If the dismissive-avoidant ended the relationship with you, and they were invested in it, and you’re currently not in contact with them, then they will likely go through a set of stages. While these stages do vary from person to person; in this article, you can get an idea of what those stages are.
It can be helpful to know the stages if you’re struggling during no contact, wondering if they still care about you, and when could be a good time to reach out.
Dismissive avoidant no contact: Stage one is “relief”
The first stage a dismissive avoidant goes through will be “relief”, sometimes coupled with a little bit of confusion about the decision they’re making. They may have broken up with you out of a reactive place; maybe they really needed space or they were feeling unheard or smothered in the relationship.
Or maybe a persistent disagreement in the relationship wasn’t getting resolved, and they were getting fed up or feeling the relationship was hopeless. So the avoidant will feel a sense of relief from the tension they were experiencing in the relationship.
A sense of relief can also combine with a feeling of freedom, like a person who has just quit a stressful job and isn’t yet concerned about where they’ll find the next one or the impact of not having a job on them. Instead, they’re gonna be relishing their new reality where they feel unburdened from responsibility and conflict or the tension that I mentioned. At this stage, they’re likely not going to be preoccupied with thoughts about the relationship, they’ll be too busy reorienting to their own life.
Denial After a Dismissive Avoidant Breakup
The next emotional stage is often feelings of righteousness, numbness, or denial. So for instance, a common reason for an avoidant person to initiate a breakup is when they encounter a situation that closely resembles their past trauma pattern.
If they haven’t addressed their triggers and emotional wounds, they may feel justified in their decision to end the relationship. Even if their understanding of the events is clouded by a lack of insight into their own internal world and a struggle with accurate self-reflection, they likely won’t think about your relationship at this stage either because they’ll feel validated in their decision and believe that they made the right choice.
This stage is a tough one because, some avoidants, never really reconsider another perspective on what happened, they just stay in this stage for quite a long time.
Now, not all avoidants are like this, but the ones who have the most limited capacity for self-reflection and who harbor some of the deepest wounds and therefore are fearful of reflecting, are.
Between denial and acknowledgment for the avoidant partner
If an avoidant comes out of the denial stage, they don’t immediately go into grieving or trying to reconnect. Depending on how much work the avoidant has done on themselves will greatly determine the length of the stage between denial and acknowledgment. And when I say acknowledgment, I mean fruitful self-reflection vs. self-blame. Why do I say self-blame versus self-reflection?
Self-blame or self-reflection that leads to responsibility?
Self-Blame involves the avoidance of facing deeper emotions and past traumas, as it allows the avoidant to maintain a sense of control over their emotions. Instead of confronting the real issues, they internalize guilt and may see themselves as fundamentally flawed or incapable of sustaining a healthy relationship. During this phase, it’s crucial to understand that self-blame is not the same as self-reflection. Self-Reflection involves a deeper exploration of a person’s emotional landscape, past experiences, their attachment patterns which is essential for personal growth and transformation.
Self-blame only reinforces avoidance of emotional vulnerability.
The long for Independence after the dismissive-avoidant breakup
Another critical stage that the dismissive-avoidant ex may go through is the longing for independence. Avoidants are fiercely independent individuals and being in a relationship might have felt restricting for them no matter how invested they were. So after the initial stages of relief and denial, they might start to cherish their newly found independence and freedom.
They’ll likely immerse themselves in personal pursuits, hobbies, or even new relationships that reaffirm their sense of self-sufficiency. This phase will have a notable absence of thoughts about the previous relationship. They may even appear to move on effortlessly and cause confusion and hurt for the partner they left behind. However, it’s essential to recognize that this detachment is often a coping mechanism to shield themselves from the pain and vulnerability of emotional intimacy.
Now, as time goes on, the avoidant might find themselves confronted with moments of nostalgia and memories of their relationship with you. And in these instances, it can trigger a sense of loss and longing.
However, a common coping strategy for avoidance is compartmentalizing emotions, and it’s possible that they may quickly dismiss or suppress these feelings, avoiding any emotional confrontation.
If the dismissive-avoidant does the work during no contact…
Now, if the dismissive-avoidant has done significant inner work or has experienced personal growth during their period of independence, they may reach a stage of genuine self-awareness and acknowledgment.
It’s in this phase they can come to terms with their attachment patterns, past traumas, and emotional avoidance. They may finally grasp the impact their behavior had on their relationship and their partner.
At this point, they might experience deep regret and remorse for their actions wishing they could have been more emotionally available and supportive in the relationship. But remember, unfortunately, not all avoidants and really not all people reach this level of self-awareness after a relationship ends as it requires courage and vulnerability to explore and address their emotional wounds.
Does the dismissive-avoidant ever try to reconnect after no contact?
Finally, it’s important to note that if the avoidant ex-partner reaches the stages of self-reflection, nostalgia, and acknowledgment, it’s at this stage that an avoidant could be open to reconnecting with you. Again, please understand that these stages vary from person to person and from situation to situation.
It’s likely that at this stage, the avoidant might send you nudges like a short message to test the waters or a sticker or a meme or something that’s low committal to see if you’re open to engaging with them.
If they hurt you, they might assume that you are no longer interested in speaking with them or that you may even be still angry with them. Instead of going full steam ahead, they’ll test the waters to see how open and reciprocating you are today.
It’s up to you at this stage whether you want to open up to them or if you would like to close that door forever. And remember, just because an avoidant is pinging you doesn’t mean that they are ready to jump back into a relationship with you. Remember, avoidants are okay with moving slowly and just testing the waters without assuming it’s going to lead to anything.
Want to know how to assess whether low investment signals are a genuine bid to connect?
Or if there’s just bored or trying to be friends?
Do you want to know how to respond to them while maintaining your boundaries and protecting your heart?
Or if you should respond based on where you are mentally and emotionally today?
If your anxiety is clouding your judgment about what to do and you’d like to get clarity, then I recommend that you book a one-on-one “dismissive avoidant no contact assessment” coaching session with me. Together, we can both create a communication strategy that you feel comfortable and confident in, and we can even explore where you are mentally and emotionally to see if it’s a good idea to connect after all.
Finally, I’ll happily give you feedback about what I think is going on with your DA, based on how they’re communicating with you and based on the last few communications that you provide me via email.