By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 1st, 2021

I’ve been talking a lot about attachment styles lately but one thing I haven’t done yet is discuss how to win back the most difficult type of attachment style – dismissive-avoidant.

Dealing with a dismissive-avoidant ex is hard but today I will break down exactly what the dismissive-avoidant attachment style looks like and how to deal with that person.

I’m also going to tell you about the interesting paradox you will experience if you successfully try to handle a dismissive-avoidant ex.

Let’s begin!

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What Is The Dismissive Avoidant Attachment Style? 

Someone with an avoidant attachment style often sees themselves as independent or able to go through life alone.

They usually maintain strict boundaries and can be emotionally distant.

This makes it hard for them to open up to their partners or to make or keep close friendships.

People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style are avoidant in all types of relationships – while they may be interested at the beginning, you’ll find that they run away consistently.

Unfortunately, a lot of our clients have dated these avoidant types of people so the question of dealing with them comes up quite often.

The secret to coping with a dismissive-avoidant ex is by understanding the basic psychology that drives them to be this way.

After all, there’s no point in trying to fix their dismissive symptoms if you don’t understand the root cause.

A lot of times people misunderstand an avoidant attachment style and they’ll take them leaving or suddenly dropping off of a conversation as them saying “I don’t love you” or “I don’t care about you” or “you need to move on” when the truth is actually a little bit more complicated.

The Avoidant Attachment Style Is Based In Fear

This is important to understand because it helps you see why someone making decisions based completely on fear can be self-interested.

So, when you see a negative interaction with a dismissive-avoidant ex as them saying “I don’t love you”, it probably actually means “I don’t want to be vulnerable so I will push you away.”

Their actions and words have little to do with you and more to do with their own insecurities and fear of abandonment.

People with dismissive avoidant attachment styles will often initiate breakups when they feel like they’re getting too close to being emotionally vulnerable. They expect the worst, i.e. someone hurting them or leaving them, and they preemptively save themselves from that outcome.

That’s also why you’ll often see avoided attachment styles jumping from relationship to relationship.

They might enjoy the initial boost from the honeymoon period, but they slip away as soon as it started getting serious and the other party asks for more emotional dependence.

How Do You Overcome A Dismissive-Avoidant Ex And Coax Them Back?

Before I explain what you should do, here’s what you absolutely should NOT:

If your ex is avoiding you based on fear, DON’T try to smother them and immediately make it better.

Think of it like this: an annoying salesperson shows up at your doorstep.

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You’re clearly not interested in whatever they’re offering so you refuse. Instead of politely leaving, the salesperson deliberately doubles down and starts pitching harder and harder.

Will that convince you to change your mind?

No, it’ll probably just annoy you more and further confirm your initial response.

The same thing happens here with avoidant attachment styles – if you push harder and harder to get things going the way you want them to go, you’re just going to cause them to be more avoidant. Instead what you should do is understand what actually works on avoidant attachment styles.

The answer to this is based on several of my recent interviews with our success stories.

I am incredibly proud of the sheer volume of success stories we have through our program and I love studying them and finding common trends.

Coach Anna, one of our head coaches at the ex-recovery program, says that out of the thousands of people she has coached over the past four years around 70% have successfully gotten their exes back.

Now that doesn’t mean that they stayed together with their ex, but at one point they did get their exes back.

So, when you have that volume of success, you can look at what’s working and what’s not.

The single most successful trend we’ve seen working almost exclusively in those 70 percent of people who are successfully winning their exes back is:

They’re actually changing their own attachment styles to be or mimic a secure attachment style.

What Does A Secure Attachment Look Like? 

Considered the strongest, most desirable attachment style, secure attachment involves such high levels of internal and emotional strength that you feel like you can handle whatever life throws at you.

The best way I like to describe secure attachment is with one word – fortitude. Fortitude in a secure attachment style means knowing that no matter what happens with you and your ex, you will find a way to overcome it.

This is at the heart of the difference between successful and unsuccessful people not only in the ex-recovery process but life in general. A quote my friend shared really hits this point home:

The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people in life isn’t how good they are strategically or tactically, it’s about the way they look at problems

The process of getting an ex back is a long and difficult one and you’re bound to encounter some roadblocks.

