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 exes come back and why they don’t come back.

First things first. Do dismissive avoidants come back? Yes they do.

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 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 their feelings and focus on something else rather than their emotions.

Do dismissive avoidants miss their ex?

Most dismissive avoidant exes don’t miss their ex. You have to understand, 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. It therefore makes sense that for most dismissive avoidants, out of sight is out of mind. They don’t want to think about the break-up and sometimes don’t think about relationships in general. Instead, they become obsessively focused on something else (work, school, hobbies, friends, partying etc.) and may see the break-up as something to celebrate.

But if a dismissive avoidant had developed strong feelings for you, they’ll miss you immediately. However, a dismissive avoidant’s way of missing you is not in a ‘longing” way. Longing, yearning or pining feelings come from the same place as “needing” someone; and to a dismissive avoidant attachment style, needing someone is a weakness they’ll not allow themselves to indulge in. They’ve trained themselves from childhood not to long for “something” they never had, or will never have. The only person they can count on and depend on is themselves.

A dismissive avoidant ex’s way of missing you is that they’ll think of you from time to time; most of the time however, they suppress feelings of you like they do with all feelings.

What makes a dismissive avoidant ex miss you?

What makes a dismissive avoidant ex miss you and how long it takes for a dismissive avoidant ex to miss you depends on the strength of their attachment to you, and how long you were together.

In general, dismissive avoidants have very short-term relationships. Most of their relationships range from a few months to a year or couple of years. And since it takes most dismissive avoidants while to get attached to someone, by the time the relationship ends, most have not developed a strong attachment to their ex. In my experience, most dismissive avoidants develop a strong attachment by the time the relationship is 3 years old; and if there were not many break-ups in between. If the relationship was mostly on-and-off, the time you were together does not count.

I’ve also found out over the years that that some dismissive avoidants miss the connection they had with their ex but don’t necessarily miss their ex. They miss how you made them feel safe and how you loved them, but they don’t miss you the person. They will miss the connection whether they are the dumper, or you ended the relationship. But just because a dismissive avoidant ex misses how you made them feel and how you loved them doesn’t mean they’ll reach out; or want that connection back.

Why don’t dismissive avoidant exes reach out?

Will a dismissive avoidant reach out? Yes, a dismissive avoidant may reach out after a break-up, but they’re more likely not to reach out than reach out.

Dismissive avoidants are fiercely independent and proud of the fact that they do not need others. They see reaching out to an ex as a sign of needing someone and often don’t reach out to prove to themselves; and to an ex that they don’t need anyone. And many dismissive avoidants are very stubborn in how they go about proving their independence.

Additionally, dismissive avoidants also don’t prioritize relationships in general and reaching out to an ex after a break-up feels to them like reaching out for a relationship. Even a dismissive avoidant who “misses” an ex will postpone reaching out for months if they think an ex might want to get back into a relationship.

So 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.

Why do dismissive avoidant exes want to be friends after a break-up?

Dismissive avoidant are known for staying friends with all their exes after a break-up. They’re also more likely to reach out to an ex first if they think an ex is just a friend. They may offer being friends while breaking up with an ex, days after breaking up, or reach out months later wanting to be friends.

Being friends with an ex means that they have somebody to talk to and even hook-up with, but without the expectations or commitment of a romantic relationship. And there is already some level of connection and trust, so less discomfort with closeness and vulnerability.

But sometimes a dismissive avoidant ex sees being friends first as a step towards getting back together. They have a strong attachment to an ex and may even want to get back together, but don’t want to rush back into a relationship for various reasons. Being friends first allows them to test drive what the new relationship can look and feel like, without the pressure to commit to one.

What makes a dismissive avoidant come back?

Dismissive avoidants often do not come back after a break-up. Once they’re done, they’re done. But every now and then, dismissive avoidant exes come back. Why they come back and what makes a dismissive avoidant 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.

