the 3 stages of getting back together with your ex

the path to getting back together with your ex involves three stages:

  1. playing knock-knock;
  2. building good feelings;
  3. letting them know your door is open, but not for long.

each stage has its challenges and requires different strategies for it to be successful. this article will outline what you need to know to help light a path back to your ex.

stage one: playing knock, knock

this stage is all about creating openings with your ex you can build on. but how do you begin? after a breakup, you usually break contact for a while. but after silence must come noise. so here we are.

now, we all know the game of knock-knock: you get someones attention, say a line, and then you wait. the result? either you get a reply, or you get stony silence. and this is what stage one is all about.

your goal here isn’t to get back together but rather to gather data on how responsive your ex is and determine how your ex feels about you.

a diffused abstract image of two circles, in shades of blue, with a rippling background

the idea of playing knock-knock is to test how different openings change the outcome you get (discarding the ones which produce poor results.) here are some pointers for you:

  • never be pushy. think of this as a data-gathering exercise. you are testing the waters with your ex to see how they respond (or not.) you can take more daring steps later after you have confirmed your ex is on the same wavelength as you;
  • text messages are ideal for checking in with your ex —your first text should feel good to receive and tell you how hot or cold they are. send short messages that he/she will want to reply to.
  • avoid real-time interactions like facetime and phone calls as these mediums are better left until the next stage;
  • take every opening you create. if your ex replies with warmth, good for them. that means something positive. but if they are cold, that’s still data for you and a signal to step back.

the trick is to send easy-to-reply messages your ex will not be triggered by or feel pressured into answering. and it all starts with knowing what your first message should be following a break.

take your time with this stage. if you come out all guns blazing before you know how they feel about you, you risk pushing your ex further away.

if your ex responds warmly to your contact attempts, and this happens consistently, you are clear to progress to stage two.

stage two: building good feelings

your job here is to increase the good feelings your ex has for you and decrease the bad. while this idea sounds obvious, it is the opposite of what most people do. the mistake many make is trying to talk about went wrong with the relationship, which only reduces the good feelings in both. you should leave the serious talk until much later.

now, when your ex feels more good feelings than bad, they will naturally be more open to increasing the frequency of contact with you. this is the goal of stage two.

think of this stage as a crash course in understanding each other’s needs and desires, so when it comes time to take things up a notch, your ex wants to do the same.

this is your opportunity to be thoughtful and attentive while still being fun and interesting.

pointers for this stage include:

  • having fun with your ex, showing how upbeat and agreeable you can be even though you are single;
  • some light teasing and later, flirting;
  • showing interest in your ex’s interests and following up on important events in their world;
  • not sending mixed messages: please be consistent in your efforts. this is not something you do over one weekend;
  • occasionally venturing into the mature-zone while being careful to keep things upbeat (e.g., talking about the future together with a focus on what you want out of life individually as well how that might change if you were in a relationship;)
  • taking the time to make the most of life for yourself.

with this stage, you must make the most of the opportunities available to you. this can even include some light dating while keeping your options open with your ex. risky? yes. the truth is, dating is a chance-modifier —both a plus and negative. this means dating can improve your chances with your ex, or it can worsen your chances. which one you get depends on your situation (ask me about coaching if you are unsure.)

while dating can feel like betrayal or taking unnecessary risks, it’s vital to demonstrate you are not a conquered ex (and therefore could be snapped up by another.)

but whether you date or not, simply doing more and making the most of your environment is only going to help you. every activity or event is an experience you can talk about with your ex. for example, suppose you start taking care of plants or walking dogs at an animal shelter. in that case, it makes sense you will occasionally talk about it with your ex.

the key with this stage is to keep building the good feelings while showing your ex you are not beaten.

stage three: letting them know your door is open, but not for long

the last stage is about allowing your ex to consider reuniting with you and, ideally, helping them feel they could lose you. this stage leverages the good feelings you have nurtured so they can feel attraction for you again.

we want your ex to doubt they made the right decision to leave you and to ponder what it would be like to get back together.

to add some spice to this, you will further boost your chances if you are not too available.

here are some pointers for you:

  • have one foot trying to win over your ex, and one foot enjoying the company of other men/women (or at least having the appearance of doing so);
  • create excuses to meet up with your ex (and give your ex excuses to do the same);
  • arrange to do some fun activities together, something to get your blood pumping and heighten your physical attraction to each other;
  • be playful and flirt;

ultimately you will reach a natural point of laying your cards on the table and asking for the commitment you want from your partner. you could do this over a meal or while out on a walk in the evening.

it’s rarely going to be easy, but the rewards are worth it, and you have to take a shot eventually. luckily for you, having taken the time to increase your ex’s good feelings gradually, you have a real shot of success.


this article is all about the different stages of getting back together with an ex. while it is tempting to break down the process into a dozen or more steps, it really only comes down to three: playing knock-knock, building good feelings, and letting them know your door is open.

in other words:

  1. starting;
  2. building good feelings;
  3. asking

enjoy the process and take your time. while you may be tempted to push to get back together right away, it’s best for your chance of success (and mental health) if you don’t.

Warning: Do Not Try to Get Your Ex Back Until AFTER You Use This Free Tool…

I’ve made a free “thing” that gives you “ah ha!” tailored next step instructions to help get your ex back.

No email required.

Hey. It’s not fancy. But based on your situation, you’ll be presented with a “prescription” of what to do next.

Click 👇 to try it:

See What You Think!

About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.