How Quickly Do Fearful Avoidants Rebound? (Shocker)

Many of my clients are surprised at the speed with which fearful avoidants rebound and often wonder if a fearful avoidant ex rebounding too quickly after the breakup is common. Unfortunately it is.

Fearful avoidants have a reputation for rebounding within weeks or even days of the breakup, and some fearful avoidants start considering a new source of connection as soon as the relationship ends, and sometimes during the final weeks or months of the breakup when they’re anticipating or planning the breakup.

And unlike anxiously attached who feel that “hanging on” to an ex will make them feel better and often remain optimistic even when everything points to an ex not coming back, fearful avoidants tend to be pessimistic about the chances of an ex coming back which makes it easier for them to transfer their attachment needs to someone new.

The transfer of attachment needs after the break- up

Even though they’re called avoidants, fearful avoidants find relationships rewarding and value connection. When not in a relationship, fearful avoidants miss connection and companionship, and struggle to let go of exes. They commonly remain emotionally attached to an ex sometimes believing that the breakup was a mistake that should be rectified. They even keep contacting exes when they don’t want a relationship because they don’t want to lose the connection they have with an ex.

But a new source of connection or a promise of a rewarding romantic connection can quickly change that. In fact, research (Spielmann, Macdonald & Wilson 2009) shows that people with fear of abandonment (anxiously preoccupied and anxious avoidants or fearful avoidants) are less devasted by a breakup and less likely to remain emotionally attached to an ex if they’re confident of their desirability and prospects of meeting someone new or are already interested in someone else.

A fearful avoidant when breaking up may even say they’re not ready for a relationship or want to spend some time after the break-up focusing on themselves, but this can quickly be disrupted when there is a new source of romantic connection.

A rebound provides fearful avoidants access to attachment resources without the relationship

Focusing on someone new serves an adaptive part of the breakup recovery process but also serves other purposes including:

  • Blunt negative emotions and memories of an ex
  • Feeling like they’re not alone
  • Emotionally detaching from an ex
  • Restoration of felt security

But unlike other attachment styles who rebound believing and/or hoping that the rebound will lead to a longer-term relationship, a fearful avoidant rebound is often not about a relationship but about new sources of connection.

These connections often with someone easily available, someone who has always had a crush on them, someone they secretly kept as backup, someone they friend-zoned because they were in a relationship, someone willing to be friends with benefits or a former ex allow fearful avoidants access to attachment resources without the expectations and the resulting frustration of a relationship.

And because rebounds are mostly transferred feelings from an ex, a fearful avoidant’s feelings for the rebound can feel very real. A fearful avoidant may even understand that it’s a rebound but because they want connection and companionship, they are willing to put up with behaviours from a rebound that they would not put up with from and ex, or were the reasons or the breakup.

Do fearful avoidants come back after a rebound?

If you’re trying to get back with a fearful avoidant ex in a rebound relationship, you’re going to find hope in the answer to this question.

Yes, fearful avoidants exes can come back after a rebound. As with almost all rebounds, they can help to push emotions and memories into the background but once the “honeymoon period” of the rebound ends, fearful avoidants find themselves thinking and missing their ex, possibly the one of the very few people they can trust and/or feel safe with. And typically, a fearful avoidant “honeymoon period” of the rebound is much shorter due to a fearful avoidant’s struggle trusting others, fluctuating thoughts and feelings and pessimistic outlook on relationships and life in general.

If they reach out and an ex is receptive and responsive, and things with the ex are much better and improved significantly, a fearful avoidant may start entertaining the idea of leaving the rebound and going back to an ex.

How long after the breakup an avoidant rebounded has no effect on how long the rebound relationship lasts. The strength of your attachment and sense of felt security a fearful avoidant has with you, and of course the degree to which the dynamics between the two of you has improved is key to a fearful avoidant coming back.

That said, avoidants (fearful and dismissive) have a tendency of keeping the rebound going and also contacting an ex, flirting and even being intimate with no intention of coming back or being in a relationship with the rebound or ex. Essentially they have the rebound and they have an ex hoping to get back together but neither attachment is a relationship or will ever be a relationship. And avoidants can simultaneously carry on with these two connection resources until you or the rebound realize that it’s not going to led into a relationship.

Why fearful avoidants do not come back after the rebound

The number one reason why a fearful avoidant may not come back after a rebound is that they moved on.

The second reason why a fearful avoidant may not come back after a rebound is a fearful avoidant attachment’s fear of abandonment, difficulty trusting and believing that the relationship will actually work.

The third reason why a fearful avoidant may not come back after a rebound is confidence in their desirability and prospects of meeting new people. The more confident a fearful avoidant is in their desirability, the higher the chances that they will bounce from rebound to rebound. A fearful avoidant may even come back after rebounding then breakup again to go back to the rebound.

The fourth reason why a fearful avoidant may not come back after a rebound is they developed feelings for the rebound. Studies on rebound relationships found that feelings of attachment can unconsciously transfer from an old relationship partner to a new person when there is some degree of similarity between the two individuals (Brumbaugh & Fraley, 2007).

And sometimes, the rebound fills the gap left by an ex who disappeared or became unresponsive when a fearful avoidants needed connection and/or support. The rebound easily stepped in to meet a fearful avoidant’s needs and the attachment bond strengthened.

RELATED:

Do Avoidants Prefer A Situationship To A Relationship?

When Should You Let Go Of A Fearful Avoidant Ex?

Should I Ask My Ex If She’s Seeing Someone? (Feeling Insecure)

3 Steps Crucial To Getting Back An Ex In A Rebound Relationship

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