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