Being with an avoidant can feel like a game of cat and mouse.
Sadly, you are the one that does all the chasing, but very little catching.
You want to break the cycle, but you don’t know what to do for the best.
Do avoidants care when you leave? Do avoidants need to be chased?
And if so, what happens when you stop chasing an avoidant?
We’ll answer all these questions and more in this article.
So let’s get started.
1) It gives them the space they crave
Here’s the thing:
Unfortunately, avoidants can feel claustrophobic in a relationship or romantic encounter very quickly.
It doesn’t take much for them to start to yearn for their independence.
Perfectly normal every day couple things can become quickly overwhelming to an avoidant.
Often through absolutely no fault of their partner, they feel stifled and trapped.
The slightest commitment gets blown out of proportion in an avoidant’s mind. And so they start to pull away in response.
They feel like their partner wants too much from them, and their natural defense mechanism is to resist this.
That’s why giving them their space allows avoidants to feel like they can breathe again.
All the self-imposed pressure they created can then melt away.
The reality is that in the early stages, an avoidant is likely to feel relieved when you stop chasing.
But don’t be disheartened.
That’s not because of how they feel about you.
It’s simply because they no longer feel like someone is making demands of them.
But as we’ll soon see, if they genuinely care about you, this phase is unlikely to last too long.
2) They might take advantage of their newfound freedom
This next thing isn’t definite, but it’s something you should be aware of.
If nothing else than to reassure you that it’s perfectly normal.
In fact, it’s not exclusive to avoidants either.
It happens to plenty of couples who take a break or split up for a while.
When faced with single life again, particularly when someone has felt stifled by a relationship, they may go a little wild.
That might include things like partying lots with friends, filling their social calendar up to the brim, or even casually dating and hooking up.
I know that is a horrible scenario to imagine when you are on the sidelines and forced to watch.
You might see plenty of carefree-looking posts on their social media of smiling faces and “good times”.
But know this:
Take some comfort in the fact this sort of behavior is often a form of denial. It’s simply blowing off steam.
It’s all part of the process of an avoidant trying to emotionally detach themselves from you. That way they won’t feel so freaked out.
But if they continue to not hear from you, their curiosity will grow.
3) Once they feel comfortable again, their feelings for you start to return
To an avoidant, romantic encounters are almost like a pressure cooker.
When the temperature starts to rise, it all becomes too much.
They can’t stand the heat anymore.
But once they are able to blow off some steam they feel differently.
Their irrational reaction to intimacy blocks them from feeling the emotions they have for you.
They are blinded by panic and a need for relief.
But when they get that space and freedom — and the pressure is off — those feelings of desire and affection can start to return.
You chasing them made you lose status in their eyes. But no that you no longer are, they stop devaluing you.
Instead, they begin to wonder how you’re doing.
They could be curious why you’re not chasing them anymore. They might miss the attention they once got from you.
You may have no idea that this is happening because it’s taking place silently behind the scenes.
But there could also be little clues along the way.
- They start watching your social media stories again
- They start liking your posts or pictures on social media again or even leaving comments
- They might ask mutual friends about you
The little steps as their intrigue and longing for you build are all leading up to the next point on our list.
4) They start to miss you
This is the part of the waiting game that most people are ultimately aiming for when they decide to stop chasing an avoidant.
The part where an avoidant has enough distance to calm down and feel differently.
They realize the grass isn’t so green on the other side. They remember that they want to love and to be loved.
If they have deep feelings for you, then this is the time when they realize how much they miss having you in their life.
They reminisce about all the good times you shared. And they start to feel regret for what they’ve let go.
They’re no longer focused on their fears about being in a relationship. They’re more consumed by their fears of losing you.
5) They’ll reach out to you and test the water
If throughout this time you have refused to initiate contact with an avoidant, this is the stage when they will be forced into action.
They’re only going to feel compelled to reach out when they miss you but you are no longer chasing them.
When they see that you aren’t making yourself available to them, this can offer trigger that fear of loss.
So they will most likely slide into your DM’s.
However they do it, it’s probably going to be very subtle.
For example, they might send you a funny meme, ask how you’re doing or send a simple emoji.
This is their way of testing the water and seeing if you’re open to communicating.
They aren’t suddenly going to wear their heart on their sleeves.
Don’t expect them to turn up at your door with a dozen red roses and begging for forgiveness.
As we’ll see next, that’s just not an avoidant’s style.
6) They’re unlikely to chase you
I use the word chase for good reason.
Because there’s a big difference between reaching out and chasing.
An avoidant probably will reach out when they want to see you again.
When they’re ready to talk, they will attempt to restart a dialogue with you, as we said in the point above.
But it’s always going to be low-key.
Because the fact remains:
Avoidants aren’t the chasing type.
If their feelings for you were not so strong, there is every chance they will simply try to block you from their mind and move on.
Even if they do care for you, the very nature of an avoidant means they’re unlikely to start a hot and dedicated pursuit of you.
They aren’t going to start blowing up your phone or begging you to come back.
In short: don’t expect grand gestures.
If you’re lucky, at most, you might get a small display of emotion, admitting that they miss you.
