Do you have a friend with avoidant personality disorder? Perhaps you’re in a relationship with an avoidant and you’re not coping with their crushing low self-esteem. Maybe you’ve decided you can’t be around a family member anymore because you’re helpless to change or cope with their avoidant character traits.

Avoidants react in one of two ways, depending on whether they want a relationship with you. Before we look at what happens when you stop chasing an avoidant, let’s recap their symptoms. Because, if we want to understand what an avoidant person does when you walk away, it helps to know their character traits.

Symptoms of avoidant personality

  • Extremely low self-esteem
  • Crippling inferiority complex
  • Hates oneself
  • Doesn’t like people looking at them
  • See the world through a negative lens
  • Fear of rejection
  • Thinks others are judging them
  • Sudden feelings of loneliness
  • Avoids people
  • Socially awkward
  • Few friends in real life
  • Over analyses every interaction
  • Doesn’t like to mix with people
  • Self isolates
  • Hides feelings
  • Is jealous of other people
  • Daydreams about ideal relationships
  • Thinks everyone hates them
  • Resist emotional conversations
  • Poor conflict resolution skills
  • Doesn’t want to commit

What happens when you stop chasing an avoidant?

“If we are unconsciously taught the mandate ‘don’t have feelings, don’t show feelings, don’t need anything from anyone, ever’ – then running away is the best way we can safely accomplish that mandate.”

Relationships with avoidants are frustrating for both parties. The avoidant person desperately wants to connect but is afraid of commitment. Avoidants constantly question if someone is right for them. They never think they’re good enough for people. Subconsciously, they act in a way that pushes their partner away. Then, when the relationship ends, they can say it wasn’t meant to be.

Meanwhile, the avoidant’s behavior puzzles their partner. The avoidant cancels plans last minute, goes without contact for long periods, and won’t address any problems. Now the partner has had enough. They stop making all the effort.

When someone stops chasing an avoidant, the avoidant follows two broad patterns of behavior, depending on whether they want a relationship with the person.

Avoidants either deactivate or fade out when you stop chasing them

What happens when you stop chasing an avoidant? They either deactivate from the relationship or fade out from it. When an avoidant deactivates from a person, they stop all contact abruptly and cut that person from their life.

Fading out is their way of gradually distancing themselves from the person. It is not as brutal and final as deactivating.

However, make no mistake, all avoidants are relieved when you stop chasing them. Avoidants are so socially crippled they need space from the other person. As sad as it sounds, breaking up or stopping communication gives them that space, albeit at a cost. Even in good relationships, an avoidant still needs space after a few months.

So, how do you know which behavior the avoidant will choose if you walk away?

  • If they are not interested in you, walking away from an avoidant pushes them to deactivate from you.
  • If they still care for you, they will fade out.

Now let’s examine these two behaviors.

9 things to expect when you stop chasing an avoidant

what happens when you stop chasing an avoidant

What happens when an avoidant deactivates?

1. They are relieved

What happens when you stop chasing an avoidant who is not interested in you? They’ll relax. You can almost hear them breathe a metaphorical sigh of relief when you walk away from them. Finally, they are free from the social niceties and interactions that make them feel so anxious.

2. They act cold and aloof

Avoidants can now cut you from their life. Although breaking up is a negative experience for most of us, avoidants feel relief when you stop chasing them. It’s like binge eating on a diet or skipping work when you’re not sick. It’s a negative situation, but the avoidant feels good about it if they see you don’t expect them to acknowledge you or contact you.

3. They don’t reply

If an avoidant is not interested, you can expect complete radio silence. They won’t risk contact because you may reply and then they are back in this awkward social situation again. Secretly, I’m betting they hope you never contact them again.

4. They block you

For peace of mind, an avoidant will block the person they’ve decided they can’t be in a relationship with. It helps reduce anxious feelings. They know they don’t have to worry about getting your text or call. Because they dread you contacting them again, blocking is a passive-aggressive way of avoiding you.

What happens when an avoidant fades out?

5. They become depressed

Whether an avoidant likes you or not, they will still gain some sort of relief when you stop chasing them. However, this relief doesn’t last long. They’ll become depressed. What little self-esteem they had diminished, and self-doubt plagues them. Avoidants may start self-loathing.

