I’ve been asked by some of my clients if it’s okay to send an avoidant ex “good morning” and “goodnight” text messages. The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no.
Avoidants in general, dismissive avoidants and fearful avoidants leaning avoidant more specifically are comfortable connecting/texting when there is something to connect on or when there is something “meaningful” to say. They’re happy being on their own and can go for days and even weeks without human interaction unless it’s necessary (i.e. work, shopping, children etc.), so, when you reach out without “purpose” or anything to connect on, they’ll ignore your text because they think reaching out to people just for contact’s sake is needy and clingy.
Avoidants don’t react well to “unnecessary” texts
Some avoidants feel interrupting their day to say “nothing” important or to connect over is disrespectful. They’re in the middle of doing something and not thinking about you, or don’t want to hear from you and randomly a text pops up and it’s not even important, urgent or funny. It’s “How’s your day?” or something.
Most avoidants don’t respond at all, and if they do, it’ll be cold, distant or an angry text that implies that you should know/understand that they’re busy.
Most individuals with an anxious attachment react to this as an avoidant ex “wants space” or “doesn’t want contact” because they can’t understand why someone would not want to connect. Connection is so important to individuals with an anxious attachment that they crave it, seek it and even live for it. They’d love to receive a text from an ex that says an ex is thinking of them or wants to connect. It helps calm their anxiety and feelings of insecurity about the relationship.
Avoidants mostly see such texts as needy, distracting and disrespectful and think/feel “what do you want?”, “don’t you have something better to do?” or “why do I have to make you feel better”.
“Good morning”, “How is your day?”, “Goodnight” texts
Do “good morning” and “good night” text messages fall in the category of unnecessary” or lacking something to connect over?
How an avoidant ex thinks or feels about “good morning” and “good night” text messages may have nothing to do with them being avoidant attachment or even being an ex, and everything to do with personality and personal preference.
Some people, avoidant or not, don’t like receiving “good morning” and “good night” texts from anyone. It’s a boundary they don’t want crossed. Some of them have don’t text be before this time in the morning and after that time in the night boundary. Other people, avoidant or not, don’t mind “good morning” and “good night” texts, and may even initiate it themselves.
My advice for my clients is to go with what they know about their ex or what their ex has expressed in the past about these kind of text messages.
“Good morning”, “How is your day?”, “Goodnight” texts early on
“Good morning”, “How is your day?”, “Goodnight” and “What are you doing this weekend?” texts early on in the process is too much too soon whether an ex is an avoidant or not. In some instances, it may feel like pressure to be a “couple” because this is what couples do; they send each other “Good morning”, “How is your day?” and “Goodnight” texts.
If your ex sends them, then by all means follow their lead, but until then, remember you are not a couple and doing “couple things” when you are not a couple complicates things, and may affect your chances.
If things have progressed to a point where you have daily contact, you can start sending good morning and goodnight texts if this is something you did when you were together. Start with a “goodnight” every few days and see how your avoidant ex responds, then “good morning” every few days. If they ignore/don’t respond, you can express to them that this is something you would really like but if they don’t feel comfortable with the texts, you’ll stop.
Dismissive avoidant exes don’t “instinctively” want to connect
Does this seem like “pressure” or forced? In some ways yes, but here’s the thing with many avoidant exes, if you don’t express a need or don’t ask for what you want, they’re not going to “instinctively” pick up on your need to connect. Connection is not something they need and may not recognize or even see the reason for it until someone they care about points it out.
Believe it or not, the same way individual with an anxious attachment think, “Shouldn’t they just know?” or “For me, I’d x or y”, avoidants think the same way, at least dismissive avoidants do. They have an idea modeled in their childhood of how you show love and care to someone you love, and if you have an anxious attachment, you may feel like that’s not how “normal” people act. Ironically, many dismissive avoidants feel the same way about individuals with an anxious attachment. Dismissive avoidants feel that they don’t just hit someone up for “no reason” or to feel better, why can’t you be like them?
Fearful avoidant exes don’t know what to expect or how to act
Fearful avoidants are often unsure, confused and anxious about how to show love and care to someone they love. Most of them had an upbringing where love and care was a source of safety and joy, and also a source of fear. As adults, most fearful avoidant exes don’t know what to expect from someone they love or what is expected of them. Most of the time they look to someone they’re in a relationship to show them how they should act or love. If you make them feel safe, they’ll act loving and caring, but if you say or do something that triggers them, they pull back and sometimes push you away and even act mean to protect themselves from further hurt and pain or what they see as rejection.
Learn to ask an avoidant for the kind of connection you want
Much of the advice on how to deal with avoidants is “leave them alone, and they’ll miss you”. An avoidant may or may not miss you, but missing someone alone does not create a healthy relationship. It’s naïve to think you can sustain a relationship on making someone miss you.
In a healthy relationship both people should feel that their feelings matter and their needs are being met. Whether it’s “Good morning”, “Goodnight” or check-in texts when an avoidants ex deactivates, learning to ask an avoidant for the kind of connection you want and need is key to a healthy relationship.
If you don’t express a need or don’t ask for what you want because you’re too scared of pushing an avoidant away, you will find yourself obsessing about those needs or how an avoidant is acting or treating you, resentment will build up, and when you can’t take it anymore, the resentment will come out the way you didn’t plan or want, and you will end up pushing an avoidant away.
When asking an avoidant for the kind of connection you need, timing, the words you use and your previous reactions to similar incidents make the difference in how they respond.