They could admit to their mistakes, and muster up an apology for you.
But if you push them away, or try to get them to become the chaser — I’m warning you now — chances are you’ll be out of luck.
7) If you reject them, they will most likely move on
I think those of us who’ve ever fallen for an avoidant have a common fantasy.
It goes something like this:
Our sexy avoidant was always aloof and noncommittal with everyone they met. And sure, this same pattern happened when they first met us too.
But eventually, they realize that we are the exception to the rule, and they cannot live without us.
Despite their fears and hangups, they are willing to risk it all because their love and desire for us are just too strong to resist.
And hey presto, we’ve broken the spell.
They stop being so damn avoidant. They see the error of their ways.
And they start pursuing us and chasing us right back — just like we deserve.
Perhaps it’s just me that’s indulged in this little daydream before. But I suspect not.
But sadly, that’s not the reality we end up getting, despite our best wishes.
In most cases:
If you keep pushing an avoidant away in the hopes they will step up their chasing, they will simply give up.
The low-key effort I pointed out above is probably all you’ll get.
Ignoring an avoidant, blocking them, giving them the silent treatment, etc. in the hopes it will push them to step up their game isn’t going to work.
Because the reality is that their issues are far bigger than your relationship with them.
Their avoidant tendencies are something they must be prepared to work on. Otherwise, nothing will change.
Can an avoidant change?
Absolutely. But the point is that we can’t “fix” an avoidant. Only they can.
Be prepared for the whole cycle to start all over again unless they are prepared to put in the personal work to stop it.
You just have to decide whether you are prepared to stick around.
Cue some reflection time…
8) It takes the pressure off you doing all the work
So far, most of this article has been focused on predicting the likely behavior of an avoidant when you stop chasing them.
But let’s not forget:
There are two people involved in this.
So it’s important to consider the potential impact on you when you stop chasing an avoidant.
And the good news is, in the long run, a lot of it is positive, even if it sucks at first.
Chasing an avoidant personality type can be incredibly emotionally draining.
And at the end of the day, that’s not fair to you.
You shouldn’t have to be the only one giving in a relationship.
It’s never going to work, and will always stay one-sided unless you can find a better balance.
That’s going to mean you dialing down the amount of effort and “chasing” that you are prepared to do.
Meanwhile, they will have to meet you halfway and increase their amount of effort.
When you stop chasing an avoidant, on a practical level, it takes some of the pressure off you.
You are no longer demanding yourself to prop up your entire romantic connection singlehandedly.
9) It gives you space to evaluate and consider what you really want
Making the decision to stop chasing an avoidant not only puts a stop to the cat and mouse game. But it also helps you get your power back.
They might well enjoy their newfound freedom. But it can be incredibly freeing and insightful for you too.
This time is invaluable for you to take a step back and decide:
What do I really want?
Does this person deserve me?
How much am I willing to invest in this connection?
What is my attachment style?
What sort of relationship do I want to be in?
You may think that you already know the answers. But time and space have a habit of giving us new and valuable perspectives.
If you’ve been caught up in the push-and-pull trap of chasing an avoidant it can be a good time to stop and take stock of your love life.
If you’d like some help doing that, then I would recommend reaching out to the experts at Relationship Hero.
It’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, just like this.
My favorite thing about them is that they don’t just listen to you, they provide practical and actionable advice for you to follow based on your unique situation.
Whether you want to stay and make it work with your avoidant, or break free of their spell — they can help.
It’s like giving you a little love roadmap to follow when you’re feeling most lost!
10) You can focus on yourself
I promise you this:
One of the best things that will come out of refusing to chase an avoidant any longer is a shift of energy back onto you.
This is useful regardless of whether you want an avoidant to come back, or if you decide to move on without them.
Independence is sexy to an avoidant.
Their worst-case scenario is having a partner who is needy or clingy.
That’s why the best way to spark the interest of an avoidant is to remain as mysterious to them as possible.
Keeping a healthy amount of independence is a great way to do this.
But more than that, it’s going to help rebuild your confidence.
We’re talking about taking care of yourself as much as you can by:
- Doing activities you love
- Connecting with friends
- Going out and having fun
- Working on your personal-development and goals
- Trying out new hobbies
Because these are the things that will boost your self-esteem.
When you stop chasing an avoidant you can focus on nurturing your most important relationship in this world — the one with yourself.
To conclude: Do avoidants regret running away?
I hope by now this article has given you a good idea of what to expect when you stop chasing an avoidant.
Perhaps one of the biggest questions on your mind right now is whether they’re going to regret letting you go.
Unfortunately, that’s something that only time will tell.
But I speak from experience when I say:
It’s better to stop chasing an avoidant, simply for your own peace of mind.
Don’t do it with the hopes of provoking a particular reaction from them.
Sadly, we cannot control how others will feel and so often end up feeling disappointed whenever we try.
Do it because you deserve more than chasing someone who isn’t showing up for you.
Do it to show yourself the same amount of love that you are currently giving away.
Do it to free up the space in your life for someone to come along who will deserve all that you have to offer.