Does making an avoidant ex jealous work to get them back work? Is it healthy and should you even want to make your avoidant ex jealous, and what happens when an avoidant ex gets jealous?
Once in a while someone asks me, “How do I make my ex jealous?”
I always answer them with “Why do you want to make your ex jealous?”
“Because it’ll make them think I have moved on, and happy without them.”
“Are you sure that’s what you want your ex to think?” I press on.
“Do you then suggest I act miserable and beg him to come back. Will that not push him away?”
“No. that’s not what I am suggesting.”
“Making your ex jealous” is popular advice and some people claim it ‘worked’ for them, and maybe it did. But is making your ex jealous on social media, at a party or at work to get them back healthy? Should you even want to make your ex jealous? What happens when an avoidant ex gets jealous?
Does making an ex jealous work to get them back?
Most exes feel some degree of jealousy but the way they express jealousy depends on the specific emotions they experience, how they cope when jealous and the extent to which they focus on “jealousy’.
According to research on attachment styles and jealousy, individuals with an anxious attachment and fearful avoidants who lean more anxious than avoidant feel more jealousy and sadness more intensely and engage in hypervigilant, destructive, and passive behaviours more frequently than all the other attachment styles. Because individuals with an anxious attachment are hypersensitive to signs of rejection, even a partner looking at an attractive man or woman or the thought of their ex with someone else triggers emotions that can have negative outcomes on the relationship and on the individual.
Individuals with an anxious attachment who try very hard to allow things to unfold over time experience intense jealousy a few hours, days or weeks later and become more distraught than when they first found out their e was seeing someone else. They may desperately try anything and everything to try to discourage their ex from pursing the new relationship or push away the new man or woman in their ex’s life. The longer the new relationship last or gets stronger, the more intense the feelings of jealousy.
Depending on how their ex entered a new relationship, exes with an anxious attachment and more anxious than avoidant fearful avoidants may experience regret and anger directed towards self, towards their ex or towards the new man or woman in their ex’s life. They may even believe that their ex started a new relationship with someone else to be intentionally spiteful, especially if the relationship was so soon after the break-up.
Anxious attachment using jealousy to reassure themselves
Many exes with an anxious attachment convince themselves that the new relationship is a rebound and will end very soon, but deep down inside they feel rejected and abandoned. The feelings of abandonment and fear of losing an ex to someone else push exes with an anxious attachment to try to seek reassurance in the form of excessive contact, excessive expression of affection and wanting to get back together. In this sense you can say making an anxious attachment ex and a fearful avoidant ex who leans more anxious jealous worked to get them back.
Your ex felt jealous so they must love you because if they had been indifferent then it would mean that they really don’t care all that much about you. But does creating unstable emotional state using jealousy or pretend rivalry between your ex and other ‘interested’ party an accurate reflection of how much your ex really loves you, or even if they love you at all?
Whether making an ex jealous to get them back is healthy and if you should even want to make your ex jealous is discussed in another article.
What happens when a dismissive avoidant ex gets jealous?
Do dismissive avoidants get jealous? Yes they do. Dismissive avoidants and fearful avoidants leaning more avoidant or dismissive experience jealousy when they first find out about the new person in their ex’s life. However, research (Shaver & Mikulincer, 2002) shows that unlike individuals with an anxious attachment who seek more closeness, express more affection and become obsessed with an ex seeing or dating someone else, dismissive avoidants in general when they feel jealous create greater distance.
Given their tendency to downplay emotions, dismissive avoidants may not fully recognize the extent of the threat of losing an ex to someone else posses. They feel less distraught and sad and may even deny that they feel jealous because they don’t feel the same hyper aroused feelings individuals with an anxious attachment feel when jealous or engage in hypervigilant behaviours. This is consistent with their low levels of anxiety, low score in the fear of abandonment dimension, positive self-view and self-sufficiency.
When dismissive avoidants are emotionally invested, they are more likely to display jealousy behaviours and reactions, but a dismissive avoidant ex’s motivation for reaching out and even wanting an ex back may be less about fear of losing an ex to someone else and more about feeling vulnerable and exposed.
Because dismissive avoidants need to feel in control of their experiences and environment all the time, an ex seeing or dating someone else while a dismissive avoidant ex is still emotionally invested may make a dismissive avoidant feel like their losing control of what is happening to them. There’s this other relationship that is playing out outside of their control. To regain back control of their experiences and environment, they need to persuade their ex to leave the new man or woman, and sometimes this means getting back with an ex.
A dismissive avoidant attachment vulnerability hangover
A dismissive avoidant ex trying to persuade you to leave the new man or woman, and even wanting to get back together may look like a dismissive avoidant is more attracted to you because you made them jealous or because they think they’re losing you to someone else; but in reality your dismissive avoidant ex is having a vulnerability hangover.
A vulnerability hangover is what Dr Brené Brown, describes as an unpleasant feeling people have after taking an emotional risk or sharing their deepest feelings and needs. A vulnerability hangover can cause regret and embarrassment, and in some dismissive avoidant exes the need to regain back control of what they lost when they allowed themselves to become vulnerable.
Dismissive avoidant exes (and avoidants in general) who have been cheated on or left for someone else are also more likely to display jealousy behaviours and reactions expressed more as anger and hostility rather than pursuit or wanting to get back together. They’re the type that send you mean texts accusing you all kinds of things including ruining their lives. The fact they’re reaching out and reaching out frequently when everyone says dismissive avoidant don’t reach out to exes ay make you feel like making a dismissive avoidant ex jealous worked to get them back. But dismissive avoidant exes (and avoidants in general) who have been cheated on or left for someone else may work hard to get you back because they’re triggered by their past experiences or trauma, but they’re also likely to dump you after the trigger wears off.