What To Expect From Self-Aware Fearful Avoidant Exes

Are self-aware fearful avoidants different from fearful avoidants who are unaware of their attachment issues? Absolutely.

As more people become aware of attachment theory, more avoidants are becoming self-aware and doing therapy and/or working on their issues on their own. These avoidants are not going to act and treat you the same away as as avoidants who are unaware of their attachment issues and/or haven’t done anything to address them.

But unfortunately, the information we have on fearful avoidants exes hasn’t caught up to the new reality of avoidants becoming aware of their attachment style issues and either working to become more secure or have earned a certain level of security.

This is something that keeps coming up in my conversations with fearful avoidants who were dumped by an anxiously attached ex and are trying to get them back. They feel that even with all the changes they’re making or have made, their ex still sees only a fearful avoidant and not the self-aware or more secure them. This is reinforcing a fearful avoidant attachment styles belief that no matter what they do, they’re never good enough.

How fearful avoidants behave towards you when you initiated the breakup

Fearful avoidants if you don’t know by now are also called anxious-avoidants because they are both anxiously attached and avoidants. When you initiate a breakup with a fearful avoidant, expect some anxiously attached behaviours, some dismissive avoidant behaviours and a whole lot of fearful avoidant behaviours depending on where a fearful avoidant falls on the anxious-avoidant spectrum, their degree of self-awareness and the amount of self-work they’ve done and level of attachment security.

A fearful avoidants degree of self-awareness and the amount of self-work or level of security not only makes a big difference to how they respond to being dumped, it also makes a big difference to why they end relationship, how they end them and how they treat their exes post-breakup, meaning a self-aware fearful avoidant who has done therapy or done their self-work and/or worked towards becoming more secure is not going to act like a fearful avoidant ex who doesn’t even know that they’re fearful avoidant or one who knows they have attachment issues but not doing anything to change.

What to expect from a self-aware fearful avoidant ex

Self-aware fearful avoidants are significantly different from fearful avoidants who are unaware of their attachment issues. Over the years, I’ve observed five significant differences between a non-self-aware fearful avoidant and a self-aware and more secure fearful avoidant that play a major role in how your fearful avoidant ex behaves towards you after the breakup, if they will come back and how long it’ll take for them to come back.

1) Needs and boundaries

Many exes expect a fearful avoidant after the breakup to act anxious then avoidant then anxious then avoidant because that’s what fearful avoidant do. They’re inconsistent with what they want. They want to breakup but seem unsure that it is what they want or ask for space/ want no contact but start reaching without taking the space they say they need. This can be confusing if you want to meet their need or respect their boundaries.

A self-aware fearful avoidant exes are more consistent with what they want. But because many people trying to get back a self-aware fearful avoidant expect them to act like a fearful avoidant not aware of their attachment issues or is still 100% insecure attachment, they disregard what their fearful avoidant ex is trying to communicate, and even assume a fearful avoidant is testing them or is out right lying. The inability to recognize consistency in a self-aware more secure fearful avoidant ex ends up creating deeper trust issues and more distance. On the surface everything seem to be going really well – your talking more and spending more time together etc – but you can feel your self-aware fearful avoidant’s resistance to coming back, and even feel them slipping away.

2) Response time and engagement

Typical fearful avoidant behaviour after a breakup, whether they ended things, or you broke up with them is to is going to be all over the place with their response time and engagement levels. Sometimes they respond right away, other times they respond after a week, sometimes they’re more engaged and other times they say little to nothing, etc.

A self-aware fearful avoidant who has done therapy or done their self-work and/or worked towards becoming more secure will not only be more consistent with their response time and engagement levels but also reach out, ask questions and show genuine interest in away that is reassuring that they want to keep talking to you and enjoy talking to you. But if you are not aware that a self-aware fearful avoidant ex reprogramming themselves not to fear closeness and to actually actively seek autonomy-connectedness, you’ll assume that that a fearful avoidant is feeling anxious. So you step up to meet their need for connection because that’s what you’re supposed to do when a fearful avoidant is feeling anxious. The problem with this is that a self-aware fearful avoidant ex is coming from a place of secure attachment and not anxious attachment, and you treating them like they’re anxious makes you come across as overbearing and/controlling.

3) Emotional connection

Fearful avoidants unlike dismissive avoidants value and want closeness but they also fear it. In a non-self aware fearful avoidant ex this translates into responding and even reaching out but keeping conversations on surface level. When you try to get deep, they back away or shut down.

A self-aware and more secure fearful avoidant wants to talk about deeper conversations and most of the time they initiate them. I’ve worked with many anxiously attached who are surprised and some convicted because all the information on the internet says fearful avoidants are unaware of their emotions, don’t want to talk about feelings, deactivate when you bring up deep conversations, but here’s their fearful avoidant defying all the that.

Because fearful avoidants are highly sensitivity to other people’s feelings and reactions, self-aware and more secure fearful avoidants are actually really good at emotional connection. You can even tell when a self-aware fearful avoidant is reaching out because they’re anxious (surface level low-effort) and reaching out to emotionally connect (deep emotionally connecting conversations).

4) Desire to change

You’ve probably read that avoidants generally aren’t into “working on myself” stuff, have a problem with seeking or accepting support from others and tend to be all negative about everything and everyone including themselves.
One of the biggest differences is that self-aware and more secure fearful avoidants are eager and excited to talk about the work they’re doing on themselves either in therapy or on their own. This is one of the signs I look for when assessing a client’s chances of getting back an avoidant. They’re eagerness to talk about the changes they’re making says two things 1) a fearful avoidant is taking responsibility and accountability, and 2) they want their ex to know what because they’ve changes, their ex can expect things to be different when they come back.

5) Decision to come back

An awareness of their attachment style issues is overall good for a fearful avoidant and for any future relationship with them. The chances that the relationship will work and last are much better with a self-aware fearful avoidant who had done therapy or self-work. But self-awareness does not make a fearful avoidant come back faster, quite the opposite. The more self-aware a fearful avoidant is, the more likely that they will take their time coming back, and may not come back at all.

A fearful avoidant 3-6-9 months timeline after the breakup is relatively accurate in most cases but not consistent with a self-aware fearful avoidant who has done therapy or done their self-work and/or worked towards becoming more secure.

After the break-up self-aware fearful avoidant will prioritize personal development and self-work over getting back together. The difference between a non-self aware insecure fearful avoidant ex and one who is self-aware and more secure is that a self-aware and more secure fearful avoidant will not just cut you off to go do their self-work. They’ll communicate that they need to focus and work on themselves before trying to get back together.

If they’re leaning more towards getting back together after they’ve done their self-work, you will see that they’re putting in effort and energy into responding and reaching out. Some self-aware and more secure fearful avoidant will also be reassuring with word s like, “I want us to be together, but I don’t want things to be the same as before” or “I still care about you, I just need more time to work on myself.”

Being able to recognize, acknowledge and validate your fearful avoidant ex’s level of self-awareness and earned security can dramatically increase your chances because many fearful avoidants feel unseen, unheard and undervalued. This is their experience from childhood and unfortunately their experience in most of their adult romantic and non-romantic relationship. You can be the person who changes that.

RELATED:

Should You Take Avoidant Ex Back If They’ve Not Changed?

Should An Anxious Attachment Go Back To An Avoidant Ex?

Fearful Avoidant Ex Done With You Or Lashing Out?

How Quickly Do Fearful Avoidants Rebound? (Shocker)

More from Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng
Your Ex’s Feelings Can Change – There’s Always A Chance
When most people break up, they think that’s the end of the...
Read More
0 replies on “What To Expect From Self-Aware Fearful Avoidant Exes”