One of the challenges of trying to attract back a fearful avoidant ex is getting them to meet or want to hang out.
Most fearful avoidant exes want to text only but when you ask to meet, they’ll give you so many reasons (excuses) why they can’t hangout including family is visiting, family/friend has an emergency, busy with work, completing a project, have a deadline to beat, travelling out of town/country etc. Some fearful avoidant clients have told me that they avoid sharing details of their life because they think that when their ex knows when they’re not working or have plans, they’ll ask to meet or hang out.
If you point out that if they can have the time to travel, hang out with friends, do home repairs etc. they can find time to meet and hangout with you, that’s pressure.
This can create a lot of anxiety and even doubts about a fearful avoidants interest in you or in getting back together.
- Why don’t she they want to meet (hang out)
- Did I act needy by asking to hang out
- Was it too soon?
- Are they leading me on?
- Is there someone else? Should I ask?
- What do I say?
- Have I ruined my chances?
- Should I reach out?
- What if they don’t respond?
- Should I ask if they don’t want me to contact them?
- Should I give them space/wait for them to contact me?
Anxiety over a fearful avoidant not wanting to meet is valid. If you’re only texting and contact is random and far between, it’ll be hard to build momentum. Meeting and hanging out has the potential to build momentum faster and the momentum is more enduring than momentum from texting only.
Why fearful avoidant exes want to text but not meet or hang out
Most of the time, fearful avoidant exes want to text but not meet or hang out because they feel that it is too soon to meet or hangout. The emotions of the break-up are still raw, and they don’t want things to get “too emotional”. They may also fear that the feelings they still have for you will overwhelm them and they don’t want to deal with those feelings. And some fearful avoidant exes just want texting attention via text and have no intentions of meeting in person let alone get back together.
But the main reason both fearful and dismissive avoidant are comfortable with texting but not meet in person is that text messaging and social media are an avoidant’s preferred way to communicate because with texting an avoidant can control closeness.
1) It is easier for an avoidant to control closeness when texting because can simply delay responding, ignore a text or not text back at all. Face-to-face meeting takes away some of the control texting provides. It’s uncomfortable and awkward to ignore someone when they’re on the other side of the table.
2) Texting feels safe for a fearful avoidant because on a superficial level it looks like there is still closeness because there is some form of contact even if it’s random and shallow.
And if they’re not ready to even consider getting back together, meeting up is “too much” closeness that most fearful avoidants exes are not ready for or want.
Fearful avoidant exes will not initiate meeting up or hanging out
Avoidant exes generally do not initiate conversation about meeting in person or hanging out. They’ll usually keep things fun and lighthearted for a few weeks to a few months of regular texting hoping that you’ll suggest meeting up eventually. An anxious-leaning fearful avoidant may cautiously ask to meet or hangout but only if they think you will be open to it. They’ll also ask to meet if they think just texting only and not wanting to hangout will jeopardize the “texting relationship”. But on most part, an avoidant will not mention hanging out at all unless you do.
When you ask to meet or hangout, most fearful avoidant exes will not directly tell you they’re don’t want to meet. This is because a fearful avoidant attachment’s natural tendency is to be conflicted. The anxious side of them wants to meet and may even feel that the experience will be pleasant, will increase feelings of connection and make them want to get back together, but the avoidant side of them thinks it’s not a good idea and may lead to unpleasant things.
Most of the time a fearful avoidant will say “Yes, I’d love that” or “Sure” when you ask to meet or hangout but never follow -up on actually meeting or hanging out. They keep giving reasons why “it’s not a good time” or keep pushing meeting up to a future date. A fearful avoidant ex may even agree on plans to meet but cancels meeting or date last minute because they felt so anxious and deactivated. This can happen time and time again.
This is one thing that makes fearful avoidants look like they’re playing games and leading you, and sometimes they’re. They may have no intention of meeting or hanging out or even getting back together but want the attention or connection texting gives them. It makes them feel that someone still cares about them, finds them interesting and wants to talk to them and if they’re lonely, it makes them feel less alone.
A fearful avoidant ex will eventually want to meet and hang out
It may take a while to get a fearful avoidant ex to eventually want to meet up and/or hang out. Most avoidant exes will only when they’re relatively confident that you will not push for more than they’re comfortable with or make them feel unsafe.
If you keep pushing to meet when they’re still uncomfortable and/or feel unsafe about how and where things are, a fearful avoidant may eventually give in and show up but will be guarded and even look uncomfortable. They expect things not to go well and are just waiting for when it’ll happen.
But if they’re confident enough that the two of you have established enough safety, they’ll agree to meet and/or hangout. Some fearful avoidant exes may even all of a sudden want to meet and catch up in person. Prior to asking to meet, you’ll notice that they’re acting super interested and replying right away. This is because they’re leaning somewhat or a lot anxious about asking you to meet up.
A fearful avoidant ex may even be worried that you’ll say no and pull away, say yes then cancel, or show up and hangout then pull away.
Some fearful avoidant exes will ask to meet, and if they don’t get a response right away, they immediately cancel because they’re overwhelmed by anxiety and fear of possible rejection. Others wait for you to say yes, but as the day of the meeting draws closer get so anxious that they cancel.
My advice to my clients is if a fearful avoidant agrees to meet up or hangout (of course there’s a lot more background work that goes into actually getting them to agree to meet), or if they ask to hang out, try to be as reassuring as you possible can. Don’t change your texting pattern (in the name of giving space) and don’t bring up the past or uncomfortable topics because a fearful avoidant ex will cancel on meeting up or hanging out.
And when you do end up meeting or hanging out, don’t bring up the past, not in the first or even second meet up, because a fearful avoidant will not want to meet again if the meeting felt very uncomfortable especially if they felt “attacked”. They may even withdraw from texting and all contact.