They’ll wonder: what’s wrong with them? Why do they keep ruining relationships? Why can’t they have what everyone else has?

6. They make excuses for their behavior

Sometimes an avoidant wants a relationship with you, but they act like they don’t. In these situations, they’ll try to make excuses for their behavior. By this time, if you’ve walked away from an avoidant, you’ve had enough of their mixed signals.

The problem exacerbates when an avoidant doesn’t know they have an avoidant personality. They might not realize what or why they act the way they do.

7. They initiate contact, but after a long time

Oftentimes, something weird happens when you stop chasing an avoidant. Out of the blue, they text or call you. You may think the relationship is dead in the water, but the avoidant is still thinking of you.

8. They test the waters with a random text or call

Avoidants will see if you are still interested by sending a brief text or call. It could be a funny meme, an emoji, or a voice note. If you respond, they know they still have a toe in the water.

9. Their messages are superficially long

Once contact is reestablished, the avoidant will communicate on a semi-regular basis. However, the messages will lack emotional content. They won’t mention their feelings, what went wrong in the relationship, or want to talk about how you both move forward. Just re-engaging with you is enough.

Final thoughts

Now you know what happens when you stop chasing an avoidant. So, it’s up to you whether you want to pursue a relationship or walk away.


  3. Featured image by Freepik

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tim

    The characteristics listed here are so broad that anyone reading this may either fear they are avoidant or believe their partner is, but without context, it could be damaging to label someone in this way.
    I believe I relate to a few of those characteristics in my relationship and to some extent, within my friendships. My context of this though is that I’m with a partner who had an affair and since that point in time I have been worried about the temporary nature that our relationship appears to have. Do I stay to possibly end up being hurt again? Can I ever trust again, in this relationship or the next? Some friends I have pretty much blocked out of my life are those that knew about the affair that supported her after it all came out and that, I believe, judge me in such a wat that I don’t feel comfortable about.

    I believe my behaviour change has come about since the affair and since trying to rebuild a relationship. But reading this article I could easily say that I now have low self esteem, depending on the company I am in, I have an inferiority complex formed because nobody appears, to my knowledge, to have told her she was wrong to do what she did – it shows good solid loyal friendships for her, but what about for me? This could indicate I see the world through a negative lens? It could mean I believe those people are judging me or that I feel I have very few true friends around me….

    …or could it mean that I was damaged by someone who went from married man to married man, destroying households and carrying on to the next. Could it be that I myself am correct in feeling that I’m being judged, because people are wondering why I’m still with her and why I haven’t moved on? Could it be that my self pity is solely centred around my relationship and yet I thrive in work, I connect to people and I do openly share my inner emotions – I see the worth of therapy and counselling and I strive to better myself and the feeling of a temporary relationship and the fear that comes with that are down to other factors such as geography, finances, a sense of desire even though the person I’m with cheated twice! Could she be the one with the problem? Could I be the one who is muddling my way through this and finding articles like this that then confuse the hell out of me….

    Or, is this actually my blaming everyone else for my situation? Do I have poor conflict resolution skills which leaves me stranded in a relationship that appears to go in circles.

    Articles like this are important – insightful – people will benefit from reading this and it should be here and should be available – but at the same time, I encourage anyone, who may be like me, to seek one to one counselling – take information from these websites as uninformed generic advice, but you should not attribute this to your situation – some may hold true, some may be warped due to not understanding the complexity of your own personal life or experiences.

    I feel confused and yet informed. I will take something from this article and self measure but I will continue to take counselling on my specific situation and hope I find a calm and meaningful resolution.

    1. Jessica Galaz

      Tim. To what my understanding is regarding insecure attachment issues in relationships, including avoidant, it is mostly related to your childhood upbringing. Doesn’t mean you couldn’t of picked this type of attachment up later from other experiences later in life, but mostly what were the parent/child dynamics in your household as toddler aged child and what romantic relationship style was modeled by your parents. That is what likely you are to show. Also a therapist experienced at attachment issues is best to work with in that.

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