Will A Fearful Avoidant Ex Move On If You Ask For Time

Question: Yangki, Will my a fearful avoidant ex move on and forget about me if I ask for time and space? I am new to attachment styles and only just discovered that I’m an anxious preoccupied (AP); and my ex is fearful avoidant leaning anxious. In the relationship I was 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. He said 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: Taking time to figure out if you still want to be together is helpful if you’re not sure you want your 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 a fearful avoidant 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. They just haven’t yet come to terms with their reality.

So if there is even a slight doubt in your mind that your fearful avoidant may not take it well that you want time and space; don’t ask for it. Telling your fearful avoidant ex that you want time 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; or asking for time away. It creates uncertainty which fearful avoidants don’t handle very well.

Your fearful avoidant ex may not want to “wait around” for you to realize if you want them back. 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 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. You don’t have to have 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. Love Doctor Yangki AkitengLove Doctor Yangki Akitengsays: 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.

  3. says: Yasmin

    Yangki, how do I know I am emotionally ready to try to get back my ex? It’s been 2 months and the emotions are still raw. How does one tell they are over the break and ready to start over with their ex or some one else?

    1. Everyone is different in terms of how fast they bounce back. Have you taken the “How Are You Doing Post-Break-Up?” Quiz. It’s worth taking, if anything just so you have an idea how well (or not) you are doing. It’s one of the quizzes in the menu above.

  4. says: Julie W.

    My ex has been leading me on for the last 8 months. He says he still wants me in his life and enjoys sex with me but does not want to talk about the relationship. No matter how many times I bring it up he always manages to avoid talking about it. I’m thinking of cutting off all contact so he knows what’s like not to have me in his life. Good idea or damaging to my chances of getting him back?

    1. You do what you think is best for you. I personally don’t think cutting off all contact is going to make much of a difference.

      Seems to me you have been misleading yourself hanging on to the fact that he says he still wants you in his life and enjoys sex with you, and ignoring the fact that after 8 months, he still does not want to talk about a relationship with you.

      In my opinion, cutting off all contact is just your attempt to not deal with an unpleasant reality. You said yourself that “he has being leading me on”, to me that says that deep inside you know that the two of you are not getting back together. At some point you have to face reality and stop playing mind games with yourself!

  5. says: Mbee60

    I’m just confused and need to know who should initiate the communication first after a breakup. He ended things with me because he felt I was being to aggrevated/ nagging. Said he needs space (break up) but I miss him so much and don’t know what else to do. Oh we ended on good terms, no harsh words were used or anything like that. Please advice, it’s only been 3 days 🙁

  6. says: Duane

    Yangki, you talk about creating emotional distance, but you also say it’s best to keep in contact. How do I create emotional distance then?

    1. Emotional distance does not require you to “distance yourself” physically i.e. “no contact”. You can achieve emotional distance while in contact by not talking about past or “the relationship”. Stop digging up the past, focus on the present and the past will fade into the background. When you are both in a good place, you can then safely talk about the past.

  7. says: Kappa

    I wasn’t sure where to post this. I ended my relationship a year ago and regret it every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. At 52 I have been with many women but I can truly say I have only loved like this one time, with her.

    1. Maybe you should reach out to her and let her know how you feel. Start with a simple “hi, how are you?” text and leave it up to her to respond — or not. The as things progress, let her know how you feel. She may be thinking you never loved her, don’t care, or have moved on.

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