What is an Avoidant Attachment Style?
An avoidant attachment style is one of the three main attachment styles first identified by psychologist John Bowlby. Those with an avoidant attachment tend to be very independent, self-reliant and may subconsciously suppress their need for closeness and intimacy. Avoidants tend to be distrustful of others and avoid too much closeness in relationships. They value their independence and can be described as emotionally distant.
There are two subtypes of avoidant attachment:
Dismissive avoidants have a high level of self-sufficiency and suppress their feelings and needs for intimacy. They may come across as uninterested in relationships and belittle the importance of emotional bonds. Dismissive avoidants are more likely to engage in short-term casual relationships. They are adept at minimizing hurtful emotions and moving on.
Fearful avoidants desire close relationships but also feel uncomfortable with emotional intimacy. They tend to keep others at a distance because they fear rejection. Fearful avoidants both want a partner and are distrustful of partners at the same time. They struggle with self-image issues and may see themselves as unworthy and unable to relate to others.
Why Do Avoidants Pull Away in Relationships?
There are several key reasons why avoidants tend to pull away in intimate relationships:
Discomfort with intimacy
Avoidants feel very uncomfortable with high levels of closeness and intimacy. They equate intimacy with a loss of independence and autonomy. Intimacy makes avoidants feel smothered. They will start to withdraw as relationships progress to maintain distance.
Fear of dependence
Avoidants highly value their self-sufficiency. They have trouble relying on a partner and fear becoming dependent. Increased intimacy means increased dependence in their mind, so they pull back.
Many avoidants have trouble trusting others because of painful past experiences. They keep partners at arm’s length to protect themselves. Avoidants find it challenging to be vulnerable and open up to a partner.
Preoccupied with self-reliance
Avoidants take pride in being independent and not needing others. Close relationships cause their focus to shift to their partner’s needs rather than their own. Avoidants will create distance to maintain their identity.
How Does No Contact Work on Avoidants?
No contact is ceasing all communication with an ex romantic partner for a period of time, usually 30-60 days. The purpose is to allow healing and perspective after a breakup. No contact can be an effective strategy with avoidants for the following reasons:
Gives them space
Avoidants value their independence. No contact allows avoidants the physical and emotional space they crave. It removes the pressure to connect and reassures them.
Allows emotions to surface
Avoidants are adept at suppressing emotions. With space, avoidants may start to process the breakup and realize the importance of the relationship. Their feelings have room to emerge.
The lack of contact makes avoidants question the permanence of the breakup. They wonder if reconciliation is still possible and may reach out when contact resumes.
withdrawal seems less effective
Avoidants use withdrawal as a tool to create distance. No contact beats them at their own game. It renders their distancing less powerful.
Triggers abandonment fears
While avoidants fear intimacy, they also have lingering worries about abandonment. No contact can activate abandonment fears and get them to pursue contact.
How Long Does No Contact Take to Work?
There is no definitive timeline for how long no contact takes to be effective. Some guidelines:
– **At least 30 days** – The minimum recommended time period. Gives enough time for emotions to balance.
– **45-60 days** – The typical range for making an impact on an avoidant ex. Allows their feelings to fully process.
– **Up to 90 days** – May be needed for marriages or long-term relationships. The longer the relationship, the longer no contact should be.
– **Indefinite no contact** – Some recommend continuing no contact until/unless the avoidant reaches out. This puts the ball entirely in their court.
Here are some factors that influence how long no contact takes to work:
|Factor||Shorter Timeframe||Longer Timeframe|
|Length of relationship||Short-term||Long-term|
|Level of intimacy reached||Casual||Highly intimate|
|Circumstances of breakup||Clear mutual decision||Sudden/withdrawal based|
|Attachment style||Dismissive avoidant||Fearful avoidant|
In summary, some key points:
– Dismissive avoidants may only need 30 days of no contact.
– Fearful avoidants likely need 45-60+ days of no contact.
– Marriages/long-term relationships can take 60-90+ days of no contact.
– No contact has to last long enough for emotions and fears to surface.
Does the Avoidant’s Gender Matter?
Attachment theory does not find strong gender differences in the prevalence of avoidant styles. However, some studies show men have a slightly higher tendency towards avoidant behaviors in relationships:
– Men more frequently exhibited avoidant behaviors in couples observed in labs.
– Men reported more avoidant actions in diary studies of couples.
– In one survey, 19% of men but only 14% of women had an avoidant attachment.