Wanting to make the relationship work is not the only reason why dismissive avoidant exes come back. A dismissive avoidant ex may come back and keep coming back because they developed feelings for you. It is one of the signs that tell you a dismissive avoidant loves you. And since dismissive avoidants often don’t tell you or verbally express that they love you, them coming back says a lot.

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, a dismissive avoidant ex may come back and keep coming back hoping that they can do better and be less dismissive avoidant.

Another reason why a dismissive avoidant ex may come back is a bruised ego. Dismissive avoidants generally think highly of themselves, but underneath they do not feel truly worth of love and attention. If the break-up triggers these feelings of less worth, a dismissive avoidant ex will come back to prove something to themselves. A dismissive avoidant ex with a bruised ego will breadcrumb you to boost their ego, build back up their self-confidence or 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. If you’re going to try to attract back a dismissive avoidant, it’s important to understand that you are going to do most of the reaching out, asking to meet, hangout or go on dates. Don’t expect a dismissive avoidant ex to chase you because dismissive avoidants in general do not chase someone.

Even when a dismissive avoidant ex wants to get back together, they’ll still put up many boundaries and restrictions on everything from contact, meeting in person and even sexual intimacy. If you reach out they’ll respond sometimes immediately, respond days later, or not respond at all. From time to time, they pull away and then reach back out.

You find yourself constantly looking for signs and reactions from a dismissive avoidant ex that tell you how they feel about you; and if thy want you back. This is why when a dismissive avoidant looks like they’re chasing you, it is a sign that they really wants you back to risk being seen as chasing you. But whether or not a dismissive avoidant will actually come back is another story.

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 the short video below:

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. To understand why dismissive avoidants don’t respond and why they ignore text messages, see why avoidants ignore text messages.

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 signs that you are not happy with things being too slow, that’s it. You may never hear from a dismissive avoidant ex again.

COMMENTS: I encourage comments from dismissive avoidants on what makes you miss an ex and what makes you comes back. Let’s all learn from each other.


How I Handled Break-Ups As A Dismissive Avoidant Ex

Dismissive Avoidant Attachment And “Longing” For An Ex

Friendzoned By An Avoidant Ex Or Starting As Friends?

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: Wendy

    Yangki, I read it somewhere that it takes dismissive avoidants 6-8 months to process the breakup. We’re in the 7-month mark and he has not reached out. I’m worried he has moved on. I don’t look into his social media or ask about him because it will trigger my anxiety. Do you think he’ll reach out?

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      I don’t know. I haven’t seen any credible research on the claim that it takes dismissive avoidants 6-8 months to process the breakup. I’ve looked into academic journals and not found any studies that back it up.

      In my experience (I only speak from experience) working with dismissive avoidants and exes trying to attract back them back, it depends on an individual dismissive avoidant – their level of self-awareness, how strong the attachment was and when they began the break-up process before actually breaking up.

      Dismissive avoidants are very good at compartmentalizing and can begin moving on from someone while still “in a relationship”. The break-up is just a formalization.

    2. says: Marki

      I begin processing the break up before it actually happens. Once it happens I feel a sense of relief even though I miss some good things about the relationship. I mostly tell myself it wasn’t meant to be. The feelings of losing someone aren’t that strong for me to be thinking about them months later. I may remember things here and there if brought to my attention but I’m usually good at not thinking about it.

  2. says: Nick

    I’m a DA working on secure attachment and only now beginning to understand why I never reached out to an ex after a breakup. I found relationship to be too much effort and closeness made me uncomfortable. I didn’t respond to messages and when someone complained I felt smothered. I saw expecting me to reply as needy and a weakness and would often lead to me ending the relationship without even telling them why. Then I’d feel angry that I still cared for them but not reach out because I thought they hated me, and I didn’t want to put them through it again.

