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

This is a thorough analysis of what makes a dismissive avoidant ex miss you and come back; how often dismissive avoidants come back and why dismissive avoidants too often don’t come back.

First things first. Do dismissive avoidants come back? Yes they do. How often do dismissive avoidant come back? Not too often.

Dismissive avoidants are known for not reaching out first and for not coming back once a relationship ends. In fact, one of the first questions my clients trying to attract back a dismissive is “How often do dismissive avoidants come back?”

To understand what makes a dismissive avoidant ex come back, how often dismissive avoidants come back; and why and when dismissive avoidants come back; it helps to understand a dismissive avoidant’s behaviour in the initial phase of the break-up.

Dismissive avoidants in the initial phases of a break-up

The few studies that focus on attachment styles in the initial phases of a break-up are mixed for dismissive avoidants. On a behavioural level, they tend to show fewer difficulties with break-ups, (Fraley and Bonanno, 2004), but this is often seen as a part of an avoidant defensive suppression of attachment-related thoughts and emotions and not as part of a real detachment from an ex.

Unlike fearful avoidants who tend to obsess about how things might have been different; dismissive avoidants have fewer break-up regrets. If a dismissive avoidant regrets breaking up, they suppress all thoughts and feelings about it. Like securely attached, a high self-concept allows them to bounce back faster, transition more smoothly and adjust to their new reality much faster. This may explain why securely attached and dismissive avoidants don’t feel the need to do no contact.

Dismissive avoidants do not need no contact to deal with break-up emotions. They can love you and walk away from you; and go on with their lives like the break-up never happened. This doesn’t mean they didn’t have feelings for you or don’t care. They felt the hurt and pain just like everyone else, but quickly compartmentalized it so they won’t have to deal with it.

How long does it take a dismissive avoidant ex to miss you?

Dismissive avoidants value their independence and space more than they value relationships. Many are relieved when a relationship ends because they are now “free” to do them. The responsibilities, expectations and demands of being in a relationship are gone.

But if a dismissive avoidant had created an attachment bond with you, missing you sets in slowly and over a long period of time. They may think of you from time to time, but it’s not “missing you” thoughts. If a dismissive avoidant was in a relationship for more than 3 years and developed attachment to you; a dismissive avoidant will miss you sooner. They will miss you whether they are the dumper, or you ended the relationship.

Will a dismissive avoidant reach out when they miss you?

Dismissive avoidants in general do not pursue someone. They see reaching out first as chasing someone which is why they do not reach out first. They also do not reach out because they don’t want to put themselves in a position where they feel unpleasant emotions.

If a dismissive avoidant reaches reach out first, it is because they:

  1. Had developed a strong emotional attachment to you
  2. View the relationship to have been relatively good (not many arguments or fights)
  3. Felt you understood and respected their need for space
  4. Heard something bad happened to you and they think they should show support
  5. Are having a hard time meeting someone as good as you
  6. Want sex

Individuals with a dismissive avoidant attachment can easily separate love from sex; and often call an ex they have no romantic feelings towards just for sex.

RELATED: Why A Dismissive Avoidant Ex Can’t Love You Back (And What to Do)

How often do dismissive avoidant exes come back?

You know a dismissive avoidant ex may be thinking of coming back if they reaching out first. It is a sign that you your dismissive avoidant ex is willing to risk being seen as chasing you. But whether or not they actually come back depends on the same reasons exes of other attachment styles come back; they believe the relationship this time will be much better than the old one.

A dismissive avoidant ex may also come back and keep coming back if they felt an emotional connection with you. They have a hard time connecting emotionally and when they’re able to do that with you, they miss that connection. If they ended the relationship, they may second guess their decision to break up and try to come back. And if you broke up with them, and they have some level of self-awareness, they may come back hoping that they can do better and be less dismissive avoidant.

Some dismissive avoidants come back due to a bruised ego. A dismissive avoidant who keeps coming back because the break-up made them feel less valuable or insignificant is not coming back because they feel a connection with you; they’re coming back to prove something to themselves. Most breadcrumb you until they find someone new or you decide enough is enough.

Communication with a dismissive avoidant ex after the break-up

How often dismissive avoidants come back depends on how you communicate after the break-up. Anyone trying to attract a dismissive avoidant knows that communication with a dismissive avoidant is always a challenge. Through out the process of trying to attract them there will be very long periods when there is no contact at all. I discus this in my video: Taking Things Slow With An Avoidant Ex.

It’s important to understand that unlike fearful avoidants, dismissive avoidants are not too concerned about rejection. They have reasonable expectations that you will respond at some point. It does not matter to them whether you respond right away or hours or days later. This this is what they do. It makes sense that they expect others to do the same.

But if they think you are playing mind games, they will get frustrated and lash out or shut down. As far as they are concerned, if you want to respond, respond. If you don’t, don’t respond.

