Nobody wants to hear their partner or ex say they don’t care about them, especially if they’ve invested significant time into the relationship.
Today we’re going to dissect why exes might say this and what the best way is to handle the situation, regardless of your end goal.
Does your ex mean it when they say they don’t care about you?
Usually, my answer to most people when trying to figure out whether their ex means something is,
“Yeah, they mean it in the moment.”
However in this case context and the length of the relationship matters a lot.
So let’s say you and your ex were only together for a week and your ex says, “I never cared about you”, he probably means it for real because you never had enough time to develop a deep connection.
On the other hand, if you were in a long-term relationship and your ex had clearly shown they cared about you over the years and they say something along the lines of “I don’t care about you” during your breakup it means something else.
It means your ex means they don’t care about you… in the moment.
They might say they don’t care about you in the moment due to the extenuating circumstances of the breakup but they do still care.
Something to remember: The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.
So if your ex truly didn’t care about you, they wouldn’t expend any energy or emotions on telling you that. They obviously still care at some level. Yet, it still seems so authentic and heartbreaking when they say it…
Why are they so authentic when they say they don’t care about you?
Your ex seems authentic when they say they don’t care about you because they truly believe it in the moment.
I think we can learn a lot more about your ex’s state of mind when they make these statements by understanding their attachment style.
So I went ahead and took the liberty of looking through our success stories and seeing the specific exes who stated they didn’t care and what kind of attachment style they showed signs of. By and large, the most common attachment style was the avoidant attachment style.
Understanding the mindset of an ex with an avoidant attachment style
I’ve been talking about avoidant attachment styles a lot recently because it’s the most common attachment style for exes who our clients are trying to get back.
Here are four important points to remember when dealing with avoidant attachment styles:
1. Avoidants are less empathetic to people in need.
It is completely on-brand for your avoidant ex to say they don’t care about you because they don’t empathize with your pain or feel the need to comfort you when you cry for help.
Their lack of empathy makes them believe your concerns are trivial and it also makes it easier for them to stop caring for you.
2. Avoidants respond negatively to their partner’s emotions because those emotions can signal that they need more attention and intimacy.
Avoidants run at the first sign of overly emotional behavior because they’re scared to get too close to anyone. So them saying they don’t care about you could honestly just mean that they don’t feel like putting in the work necessary to be emotionally available for you.
3. Avoidants may actually sabotage a relationship when they get closer to taking the next step.
A deep-rooted fear of commitment is found in all avoidants so they may say stuff like “I don’t care about you” to purposefully hurt you and drive you away if they think the relationship is getting too serious.
4. Avoidants believe in self-independence and they want you to be independent.
Avoidants are big on self-independence both for themselves and their partners so telling you they don’t care about you could just be a bit of “tough love” meant to make you self-sufficient if you’re being too dependent on them.
Anxious vs. Avoidant Attachment Styles
So we’ve pretty much established that avoidants will “avoid” close emotional encounters in relationships if things get too serious or if your attachment style rubs up negatively against their attachment style.
This goes back to avoidants’ need for independence and not finding that with people having anxious attachment styles.
Most of our clients or audience fit into the anxious attachment style which is the polar opposite of the avoidant attachment style.
Where anxious attachments attach their self-worth to relationships and crave co-dependence and empathy, avoidants are fiercely independent and stay away from any emotional vulnerability.
Yet somehow people with these two conflicting attachment styles always find their way to each other and then there are problems throughout the relationship.
You probably have an anxious attachment style if you feel a constant need to fix your breakup right away and you spend most of your time trying to get back with your ex. The more you try to talk to your avoidant ex, the more likely it is that they’d say something like “I don’t care about you” to push you away because you’re smothering them.
So this exercise of identifying and understanding your ex’s attachment style will go a long way in making you realize why your ex says certain things. If your ex is avoidant, they will say things like “I never cared about you” not only to push you away but to get further away so they can grieve in their own way and eventually miss you.
How to make an avoidant ex miss you after they say they don’t care about you anymore
Getting an avoidant ex to miss you is pretty convoluted but it makes sense in their head and will make more sense to you now that you understand how someone with an avoidant attachment style operates.
We know that an avoidant ex will basically push you away if you’re not independent so if you think about it, the only way they will miss you is if they believe you are truly independent without them.
An avoidant ex needs to see that you’ve completely moved on before they feel safe enough to grieve and miss you and think about how much they actually did care about you.
So timing is really important here to consider but to answer our original question of whether your ex still cares about you – yes. they still care about you. They just have this weird way of framing it in their minds.
All you need to do right now is take a step back and circle back to all the considerate and caring actions your ex put into your relationship and weigh it against their recent “I never cared about you” statement to see that something clearly doesn’t add up.
Now that you know your ex doesn’t permanently mean they’ve stopped caring about you, what should you do next?
What do you do after your ex said they don’t care about you?
Coach Anna and I recently did this really interesting podcast episode on anger and how any time someone expresses anger, they’re masking their true feelings and using anger to shift the blame instead of looking at their own shortcomings.
A lot of times when your ex says they never cared about you, they’re expressing anger and frustration on something completely different.
It’s their way of projecting their feelings onto you so they don’t have to think about themselves internally. This is especially true for an avoidant ex because they’d rather say something hurtful to you than express their emotions.
The best thing you can do in this situation is… nothing. Give your ex the time they need to process their emotions and shortcomings so their anger can subside.
This is why we always talk about the no-contact rule as the first step after a breakup, regardless of whether you want your ex back or want to move on. However, let’s focus on why the no-contact rule works so effectively and what its purpose is.
The no contact rule is not a strategy to play hard to get and make your ex miss you (though that may be an unintended consequence), it’s a strategy to spend time on yourself and work on letting go of your ex.
There’s a very high chance that the ex you want to get back has an avoidant attachment style and will only start to miss you if they believe you’ve let go. That’s where the no-contact rule comes in. The no-contact period allows you to focus on yourself and give your ex the space they need to process their post-breakup emotions.
The best advice I can give you for a successful no-contact rule is to find something you care about more than your ex. I’m sure your whole life doesn’t revolve around your ex (and if it does, it’s time to change that!) so you can choose any other aspect of your life such as your health or wealth and start dedicating more time to that.
The moment you find yourself putting all your time and energy into something other than your ex, you will automatically start to let go. Your ex will catch on to this and eventually allow themselves to miss you as well!
Unless you were in a very short relationship, your ex probably meant it when he said he doesn’t care about you, but only in that moment.
The statement doesn’t reflect what they felt in the past or how they will feel in the future and they probably just said it out of anger to push you away.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to enact a no-contact rule and focus on something other than your ex.
That way, your ex will actually allow themselves to grieve their loss and miss you once they see you move on.