By Chris Seiter

Published on April 16th, 2022

Today I’m going to take on one of the most common question dumpees ask about dumpers; Will they come back if they are emotionally unavailable?

Now, just so we’re operating under the same framework I’m going to define a dumper who is emotionally unavailable as someone who,

Is not comfortable sharing feelings or emotions with others. Often they can be even tone deaf to showing any kind of sympathy too.

So, does this type of person ever come back after a breakup?

As you can imagine the answer is a little nuanced but in all I’m going to argue that there’s a point where they have an extreme bout of nostalgia and consider the possibility.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll act on those feelings.

Like I said, it’s complicated.

Luckily for you though, I’m here to hopefully provide some clarity.

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Dissecting The Emotionally Unavailable Equation

I don’t know if it’s just me but I’ve always struggled with diagnosing emotionally unavailable people.

I first started Ex Boyfriend Recovery in 2012 and an argument can certainly be made that I was exposed to more emotionally unavailable behavior in the past ten years than I knew what to do with but I still struggled with explaining the root behaviors of why they are emotionally unavailable.

At least, that was until I came up with he following equation.

Emotionally Unavailable Behaviors = Avoidant Behaviors

It may not be fool proof. I’m sure a licensed therapist can find flaws with it. However, in my experience generally that singular equation can help with understanding why an emotionally unavailable person is… well, emotionally unavailable.

Let’s do a quick crash course on what an avoidant is if you don’t already know,

According to Free To Attach, my favorite attachment based website and avoidant attachment is,

Someone with a tendency to emotionally distance themselves from their partner. Their caregivers consistently failed to meet certain needs (such as emotional support), so they learnt to suppress those needs and emotions and to self-soothe, meaning that even though they have a natural human craving for connection, at heart they feel safest alone.

There’s a lot to unpack there so lets dive a bit deeper.

Understanding The Root Cause Of An Emotionally Unavailable Dumpers Avoidant Persona

Following the definition above an avoidant is often an avoidant due to their primary caregivers not meeting certain needs.

This teaches them from an early age to self soothe and thus creates a kind of lone wolf complex.

My colleague, Dr. Tyler Ramsey, often will talk about finding an emotionally unavailable dumpers core wound.

According to him, an avoidant has a core wound based around fear. Essentially they fear anyone who threatens their independence which as you can imagine relationships certainly do.

It’s stubbornness on a pretty deep level that is hard to overcome. In fact, I’m reminded of Platos Allegory of The Cave in relation to their behavior.

Essentially it goes like this.

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Imagine you were imprisoned in a cave with other prisoners from an early age. All you see around you is darkness and flickers of shadow due fire in the distance.

This is your entire life. Your entire existence. It’s all you’ve ever known.

Almost no one ever escapes the cave until one day you do. Suddenly you are exposed to the wonders of the outside world and you go through a personal Renaissance learning everything you possibly can.

One day you decide to travel back to the cave and tell the other prisoners there of the wonders of the outside world but you are met with skepticism.

“No, life is not all about this cave. There is a sun, sky, beauty to be found.”

But they aren’t buying it. In fact, they view you with such skepticism that they try to kill you.

Here’s the point. Often with an avoidant trying to convince them that they should be with you after they’ve dumped you is akin to you going back into that cave and convincing the prisoners.

The emotionally unavailable dumper has most likely been avoidant their entire lives. It’s their way of coping. Their only way of knowing how to exist.

You coming and trying to convince them that there’s another way. That you can have a relationship that is healthy, open and secure is met with skepticism.

That’s an assault on their independence and without their independence they’ll be laid bare and that kind of vulnerability is often too difficult for them to bear.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t consider getting back with you. We’ve noticed an interesting thing.

The Nostalgia Factor

I know I sound like a broken record because I talk about this all the time. In fact, I’ve filmed entire videos on it,

But there will come a time after an emotionally unavailable person has discarded you that they begin to fantasize about you again.

I think one of the reasons I’m so big about hammering this point home is that it really took me personally a long time to figure this out.


And I feel a little annoyed at how simplistic it seems to people. Often, when I explain this concept to them they’ll roll their eyes and go, “Of course.” Like it was the easiest thing in the world for me to learn.

It’s wasn’t.

I can’t tell you how many thousands of situations I had to study to learn it.

I can’t tell you how many hundreds of clients I had to personally coach and then wait months for their results to prove my hypothesis.

So, here is what we learned.

When an emotionally unavailable person feels like they have their independence again they finally allow themselves to feel nostalgia for that past relationship.

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This is making a few assumptions though. If you were too aggressive in your pursuit of fixing the relationship they can sometimes skip over the nostalgia stage and simply just move on.

Additionally, just because they are having nostalgia about you doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll act on their feelings.

You see, emotionally unavailable people often fall victim to the phantom ex syndrome.

I’ll let Free To Attach explain this one,

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. The phantom ex operates because there is/was distance, not because the relationship was successful. But a fixation with a past partner affects budding new relationships, blocking them from getting close to someone else. Just the knowledge that this person is out there is enough to make any new partner seem insignificant by comparison, a subconscious distancing strategy.

Look at how on brand that is for them. By concocting this idealized partner.

This “one that got away” it’s essentially a perfect excuse to keep all relationship at an arms length. No one will be able to measure up to this perfect person.

Thus, they hold on and protect their independence. So, weirdly fawning over failed relationships is part of their process.

That nostalgia will happen if you give them space because it’s literally their way to protect themselves.

But Do They Ever Come Back On Their Own Accord?

If you’ve been with Ex Boyfriend Recovery from the beginning then perhaps one of the things you may have noticed is that I encourage men and women to be a lot more active than most of my peers.

  • While they preach, “let the man come to you.”
  • I preach, “Give them some space and then be active.”

In truth it’s because I’ve always felt that playing hard to get alone isn’t an effective strategy all the time.

Only when I started learning about attachment styles did I really see this kick into overdrive.

According to a poll in our private facebook support group, most of our clients are dealing with dumpers who are avoidant and emotionally unavailable.

And everything I’ve researched and experienced says that if you just leave an avoidant alone they won’t usually take any meaningful action to “win you back” until WAYY down the road and usually I’m talking about years later.

In fact, we see this happening as early as the no contact rule. Contrary to popular belief most exes will not contact you during the no contact rule,

Why? Because they are avoidant.

Usually our clients have to be active if they want a reconciliation to occur and the key factor that everyone misses in the industry is that timing matters a ton with emotionally unavailable exes.

If you are “being active” in a space where an ex hasn’t hit that nostalgia phase you’ll be looked at as an annoyance.

So, half the battle is about timing your reach outs and value ladder work when an ex is in nostalgia mode but not being overbearing about it.

And the sad fact is that half of the time if you do get these emotionally unavailable exes back the relationships fail half of the time again.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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So, I’d greatly encourage you to think carefully before embarking on this adventure. It’s not that it can’t be done. My team and I feel we’ve mastered the art of reconciliation.

It’s more about asking if the dumper is worth the effort.

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