How Do I Keep Momentum With My Avoidant Ex?

Question: How do I keep the momentum I have with my avoidant ex?

I’ve been good at balancing connection and giving my fearful avoidant ex space and we’ve become close the last 3 month. He responds immediately when I reach out and has started reaching out more. I also feel that his engagement has increased, he’s asking me questions and following up on his own. At first we only texted because he wouldn’t meet, but we now meet every other week, his idea. But I’ve also noticed that sometimes, not always when we spend time together he pulls away. He doesn’t pull away every time we spend time together, sometimes he reaches out to make sure I reached home safe, messages me the next day and we continue texting as normal. But sometimes he doesn’t reach out and doesn’t respond for a few days. I try to give him space because I know he needs it, but it feels like momentum is lost when we reconnect. How I keep the momentum we have while giving him space? Your advice has been so helpful so far.

Yangki’s Answer: You did good to recognize that the key to a health relationship is balancing connection and giving each other space, and this balance is even more important to fearful avoidants who are both anxious and avoidant. He has become close because both his need for closeness and connection and his need for space and independence are being met.

Spending time together is another level of closeness because it’s more intimate than texting, social media messaging or phone calls. Because of the level of intimacy it requires, it’s bound to overwhelm an avoidant and make them distance. They need to do this to self-regulate so they don’t completely deactivate the attachment system.

In other words, it’s normal and even okay for an avoidant to pull away after you spend a significant amount of time together, even if it was their idea to spend time together. Stepping back a little and giving them space when they pull back is the right thing to do. How much space you give them or if you should even give space after spending time together depends of the pattern of behaviour you’ve observed – e.g. what is different between the times they don’t pull away and the times they pull away? How long do they pull away and how do they re-engage etc.

To keep the momentum you have built with your fearful avoidant ex:

1. Don’t step back or pull away when he is reaching out and texting as normal after spending time together. Even if you’ve read or heard that avoidants pull away after getting too close, if he’s not pulling away don’t trigger his fear of rejection and abandonment by stepping back from connection. He may pull away at some point (because he needs to), but it won’t be for long because there is nothing triggering him to deactivate deeper.

2. Give him space but not too much space that you lose momentum. If you were texting every day before you spent time together and a fearful avoidant pulled away, a day or two is enough space. f you were texting every 2 – 3 days before you spent time together and a fearful avoidant pulled away, 3 – 4 days of space is not too little and not too much. Reach out with a simple check-in.

Because every avoidant is different, every situation is different and different exes are at different levels of closeness or int he process, always look to the already established pattern with your fearful avoidant ex to help guide you on how to space contact.

The goal is to let a fearful avoidant know you okay with giving them space and close by, but also to keep connection and not lose the momentum you have. Every time connection is lost, you lose momentum and have to rebuild it back up to the level you had for things to keep moving forward. This not only prolongs the process, it can also completely sabotage it.

Another reason for keeping connection is not to lose confidence in your ability to connect especially in situations with the potential for rejection. When you take too long to reach out to someone who you fear may not respond, may respond negatively, or pull away, you start o fear reaching out altogether. You hope that they reach out, so you don’t have to. Days of waiting for them to reach out turns into a week, a week into weeks and/or months.

RELATED:

Why A Fearful Avoidant Ex Wants To Only Text But Not Meet

Asking to Meet With An Avoidant Ex (Too Soon, Too Much?)

Avoidant Ex Is Responding, Should I Now Step Back?

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