“We finally openly talked about the things that broke us apart”.
This is a quote from our reader, Leona, who was separated from her ex for more than a year. During that one year, they were occasionally in touch with each other and had doubts about the breakup.
But for the entire year, they just couldn’t communicate in a way that would bring them back together.
After they finally met and talked about the reasons they separated, they realized they should get back with each other.
“Our relationship is much stronger than before,” says Leona after getting back with her ex. “We are so much better at communicating through our problems.”
I have seen such conversations between exes many times in my 13 years career as a breakup coach. Conversations where they talk openly about everything that went wrong, how they can fix it, and how they should try to get back together.
My clients define these conversations where they decide to get back together as hard, raw, emotional, or freeing. It’s not uncommon for both lovers to shed a few tears while talking about everything openly and honestly. One of my clients defined his getting back together conversation with his ex as “lifting a huge weight off both of our chests.”
But what stops people like Leona for a year before openly talking about these things that break them apart? Why do these couples even break up if they are going to eventually get back together? What happens during their time apart that brings them together in a stronger relationship?
Unlike Leona, it took Bennifer nearly 18 years apart to realize that they were meant for each other. And it makes me wonder, wouldn’t it have been better if they both just communicated honestly and got back together much sooner than they did? Life is short, so why waste so many years away from the person who truly makes you happy?
To be fair, most couples get back together within 1-6 months of the breakup, according to our study on couples getting back together. But sometimes, it takes more than a year to reach a point where you both have the right mindset to get back together.
If you have broken up recently, and if you think your relationship is worth saving, then this article will give you a comprehensive guide to getting back together. Unlike Leona and Bennifer, if you follow this advice, you probably won’t have to wait for years before getting back together (unless it’s absolutely necessary).
Do Couples Get Back Together?
Yes, they do. But not all of them (!thank God). Our study found that around 30% of couples get back together after breaking up. But only about 15% of them stay together for long. Our study included 3512 people who, at one point in time, wanted to get back with their ex. We found that the majority of couples who were still together reported to be happy in their rekindled relationship.
A scientific study conducted at Kansas State University, USA, also confirms these numbers. They found that 1/3rd of cohabiting couples and 1/5th of married couples report having broken up at least once in their life. So according to this scientific study, somewhere between 20% to 33% of couples who are together have broken up and gotten back together at least once.
And if you think about it, these numbers are a good thing. Because if everyone got back with their ex, then that would mean a lot of people will continue staying in unhappy and broken relationships.
There have been two other studies that report somewhere from 44% to 50% of couples get back together. But these studies don’t account for the couples who stay together (and let’s be honest, they aren’t really getting back together if they don’t stay together. They are just repeating an unhealthy on/off cycle).
Why Do Couples Get Back Together?
There could be many unhealthy reasons for couples to come back together (such as loneliness, low self-esteem, extreme breakup anxiety, attachment anxiety, jealousy, or an unhealthy on-off relationship cycle).
And most of the time, those reasons are not enough to change the unhealthy relationship patterns that broke the couple in the first place. As a result, couples who get back together for these unhealthy reasons usually end up separating again.
In this section, we are only going to explore the reasons for couples who got back together and stayed together in a healthy relationship.
1. The most important reason couples get back together is because deep inside, neither of them wanted the breakup in the first place. Sure, there were many logical reasons that they shouldn’t have stayed together, but in their hearts, they both knew what they had was really special. They both have such a strong magnetic connection with each other that they are pulled towards each other even after staying apart for years.
Note, that a lot of people confuse their loneliness, low self-esteem, breakup grief, the pain they feel after the breakup, the fact they can’t stop thinking about their ex, or their anxiety as a sign that their relationship was special.
And for such people, the feeling that the relationship was special is usually only one-sided. Their ex does not feel the same way about them being special.
2. Because when couples grow individually and think about their past relationship, they often realize that what they had with their ex was worth fighting for. And that the problems that broke them apart can now be fixed. The growth often includes other relationship experiences, being more mature, (re)building their self-esteem, learning to communicate better, getting therapy, or getting coaching.