How you react to their thinking about contact and communication, will make the difference between the end of contact and the beginning of a new relationship. If you come on too strong, complain or show sign that you are not happy with things being too slow, that’s it. You may never hear from a dismissive avoidant ex again.


Am I Crazy To Want My Dismissive Avoidant Ex Back?

Why Do Avoidants Come Back When You Stop Pursuing Them?

How Often Do Exes Come Back? (Odds By Attachment Styles)

Attract Back An Avoidant Ex Pt.1 – How Attachment Styles Can Help

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  1. says: StuckFA

    I’m FA lean anxious and I agree that we’re not much different from a preoccupied attachment. For 2 weeks after the breakup (she’s DA and broke up with me), I did everything you’re not supposed to do after the breakup. I love bombed her so much that she wrote me a long angry text saying she didn’t want to block me but I’m forcing her to do it. I haven’t reached out since but everyday I fight the urge to reach out, the only thing that stops me is that she’ll block me. I read that DAs once they block you don’t unblock you. I’ve deleted her number but deliberately not blocked her in case she wants to reach out. I know everyone says to do complete wipe out but I don’t want her to try to reach out and find she’s blocked and block me. I’m stuck in this waiting game.

  2. says: Just Steve

    I’m dismissive avoidant and I generally find no reason to do not contact or block someone unless they’re unbearable or toxic. If there are no hard feelings and we can still be friends, I’ll reach out just like I do with my other friends. But if we can’t be friends, I’ll leave the door open for you to reach out, but I will never do it myself. I may watch your stories just because I’m curious about what you’re up to and because I want to know you’re okay, but there’s no romantic interest there.

    Now, if I still have romantic feelings for you, I’ll reach out within a few days to a couple of weeks of the breakup. My reasons for waiting to reach out are because I don’t want to cause you anymore pain that I already have. So when I’m reaching out, I’m basically checking to see if you hate me and testing the waters. If I get the green light, I’ll reach out again, if not, I will leave you to reach out to me.

    We avoidants are not all the same, but this is how I approach things. I hope it helps someone.

  3. says: Hope

    I thought some of you might benefit from my story and not make the same mistake I made. I hope the comment gets posted because it’s too long. Here goes.

    I ended it with my DA ex, I just couldn’t do it anymore. He reached out the next day saying he wanted to check up on me and I told him I was ok, but right now wanted no contact. 35mins later he was at my house, looking do down. We talked a bit about the breakup and he had tears in his eyes and begged me not to end things ‘this way” meaning with no contact. He said he would respect whatever contact I was comfortable with. This was the first time in our 2-year relationship that I’d seen him vulnerable in this way. He also said he’d never felt this way about anyone. I told him it made me angry that he hadn’t said these things when we were together. Long story short, he asked for a hug and held me tight before letting go and walked to his car.

    Two days after the end of 30 day no contact, I reached out. He replied within 5 minutes, “Thank you for letting me know you are much better. However, it’s best to keep things the way they are now. You’re an amazing woman, I’m sure you will find what you’re looking for very soon” and a hug emoji. There’s been no communication for 1.5 years.

    I have questioned my decision to do no contact a million times. Would things have been different? Was him saying he never felt for anyone the way he did for me his way of saying he loved me? Would he continue to show a more vulnerable side of him? Could we have worked?

    I’ll never know because I made the decision to do no contact. Do yourselves a favor, educate yourselves on DA attachment style. I spent the last year doing exactly this and see the mistakes I made but because I was focused on my DA behaviour didn’t see how I was triggering him.

    Yangki, thank you for posting this, if you do. I love your articles and your videos. They’ve really helped me understand DA attachment style so much more.

    1. says: Emma

      Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story. I have my own experience with a DA quite similar but not to the extent of him telling me he never felt for me the way he felt for any one. That would have made me stick around a little longer 🙂

      Maybe Yangki, can answer this for me. Do DA get anxious, I thought you said they were low anxiety?

      1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

        All attachment styles feel a certain degree of anxiety. People with a secure attachment style and dismissive avoidants score low on anxiety spectrum, but this doesn’t mean they never feel anxious. The anxiety they feel however is so low as not to course problems in the relationship.

        In this case however, I see more vulnerability than anxiety. And yes, dismissive avoidants are capable of being vulnerable. They just have trained themselves not to allow it. Most dismissive avoidants were discouraged/not allowed as children to show vulnerability (express needs and feelings). Others grew up with parents/caregivers who never showed vulnerability; the dismissive avoidant is modeling that behaviour.

        1. says: Robert F

          I’m a dismissive avoidant and really don’t even think about my partner when they’re away or when I need space to clear my mind which is quite often (awful, I admit). I have a very demanding career and I get stressed and need to be alone to decompress. I don’t get anxious because I’m thinking about other things. But when I feel connected and my partner stops responding for some reason, I feel anxiety. I think something may be wrong that I haven’t been aware of. This is something quite recent and I don’t like when it happens.

