Why Do Avoidant Exes Come Back When You Stop Pursuing Them?

Question: Don’t avoidant exes come back when you stop pursuing them? In relationships doesn’t everyone play games one way or the other? Isn’t it part of human nature to want what we can’t have? The Law of Scarcity is the oldest trick in the book and used in economics everyday. The more scarce you are, the more they want you. I’ve seen it with many men I’ve dated. When a woman becomes the pursuer, the guy pulls a disappearing act and when she stops pursuing him, he comes back.

Yangki’s Answer: It will come as a surprise to you, but not everyone play games, and not all avoidant exes come back because you stopped pursuing them. In fact many exes are turned off by mind games, especially if one has a secure attachment or dismissive avoidant attachment style.

Is it part of human nature to want what we can’t have?

I don’t think it’s “human nature” to want what we can’t have. Wanting what we can’t have comes from a place of inner emptiness or void. We think/feel that if we get what we don’t have, it will fill the inner void. But when we get it, the void is still there. Then we don’t want it anymore because it’s not doing anything for us.

It’s a vicious cycle of want. Whatever we have or get is never “enough”.  It’s like trying to fill a bottomless pit. This is why the law of supply and demand works in economics. When  applied to human relationships, it messes with the very idea of why we get into relationship in the first place. And people using the law of supply and demand don’t exactly best relationships; let alone long lasting relationships. And they are not the best relationship partners.

Do avoidant exes come back when you stop pursuing them?

You are right that avoidant exes become “interested” when you stop pursuing them. But only fearful avoidant exes pursue you. If you are trying to attract back and avoidant ex, it’s important to distinguish dismissive avoidants from fearful avoidants. While they are both avoidants, they are very different from each other.

Why a dismissive avoidant ex feels safer when you stop pursing them

Dismissive avoidants have high attachment avoidance but low attachment anxiety; which means that they don’t get anxious when stop pursuing them. They also don’t place much importance to relationships and avoid closeness. They value their freedom and independence over relationship.

When you pursue a dismissive avoidant ex, they’ll feel like you are trying to take away their freedom and independence; and run. When you stop pursuing a dismissive avoidant, they seem ‘interested’ because they don’t feel threatened anymore.

But because they don’t think relationships are important, dismissive avoidant exes will not pursue you. It’s just not in the nature of their attachment style to pursue a romantic interest.

Why a fearful avoidant ex feel insecure when you stop pursuing them

Watch this short video below to understand avoidant pursuer-distancer pattern.

As long as you are “unavailable”, there is no risk for a fearful avoidant ex getting close or being rejected. But as soon as you show interest or wants to get close, fearful avoidant ex will freak out and run. Then when it looks like you’re out their reach or “unavailable” again; a fearful avoidant starts pursuing them.

While some fearful avoidant exes come back when you stop pursuing them, pursuer-distancer or anxious-avoidant dynamics is not good for the health of a relationship long term.

There is no true closeness or intimacy because you are never turning towards each other at the same time. One person is always running and the other pursuing. Even when you turn towards each other, those moments are too brief for true closeness to develop and grow into a strong and lasting emotional bond. Many pursuer-distancer or anxious-avoidant end in on-and-off-again relationships.

Does that mean anxious-avoidant relationship is doomed? Of course not!

People who “can’t get close until you back off” actually want to be close. They just have all kinds of fears about being close to another person. And because of their fear of getting close, many avoidants have never known what’s like to be close to someone. They have had chemistry, they have had feelings, and they have felt attracted to someone, but have never allowed themselves to get too close; the kind of closeness that requires vulnerability.

Some of them may have been “close” to someone at some point in their lives and the experience wasn’t a very good one, or ended in deep hurt, and they decided that getting close is too risky.

What they need is to feel that it’s “safe” to be close to someone. They need to know that they don’t have to pull away to feel safe. It can happen within the safety and closeness of a loving relationship.

RELATED: The Secure Base An Avoidant Ex Needs To Feel Safe And Secure

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  1. says: Elin

    Yangki, my ex of 1.5 years broke up with me to be with another women. I went NC for 3 months to heal and when I felt stronger I contacted him. He ignored me for several weeks then started to reach out slowly. I asked if he loves her and he said yes, so I stopped contacting him. But lately he has started reaching out more. I have a feeling it is not working out with his rebound woman based on our conversations. Part of me says i should give it a chance but make him wait for me for few months but part of me thinks he’s selfish and wants to eat his cake and have it too. Does he really love me or do you think he’s just using me?

    1. I don’t know if he loves you or not. What I do know is that people who seem to always have a back-up woman (or man) are not thinking about either of you, they are thinking of themselves. He probably saw things were not going too well with you and had the other woman as his back-up plan and now he’s doing the same with you. I wouldn’t be surprised if things fall apart with the other woman and he comes to you, he’ll keep her as the back-up.

      If knowing this you still it want to give him another chance, that’s up to you. Just keep in mind that you may not have the kind of relationship you want and desire with this person… unless, something major changes to make him want to give up his “game plan”.