3. Because when couples learn to communicate better, they realize that a lot of unhealthy arguments they had with each other and the resentment they built up over the years could have easily been avoided if they communicated more healthily. As a result, they feel that they should get back together and give it another shot.
4. Sometimes, couples get back together because they have spent enough time apart to let go of the resentment, anger, and grudges they held for the things that drove them apart. I have known couples get back together years after one of them cheated into a healthier and stronger relationship. Of course, other factors also contribute to this such as individual growth, a better understanding of relationships, and better communication.
4. Couples get back together because the external factors that broke them apart change. I’ve come across many cases where people ended a relationship because of things they couldn’t control. For example, if one of you had to go to a different city, you both may decide to break up rather than do long distance. But when those two people find themselves in the same city, they reconnect and get back together.
5. Couples get back together when they reconnect either because one of them reached out or because they run into each other. It doesn’t matter how much both of you have grown or how much you are both better at handling relationship conflict, if neither one of you reaches out to reconnect, you will not get back together. And more often than not, they don’t do it because they are scared of getting hurt again.
How To Get Back Together With an Ex Permanently?
I am writing this guide as something you and your ex can both use to get back together. Don’t think of it as a guide you can use to win your ex back, but rather as something that will bring both of you together after a few weeks or months of the breakup.
This is a guide for couples to use as a reference after the breakup if they think their relationship is worth saving. This process works if your ex broke up with you, if you ended it or if the breakup was amicable. These are the best practices to follow when you and your ex hope you can find your way back to each other one day. You can, of course, use it individually as well. But remember that things can only work out with your ex long-term if you both grow individually while you are separated.
Part 1: Do’s and Don’ts Immediately After a Breakup To Get Back Together
If you both just broke up, then emotions are probably high, you are both probably hurt and confused. In most cases, the person who initiated the breakup is adamant about staying separated while the person who was broken up with tries to convince their ex to get back together.
However, I don’t recommend my readers and clients to get back with an ex unless you have a good understanding of what broke you up in the first place and a plan to fix that. And just getting some perspective on your relationship can take somewhere from a few weeks to a few months.
The thing that you should focus on during breakup and immediately after the breakup is to try to separate as respectfully as possible while causing as little hurt as possible. I know it’s easier said than done with the emotions being so high and all. So follow these guidelines immediately after the breakup to increase your chances of getting back together in a healthy relationship in the future.
Show respect and kindness during the breakup.
Whether or not the breakup was mutual, it’s important that you both show each other respect during and after the breakup.
If you were dumped, respect your ex’s decision to breakup. Don’t act like it’s just another fight and things will go back to being normal. I know the breakup hurts and you may be going through one of the hardest times in your life, but you still gotta show respect.
If you were the one who broke off with your partner, you should still show respect and kindness to them. Try to understand that being rejected by the love of your life is painful. Your ex may do a lot of things that may look needy and desperate. The best you can do for them is treat them with kindness while sticking to your decision.
Avoid Saying or Doing Things to Hurt Each Other
Hurt people hurt people. If you are hurt because of your ex, you may feel the urge to say or do something to hurt them back. You may want to tell them how unfair they were to you. Or how they were never honest with you. You may want to blame them for everything wrong in the relationship.
But don’t do it. It’s only going to push them away and it’s not going to help you both get back together.
We are going to address what went wrong, but it’s not advisable to discuss all this when you are hurt and a part of you wants to hurt your ex.
Let Your Partner Know the Reason for the Breakup
If you are the one breaking up, let your partner know the reason you want a breakup. It’s the mature thing to do. And it’s going to help them (and you) in healing from the breakup and growing as a person.
Be as honest as possible. A lot of time, people don’t realize why they are done with the relationship (such as in the case of your partner being excessively needy), and they end up saying things like, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
If you are breaking up with your ex, respect them enough, to be honest with them. Even if the truth hurts. If you lost feelings for them, tell them. If you feel that you both can never communicate with each other, be honest.
And if you are being broken up with, ask your ex respectfully to be honest with you about the reason for the breakup. When they share the reasons, don’t try to convince them that things can be fixed if they have already made up their mind. Remember to respect their decision.
If they refuse to open up fully, then it’s probably because they just don’t understand the reasons yet. And you should respect that and stop bothering them about the “Why” of the breakup.
