

Understanding how your self-sabotaging behaviours is linked to your anxious attachment style will change what and how you do to get back your ex.

3. Choose a different response

Next consciously choose to respond in healthier ways that don’t do lasting damage to your chances of getting back together with your ex. For example if you realize you’re sabotaging your chances by pulling away because your ex is sometimes responding and other times ignoring texts, choose to be consistent and not let how your ex chooses to respond dictate your behaviour. If your tendency is to go no contact when you should be trying to connect and engage, choose to engage instead of going no contact.

Keep looking for ways to replace old habits with new ones that are more helpful in achieving your goals. This will give you the confidence to create new experiences aligned with who you want to be and the kind of relationship you want with your ex.

4. Accept that uncertainty is part of the process

While it’s completely normal to feel uncertain about your chances of getting back with an ex from time-to-time, feeling uncertain leads to self-sabotaging behaviours when you obsess and worry about things being uncertain.

It’s important to always remind yourself that whenever human beings are involved, it is impossible to be 100% certain about what they’ll say or do at any given moment. If you were dealing with a machine, you’d program it so that you know exactly what’s going to say or do – and why. But you are dealing with a human being — complex, versatile, ever changing and highly unpredictable by nature. One day they feel this way and the next day they feel completely the opposite.

The simple step of accepting this fact can change your whole attitude and the way you look at what is going on.

5. Recognize that there is only so much you can do right now

It’d be nice to just push your way through but that’ll only push your ex further away. This, in turn, will make you more frustrated and angrier with your ex and with yourself. And as you may well know, most people with an anxious attachment when frustrated and angry hyperactivate, push harder and work harder for attention and affection. Exes with a dismissive avoidant attachment style especially don’t want you working too hard to get their attention or doing too much to show you love them. They see it as being needy, and it turns them off.

If you are doing everything you are supposed to be doing, and doing it right, that is good enough. Focus on things under your control.

6. Imagine best possible scenario

If you have an anxious attachment style, it also means that you have a tendency to overexaggerate threat, assume the worst and come up with inaccurate conclusions. And once the inaccurate conclusions take root, your brain holds on to it as if it’s reality and sometimes dismisses information that is contrary to it. You end up acting in accordance to a reality that only exists in your head.

To stop self-sabotaging and successfully get back your ex, train your brain to imagine best possible scenarios and generate positive thoughts in order to overcome the negative ones. Sounds like a trip to fantasy land, but so does worrying about everything that could go wrong. Most of it is all in your head, the reality may turn out to be very different. True, the reality may turn out to be very different but for now, you’ll feel calmer and focused.

7. Have a little more faith in yourself

Changing your negative self-image and the thoughts and feelings that hold you back is fundamental to stopping self-sabotaging your chances with your ex. Most people with an anxious attachment understand they need to be more confident, assertive and self-assured but the approach they use is “getting tough on myself” instead of “having empathy and being kind to myself”.

You have come this far and have not fallen apart, that means something. Tap into whatever strength has sustained this far and tell yourself you are strong enough to make it through. If you need to, write some affirmations down and read them when you feel like you are losing hope.

8. Minimize negative influence

Studies show that anxious attachment (high anxiety) is associated with an external relational locus of control. What this means is that external validation is very important to you and other people define what is right for you.

With everything going on with your ex, people close to you telling you this and that, and all kinds of advice on the internet, it’s easy to become anxious, fearful, and negative. To successfully attract back your ex, minimize negative influence. For example, limit how much you talk to certain people about your ex/situation, carefully choose what kind of advice you read or listen to and make sure it’s aligned with who you want to be and the kind of relationship you want with your ex.

9. Keep moving forward and towards your ex

Any action you take to try to get back your ex either moves you toward or away from your ex and the kind of relationship you want with your ex. The behaviours that create more distance between you and your ex are the ones that are keeping you from what you most desire. Choose to move towards your goal than away from it.

I tell my clients, “Nothing in this process is written in stone. Exes change their minds all the time”. So, until you know for sure that it is over-over, keep moving forward and towards your ex.

10. Focus on the present

Things will unfold soon enough. In the meantime, life goes on.


Emotional Connection – How to Connect With Your Ex’s Emotions

How To Reach Out But Not Chase A Dismissive Avoidant Ex

More from Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng
Are You A Dramatic Dater Or Partner-Focused?
A new study found four distinct patterns of commitment, which researchers say...
Read More
Join the Conversation


  1. says: Justin

    I’m going through this right this moment. Worrying if my ex will come back or not. I know I need to be patient and act calm but I keep thinking up the worst case scenarios. I keep thinking that may be she’s just leading me on but really doesn’t want to be back with me or may be she feels sorry for me and is just being polite by replying to my texts or may be she’s bored and talks to me because right now there is no one else. Ugh! Not knowing is driving me crazy.

  2. says: Al

    Looking back on my failed relationship, I have a lot of built up resentment for my ex. Will this ultimately endanger my chances of getting her back?

  3. says: howard

    I’m following your ebook and last night I told my ex I was going to a cooking class and I said casually that it’d be nice if she wanted to come. She didn’t seem interested but said I should text nearer the day of my class. She said goodbye very fast after just a couple of minutes on the phone. Should I be concerned? It has me worried now because of how neutral she sounded, although we haven’t spoken much since I initiated contact.

    1. says: SunnySue

      I am just about to lose all hope of getting back my fearful avoidant ex. We had a really good relationship, then the last 2 months before the breakup he said he’d lost his feelings for me. I asked if he wanted to breakup but he said no. A week later we broke up he said he could not pretend anymore. I went NC for 30 days then contacted him and asked if he wanted to try the relationship again. He did not respond but continues to contact me asking how i am doing. I don’t want him contacting me if he does not want to get back together. It hurts too much.

      1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

        I wouldn’t be surprised if this is not the same attitude that led to him losing his feelings for you. Relationships are about finding what works for both people, not my way or no way.

        It’s not my place to tell you to stay in contact or not. That’s a decision only you can make. But if you ever want a fulfilling and lasting relationship, you have to start thinking of a relationship as 2 people in it, not just you.

    2. Her lack of enthusiasm is expected considering you haven’t spoken much since you broke up. She’s may be guarded because she doesn’t know what to expect, and may be hasn’t fully moved past what happened.

      This is a slow process and as I mentioned in the book, will call upon your patience, determination and emotional stability the way it’s never been called up on before – in the relationship. If you start panicking at every slight thing your ex says or does, you’ll lose focus and find yourself acting in a self-destructing manner.

      Text a day or two before your class reminding her that she’s welcome to come if she’s interested. She may say she’s not interested but that’s besides the point. Your goal is to get her back and not just go get her to go to the cooking class. Look at the bigger picture.

  4. says: Pradeep

    I want to thank you for a very thoughtful and timely post about this topic. I’m definitely driving my ex further away. My question is, what do you do after you sent a text you know you shouldn’t have.

    1. Do nothing. I know that’s really hard to do for people who compulsively text or call the person they love (needy people). The impulse is to send another text to explain the one that you shouldn’t have sent, then send another one to try to explain the one that you sent about the one you shouldn’t have sent. Before long you have sent 10, 20 texts.

      If this is a pattern, your ex may be expecting you to do the same thing you’ve always done. So, wait a few days then send ONE email to explain yourself. See what he says and respond accordingly.

      Doing something different will take him by surprise, and if you continue doing things differently over a period of time, it will make him want to come close to find out more about this “new” you.

  5. says: joewood

    She does not want to date with anybody now, but she hasn’t really said whether or not she wants to be with me in the future. I can’t stand the uncertainty.

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.