By Chris Seiter

Published on July 13th, 2022

Today we’re going to be talking about if you can expect an avoidant to come back to you after they ghost you. Over the past few years my team and I have had the opportunity to study avoidant individuals in depth and I think the answer we came to might shock you.

First things first though, I’d like to cover the following topics in this article,

  • Help you understand why avoidants ghost
  • Introduce you to the avoidant relationship death wheel
  • The phantom ex seduction

Let’s begin!

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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Understanding Why Avoidants Are More Prone To Ghosting You

So, what is the avoidant attachment style?

Simply put, you have an avoidant attachment style if everything in your life revolves around independence and self sufficiency. In other words, if you get into a relationship (of any kind) where your self sufficiency and independence becomes threatened you are prone to “avoid” the catalyst of that problem.

One of the “avoiding” behaviors that an avoidant will employ is ghosting.

Ghosting: the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

Now, where this discussion becomes incredibly complicated is when you consider the fact that there are really two types of avoidants.

  1. The dismissive avoidant
  2. The fearful avoidant

What’s the major difference? Well, if you want to be quick about it the best way to view avoidants on a spectrum.

On one side of the spectrum you have purely avoidant tendencies. On the other side you have purely anxious tendencies.

A dismissive avoidant is going to mostly fall victim to their avoidant side.

However, a fearful avoidant has both anxious and avoidant sides. Which means they’ll be like a leaf in the wind bobbing back and forth between being avoidant and then anxious. This is why fearful avoidant individuals are often confused as having multiple personality disorder.

In fact, one of my colleagues, Tyler Ramsey, discussed this concept in this interview I conducted with him a few months back,

One of the hard truths is that a lot of times a fearful avoidant will attempt to cope with rebound after rebound after rebound. They’re very subject to rebounds because they have that anxious side of them. They can fall victim to that honeymoon phase. They’ll just go from one to the 111th person to the next but after a while they get tired of it. They re-reflect back on themselves and go, “gosh, maybe I had it good for with that one person from way long ago, maybe I’m never gonna find someone, maybe, you know, I’m gonna spend my life alone forever.” Why can’t I stay in a relationship for so long?

So, all of this is to say that usually a fearful avoidant will find it harder to ghost long term as opposed to a dismissive avoidant because a fearful avoidant can fall victim to their anxious attachment style.

How The Avoidant Relationship Death Wheel Relates Explains Ghosting

Over the past few months no graphic has been used on my website more than this one right here,

I call it my relationship death wheel because it basically explains, from an avoidant perspective, the life cycle of their relationships and if you look close enough you’ll find that it can actually help answer the question on if they are going to come back after they ghost you.

There are eight stages to it.

  1. They start off wanting someone to love them
  2. They start dating you and think they’ve found that someone
  3. Then they start to notice some worrying things while dating you
  4. These worrying things cause them to consider leaving you
  5. Then they actually do leave you
  6. Then they are happy they left
  7. Then they feel lonely
  8. Then they wonder why they can’t ever find the perfect person

And the cycle continues again and again and again.

Now, for our purposes the important things I’d like to talk about are these stages right here,

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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I was kind enough to color code the parts we are talking about.

  • Red: Your avoidant partner noticing some worrying thing
  • Grey: Them deciding to leave the relationship
  • Orange: Them happy they left
  • Green: Them feeling lonely

The Red Part Of The Wheel

This is typically where in your relationship your partner begins to pick up on behaviors that will cause them to “avoid.”

Generally speaking it can be lumped into these categories,

  • Your anxious side comes out triggering their avoidant side
  • Their avoidant side gets triggered because the relationship is taking a step forward
  • You do something that “threatens” their independence

Whatever it is it ends up causing them to leave the relationship

The Grey Part Of The Wheel

So, your partner actually leaves the relationship but the one thing they want to avoid at all costs is confrontation.

This grey part of the wheel is the place where they are most likely to begin ghosting you (hence me using the grey in the color coding.)

Yet it’s the orange part of the wheel that is perhaps the hardest pill for many of our clients to swallow.

The Orange Part Of The Wheel

Your ex is actually happy they left. They feel liberated without you. That threat to their independence is gone and they are just basking in the glory of it. This is also the part of the wheel where they are most likely going to go on the rebound as a way to distract themselves.

Yet it’s usually pretty hollow pursuit. Soon, they’ll find themselves reminiscing about you. The one thing they are trying to avoid.

The Green Part Of The Wheel

This is where they are most likely to fall victim to “the phantom ex syndrome.”

It’s also the point in time where they are most likely going to reach out to you and end their ghosting or at the very least be open to communicating with you again.

One of the things I’ve learned from doing this as long as I have is that when you are dealing with avoidants you sometimes have to take the lead. So, that means that you might end up having to end your ghosting yourself by reaching out to them.

It’s the green part of the wheel where they are most likely to respond.

Diving In A Bit On The Phantom Ex Syndrome

In my opinion, one of the best websites for learning about avoidants is Free To Attach. In fact, it’s where I first heard the term “phantom ex.”

According to them,

An avoidant person often has a story of a perfect ex in a relationship that wasn’t fully realised, the ‘one that got away’ to whom no one else can measure up. In reality the idealised relationship was often lacklustre or insecure and unlikely to be highly functional.

So, after about a decade of studying breakups I noticed an interesting trend happening with our clients exes who are mostly avoidant,

Given enough time and space our clients exes slowly began to paint them as “the ones that got away.”

