Dismissive avoidants tend to circle back to the familiarity of a relationship, and sometimes you may find that a dismissive avoidant keeps coming back again and again.
Returning to the familiarity of a relationship doesn’t always mean a dismissive avoidant wants to get back together. Sometimes they want the emotional connection without a relationship, and sometimes it means they want to take it slow, maybe start as friends first because there are no expectations or pressure and get back together eventually.
It can also mean that a dismissive avoidant made a rational and practical calculation that you’re too valuable to let go without them making some kind of effort to make the relationship work. The connection you had is probably the closest they’ve ever come to a real emotional bond with someone, and don’t think they can have kind of emotional bond with anyone else. They may have even tried to find that emotional connection with someone new and failed or found it too hard.
It’s not always a good feeling knowing that someone thought there is someone out there better than you and came back to you as their back-up plan. And it may not seem like much, but sometimes when a dismissive avoidant keeps coming back again and again, it is actually them making an effort to make a relationship work but failing again and again because they’ve not dealt with their attachment trauma. They may not be aware of why the relationship isn’t working because after a break-up, dismissive avoidant often shut down all feeling and don’t process the break-up or self-reflect on why the relationship didn’t work. They therefore keep recreating the same unhealthy relationship and repeating the same mistakes over and over.
It’s also possible that a dismissive avoidant who keeps coming back knows that something is wrong with the way they’re in relationships, but being a dismissive avoidant, they think they can “handle” it just like they’ve “handled” everything else in their lives. They won’t show that they’re struggling or get help because that is “relying” on someone else, and as far as dismissive avoidants are concerned that’s a weakness.
As frustrating it may be that a dismissive avoidant ex keeps coming back and leaving again, it may actually be an opportunity for you to guide them slowly and carefully towards getting help. The fact that they feel safe enough with you to keep coming back means that they also somewhat trust that you have their best interest at heart.
That said, it’s not your job to fix an avoidant attachment style; that is an avoidant’s job. But if you want a relationship with a dismissive avoidant, it doesn’t hurt to help them finally deal with whatever they’ve been suppressing for so long.
But don’t just look at an avoidant as the only one with a problem. You both are insecurely attached which means you both equally need to work on healing your attachment styles. One wants too much space and no closeness, and the other wants too much closeness and no space. Both are equally unhealthy.
If after working on your attachment style a dismissive avoidant keeps coming back and only to recreate the same unhealthy (even toxic) dynamic but refuses to get help, give yourself permission to walk away. Sometimes however much you love someone, it’s not enough to make the relationship work.