When trying to get your ex back, acting aggressive, needy, pushy, angry or irrational, especially at the onset of the process is usually unwise: emotions flare up, problems multiply and smaller problems become much larger problems. What may have been manageable at the beginning becomes much more intractable.
It is always great to remember that the less said leaves an air of mystery, so that urgent phone call you need to make to fix it in my book can wait until emotions subside and things are so much clearer than you.
I have constructed eight rules that you should follow when you are trying to get the ex-back, because in truth sometimes we do mess up:
Rule 1 – Make the first move
Someone has to initiate the process when thinking about contacting your ex after a breakup. It doesn’t matter whether you are the dumped or dumpee, if you want your ex back, you’ve got to make the first move. You may be waiting for your ex to make the first move while your ex is also waiting for you to make the first move. In the end each moves on thinking the other has lost interest.
Is there a risk that you may be rejected (again)? Sure. Life is a risk. Love is a risk. If you fold every time you think you may be rejected, you are guaranteed living a very lonely love-less life for in every relationship there is a chance that you may be rejected.
Rule 2 – Dial down your expectations (be realistic)
Be realistic in your expectations of yourself and of your ex. going into this process thinking “I want things to go back to the way they were” is a huge mistake. Unrealistic expectations and demands produce fear, feelings of incompetence, dissatisfaction, unfairness and resentment.
Break-ups — and time — change people. Don’t be surprised if your ex isn’t the same person you used to know. Reality in this situation is acknowledging that there are and there will be obstacles in your way and things may not be easy or always go the way you want them to but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Most persons would come out saying after the first few encounters this person is not the person I dated for so many years! It is the same person.
Rule 3 – Show good intentions and good attitude
It is our attitude at the beginning of a task which will determine its outcome. One of the fatal mistakes you can make trying to get your ex back is give him or her the impression that you’re no longer attracted to him/her, you don’t care about him or her anymore, and as far as you are concerned, he or she doesn’t even exist anymore. In other words, “No Contact” is a very, very bad idea because that’s exactly the message it sends to your ex.
Making your ex feel appreciated is a powerful move towards a resolution to a conflict because a good attitude induces good feelings towards you. Find small ways to reach out to your ex with a “How are you doing?” or “How was your day?”. Send a birthday card to show him or her that you are (still) happy he or she is in this world. Forward him or her some information that you think they might like or find useful… etc.
Rule 4 – Follow the principle of proportionality
The best practice is to pace how often you contact him or her to correspond with how often he or she contacts you. Watch for how quickly your ex responds to your emails or phone calls. If he or she replies to your emails every three days, then three days it is. If it has been more than three days since you’ve been in touch, it’ll be decent (not creepy) to send him or her a “How are you doing? How was your day”. If he or she doesn’t respond or it takes him or her awhile to do so, lay off. Don’t call or send another email or text message — especially one that says “Why aren’t you responding to my emails/texts/calls?”
Rule 5 – Take control of the emotions thermometer
Keeping a cool head and a civil tone is often the responsibility of the person who wants to get their ex back — and that would be you. In some circumstances it may be perfectly appropriate to express your frustration, but even this must be done in a calm, purposeful way, with some clear objective in mind. Always let the other blow off steam without taking it personally.
If all your interactions turn negative quickly, or one or both of you can’t speak to the other without emotions flying all over the place or negative tension building up, then may be the two of you are not ready to start the process of getting back together.
Rule 6 – Focus on the future rather than the past
Talking about the old relationship is therapeutic (that’s why it feels good). But make sure you are not just happy revisiting the past because you had some good times, but doing so in order to examine what went wrong and find ways to make things better — that’s if you really mean it about not wanting the “old relationship” back.
If the interaction gets stressful (reminiscent of the time just before, during or immediately after the break-up), smoothly bring the conversation to an end as quickly as possible — and on a positive note. Then contact your ex again, a couple of days later.
Rule 7- Never try to persuade your ex to come back
People don’t like being sold to, they want to be inspired. Telling your ex you want a better relationship won’t inspire him or her — of course everyone wants a better relationship and everyone says that, but not everyone is capable of a better relationship. HOW WILL IT BE BETTER AND HOW WILL YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN is what an ex wants to hear.
The formula is: I recognize where we had problems… this is what needs to change for things to be different… this is what I am doing to become a better partner… this is the kind of future I want for myself and for my partner (Note: It is not necessary for you to include him or her in the “future”, instead describe the future in such a way that he or she can see him/herself in it — and want it).
Keep in mind that these are not words you say to your ex, this is a mental formula you keep in your head and use in all your contacts with your ex.
Rule 8 – Don’t give up too quickly
It is helpful to remember that in the initial stages you may find yourself doing most of the initiating contact, and that’s quite normal. In some instances, your ex will be happy to hear from you one day and the next day he or she is acting all indifferent even hostile. It’s possible your ex was lonely and happy to talk to you or your ex just missed the “good times” (but not you). But it’s also possible there are legitimate reasons why your ex isn’t responding to your emails or phone calls – reasons that have nothing to do with you.
Don’t take anything personally. Persist without being aggressive and annoying. The real sign of progress is when you feel there is a change – and your ex starts initiating contact.
But if after more than five or six attempts at initiating contact your ex does not respond at all, then maybe it’s time to move on.