How Avoidants Treat Exes Better After The Breakup

There are certain things one only learns about avoidants from years of working one-on-one with exes trying to get them back, and from avoidants trying to get back their ex. One of those things is how differently dismissive avoidants and fearful avoidants treat exes after the breakup, especially exes they still have feelings for, but don’t want to be in a relationship with.

Dismissive avoidants tend to treat exes they care about better after the breakup than they treat them in the relationship. This is because in addition to not seeing relationships as necessary for their happiness, dismissive avoidants also see their relationship partners as the ones causing problems in the relationship by always talking about problems in the relationship. When the relationship ends, problems also end for a dismissive avoidant because no one is constantly talking about them. Most dismissive avoidant are more able to see their ex as a person (not a problem) after the breakup. Some of them acknowledge their ex’s good qualities and realize their loss. They acknowledge that the problem wasn’t always their ex, some of their behaviours contributed to the breakup. But just realizing their loss isn’t enough for a dismissive avoidant to reach out or even want to come back. You just see that they treat you better than they treated you when you were together.

Fearful avoidants on the other hand treat their exes better in the relationship that they treat them after the breakup. This is because fearful avoidants value relationships but when things go wrong in the relationship, fearful avoidants automatically think that something must be wrong with the relationship. If it’s that hard to be together then either something is wrong with the relationship or they’re not with the right person. They start noticing and talking about incompatibility, being so different, and not seeing a future together. By the time the relationship ends, fearful avoidants are convinced that somethin is fundamentally wrong with the relationship the relationship was going to end anyway.

But because fearful avoidants value relationships, they have a hard time dealing with the fact that neither they nor their ex could make the relationship work. Fearful avoidants are especially hard on themselves when they realize their loss. It’s like it hits them that they sabotaged what they valued but at the same time it feels like it was the right thing to do. The feeling of regretting breaking up and feeling like one had no other option creates a conflict in a fearful avoidant that can last months after the breakup.

You can see this conflict in a fearful avoidant in how they treat an ex. The part of them that realizes their loss makes them reach out and even get closer to an ex, but the part of them that tells them that breaking up was the right thing makes them pull back. Like I said, this can go on for months.

If an ex treats them well and/or is consistent when they’re acting conflicted, a fearful avoidant ex will becomes less hot and cold, treat an ex better and even come back. But if an ex is engages in protest behaviour, it intensifies a fearful avoidant’s inner conflict and makes a fearful avoidant feel worse for still having feelings or wanting connection with someone who is showing them that they’re wrong for them or hasn’t changed. They will also blame their ex for doing things that make it hard for a fearful avoidant to want to be with them and/or to move on.

I’ve observed 4 common ways fearful avoidants who conflicted, resentful and angry about what happened in the relationship, and what’s happening treat their exes after the breakup.

1. They play head games

First, a fearful avoidant after a breakup disappears for months, but just when you think they’re done with you, they reappear acting like you’ve been in contact all long, “Hey, I was just thinking of you.” or “”Hey, I saw xyz and it reminded me of you.” But when you try to get close, tell them you love them or miss them, or try to meet, they start acting cold and aloof. When you stop reaching out, they all of a sudden act interested.

It’s like they won’t leave you alone, but they also don’t want you around.

2. They respond very coldly

This is common with fearful avoidants who still care very much about their ex but could not handle the stress in the relationship or felt smothered. They don’t want to hurt their ex’s feelings or don’t know how to tell an ex that there is no hope of getting back together, so they will respond very coldly when an ex reaches out hoping that with time, their ex will realize that they’re not interested in keeping contact and stop reaching out.

3. They’re intentionally hurtful

From time to time they lash out and are mean and cruel to a the point that it’s obvious that they’re intentionally trying to hurt you, embarrass you or harm you in some way. Sometimes it even feels like your fearful avoidant ex hates you and/or is treating you like an enemy. You wonder why they respond if they think you’re such a horrible person.

The explanation is simple, your fearful avoidant ex has decided the relationship is over, they don’t want to be friends and are not coming back but still maintain some kind of contact because they hold intense resentment over the breakup and/or has still have unfinished business with you.

4. They try to provoke jealousy 

Most fearful avoidants start seeing someone new (or even multiple people) with the genuine intention of moving on. Fearful avoidants who get into rebound relationships to try to move on generally keep their new relationship to themselves or a few friends and/or family, but a fearful avoidant ex who is trying to provoke jealousy will not flaunt their new relationship to get to an ex.

They not only want you to know they are seeing someone new, they also want you to know how the new person loves and cares about them. They even point out the differences between you and their new person and tell you they want to pursue the relationship and see what the future holds. It’s almost like they’re telling you, “you and I are incompatible, so different, and there is no future for us, but me and the new person are more compatible, and I can see a future for us”.

I’ve found (and have been proven right almost every time) that fearful avoidant flaunting their new relationship to an ex either still have unfinished business or are looking for reassurance. The difference is that fearful avoidants looking for reassurance aren’t hurtful in the way they speak about their their new relationship to an ex. They seem more confused and conflicted almost like they want their ex to say there are some feelings still and they’re not just making it up in their head.

I’ve worked with many clients with fearful avoidant exes who tell their ex they met someone new one day, and the next day they’re all over their ex telling them how much they love them and miss them. But just when my client starts to think the other man or woman has no chance, their ex says they want to continue seeing the other man or woman and see where things go or that they feel it’s something they “have to do”. If this doesn’t say “conflicted”, what does?

How do you get an avoidant ex to treat you better after the breakup?

First, you do not choose how others treat you, you can only choose how you respond. Secondly, whether a fearful avoidant treats you very coldly, is intentionally hurtful or tries to provoke jealousy, it’s important to remember that this is about them and not about you. Yes, you may have done things you shouldn’t have done, said thing you shouldn’t have said, you may have even caused the breakup and your fearful avoidant ex may have good reason to be hurt, resentful and even angry, but how someone chooses to treat you is a choice.

But because how someone chooses to treat you is about them doesn’t free you of responsibility. You may not have had a choice in the way your parents or caregivers treated you, but as an adult you are 100% responsible how you choose to respond to someone neglecting you, abandoning you, being too critical of you, being abusive to you or treating you in any other way that hurts you.

It’s your choice how you respond. You can choose to:

1) Take it personally and make it about you.

2) Accept how they’re treating you because you think you deserve it and/or it will make your ex want you back.

3) Treat your ex the same way they’re treating you.

4) Effectively communicate how you want to be treated.

People who genuinely care about you will respect you when you set clear and reasonable boundaries. But, it’s how you communicate your boundaries that make the difference between an avoidant ex treating you with respect and them avoiding you or even pulling away.


Avoidant Ex Says “I Don’t Want A Relationship” (What to Do)

How To Stop Self-Abandoning And Over-Giving To Avoidant Ex

Fearful Avoidant Wanted YOU To Breakup (Self-Sabotage)

Can Avoidants Have A Healthy Relationship? (Ideal Vs. Reality)

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