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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Our clients essentially became the phantom ex for their avoidant partners. Of course, there’s a big stipulation I’ve sort of glossed over. You have to give the avoidant time and space which is something highly anxious people have a hard time with.

But if you buy in and do exactly that then… well, then the phenomenon I talk about in this video can come to fruition.

Essentially I argue in this video that an avoidant needs a perfect storm of things to occur before they’ll “miss you.” Yes, yes, we’re talking about ghosting in this article but you know what needs to happen for an ex to “unghost you?”

They need to miss you but I’m getting off topic.

Three things must occur,

  1. Time has to have gone by
  2. Your ex needs to feel they have moved on from you
  3. Your ex needs to feel you have moved on from them

If you take one thing away from this article it should be this.

Highly avoidant individuals don’t prefer commitments. They prefer fantasies.

This is why the phantom ex is so seductive. It’s a relationship that can give them the warm and fuzzies without needing a commitment.

Everything revolves around a contradiction in their lives.

They want love but won’t let anyone close enough to give them that love.

Phantom exes seem like a pretty great way of doing that and so they unghost you. They give in to nostalgia for nostalgias sake. Of course, 90% of the people I deal with never see this play out because they don’t give their avoidant ex those three essential things.

Time is a give.

Most avoidants have no problem moving on

But getting to a place where you personally have moved on… when you want them back. Well, that’s the great challenge.

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4 thoughts on “Do Avoidants Come Back After Ghosting?”

  1. Daisy

    November 24, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    My fearful avoidant boyfriend dumped me out of the blue, by text. I am now blocked.
    I am devastated. We have discussed attachment styles before and know he is avoidant, I am anxious, so we knew a little bit about giving space etc.
    I am finding No Contact very very hard.

  2. Corrinne

    November 20, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    I was raised by a very narcissistic mother and was living my life as an an anxious/codependent for the last 30 years of my life. When relationships needed in the past I was the “crazy ex” leaving 70 voicemails and showing up at their door crying. About 6 years ago I came across these articles and watched your YouTube videos and realized that I was a full blown co dependent. I want to thank you for taking the time to post this free content because it was exactly what I needed to to turn my life around. I immersed myself in therapy, self help books, took classes and did everything I could possibly do to heal myself. In my mind I needed to do everything possible to heal myself because I didn’t want to be in the never ending co dependent/avoidant cycle that never ends well..but now that I’ve been on this healing journey for 6 years I’m so secure in myself and my life that I am wary of bringing someone else in. Basically, you have to be pretty special to let me in to my life and if your anything other than a gentleman that respects me and my feelings then you are cut off. I finally feel like love isn’t something I have to earn or that it’s going to leave me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your wisdom with us! It’s changed my life and I’m sure thousand upon thousands of others.

  3. Blue

    November 7, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks for writing/publishing this article; it nicely tied together several of the trends I’ve read about the Avoidant attachment. My own attachment style is Fearful-Avoidant (but I know it!), and I was getting interested in a guy who outright admitted he’s Avoidant. Yes, your eight-part pie chart is very helpful, because it gave me insights into the Avoidant psyche that I lack. The role of time and moving on seem really relevant (i.e., your grey, orange, and green pie chart wedges).
    You may not realize it, but your work is particularly relevant to the non-hetero community, as we’re statistically more likely to suffer the consequences of familial and societal rejection and abandonment after coming out. As a result, gay men are especially prone to adopting toxic masculinity traits—like independence, stoicism, and a dearth of emotional unawareness—that fuel the Avoidant disorder. So again, thanks.

  4. Erin

    July 16, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    I really am convinced now that my ex is an avoidant. I am definitely anxious right now too. I just don’t know what to do now, I’m not sure if I’ve been ghosted or not. I don’t know if it’s too late for me to do anything. So we’ve been together a few years, we met at work (still work together, different departments but our paths cross a fair bit). Our relationship to start with was secret for various reasons – work, he has kids, issues with his ex. It was fun and exciting and we really got to know each other with no other distractions, very deep connections and we fell in love. Covid hits and we couldn’t go out and do things anyway so it was fine. Then the world started going back to normal so I wanted us to be normal. By this point most of our colleagues knew about us and that was fine. He just still would not tell his ex about me. This is not about him still having feelings for her or anything she’s made threats to stop him seeing kids etc (it’s a looooong story, she’s very bitter). Anyway this led to a lot of drama and being on and off and quite toxic relationship. Eventually he really ended it and I was devastated. I done no contact, after 5 days he came back to me and we got back together. Everything changed. We were going out, doing things together, he told his eldest kid about me. We started planning a future together. I was so happy. Six months later he suddenly ends it again. I never thought I’d go through that again. I begged and pleaded and we sort of gradually became this on/off thing, sleeping together, not going out again. Then after about 3 months of that he’s ended it again. Saying it’s final. I kind of agreed with him saying I don’t want this life but I was so upset and he knows that. He says he doesn’t want a relationship (is that just bs)? Says we will never work because of his ex. Says he wasn’t happy. When I ask about specifics he gets so defensive and either ignores me or starts a fight. I’ve tried no contact but after a few days I cave. We’ve messaged a bit in the last week or so but it’s still him saying no to talking, meeting anything. I ask if he still has feelings he doesn’t answer. He doesn’t confirm or deny anything. One thing he did say is that he doesn’t want to hurt me more or have to see me so upset. Anyway, last night I messaged again. We’ve kinda argued and he’s not even opened my last message. I’m also on a partial block. (Has kept me on all social media and watches all that I’m doing). So no contact rule…. Is it even going to work in this case? Do I have any hope here