          1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

            I think what you feel is vulnerability. It can feel scary especially at first, but a little anxiety is not a sign something is wrong with you, or wrong with the situation. It’s actually a healthy human response to uncertainty.

            I suggest letting yourself feel vulnerable but not act on it. With time, it’ll start to feel “normal” to be vulnerable.

  4. says: Samlee

    I thought my boyfriend of 3 years was a dismissive avoidant, but it turns out he’s secure. I found this out in therapy. The more my therapist and I looked at my behaviours and the reasons we fought a lot, the more I realized that I caused many of the issues in our relationship because of my anxiety. For instance, he repeatedly told me to find my own friends and hobbies, and not always expect him to be my everything. I thought he never cared and was pulling away. This started the protest behavior and stuff, which made things worse. I’m not saying my ex didn’t play a role in things ending the way they did, secures have issues too.

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      Good for you for realizing you needed to work on your attachment anxiety. My respect!

      You’ll be surprised (or not) to know that you’re not alone who’s made this assumption. I’ve worked with anxious and fearful avoidant clients who also came to realize the ex they thought was a dismissive avoidant, was actually more secure than they realized.

      Dismissive avoidants and securely attached share some common traits due to both attachment styles having low anxiety and a positive self-view.

      And yes, some secures have issues too. Some securely attached may have started with an insecure attachment style and earned their secure attachment through self-work, therapy or in relationships with someone secure. Some of the triggers from attachment trauma may still be present but dormant and get triggered in some situations and relationships.

  5. says: Chris P

    I think too many people are confused about us because they forget that we dismissive avoidants have feelings just like everyone. We just hide them and ignore them better because we have many years of experience doing so. Our deactivation comes from a place of trauma build-up that makes it difficult for us to express ourselves and trust others to meet our own needs.

    Like everyone else we want love and affection (we never got), but we try our hardest to not let anyone know how badly we want it. We convinced ourselves that relationships, emotional intimacy, hugging and cuddling and all that stuff isn’t important, and even if it is, it’s not for people like us.

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      I talk to dismissive avoidants, and they say exactly what you expressed here: “We want love and affection just like everyone else”. It’s good for others to hear directly from a dismissive avoidant. Thank you.

  6. says: Tom C

    I haven’t reached to my DA ex since the breakup 5 months ago but have been thinking about it. I tell myself her not responding wouldn’t bother me but honestly it would probably make me feel worse. I don’t know if I want to open myself up to that.

    1. says: Dribrah

      Same here. Dumped by DA and no contact for 3 months. Every day I find myself leaning towards ‘why not just do it?’ What’s the worst that can happen? She doesn’t respond, I move on. At this point I don’t think she’ll ever contact me.

  7. says: Kayleen

    I’m a dismissive avoidant attachment and clicked on this looking for advice on how to get back with my ex with a secure attachment style. We were friends for 2 yrs before I realized I was in love with him and were together for 2 happiest yrs of my life! The relationship ended because I didn’t want to have kids. Tbh, I didn’t think I’d ever meet anyone I want to have kids with and every relationship I ever had, I said I didn’t want to have kids. I know now that I want kids with him, but he thinks I’m just saying this to get him back. I’ve never before tried to get back with an ex but I’ll go to the ends of the world to get the love of my life back. Any advice on how someone with a secure attachment style handles breakups and how to get them back?

  8. says: Futurefocused

    This question is for Yangki. I’ve read that dismissive avoidants take longer to begin processing the breakup, is this true in your experience working with them?

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      Not all dismissive avoidants are the same, but generally yes. They take much longer to start processing their feelings. That’s why they seem to handle break-ups much better than individuals with an anxious attachment style. They have an unmatched ability to compartmentalize their feelings and emotions and function as if the breakup never happened.

      The pain of a breakup hits some of them much later, but only if they had emotionally invested in the relationship. But since dismissive avoidants generally don’t emotionally invest in relationships and their relationships end too quickly before they get emotionally invested, they may never process the break-up at all.

      1. says: Futurefocused

        So what you’re saying is if you leave them alone for longer and reach out they will have processed their feelings and decide if they want you back or not?

        1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

          No, that’s not what I’m saying. Leaving them alone has little to do with whether or not a dismissive avoidant will begin processing their feelings or even process them. You can’t manipulate them like that. Dismissive avoidants pride themselves in being their own person not influenced by others.

          In my experience, sometimes “leaving them alone” for an extended period of time actually helps them completely detach from all feelings about an ex, the relationship, and the break-up.