Give Each Other Time and Space.
A breakup means that your relationship didn’t work and that you both have agreed to stay apart. So respect that decision by giving each other space and time….even if you hope to get back together.
If you both keep speaking with each other every day, it’s going to get very hard to get to a mental state where you can analyze the breakup, heal, and do what you need to do to grow as a person.
This is commonly known as the no contact rule and it’s a very helpful tool in healing from the breakup and growing in a way that will help you get back together in the future.
Communicate when you need space and Time
If you and your ex are talking regularly, then you should let them know that you want to stop talking to them for a while to focus on yourself. This is keeping in line with respecting each other and showing each other kindness. Your ex may interpret you suddenly cutting them off as disrespectful and it may hurt them.
Let Your Ex Know You Are Going To Focus on Healing and Self-Improvement
If you and your ex are talking regularly, and you both know the main reason for the breakup, then it makes sense to let your ex know that you are going to focus on self-improvement and healing while doing no contact. This has two benefits,
1. Your ex knows that you are going to try to fix the issues that lead to the breakup. This may encourage them to not give up completely on the relationship.
2. Your ex will also be encouraged to work on their own self-improvement and healing. Which will increase the chances for both of you to get back together after this period of minimum or no contact.
Be Respectful To Your Ex Even After Starting No Contact
Again, it’s important to stick to the principle of respecting each other even if you are both not talking to each other. Don’t post manipulative posts on social media trying to make them jealous. If they call or reach out to you, don’t ghost them. Instead, reply to them respectfully explaining how you feel about them reaching out.
What If My Ex Told Me That They Hate Me or That They Don’t Love Me?
It’s common for exes to say things like they hate you or that they don’t love you during the breakup. Like I said, emotions are running high after a breakup, and hurt people hurt people.
They are most likely saying this because they are hurt. And you shouldn’t let this deter you from the path of self-improvement and self-discovery you are about to set out. You still have a chance to reconcile.
What If My Ex Said That They Would Never Go Back to Me?
If your ex said it during the breakup, it’s probably because you have been pestering them constantly about getting back together. Their stance on getting back together might change as they heal from the breakup, grow, and get some perspective about you and your previous relationship.
On the other hand, if it’s been a few months since the breakup and they are not saying it out of anger or frustration, then you should take their words at heart and focus on moving on instead.
What if I acted needy, desperate, mean, and did not respect my ex after the breakup?
It’s very common for people to act impulsively after a breakup and do things that push their ex away. This is usually a result of your panicked mind and insecurity taking control of your actions. If you acted needy, desperate, mean, or disrespected your ex after the breakup, then you should send them a short apology and tell them that you are going to stop contacting them for a while. You both should agree to give each other space and time to heal.
I Don’t Think My Ex Will Ever Want Me Back. What Can I Do?
You may feel that there is no hope about getting your ex back if your ex seems adamant about staying broken up. It’s normal to feel this way after the breakup. If you follow the advice in this article, your ex will change their mind eventually. You can also read my article on How To Get Your Ex Back Permanently – 5 Step Plan, which focuses more on making your ex want you back.
Part 2: What You Both Need to Do Individually Before Getting Back Together
Alright, so the messy aftermath of the breakup is almost done with. And you are left here, alone in your bed, reading this article wondering if you and your ex will have the same happy ending that Bennifer got. And you are hoping that it happens a lot sooner than it took them. Well, I’ve got you covered. Because the following steps will make sure that you are going to get back with your ex (assuming it’s the right relationship for you) as soon as possible.
Check and Improve Your Self-Esteem, Attachment Style, Co-dependency, and the way you argued with each other.
Low Self-Esteem, inability to create healthy attachments, unhealthy co-dependency, and unhealthy communication are one of the most common reasons for couples who break up despite loving each other.
Out of all these, the most common things that cause breakups and stop couples from getting back together are low self-esteem and unhealthy communication patterns.
Here’s what John said about the arguments in his relationship and how they got back together.
Reader Experience: John Learned To Communicate Better and So Did His Ex
Source: Reader Emails.
