I’m sorry you are going through a breakup. When your lover tells you it is over, it can feel like someone has pulled the rug out from under you. But do read on, as there is light at the end of the tunnel.
For most people, even before you find your feet, you will wonder how you might get back into a relationship with your ex.
While it’s not easy to win your ex back, it is possible! And it will be easier when you follow my guide below.
Who is this written for?
Whether you’re a man who broke up with his girlfriend or a woman who broke up with her boyfriend? I wrote this content for you.
Of course, after you finish here, you can find more precise directions in the blog. For example:
- I have an article on how to get your ex-boyfriend back that women should bookmark.
- For men, I offer the reverse: how to get your ex-girlfriend back (naturally.)
But first, start with this page as the six steps below work well for all types of relationships.
Inside this article:
- Step 1: Step back and cease contact
- Step 2: Get yourself back, not your ex (yet)
- Step 3: Evaluate your options (your life, your choice)
- Step 4: Make progressive contact with your ex
- Step 5: Ask to get back with your ex
- Step 6: Build a new relationship with your boyfriend / girlfriend
Prefer audio? You can listen here:
Step 1: Step back and cease contact
The first step is to pause, step back, and cease contact with your ex. By taking a break from each other, and not challenging your ex’s decision, you give yourself a chance to compose yourself. Besides, your ex expects you to make contact and to fight for a second chance. A little mystery is a good thing. But also? Sometimes, on some level, silence is the opposite of what an ex wants.
Yes, to win your ex back, begin by leaving them alone.
Do not call or text your ex no matter how much you want to.
This extends to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.)
Post nothing online. The more private you are, the less potential for regret.
Pro tip: Consider what your ex may think of you based on what you DO share online.
What message do you want to send?
Don’t let your ex see you as weak and miserable without them. It can be unattractive. And in some cases push them further away.
A strategic break gives both partners space to process what happened
Space creates an opportunity for both to arrive at a fresh perspective. With time, you get to take advantage of your evolving viewpoint to make better decisions.
When you are in the midst of the drama, you are preoccupied with the drama. Clarity helps you to see what you must do. Stepping back can also reveal the personal problems holding you back (pushing your partner away).
Often the key to getting your ex back is right in front of you.
But you need space to see it.
Did you know?
Amid the drama, you won’t have the eyes to see what is right in front of you.
A breakup kills composure and composure is an advantage in any conflict.
Ignoring this advice explains why many take two steps back for every one step forward.
Alert: You are still in love and will continue to hold strong feelings of attraction and emotional attachment to your ex.
Love can be both a positive and a negative.
It can represent kindness and selflessness. Of wanting the best for the other.
But, love channelled improperly is a different beast. The kind of love that spills from a wounded soul can turn sour. When we are weak, we easily become selfish. Negative love can drive the heartbroken to mania. Where obsession and desperation soon follow.
Not contacting your ex will bring you sadness. But in exchange for this sadness, you increase your chances of being in love together again.
Is this the no contact rule?
The no contact rule is a stricter version of what I’m describing here.
This is about utilising distance to bring you and your ex closer together at a later date.
A break from contact is smart when your ex is angry or feels crowded. No one wants to feel hassled. If hearing from you feels like harassment, you will only weaken your position. Besides, leaving your ex alone is a respectful gesture. And healthy for you in turn.
Once your ex cools off, they will not feel nearly as bothered to hear from you. It is at this point you can improve your position and make things work in your favour.
When to give space?
Immediately following the breakup or after a high-drama clash.
Children. If you have kids together, moderate the space you give so you still fulfil your parental duties. Important!
And if you live together, maintain your household responsibilities.
As a rule? Retreat where you can, but attend to what is important.
Get your ex back fast?
If your breakup was rash and your ex didn’t want to break up (no prior plan to,) those kinds of situations can be fast to resolve.
Some arguments get out of hand, and neither wants to “back down.” If so, your situation could be resolved quickly by putting your ego aside and saying, “sorry, can we talk?”
Give a small break —a day or two— and tell your ex you love them and you were silly. If your ex didn’t want to break up? They will meet you halfway.
Summary: Least said, soonest mended. Take a strategic pause from your ex.
Step 2: Get yourself back, not your ex (yet)
The route to the relationship you want to save requires fixing the relationship you have with yourself.
It’s all relative, of course. But if you are a mess, it is to harder make the right moves.
This means working toward —and maintaining— a stable heart and mind.
Post-breakup we hit rock bottom. And rejection is supposed to hurt. It’s biology.
So that’s where we start from. But that’s not where we stay.
Use the time apart to put yourself together. Your mental health is precious.
Be with friends. Even when you don’t feel like it. Beats being alone.
Sometimes when we’re alone, we are in bad company. Develop awareness to know when it is better to be with friends.
Strive to feel mostly OK (or more so than not.)
From there, you may even reach “good” or even happy sometimes.
Don’t let your ex think you only want to get back together again because you “need them to be happy and sane.”
