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Why Your Avoidant Ex Wants To Be Friends

It used to always take me by surprise when I heard stories and incidents of people ending or destroying a relationship for what seemed like illogical reasons until I learned about attachment styles. It’s possible that your avoidant ex may have blown up your relationship only to request a friendship and this has confused you because you thought he or she wants nothing to do with you. In this article, I’m going to discuss why your avoidant ex wants to be friends.

The most common reasons why an avoidant ex wants to be friends is because they want the comfort of your presence, they don’t want to face the consequences of ending your relationship, they want to keep you as an option, they feel guilt and remorse or they want to use you for the benefits. 

As you can tell, very rarely is it to your benefit to be friends with an avoidant ex. 

More often than not, their reasoning is self-serving and self-absorbed without actually providing a genuine path for reconciliation.

To truly grasp how an avoidant ex thinks about relationships and intimate issues, I have some interesting and compelling information on attachment styles that may shed some light on the situation.

Related post: Should you be friends with someone who dumped you?

What is an avoidant attachment style?

Based on the theory of attachment, there are attachment styles that summarize and attempt to explain the manner in which people express themselves and behave with each other within certain relationships. 

The four attachment styles are as follows:

  1. Avoidant or insecure-avoidant.
  2. Secure.
  3. Anxious or insecure-anxious.
  4. Fearful of disorganized.

Based on the research that I have conducted, an avoidant attachment style develops in childhood when a parent or guardian fails to exercise their duties and responsibility of showing care, presence, emotional support and responsiveness. 

This has a profound effect on a person’s ability to navigate relationships, especially in adulthood. 

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In 1970, Mary Ainsworth conducted an experiment popularly known as the “strange situation procedure.”

Kids with different attachment styles were placed in a room with their parents and an observer. 

When the parents left the room, the securely attached kids cried for their parents whereas kids with an avoidant attachment style were more composed. 

Upon returning to the room, kids with a secure attachment style went to their parents to be soothed while those with an avoidant attachment style would avoid or resist contact with their parents. 

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Following a more psychological assessment, it was found that the avoidant kids actually experienced similar feelings of distress when their parents left and returned but their reactions were very different. 

Related post: How to re-attract an avoidant ex

What are the symptoms of an avoidant attachment style?

By learning about these symptoms, it can paint a more detailed picture of why these people behave or respond to situations differently than perhaps you or others who have a more secure attachment style.

  • Evading or suppressing feelings.
  • Withdrawing from situations to be alone.
  • Avoiding intimacy or emotional closeness.
  • Avoiding relational growth and commitment.
  • Stonewalling and avoiding stressful or negative conversations.
  • Strong sense of independence.

Now, I think it’s a good time for us to discuss in detail all the reasons why your avoidant ex wants to be friends.

Related post: She likes me but doesn’t want a relationship

1. Wants the comfort of your presence

Despite an overwhelming need for distance and space, an avoidant ex may not want to be plunged into total silence and a lack of your presence.

It would be uncomfortable and painful, almost to the extent of being worse than actually what drove them to end the relationship.

We must keep in mind that people with an avoidant attachment style still fall in love and experience a great deal of emotion for their partner or ex even if their attachment style encourages them to pull away from relationships.

Losing you completely would still dredge up all those painful feelings associated with a split and the loss of a romantic relationship.

This may be his attempt at avoiding the pain of missing you from his life altogether.

2. Doesn’t want to face the consequences of ending your relationship

If we examine the nature of avoidance, it’s easy to observe a desire to avoid any situation, good or bad, that may cause feelings of discomfort, overwhelm or uncertainty.

This can present itself within a relationship during many monumental moments but it can do so even after a split.

Your ex may not want to experience any of the discomfort associated with the unknown synonymous with the end of a relationship.

Rather than face the consequences head-on, even the guilt of hurting you, they would like to create a narrative where it seems like everything is okay and nobody is getting hurt by their decisions.

So, your avoidant ex wants to be friends for the express reason of avoiding the need to take responsibility for their actions and the cause of their actions, which is mostly their avoidant attachment style. 

