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.