Coping with the way things already are gives you an important advantage in getting things the way you want them to be.
Be patient. Pain subsides. And you will feel better. Have a “we’ll see” attitude.
Yes, the journey begins rough. But the road gets smoother. You just need to keep moving.
Oh, and improving your self-esteem, appearance (hi gym!), and communication skills won’t hurt. Whatever makes you more attractive makes you easier to come back to.
This is the ideal time to rediscover what makes you uniquely you. And embrace your individuality.
Only after you get yourself together do you express your preference for a second chance.
It rarely works the other way around!
Many clients expressed regret for neglecting this step. In particular, the ugly trio of neediness, insecurity, and desperation have ruined more chances of recovery than anything else.
Overlook this phase, and your odds of success drops dramatically.
Summary: My best results with clients follow a self-improvement plan. Plus, it helps if your ex can see what they are missing —“oh, you’ve changed…”— rather than what they ran from.
Make it harder for them to stay your ex!
Oh, and before we continue…
🧨 Click here a second…
Step 3: Evaluate your options (your life, your choice)
Before planning how to get back with your ex, determine the VALUE of what you’re trying to save.
Is it worth saving?
Explore the reasons for and against.
Of course, making an unbiased appraisal of your compatibility is a tall order…
Which is why we wait until your mind is clear before trying!
Have a crystal clear vision of what you are fighting for, and why. It gives you a key advantage through the tough times ahead.
Questions to ask yourself ↓
- Do you and your ex have something worth saving found in the other which you can build a happy future on?;
- Did you add value to your ex (rather than take it away?)
- Can you and your ex work out the differences, or manage the differences that contributed to the breakup?
If you can answer “yes” to the above, you have more to fight for.
Another option is to take the Sternberg Triangular Love Test which measures the level of intimacy, passion, and commitment you feel toward your partner. Doing this test will help cement how you feel about your ex.
Update: Sadly, the test mentioned above is no longer available. You can still read about the Sternberg triangular theory of love to help with the decision making process. And if a suitable test becomes available, I will link to it — Michael.
What often happens during a relationship is one or both transition in ways that set the two of you on a diverging path.
Three distinct transitions in life are:
- Career — did your ex change job or get promoted or demoted in any way which affected their happiness or ability to sustain the relationship?;
- Marriage — it can be different from what we expect or hope for, and become a catalyst for separation (one of those things some regret, more so for women);
- Children — talk about a complexifier!
There are many possible causes for a relationship straining transition to occur.
It’s also common to date someone who was never compatible with us in the first place. Who we secretly hoped to change in time.
If you get back with your ex with unaligned hopes and dreams, you will be miserable together, and on your way to another breakup.
Some ex’s make better ex’s than current partners!
For example, if your partner was abusive or you made their life worse in ways you can not change, reconsider your goal to be together again.
If you decide this person is better off left in the past? Leave them there.
But if you feel your ex is worth fighting for?
You can proceed with gusto.
Summary: Be sure you know what you are getting back. Is it going to work? Is it going to make your ex (and yourself) happy?
Step 4: Make progressive contact with your ex
You’re now ready to navigate the mini-phases of contact with your ex.
The trick? Start with the smallest step which aligns with where your ex is right now.
You must ensure your contact efforts —what you say and when— “makes sense” from your ex’s perspective. And triggers minimal reactance (resistance to hearing from you.)
This also applies to long-distance relationships. Distance is irrelevant.
Whenever you contact your ex, pick words —and topics— that will soften the negative emotions.
It would help if you diffused the negative while making space for the positive emotions to breathe.
Don’t fight against your ex. Respect their boundaries. And watch what happens.
Each time you contact and interact, your goal is to increase the good feelings your ex has for you.
Contact your ex
Send a text message to start with. This is less invasive than a phone call, video call, or meeting face-to-face.
Optional: a handwritten letter. More personal. And potentially more meaningful than any digital medium.
Email works, too.
What would your ex appreciate more?
Follow the mood of your ex
Match the context of your situation and what happened —the reason— leading to the breakup.
The secret of getting your ex to listen, engage, and love you lies in having sensitivity to what they are going through.
By the way? If you did something hurtful, putting appropriate energy into a good apology is the kind of action that aligns with where your ex is at.
Do not expect your ex to feel good emotions about you while you remain “the enemy” in their eyes!
Act according to the context of your situation.
The specifics depend on the details between you and your ex.
Study this image to see why jumping ahead is a bad idea:
Your goal is to get him or her closer to saying yes by gradually warming them toward you through intelligent steps.
Remove the blockages. They stop the flow of love, respect, and attraction.
This is about raising your chances before you try your “luck.”
When you eventually make a move, you’ll have already laid the groundwork to maximize your success.
Do what you must so your ex will be open to conversation.
It requires sensitivity and courage to build bridges and make amends.
Meetup with your ex
When your ex is receptive and friendly (and it’s not a one-off,) you should ask to grab coffee with them for twenty minutes.