When we fought, I really I hated her. Like, really really hated her. Hated her so much that I wished I never met her. But then moments later she would threaten to leave and I will cry and beg for her to come back. After the breakup, I started recollecting the way we fought and wrote it down. And it was so surprising how I could go from anger to desperation in a matter of moments.
After reading your course and learning about attachment styles, I realized I was definitely an anxious attachment guy. But, I just couldn’t understand if she was avoidant or anxious. Sometimes she would go away and sometimes she would spend hours fighting with me over something.
When we met again after two months of the breakup, she looked like a new person. I think she felt the same way about me because I really grew a lot during our time apart. I told her about my attachment style and how I am learning to communicate better. I was calm and I was ready to walk away if she wasn’t going to put in the effort. Thankfully, I didn’t have to make that choice.
She was really impressed by my growth and she shared what she had been doing. She was also on a journey of self-improvement but it looked very different from mine. She was doing a lot of yoga and she went on a meditation retreat where they taught her how to accept herself, let go of negative thoughts and be more vulnerable.
We have been together for more than six months now and we have not fought the way we did before even once. I’ve been using the Non Violent Communication format whenever there is a conflict and we both usually give each other some space when we feel the anger is running high. I guess that is a testament that things can work out now that we are both better at communicating.
To understand your self-esteem, your attachment style, co-dependency issues, or communication issues, check the following resources.
Understanding Low Self-Esteem – Psychology Tools
Anxious Attachment In Relationships – The Attachment Project
Understanding Co-dependency – Psychology Today
How To Communicate Better in a Relationship – The Gottman Institute
Ask yourself what you did wrong in the past relationship.
Now that your emotions aren’t going through the roof and both you and your ex have spent some time apart, you can think about the relationship more clearly. A lot of my clients gain some insight while they are doing no contact with the behavior that pushed their ex away.
The most common reason for couples to breakup is communication gaps. When couples argue a lot, or don’t communicate with each other, they slowly build up resentment towards each other that results in a breakup, a separation or a divorce.
For men, the behavior that usually rots away the foundation of the relationship is neglect. They take their girlfriends for granted and they stop putting in the effort to nurture the relationship and grow.
When the breakup happens and they start thinking about the past, they realize how they could have done so much better if they paid more attention to their girlfriend’s needs.
In addition, low self-esteem and insecurity are also the root cause of behaviors that causes couples to break up. For example, a lot of people (both men and women) who suffer from low self-esteem don’t think they deserve love. So, when they find themselves in a relationship with someone who respects them, cares for them, and loves them; they do things subconsciously that push their partner away.
For example, here’s what our reader, Jackie said about her breakup and getting back together.
Reader Experience: Insecurity Drove Them Apart But They Still Loved Each Other
Source: Reader Emails.
We were together for three years. Before we started dating, he was chasing me for over two months. I would make him work just to get a date with me. And he loved it. When we officially became a thing, he was ecstatic. He would get me flowers every week. And it was wonderful to be appreciated like that. It really felt like our love story came straight from a fairy tale.
But last year, things got hectic. To give you some context, we started dating when we were in the last year of college. And he started as a lawyer just last year. The stress of the job and the new city got to him. He stopped paying me attention. And I started nagging at him every day [his words]. I would ask him why he was late, why we don’t spend more time together, why he doesn’t buy me flowers any more. To be fair, he did try and put in some effort. He took a week off and we went to Cabo. But it just wasn’t enough. I was always afraid he would leave me. And he was always afraid I would start another fight.
It got to the point where we both were just exhausted from the relationship. I lost my self-worth. How can a confident woman like me stay with someone who would treat me like he would? Turns out, I was only confident when guys are chasing me. When I commit to someone, I start doubting myself and wonder if I really deserve the love. I completely lose myself in the relationship.
Now, I’ve started drawing again. I’ve started focusing more on my make up hobby. I’ve started focusing on my health and my skin. Made an effort to improve my self image but I’m struggling to keep my self esteem at an even level. I still doubt myself a lot.
It helps that I found a great therapist that helps me understand myself and accept myself. Last week, I met my ex boyfriend at a coffee shop near his office and it was a relief talking about everything that happened. He said he still loves me but is unsure about what the future holds. I agreed with him and didn’t pressure him into anything. We are planning on meeting again next week and I am hopeful we will get back together.
