What To Avoid In A Check-In Text To An Avoidant Ex

A check-in text every now and then is necessary when dealing with avoidant exes.

Avoidants tend to abruptly withdraw from connection – take longer to respond, say less, show less affection, want to spend less time with you or avoid seeing you etc. When they do, it triggers an anxiously attached because they don’t know why an avoidant abruptly. Even anxiously attached who know and understand that avoidants do this sometimes take it too personally. They assume it something they said or did and/or react from a place of insecure attachment.

The nature of an avoidant attachment style is that sometimes avoidants withdraw from connection all on their own especially when they’re going through something personal or experiencing life stressors. Checking in is a way of showing that you care without making an avoidant feel pressured to communicate or come out of deactivation.

But what exactly is a check-in and how to avoidants feel about you checking in on them?

A check-in text is a short preferably one sentence text you send out of concern for someone’s well-being. A check-in text is something along the lines:

“Hey, just checking in. I hope everything is okay with you.”

“Hey, we haven’t spoken in a while, I hope you are okay”

“Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a while. How are you?”.

Most avoidant exes are receptive to check-in texts and respond positively to someone showing that they care without making them feel like they have to talk about or share what they’re feeling or going through. I also shows consistency which is very important to an avoidant.

I’ve found that because fearful avoidants don’t believe others care about them and/or will leave at the slightest sign that they’re not perfect or struggle with life sometimes, they tend to respond very well to non- intrusive check-ins. And sometimes a simple check-in text to a fearful avoidant is all they need to again want connection. You see them slowly opening up again and even feel excited to connected. It’s like a check-in reminded them of their need for connection.

Dismissive avoidants (and fearful avoidants who generally lean more avoidant than anxious) are mostly a hit-or-miss when it comes to check-ins. Sometimes they respond positively and sometimes their response shows they’re annoyed with you checking on them, but most times, they don’t respond at all.

It’s hard to tell if a dismissive avoidants didn’t respond because they’re annoyed by the check-in or if they’re just being dismissive avoidant and don’t think the text requires a response.

This is why if you decide to keep the lines of communication open after the breakup, it’s important to not only set boundaries on what and how much contact is safe for both of but to also have discission about check-ins.

What to include or avoid in a check-in text to an avoidant ex

As I said, check-ins are necessary when dealing with an avoidant ex but how your avoidant ex responds to a check-in sometimes comes down to 1) what is and what isn’t in the check-in text and 2) why you are checking in on them.

The first think you need to determine is if a check-in necessary. A reasonable check-in appropriate if 5 – 7 days have passed since a dismissive avoidant last responded and 3 – 5 days since a fearful avoidant ex last responded.
If you had discussed boundaries and checking in, go with whatever the two of you agreed feels safe for both of you.

If there is a pattern of your avoidant ex pulling away for relatively short periods of time e.g. hours to 3 days for a fearful avoidant, a day to 5 days for a dismissive avoidant, there is no need for check-ins. They’ll reach out back on their own.

1. Don’t pressure

With check-ins you can be as creative as you want but avoid things like “I miss you”, “I’m thinking of you” or “I love you” in a check-in.

These words may be sentimental, validating and reassuring to an someone anxious attachment who needs to know that they’re loved and wanted, but this not something you say to someone who has withdrawn from connection, avoiding closeness and likely wants to be on their own.

With a check-in, you just want them to know and feel that you care, that’s all.

2. Don’t probe

Don’t ask if something is wrong or imply that an avoidant needs your support or help, e.g. “Hey, I want you to know I’m here for you.”

Unless you know for sure that they’re going through somethings and need emotional support in some way, or if they asked or expressed a need for it, don’t text, “I’m here for you if you need me” or “You don’t have to reply” thinking it’s a check-in.

Avoidants are territorial when it comes to needing to withdraw from connection or closeness. They will not respond (or respond angrily) to anything that suggests that them needing space means something is wrong or that they need you. It may even cause them to deactivate deeper.

3. Don’t patronize

I’ve heard from many avoidant clients that they think someone telling them they need space is condescending therapy-speak.

Avoid “I understand you need space” talk. An avoidant needing space is something necessary for their well-being and not an opportunity for you to patronize them. Also avoid “I’ll give you space” or “I’m giving you space” like you are doing an avoidant a favour or giving them a gift.

An avoidant doesn’t need your permission, they just need you to respect their need for space.

4. Don’t expect a response

A check-in is different from a bid for connection. A bid for connection is a text you send to try to start a conversation with the goal of emotionally connecting and engaging in conversation. Check-ins don’t require the other person to respond.

If your avoidant ex responds great, if they don’t that’s fine too. The point of the check-in is to show concern for their well-being and not try to get them out of deactivation.

5. Don’t become annoying

Use check-ins sparingly. Repeatedly sending “Hey, just checking in. I hope everything is okay with you” is counter productive. At some point it becomes annoying.

And if an avoidant responds in away that indicates that they don’t want you checking in on them, respect their wish and don’t send any more check-ins. Instead wait a few days and reach out with a bid for connection.


How Long Should I Wait To Check-in On My Avoidant Ex?

How Do I Give My Avoidant Ex Space? (And How Much Space)

How to Be Consistent With A Fearful Avoidant Ex

How To Handle An Avoidant Not Initiating Communication

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