          People with an anxious preoccupied attachment style and fearful avoidant attachment style only pretend to “erase” an ex using no contact. Dismissive avoidants can actually emotionally “erase” all existence of an ex. They pack you away like all the other emotions and traumatic experiences they refuse to deal with.

          1. says: Futurefocused

            So why do they insist on staying friends after the breakup? Mine begged me to reconsider being friends after I told her I didn’t want to stay friends because I still was in love with her.

            1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

              I’ve wondered about that myself, and discussed it with some of my dismissive avoidant clients, who as you pointed out are friends with almost all their exes.

              Perhaps… this is only my theory; it’s their way of consciously stopping themselves from fully detaching. They can compartmentalize their feelings and emotions but still be able to access them when they talk to an ex or see them. Just a theory of mine…

              1. says: Futurefocused

                Hmmm. Food for thought!?
                Thank you for answering my questions. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  9. says: Emily29

    My dismissive ex and I got back together after almost a year of being friends with benefits. We’ve been together for almost 14 months and thanks to therapy, he’s better at communicating when he needs space, and this helps with my anxiety. The intimacy however seems to have gone from bad to worse.

    When we were friends with benefits, we had spar of the moment sex. He’d call me up or I’d call him and we’d get on with it. Now that we spend more time together, he just doesn’t have the desire for sex. We’ve arranged to go to sex therapy as a couple, as a last-ditch effort.

    I love him with all my heart, but I don’t want a friends with benefits situation for the rest of my life. I want to settle down and have a family, but I don’t want a sexless marriage.

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      I hear you. So much of the advice focuses on giving an avoidant space (I’m guilty of it myself), but what is really at the core of a dismissive attachment style is a problem with intimacy (emotional, physical, and sexual). The friends with benefits situation worked because there was “no risk” to him.

      Should You Be Friends With Benefits With An Avoidant Ex?

      I hope that therapy helps you stay together and have the family you want. If it doesn’t improve anything, don’t feel bad for wanting a marriage with sex. As you grow older, you realize that sometimes the old adage “love is not enough” is true. You can love someone but if they can’t meet your core needs, love won’t be enough.

  10. says: Barb

    My ex is dismissive avoidant and I miss him so much it’s hard to explain. Yes, he’s distant at times, but our connection is undeniable strong, and this is mutual. I can’t imagine not having him in my life.

    We’re friends right now and have had several conversations about our dynamic and he’s said he needs to express his feelings better and open up more. But he still will not go to therapy.

    I’m in therapy and working on my anxious attachment issues. I believe that if I’m more secure I can handle his distancing better.

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      Dismissive avoidants are stubbornly self reliant, and often look at therapy as “depending on someone”. I know because I get a lot of “I don’t want to depend on you” from many of my dismissive avoidant clients. It’s almost like they’re embarrassed that they’re asking for help.

      This doesn’t mean you should not “gently” encourage him to seek help. In the meantime, you’re right, your best chance at making a relationship work is to work on becoming secure.

  11. says: steph

    I’m a dismissive avoidant currently in therapy to work on my deep seated issues. I was dumped by a securely attached ex after a little over a year relationship. I’ve never contacted an ex after w broke up but lately, I catch myself thinking about my ex more than I’d like to. Through therapy, I’m realizing that she loved me but I was not healthy enough to recognize or receive the love she showed me. I’ve wanted to reach out to her and thank her for pushing me to go to therapy and also tell her what I’ve learned about myself and about us. My therapist says it’s ok to reach out and it might actually help me learn vulnerability. But here is the thing, I’m not afraid of her rejection, I’m more concerned that reaching out now, 8 months after the breakup is not fair to her. I’ll be reminding her of the hurt I caused her and I don’t want to do that. What do you think Yangki, should I reach out?

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      It takes lots of courage to look at oneself and say, “I need to change” and actually do the change. My respect!

      Yes. Reach out. I know 8 months is a long time, but because she’s securely attached, she will most likely respond and hear you out even if she’s reminded of the hurt, has moved on or doesn’t want you back. Securely attached are ‘’generous” and resilient like that

      You never know… it may turn out to be the first step to something more. Please come back here and let us know what happens either way….

      1. says: Steph

        She responded and was happy that I’m therapy and offered to help any way she can. I’ve been reaching out with updates of my healing journey, and we had one 4-hour phone call. I’m ok with us being friends for now. Therapy brought up a lot of attachment trauma and I need to work through it before I can be good for her or anyone.

        Thank you for encouraging me to reach out and for all your wonderful articles and videos. I’ll definitely be reaching out at some point for 1-on-1 coaching when I’m ready to try to get her back.

  12. says: Male32

    I’m FA and the part about attachment style overriding efforts to go through with no contact rule hit me like a lightening bolt. Suddenly it makes so much sense. Question is, what now?

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      Not sure I get the question. If you’re asking if you should stick to no contact or break no contact, my answer is obvious… break it!