  3. says: Mary1971

    Yangki, my DA ex was happy with me for 5 months. He initiated contact and arranged dates and really showed me he cared about me. The relationship ended because I didn’t know how to deal with him needing space and I wonder if maybe I’d given him space we’d have lasted longer. I read all these things about DAs being cold-blooded and narcissists and deep inside it’s hard for me to accept that what we experienced wasn’t real. Am I convincing myself it was real because I want it to be?

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      If you felt it was real, it was real. For a dismissive avoidant, he did try with you. Don’t let the narrative that dismissive avoidants have no feelings and are all narcissists devalue or invalidate what you felt and had. If you notice, I do not encourage that narrative on my site. I’m more interested in helping different attachment styles REALLY understand each other and try to work together.

      As for what would have happened if you had dealt with a dismissive avoidant wanting space differently, there’s no way to say for sure that you’d have lasted longer. The way you handled him wanting space did contribute to the break-up, but things could have also ended because dismissive avoidants, like the other insecure attachment styles have deep-rooted issues that make relationships hard and likely to end quickly. Take responsibility for the role you played in the break-up, learn and grow from it; but don’t feel responsible for someone being a dismissive avoidant. That’s theirs to fix.

      1. says: Mary1971

        Thank you so much for replying. Yes, he had a lot of good traits and it was real. It would feel good if he reached out so I know that he did care about me.

        1. says: Ruby

          My situation is similar to yours. We also broke up because I was anxious when he needed space and didn’t make him feel safe. I’ve been in NC for 11 weeks and coming to terms with the fact that there really isn’t anything you can do for a DA to “miss you”. They don’t have “longing” feelings like us APs or have the reassuring traits of a securely attached person.

  4. says: Edvige

    I gave my DA ex space for 3 months since I read avoidants need more than the standard 30 days of no contact. I then reached out but didn’t make any demands and avoided talking about the relationship (past, present and future). I kept texts short and reached out every 4 days but when he was distancing, I pull back and reached out after 2 weeks. He never initiated contact but always responded and engaged with me. I felt that was making progress and was on a slow path to getting back together. But after almost 8 months of this, I reached a point where I couldn’t deny my feelings and needs anymore and told him I still loved him and wanted to get back together. He said he only wanted us to be friends and not hate each other.

    In retrospect and after reading many of your articles and eBook, I should have made it clear from the beginning I wanted him back, accepted his answer and moved on much sooner. I was too afraid to push him away but in the end the result was the same. I’m not angry with him because he never led me to believe we were getting back together, I just feel sad that I wasted a year believing I could earn him back.

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      I feel your sadness. A year is a long time. All you can do now is pick up the pieces and keep moving forward with what you’ve learned.

      You’ll be ok.

  5. says: Colton

    There is a lot to be learned here. Trust me I know. I’m a dismissive working so hard to fix my attachment style. I’ve never missed someone to the point that I want them back. I don’t think I’ve even ever missed an ex at all. Instead, I become more and more detached with time. With my last ex, she asked for a break but after the 1-month break, I felt so detached and numb, and we ended breaking up. She was more hurt that I was cold towards her and showed no emotion than the breakup itself. I felt bad that I was cold towards her and hurt her more, but I also felt like “spare me the drama”. This sums my feelings about relationships in general. My therapist says my detachment from my own emotions makes me unable to deeply connect. I haven’t dated much since the last breakup 4 years ago.

    1. says: Uno

      @Colton, you described me like you know me. I’ve tried therapy with several different therapists, and all but one ended in disaster. I clicked on this post because I thought it was help for dismissive avoidants. It’s obviously one of those how to get back an avoidant types. I can’t say I learned anything new about myself or how to resolve my childhood traumas but her take on dismissive avoidants compared to others is in line with my experiences. It’s been 6 years since my last breakup and the closest I’ve come to a relationship is a few hookups and 2-3 month shallow superficial connections here and there. I’m generally happy when I’m single because there’s no pressure to feel anything, but it seems that every year that goes by I get more lonely and isolated.

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