What can you do to fix what went wrong?
The idea over here to is to fix your issues that may have contributed to the breakup. Take responsibility. Own up to your mistakes. And then figure out how to not make the same mistakes in the future.
Notice that this isn’t really about getting back with your ex. It’s all about you. You do it because you don’t want to be the type of person who pushes their loved ones away. You don’t want to be the type of person who goes around in a circle blaming others for their problems. You want to be someone who owns up to their mistakes and learns from them.
Yes, doing this also helps in getting your ex back, but it’s not the main reason you do this.
Ask yourself what grievances you have toward your ex.
Okay, enough of blaming yourself for everything that went wrong. It takes two to tango.
Surely, you can’t be serious in thinking you are responsible for the breakup alone?
All jokes aside, a lot of people tend to forget that you both as a couple, have relationship dynamics and relationship patterns that lead to the breakup. And you both contributed to that pattern and the dynamics. Sure, you or your ex may have a major contribution to what caused the breakup (such as neglect or in extreme cases, infidelity). But your ex also had at least some role to play.
For example, if you were needy and insecure in the relationship, what was your ex’s behavior that caused this neediness or insecurity? Unless you were a complete emotional wreck, your ex was also doing things subtly that contributed to your insecurity.
What can your ex do to fix what they did wrong?
It’s not about what your ex should have done or what you think they need to do. This is just for you to get a rough idea about what it would take from your ex to rebuild the trust between the two of you. What they actually need to do and whether or not they are willing to do it will be discussed when you actually talk to them about it. (Explored later in this article)
Give Yourself Enough Time to Heal
A lot of people tend to rush through this process and try to reverse their breakup as soon as possible. It makes sense to them because the sooner they get back together, the easier it will be.
But, you gotta give yourself some time. You must.
Because if you don’t, and try to rush this process, you risk repeating the same patterns and push your ex away. And even if you succeed, you might have a big argument and break up again. And if you break up a second time, it’s going to be even harder to get back together (although it is possible).
And more importantly, you need time to understand if your relationship with your ex was truly special. Like I said before, a lot of people tend to confuse their loneliness, their low self-esteem, their anxiety and their breakup pain as pure love for their ex. And when they spend enough time apart and heal, they realize their ex wasn’t that special for them. In some cases, they realize that the relationship with their ex was toxic and they should stay away from them.
Related Reading – Should you get back together with your ex?
I am not denying that a lot of couples get back together within weeks and figure things out quickly. But most people need at least 30-60 days before they are ready to reach out to their ex with the right mindset after individual growth.
What if my ex moves on during this time?
Your ex will not move on during this time. In fact, if you both have been respectful to each other, you may even continue to stay in touch intermittently during these 30-60 days.
If you told your ex that you are going to work on your personal growth before starting no contact, then there is a good chance they will focus this time working on their growth as well. This is especially true if you both have talked about getting back together and you both agree that your relationship was very special.
Yes, there is a chance your ex may date other people during this time, but that is probably just part of their growth. Remember, other relationship experiences actually help people get back together if they realize their relationship with their ex truly was special.
That’s the most common concern for most of my clients when I ask them to wait. They are terrified of this. One of my clients said, “If she moves on, I will never forgive myself.”
His, guilt was eating him alive. He neglected his ex wife’s needs and when she wanted a separation with him, he got angry, followed by desperation.
He believed that his ex was the perfect girl for him and there is no way he could find someone like her ever again. For him, his ex wife was the only person who can love him. And getting his ex back was his only shot at happiness.
Let’s take a moment to think:
I want you to take a step back and try to think what you would say to my client when he said “If she moves on, I will never forgive myself.”
Would you be kind to him? Would you reassure him that it’s going to be okay? Would you encourage him to wait a few weeks and give his ex wife some space?
I did all of that. But I also pointed out one crucial thing that helped him. Well, it helped him eventually. Because the shift in this mindset doesn’t happen immediately.
I told him what I am going to tell you know. You deserve love. And there will always be someone out there who will love you for who you are. But before that, you need to love yourself.
