Will A Fearful Avoidant Ex Move On if You Ask For Time And Space?

Question: Yangki, I am new to attachment styles and only just discovered that I’m an anxious preoccupied (AP). I think my ex is a fearful avoidant leaning anxious. I am mostly the needy one, but there have been times when he has been needy followed by needing space. He initiated the breakup by asking for space but then decided he wanted to breakup because he was overwhelmed and could not handle the demands of a relationship. I know he is not dating anyone else because after reading your articles, I reached out to him and we text each other 2 – 3 times a week. We both take turns initiating, I guess that’s partly because we are both are anxious. I am wondering however if keeping in contact is right for us.

My question is, doesn’t taking time out, not texting or calling your ex help you realize if you really want someone back or if you’re just too used having him around? I’m not trying to make him miss me, I just want to be sure he’s right for me.

Yangki’s Answer: Yes, taking time to figure out if you still want to be together is helpful for those who are not sure they want their ex back. But this is something you for you should only be for a very brief period of time, no more than two weeks. It helps a lot if your ex is aware of what you are doing.

In my experience however, when someone is not sure if they want their ex back, they most likely are leaning towards moving on. The chances of getting back together are very, very low — and the person “taking time out” probably already knows it but hasn’t yet come to terms with their reality, or is trying to “save face” by making it look like they are the ones that decided the relationship was not worth anymore effort.

Just like taking a break is more often than not a period to transition to ‘breaking up”, Taking time out like is often a transition to “moving on”; and there is nothing wrong with moving on. Some people need that.

But if there is even a slight doubt in your mind, telling your fearful avoidant ex that you want time out to figure out what you want is a risk you might regret if you decide later that you want to give the relationship another try.

Fearful avoidant’s like asking for ‘space’ but many of them can’t handle someone they are close to taking space. It creates uncertainty which fearful avoidants especially ones leaning anxious don’t handle very well.

Your fearful avoidant ex may not want to “wait around” for you to realize if you want them back, or not. You may in fact, inadvertently be giving them the push they need to move on.

So, while taking time out to figure out if you want someone back or not is helpful for YOU, it may not be helpful for the relationship (if you still have hopes of one).

It’s best to keep the lines of communication open even when trying to figure out what you want, if you think that there is a chance that you may need that open line of communication. It doesn’t have to be full blown communication like you are still a couple or even 2 -3 times a week as you are currently doing, just some form of flow of communication between the two of you.

Re-building lines of communication after long absence is harder than most people realize. In your “emotional moment”, you may not be thinking too far ahead, but the decision you make will impact the future — whether it was your intention or not.

As I said in other articles, don’t burn bridges and don’t close doors behind you if there is even a slight chance that you may want to walk back through the same bridge or door.

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  1. says: Uppetin

    My FA ex said she’s fights the urge to text me, and I don’t know how to respond to that. She has said it on 2 other occasions and the first time I said, then text me and she did not like that, so now I don’t say anything, but I feel that i should say something. What do you think?

    1. says: Love Doctor Yangki Akiteng

      I agree, I think you should say something. Seems to me that she’s looking for some kind of reassurance or validation, so next time she says it, ask her what she wants to text you about and let her know it’s okay for her to text you because you love hearing from her and will respond.

  2. says: Gate10

    The advice on this site is the total opposite of everything I had been reading for the last couple of months. We were together a year and five months. We failed to communicate and she ended up breaking it off. I am giving her space to figure things out but I also feel like I’m wasting my time.