This suggests no contact may, on average, take slightly longer to influence avoidant men compared to avoidant women. However, attachment style differences among genders appear relatively small. The individual’s level of avoidance is a much stronger factor than gender alone.
How to Maximize Chances of No Contact Working
While no contact with an avoidant ex requires patience, there are some tips to optimize the chances of success:
Initiate no contact properly
Don’t just disappear – let your ex know you need space and won’t be in contact for a while. This reduces mixed messages and confusion. Avoidants appreciate directness.
Don’t monitor them online
Looking at their social media prevents emotional healing and makes it harder to remain in no contact. Remove the temptation to check up on an ex online.
Focus fully on yourself
Spend no contact implementing positive life changes and engaging in meaningful activities. Become the best version of yourself. Your ex will take notice when contact resumes.
Rely on friends/family for comfort. Staying busy helps the time go faster. Fill your time with social activities.
Don’t reach out prematurely
It’s common to want to reach out around 30 days – fight the urge if you haven’t hit your minimum time requirement. Patience is key with avoidants.
Have an exit plan
Decide how long you’re willing to wait for them to reach out before moving on permanently. Avoid getting stuck in limbo long-term.
What to Do When No Contact Ends
When the period of no contact concludes, there are a few possible scenarios to be prepared for:
**Your ex reaches out** – Respond positively but don’t rush into meeting up. Build some rapport first via calls/texts. Let them set the pace.
**You reach out first** – Keep the initial text simple and don’t spill all your feelings immediately. Gauge their receptiveness and mirror it.
**You both resume contact** – This is ideal as it signals mutual interest. Discuss what led to the breakup and share relationship goals.
**No contact continues indefinitely** – At a certain point, accept no contact failed and begin moving on. Unfollow/block them on social media if needed.
The most important thing is to remain calm and collected when contact resumes after no contact. Pick up where you left off in a slow, measured way. Taking it too fast risks scaring avoidants away again.
Does No Contact Work if They’re Already Dating Someone New?
If an avoidant ex has jumped into a rebound relationship, no contact becomes more challenging but not impossible. Here are some tips:
– Lengthen the no contact period to 2-3 months so the rebound has time to fizzle out. Avoidants tire of relationships quickly.
– Don’t try to sabotage the rebound. Take the high road and don’t react, even if they flaunt the new partner.
– Focus on self-care and personal growth. You want them to see you thriving as an individual.
– When initiating post-no contact, emphasize neutral topics not romance. Don’t issue ultimatums about their new partner.
– Consider whether getting back together is in your best interest if they exhibit a pattern of rebounds.
Essentially, emphasize patience and self-improvement. With an avoidant, waiting out a rebound is often the smartest approach.
Signs No Contact Is Working on an Avoidant Ex
How do you know no contact is having the desired effect? Some positive signs include:
– They reach out asking casual questions or to check on you. This signals you’re still on their mind.
– A friend contacts you to fish for information about how you’re doing. They’re using others to gain intel.
– Their social media activity shows life without you is not all sunshine and rainbows. They may post quotes about loneliness, etc.
– A family member contacts you directly (or through a mutual friend) to inquire about the breakup circumstances in detail. They’re conducting reconnaissance for your ex.
– They watch your Instagram/Facebook stories frequently but don’t comment or react. They want to know what you’re up to.
– You cross paths in public places “accidentally.” Their showing up places they know you’ll be is intentional.
These clues indicate an avoidant ex is missing you and trying to gauge if reconciliation is a possibility. No contact is creating intrigue.
Signs No Contact ISN’T Working
On the other hand, some negative indications that no contact has not succeeded include:
|Blocked on social media||They do not want you accessing their profiles at all.|
|No reaction to your posts||Not even viewing your content means indifference.|
|Dating profile created||They have fully moved on and are looking elsewhere.|
|Moved to a new city||Physical distance indicates a closed chapter.|
|Married someone else||A lifetime commitment shows permanent closure.|
|Complete silence||No contact, direct or indirect, equals disinterest.|
These actions make it very doubtful no contact will suddenly change their feelings down the road. At this point, it’s healthiest for you to move forward.
In summary, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how long no contact takes to work with avoidant exes. It depends on the depth of the relationship, the person, and other factors.
However, allowing at least 45-60 days of no contact is typically needed for avoidants to start questioning the breakup and experiencing emotional reactions.
No contact works best when you have patience, focus on personal growth, and don’t over-pursue once contact resumes. With consistency, there is hope of re-attracting avoidants.