I told him, “You gotta love yourself before your ex can love you. You gotta stop putting yourself down for your mistakes. You gotta forgive yourself before your ex can forgive you.” And that, somehow, calmed him down.
Create a List of Boundaries and Non-Negotiables for Your Next Relationship
An important part of recovery is to try to understand your boundaries and your non-negotiables in a relationship. This is also an important exercise when you are trying to rebuild your self-esteem, understand yourself and accept yourself.
I recommend my clients to do this by writing down things that are absolutely non-negotiable in a relationship for them. For some clients it means things like,
- I want an equal relationship. Both of us should be equally invested in the relationship.
- I want my partner to show up and put effort in the relationship and not neglect me.
- I want my partner to be loyal to me. If they betray my trust, I can’t trust them again.
- I want someone who is open to growth and self-improvement. If they are not willing to learn and grow, they are not the right partner for me.
And a few examples of personal boundaries in a relationship are
- I can’t be with someone who verbally abuses me. I can’t be with someone who curses their partner out of anger.
- If they try to manipulate me emotionally, it’s over.
- If they don’t respect my family, I can’t be with them.
- If they don’t understand my passion for my career and belittle me, I can’t be with them.
Check if You Have the Right Mindset to Reach Out
You need to be in a healthy state of mind before you decide to reach out to your ex and meet them.
Essentially, you don’t want to have the mindset, “If I don’t reach out, my ex will move on.” You need to have an abundance mindset before speaking to your ex. Because your beliefs will have an influence on your actions.
If you believe this is your only shot at happiness, your actions will seem like they are coming from a place of desperation. But if you believe that you deserve love and happiness (with or without your ex), you can be completely honest about your intentions of wanting your ex back and you will still look confident.
Reach Out When You Are Ready
This part is pretty straightforward. When you feel you have grown enough and have a good understanding of what caused the breakup and what can be done to fix it, reach out to your ex.
If you and your ex are already in contact with each other occasionally, you can just ask them to meet up. If you have not been in touch for a while, then a good way to reach out is to text them acknowledging the past, talk briefly about what you have learned and ask to talk on the phone. You can find some examples of this in my bonus texting guide.
If your ex reaches out to you before you can reach out to them, be cordial and ask them to meetup. This is assuming you have done what you need to do get back in a healthy relationship.
I Can’t Stop Thinking About My Ex and I Want To Reach Out Badly?
You may feel extreme anxiety when you stop contacting your ex. The first few weeks are the worst. It’s completely normal. Remind yourself that you will feel better in a few days and this is the only way to understand if you and your ex are truly meant for each other. Read the following resources for some helpful exercise you can do to calm yourself down.
I Think My Relationship With My Ex Was Toxic, What Should I Do?
You must try to differentiate if the relationship patterns you both had was toxic, or if your ex was just a toxic person. Some people create very unhealthy relationship patterns of fighting or arguing that seem very toxic. The couple may love and care for each other very much, but the way they communicate can be the cause of this toxicity. Such relationships can become healthy after breaking up and getting back together if you both follow the advice in this article and learn to communicate better.
But if your ex was very manipulative, controlling, or abusive; then chances are, they are going to continue the same patterns no matter what. They may coax you into believing they have change just to get back with you and then start their toxic behavior once again. This is why it’s important to follow the process of this whole article so you are sure you are getting back in a healthy relationship.
Part 3: Things You and Your Ex Need to Do Together to Get Back In a Healthy Relationship
So, the individual work is done. But there is still a lot that needs to be discussed before you both can get back with each other. In this section, we will explore what you and your ex need to do when you meet and talk about getting back together.
1. Talk and Set a Time to Meetup
If both you and your ex have grown during your time apart, then your ex should be receptive to you reaching out. In most cases, when you and your ex start talking again via text or phone, there is a sense of novelty with a dash of familiarity. You both know each other and already like each other, but there is this feeling that you are both grown and a better version of each other.
As such, you will both probably start thinking if you get back together, would the new relationship also be a better version of your previous relationship?
Hopefully, it would.
If you both feel a connection when you start talking again, ask them to meet up. If you both are on the same page, then your ex should probably understand that getting back together is on the table. But if there is some doubt, then let them know that you have a lot to share about your growth and journey and you would like to learn about their journey as well. And don’t be shy about your intentions of wanting to get back together (assuming your ex is being warm to you on texts/phone calls and you both have been texting and talking to each other openly and honestly).