3. Wants to keep you as an option

Most people share a common desire for connection and intimacy, even with commitment issues or an avoidant attachment style.

It’s a big decision to walk away from a great relationship and can be quite eye-opening when you realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

This is especially true for people who end relationships primarily due to the effects of being an anxious-avoidant.

The idea of being single and dating casually may be intoxicating during the relationship but the reality is much more different if you’re unprepared for the fact that everything has a downside to it.

Loneliness, doubt, silence, a lack of affection, intimate connection and poor dating prospects are a reality of being single for a while.

This could be why your avoidant ex wants to be friends. 

He or she is hoping that if they feel a strong enough desire to reconcile if things aren’t working out with other people or in their single life, you’ll be on the back burner just waiting for the signal from him or her. 

Related post: She wants to be friends after dumping me

4. They feel guilt and remorse

It may seem like being dumped is the worst feeling in the world but you would be surprised to learn that dumping someone is not what it’s cut out to be. 

The momentary feeling of control passes and you’re left with what’s referred to as “dumper’s remorse” and “dumper’s guilt”. 

Knowing that your choice has caused immense pain and suffering to someone who merely loves you and wants to be with you is humbling and even devastating.

To ease these feelings, your avoidant ex wants to be friends in hopes of offering some support and comfort to you which may help with his or her own feelings of guilt and remorse.

5. Wants to use you for the benefits

I hate this because it’s extremely self-serving and inconsiderate of someone’s feelings but sometimes the dumper will offer their ex an opportunity to be intimate with them.

They may go so far as to dangle a carrot in front of their ex without having any intention of ever getting back together.

Essentially, they get to sleep with you but there’s no commitment or expectations. 

They’re just in it for the benefits and that can be detrimental to your mental and emotional health.

In conclusion

To me, it’s obvious that your avoidant ex wants to be friends because it benefits him or her more than it does you.

Think about it, you’re an awesome person who probably offers love, loyalty, affection, support and companionship.

Your ex only gains from having you around in his or her life, especially if the anxiety and loneliness of being single again are too much for them to deal with right now.

If I were in your shoes, I would not encourage this or accept their offer and be used as a springboard for him or her to bounce back onto the dating scene.

The only instance when you should consider being friends with your ex is if they have a genuine interest in friendship and you are done with this relationship but enjoy your ex’s company. 

The two of you can offer support to each other during this time and develop a friendship that has healthy boundaries.

Apart from that, you have absolutely no need to be friends with your avoidant ex because it will not help you to get him or her back.

With that being said, I hope you found this article on why your avoidant ex wants to be friends to be insightful. If you have any questions or thoughts on this topic that you would like to share with me, please do so by visiting the comment section below.

3 thoughts on “Why Your Avoidant Ex Wants To Be Friends”

  1. This is hard to accept, I see the potential, I know the way it once was between us, I know how much we have in common; we are well suited. But I am kept at arm’s length away, has many reasons why we can’t see each other. I keep hanging on being patient hoping she will come around.

    1. Don’t wait for her. She will never change, I’ve “lost” so many years trying, fighting, giving. And being pushed away all the time, without understanding. It breaks you, makes you feel insecure. And this kind of personality don’t like insecure people, because they feel suffocated by them. Live your life, be you and attract some one who matches you!!

  2. I stumbled into this article, because I was trying to find out, why after breaking up he immediately in the same break up message asked me if we could stay friends? Especially because our physical relationship was unbelievably good! I was already kind of in shock that he broke up after a relationship of 3 years, telling me he can’t have a relationship, he tried but he discovered he can not. (This after a fight where honestly I totally lost it, I’m kind of going to a hard time personally (nothing to do with him) and think my not being my normal happy me was too much for him to cope. Which thanks to this article I now totally understand. Anyway, thanks for the tips in the conclusion, because yes, I feel him wanting to be friends only benefits him. And also as a friend I’m very high demanding, if he’s not there as a partner to support me in my difficult times, he probably will be a lousy friend too!!

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