This is a friendly meetup to demonstrate your relaxed and happy demeanour.
Quick catchups show confidence and acceptance of the situation.
For long-distance relationships? Consider creative ways to escalate the connection (Skype or FaceTime…)
Build attraction and trust
Have a few short and friendly meetups. These deepen the connection and relax your ex.
Each time you meet, your ex gets to see the positive changes in your behaviour.
If your ex is happy to keep seeing you then increase the time you spend together.
Tip: Do not treat these hangouts as dates! You are just two people enjoying time together.
Intimacy, passion, and commitment, are core components of love. Keep these three in your heart and mind when building the connection.
Just friends with your ex?
Your ex might label you as “friend.”
And, you might even worry you have to get out of the friend zone or there is no hope.
But don’t worry. It’s a label of convenience.
Even if your ex says they’re not looking for a relationship?
Don’t believe everything you hear.
Especially to themselves…
(I’ve seen enough “no way’s” change to “ok then!” to see that.)
After all, we are all choosing what to do based on how we feel at the time. Nothing more than that.
We’re as consistent as our feelings are!
Look at this quick illustration I made:
Step #2 isn’t to be feared.
Reconciliation is a process. Not an event. And contains many steps.
To win over their heart, play the long game…
Take your time. Allow your ex to reach a “maybe.”
If you do that, your odds of getting a “yes” goes up.
Push for a decision too soon? When your ex is thinking no? Bad!.
What if your ex is dating?
If your ex is dating and having sex you should hold back on asking them to commit. But you can still build a shared connection. And you should!
It is better to stay friendly while your ex is dating. It’s likely your ex is in a rebound relationship (which do not last.) And the other girl or guy will feel threatened or jealous of your ex keeping in contact with you.
Play it cool, and this new guy/girl may try to prevent contact entirely. Your ex will find that controlling and needy. A turn-off…
Be the one not exerting control, and you will come out on top.
Summary: Make your “next more” appropriate to where your ex is at emotionally and mentally. Start where they are not where YOU wish they are.
Step 5: Ask to get back with your ex
By now you should have nurtured good-feelings with your ex.
You can now tell your ex what you want.
If not now, when?
Yes, it is time to ask to get back with your ex! Because this will be the next logical step.
But, what if your ex rejects you?
OK. If you’re not in the know, you might think getting declined by your ex is the end of the matter.
But not so fast!
Taking score too soon can give you the wrong score entirely.
We rarely go from no-to-yes without a maybe in-between.
Get a no? Remember that!
Learning how to get what you want includes learning how humans work.
A few rejections is normal.
If it does not happen overnight for you? Maybe it will happen on a different night…
Patience is important.
You’ll know this truism:
Your ex must not be rushed to make a decision.
It also applies to you. Don’t rush to draw conclusions about what your ex says.
OK. What if you’re successful?…
Step 6: Build a new relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend
Getting a YES means you get to build a whole new “thing” and fall in love again.
Building a better two-some with your partner!
This is your chance to shine and show your boyfriend or girlfriend what it means when someone says, “I love you.”
In other words, this is an opportunity to learn from the past. To implement safeguards to avoid falling into old destructive patterns and habits.
In “Intimate Behaviour” by Desmond Morris, he talks about the roots of intimacy and the stages we go through.
He outlines three stages:
- Hold me tight
- Put me down
- Leave me alone
As a baby, we want lots of intimacy and physical contact (hold me tight.)
Then we want some independence and don’t want to be “a baby” (put me down.)
After that, we hit our teenage years and want privacy and space (leave me alone.)
Three stages. Done.
What’s particularly interesting is how we cycle through these three stages more than once.
We’ll get into an adult relationship and want to be held tight. Then we tire of that and desire space and independence (put me down) and finally we break up (leave me alone.)
If we don’t know we’re doing this then we can’t do much about it. And this is partly why it repeats.
My advice when starting a-new?
Modulate your behaviour according to the stage YOUR partner may be at.
- When they’re wanting intimacy and contact, be there for them;
- When they’re wanting independence, trust them;
- When they’re wanting privacy and space, focus on your mission.
It’s easy to resume old ways and settle into well-worn grooves. Grooves that guide you to a future breakup.
Take it slow. But raise your game.
Get better at spotting warning signs and defusing drama early on. Cutout the rot whenever you find it.
Don’t let resentment live unchallenged.
And, remember how successful couples have three healthy relationships:
- The relationship your partner has with themselves;
- The one you have with yourself;
- The one you create together.
Nurture all three to enjoy a fulfilling and healthy partnership for the long term.
Wrapping up the steps
So what have we learned?
Well, to reach your destination, it helps to know where you’re starting from.
Here’s the six steps again:
- Pause, cease contact, and step back from your ex;
- Get yourself back before your ex;
- Evaluate your options;
- Progressive contact with your ex;
- Ask to get back with your ex;
- Build a new relationship.
It’s difficult to make progress if you skip steps or start from the wrong step.
Get it right and you can get your ex back starting today!