What if my ex does not want to talk to me or meet me?
For some people, when they start talking with an ex, they may feel a lot of resistance from an ex.
A lot of people over complicate things when they meet resistance from their ex. It doesn’t help that there are tons of bad advice out there that is based on manipulation and playing games with an ex.
My advice when you start speaking with your ex is, to be honest and show them respect. Don’t try to play games. If your ex is showing resistance, be honest about your intentions but don’t be needy or desperate. (This is why it’s important to have the right mindset before getting back in touch with your ex). If they are not ready to start speaking, back off and focus on your own life.
Relevant Resource: The Art Of Using Text Messages To Get Your Ex Back
2. Prepare For the Meeting Mentally and Emotionally
When you both meet up, choose a place that is convenient for both of you. If you want to be picky. choose a place with a sneakily romantic ambiance (term coined by one of my clients).
Before you go to meet your ex, try to have a clear idea of the things you want to talk about. If there are a lot of things you need to discuss, it helps to have notes.
In a lot of cases, it helps to have a handwritten letter of all the things you wish to say to your ex. If you choose to do this, I recommend you wait until the end of the meeting to give that letter to your ex.
It also helps to take a small gift for your ex at this time. But remember, don’t make it overly romantic. The gift you choose should act like a small token of appreciation, not a bribe to get back together with you. You don’t want the foundation of your next relationship to be materialistic.
3. Talk About What It Would Take to Get Back Together
This is the conversation that Leona had with her ex boyfriend before they got back together. Remember, it took them one year to reach this point. They both grew individually before they could reach this point.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck probably also had this conversation at one point in time before they got back together.
In this section, we are going to explore what you talk about when you have this conversation with your ex. Everything up to this point is to prepare you for this conversation. Here are seven important tips when you are talking about getting back together with your ex.
1. It’s supposed to be an honest conversation: Be honest and respect your ex when you are talking to them about the past and the issues. Don’t try to manipulate your ex or influence them. Remember, they don’t owe you anything. Be honest about how you feel and give your ex an opportunity to be honest about how they feel.
Some people try to be subtle about using emotional manipulation. They say things like, “Considering how much time we spent together, I hope you would at least consider giving us another chance.”
Don’t do that. It’s only going to make you look manipulative and create a barrier between the two of you.
2. Share what you have learned about yourself, about the previous relationship, and what it would take from you to fix what was broken: Own up to your mistakes. Take responsibility and don’t make excuses. Tell them exactly what you have been doing (and what you are going to do) to make sure you don’t screw up in your next relationship (even if it is not with them.) For example, this could include your insecurity and how you have been getting therapy and are working on building your self-esteem.
3. Listen to what your ex has to say: Don’t just wait for your turn to speak or try to counter what they are saying. Listen. Try to understand their point of view and understand how they felt during the relationship and the breakup.
How did they feel after the breakup? What broke their heart? What were the most hurtful things for them? Why do they feel they can’t trust you?
You both probably talked about things immediately after the breakup. But when you reconnect after a few weeks or months of the breakup, you get much better insight into what went wrong and how your ex felt.
This is the foundation of your new relationship so pay attention. You want to understand each other better than before so you can create a new relationship that is better than before.
4. Tell your ex that you want to give it another go: Be honest about how important they are to you. If you feel you still love them, be honest about it. If you feel that both of you make a great couple, express that feeling. If you feel they are a truly special person and you are lucky to find them, tell them clearly.
But don’t say all those things from a place of neediness. Remember, you don’t want to get back with your ex out of neediness and desperation. You shouldn’t be getting back together because you can’t live without each other, you should be getting back together because you both can live an amazing life with each other.
What’s the difference, you ask?
A lot of couples who are in a toxic relationship feel they can’t live without each other. They keep repeating the same unhealthy relationship patterns of fighting, arguing, breaking up, infidelity, and emotional manipulation because they feel they can’t live without each other. In reality, they both have lost their identity in the toxic relationship, and they probably have low self-esteem.
