This is a detailed analysis of why contacting your ex will very likely push your ex further away. It’s uncomfortable to read but necessary if you’re trying to get back your ex.
When someone asks, “will contacting my ex push them further away?”; they have a real legitimate concern that contacting their ex will push them further away.
People who know how much contact is not too much and not too little that is has no impact do not worry that contacting their ex will push them further away. But if this is something you worry about every time you think of contacting your ex or scares; you’re right to worry and be afraid.
Fear of pushing an ex further away is real
Proponents of “positive thinking” will tell you that fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. But if in the past you’ve said or done things that scared off your ex; or pushed them away, your fear is REAL because it’s based on (very) real evidence.
That part of you that knows you really well knows that you will do it again. You will scare off your ex because when you try to get close to people you love you overwhelm or suffocate them.
You don’t know when you are asking for too much of their time and space. You don’t know when you are trying too hard or pushing too hard for things to happen. And when you try to express your needs, wants, feelings or emotions, you come off as nagging, complaining and/or needy and clingy.
There is nothing wrong with needing contact and connection
There is nothing wrong with ‘needing” someone or “needing” your ex. Wanting to talk to someone you love and share your time and space with them is why we seek and get in relationships in the first place. The need to be connected, share your time, space and life with someone you love is a healthy and beautiful expression of love.
But in our socially networked but socially disconnected culture, “needing” someone is almost like the worst sin you can ever commit. Many of us are afraid to say “I need you” or “I need my ex” because people are like “get a life!”
You say “I need” someone and people automatically assume you are co-dependent or have dysfunctional attachment issues.
Why needing closeness drives your ex further away
It’s when our need for connection and closeness becomes a problem for the person we want to get close to; that needing them becomes something unhealthy and damaging to a relationship.
What I am saying here is that what pushes your ex further is NOT that you need them; and are contacting them or even want to spend time with them. What pushes your ex further away is the unhealthy and damaging way you go about seeking closeness and connection.
If your need for contact and connection pushes someone you love further away, it’s most likely that you have an anxious attachment style.
An anxious attachment style makes you needy
People with an anxious attachment style have an unhealthy need for closeness. “Unhealthy: here is relative because the limits or boundary for closeness is different for everyone; and ‘too much’ closeness is defined by what works for two people in the relationship. But if when you try to get close to someone, it makes them want to pull further away; you want more closeness than they do.
Granted, some people like dismissive avoidants have an unhealthy need for emotional, physical and sexual distance; and need a lot more ‘space’ and time away from a relationship partner. But if relationship after relationship, your need for closeness is one of the reasons for the break-up, you have an unhealthy need for closeness.
Contacting your ex is not the reason your ex pulls away
Having an unhealthy need for closeness means that you don’t know when you are asking for too much of a relationship partner’s and space. You may also have a hard time respecting their need for space. When you text your ex for example, you don’t know when to end a conversation or when to stop texting them if they’re not responding.
And because you don’t know when ‘too much” is “too much”, you end up pushing an ex further away. But instead of recognizing that you have unhealthy need for closeness and working to fix it, you conclude that contacting your ex pushes them further away. You ignore the fact that there are so many other who contact their ex; but because they know when ‘too much” is “too much”; they don’t end up pushing their ex further away.
You shouldn’t be afraid to contact your ex
You shouldn’t be afraid to contact your ex; or suppress your need for contact, connection and closeness. You should instead be trying to learn how to respect each other’s needs for closeness; regardless of whether you like being close and your ex prefers less closeness.
The ability to respect each other’s need for connection and closeness is one reason securely attached individuals have more fulfilling and lasting relationships. It’s also the reason many of my clients who become securely attached post break-up have more success attracting back their ex.