Do fearful avoidants want you to give them space after the break-up or do they want you to text them? How much do you text a fearful avoidant ex and how much space do you give them?
How much space you give an ex depends on their attachment style. A secure relationship is where there is some kind balance of heathy closeness and healthy space, however, some attachment styles need more closeness and some attachment styles need more space. The key is figuring out your ex’s attachment style and give them the right balance of space and closeness – when to reach out and when to give them space, and how much.
This article is about how to give space to a fearful avoidant when they deactivate.
Fearful avoidants want both contact and space depending on how they’re feeling at the time. After a break-up, a fearful avoidant ex who leans more anxious will most likely want more contact and texting and less space because of their fear of abandonment. A fearful avoidant ex who leans more avoidants will most likely want no contact, minimum contact or will let you do all the reaching out and they’ll respond but with low effort.
And because fearful avoidants don’t trust others and don’t trust their on instincts (what’s right and what’s wrong say or do) contact and texting will be sporadic. Sometimes they’ll reach out more, engage more and initiate most of the contact, and sometimes they’ll pull back and deactivate.
How much space do you give a fearful avoidant who deactivated?
Give a fearful avoidant ex space on a need basis; that is, when they need it so as not to trigger them. When they don’t hear from an ex or an ex doesn’t respond, fearful avoidants feel abandoned and react to feeling abandoned by pulling away. But when you contact them too much, they get overwhelmed and also pull away.
The key is figuring out when to reach out to a fearful avoidant ex and when to give them space, and how much.
The first place to start is to figure out if your fearful avoidant 1) wants no contact, 2) is taking their time to respond (and probably playing mind games) or 3) is deactivated.
If a fearful avoidant says they want no contact (which is common with fearful avoidants) leave your fearful avoidant ex alone. Stop reaching out and wait for them to reach out
If a fearful avoidant is responding and engaged and then pulls away for a few days then reaches out, or is responding but not initiating contact, a fearful avoidant probably 1) is playing mind games to make you miss them, 2) needs space to regulate their emotions and feel safe again (deactivated) or 3) going through depression.
See if there is a pattern and in how long they pull away and lean back in. If your fearful avoidant ex regularly pulls away for a few days at a time, wait for them to reach out or respond. If it’s more than 4 days since you heard from them, send a check-in text. A fearful avoidant leaning anxious will probably need more check-ins.
If your fearful avoidant ex doesn’t respond to a check-in, respect that they need a few days of space and reach out again 5 – 7 days later. The maximum times to reach out with no response is 3 over several weeks. After that, don’t reach out again out of respect for yourself. If your ex is playing “I want to you to miss me” games, not contacting them is you taking a stand that you will not play their game.
Always remember that your need for connection matters just as much as an avoidant’s need for space. I say this as someone who had a dismissive avoidant attachment style, people with an anxious attachment put in so much more into a relationship, often at the expense of their own needs, and end up feeling invisible, unappreciated and resentful.
It doesn’t have to be “give an avoidant all the space they need” and you’re just there to meet an avoidant’s need for space, or “go no contact” to make them miss you. It’s feels good and is anxiety-reducing to think that someone will miss you because you’re not in their lives anymore. It may make you feel wanted and special to them, but it’s also presumptuous, delusional and even egotistic to think that you’re so important that your ex’s life is “miserable” or missing something because you’re not in it.
A fearful avoidant attachment ensures that a fearful avoidant can regulate their anxious thoughts (wanting closeness and missing you) with avoidance coping (wanting distance and dwelling on the negative aspects of the relationship). This allows a fearful avoidant’s life to go on whether you’re in it or not in it.
Also keep in mind that by the time most fearful avoidants break-up with you, they’ve been thinking about it for a while and most likely have adjusted to the possibility of a life without you in it. They may even miss you, but not want you back in their lives because of all the baggage you bring with you from the old relationship. Granted, you may have worked on you and changed, but your ex doesn’t know that.
Do the best you can to try and make sure both of your needs get met – an avoidant gets the space they need and you get the connection you need (through emotionally connecting texts); and show that you have changed. But also recognize that, this is not always possible especially in the beginning when an avoidant is guarded. This is why I advice reaching out at least 3 times over several weeks even with no response from an avoidant. The point is to indicate that you want connection, and have made the effort to connect in a way that gives them the space they need, but since they’re not responding, the ball is now in their court.