You can have one of two reactions when you hit a roadblock:

  1. You can decide it’s the end of the world
  2. You can take it up as a challenge to overcome

The first choice is unfortunately the most common answer for unsuccessful people. They expect instant gratification and lose their hope at the first sign of trouble. For example, if your ex blocks you, the unsuccessful reaction would be to sulk and give up because you have no way of talking to them now.

On the other hand, a successful person will look at this situation as a fun problem to solve. They will just wait it out or they might try to get creative and try to find ways around the block. Either way, they will not see it as the end of their ex recovery journey.

So, you need to experience a paradigm shift from an unsuccessful defeatist mindset to a successful secure attachment style. Someone with a secure attachment style would accept that their ex needs space and they’re cool with giving them that space.

When your ex sees you gracefully backing away and giving them the time they need, they might consider opening up more. This is especially true if they always found you to be overbearing and clingy during your relationship.

The Big Paradox Of Getting An Avoidant Ex Back By Adopting A Secure Attachment Style

Once you get to a secure attachment style where you see small setbacks as fun problems to solve, you’re at a place emotionally where you are no longer attracted to that avoidant attachment style.

You see the world from a new more secure lens and your avoidant ex just doesn’t fit into that world view anymore. They’d just hold you down. And therein lies the paradox.

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You need to act secure to attract back your avoidant ex, but you might not want them anymore.

This is why sometimes the best solution for trying to win that avoidant dismissive person back is to get over them. It’s to embody secure attachment to the point where nothing they do can bother you.

I know it’s counterintuitive and paradoxical because you’re here wanting a solution to get your ex back and I’m telling you to become secure and stop caring about them.

Well, it works! In fact, it’s the only thing that’ll work with an avoidant ex.

This also feeds into another misconception people have when getting back their avoidant exes: they assume it’ll be a relatively quick process.

Nope, getting an ex back is a long extensive process and it’s even more prolonged if your ex has a dismissive-avoidant attachment style.

If you’re coming into this process thinking you’re going to win back your dismissive-avoidant ex in 30 days you’re in for a rude awakening. After all, do you think it only took 30 days for them to become avoidant?

No, it probably took 30 years (or whatever their age is)!

Someone who’s a dismissive-avoidant usually has childhood reasons for why they’re that way. It’s not the type of thing that you’re magically going to solve in a month, it’s the kind of thing that isn’t usually solved for years.

That person probably needs to attend professional therapy or go through a life-altering experience that makes them see their life in a different light.

Not everyone will have an easy time getting back an avoidant ex, but the main strategy should always be to adopt a secure attachment style as this will give your ex breathing room to reconsider their avoidant choices.

If you want more detailed and specific tactics for getting your ex back, my recommendation is to scroll through our website and immerse yourself in all the free content we have!

You can learn about things like how to text, how to do the no contact rule, how to act if you run into your ex, etc.


A dismissive-avoidant person likes to hop from relationship to relationship and can never settle down because they are too afraid to let someone in. The best thing you can do to deal with an avoidant ex is to adopt a secure attachment style, so you have the fortitude to deal with whatever happens.

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4 thoughts on “How To Handle A Dismissive Avoidant Ex”

  1. bryan

    October 28, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    This is gold. My recent break up is DA 100%. Ive been aacting crazy about the break up and she has just turned away from me completely. She sends mixed messages which get me all confused and then i email bomb her looking for an answer. Im going to follow the advice here. Thanks for posting this.


    April 25, 2022 at 11:13 am

    My ex wife is dismissive avoidant. We’ve been married 7 years and have 3 children together. I am definitely the anxious type, and am heartbroken. I have had a difficult time leaving her alone, and have only made things worse by my attempts to reach out to her. No contact is impossible, as we have our kids to deal with. How can I possibly resolve and save our relationship? She is already sleeping with another man, which turns my insides into a train wreck. Please help!!!

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 26, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      Hey Kevin, so you would need to follow a limited no contact where you would only speak with her when you are collecting / dropping off the children with her. OR if they were to become injured or sick. I know it is upsetting that she has moved on to a point that she is sleeping with someone else but try to remind yourself that the best thing that you can do right now is focus on yourself and become stronger for your children sake, and yourself. Show her what she has lost by becoming the best version of yourself, starting with your anxiety. Hope this helps!

  3. Catherine jammal

    March 4, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for all your advice, it’s a great one that has real helped me. Expecially the no contact rule is a pay off. It’s really turn on. Thank u so much