You don’t want that. You want a relationship between two individuals with high self-esteem (or who are aware of their low self-esteem and are rebuilding it) who love each other, respect each other, have great chemistry, and see a bright future with each other.
This is why couples who share a truly special bond tend to come back to each other even after years have passed. Not because they both are in a toxic relationship pattern, but because they have a chemistry that they couldn’t find with anyone else.
5. Talk about your boundaries and non-negotiables: If you think your ex is not aware of things that are important to you, tell them now. Heck, even if you think they already know, tell them again. It’s important to let each other know what’s important to you in a relationship so you are on the same page.
6. If Your Ex Has Some Resistance, Listen to Them and Address Them: If you’re not sure, take some more time apart to think things through.
During the meetup, when you are both talking about getting back together, you may come across issues that you weren’t aware of before. And it’s important to be sensitive, mature, and honest with your ex about these issues.
For example, one of my clients who was in stressful work environment, while speaking to her ex husband, realized that her ex never felt comfortable sharing his problems with her. Her ex husband said that he was always trying to fix her problems and did not want to add to her stress.
And because she was so busy with her work life, she never had the time to sit and speak to him about him. They would either talk about her problems, the house chores, what to get for dinner, or what TV show to watch on Netflix.
It was partially her fault for not paying attention to his needs. But it was also her ex-husband’s fault for never expressing how he felt.
Eventually, they both agreed that planning a date night every week should help them connect more and make him feel more comfortable sharing how he feels. It helped that he was also working on himself individually by going to therapy, learning to be vulnerable and setting healthy boundaries.
7. Create a Plan of Action To Fix The Issues and Build Strong Foundation for the New Relationship:
This is one of the most important parts of getting back together. You don’t want to go back in with your ex partner without a plan of action. You don’t want to rely on the “I have changed and things will be different” alone.
Dr. Jenn Mann, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who is famous for her VH1 TV Show Couples Therapy, also emphasizes this point to her clients when they talk about getting back together. She says if there’s any chance of mending the relationship, putting a plan of action is probably the most vital part of it.
I agree with her. I have often found amongst my readers that those who don’t really talk about exactly how things will be different, tend to repeat the same old relationship patterns and breakup again.
This plan should include specific actions or goals, to be achieved individually or together.
For my clients who successfully got back together, this included things like,
- Spending more time together by planning a date night.
- Getting individual therapy to address the underlying issues such as low self-esteem, childhood trauma, anger management.
- Getting couples therapy to address issues such as unhealthy communication patterns, understanding each other’s perspective, and having a safe space to talk about things.
- Agreeing to give each other time and space for individual hobbies and interests. This helps in building individual identity.
- Contributing equally to the relationship. For example, one of my client, whose girlfriend was always the one to drive to his house, agreed to drive to her house more frequently.
- Going to support groups and meetings for issues that may have contributed to the breakup. Such as AA, Anger Management Classes, Group therapy etc.
- Working on individual growth or growth as a couple through courses, books etc. (We offer one such course here).
4. Talk About What it would mean for your friends and families.
While this does not play a major factor in most cases, it’s also important to talk about how this is going to impact your friends and family. Getting back together also means telling your friends and family that you are going back to a relationship that ended in a breakup. They are probably going to be concerned and for some people, it’s a big resistance.
However, if you have made a plan of action, and are both convinced that this is the right decision for both of you, then this is almost always a non-issue.
The only exception is when there is abuse involved of any kind or if your relationship was extremely toxic. And in that case, you should not consider getting back together unless your partner has shown significant growth and even then, you should take things slow.
5. Talk About Taking Things Slow and Respecting Each Other Wishes
Even after you have discussed the issues, the boundaries, the non-negotiables, and a plan of action to rebuild your relationship; you should take things slow.
The fact is you and your ex are already emotionally invested in each other. And if you jump back into a committed relationship, then you may ignore a lot of red flags and end up in an unhealthy relationship pattern again.
By taking it slow, you both give each other time to process everything and make sure you are not letting your emotions cloud your judgment.
Consider Making it a trial period.
I recommend my clients try a trial period before getting back together. A lot of couples decide that they will try dating each other for a period of 30-60 days before officially committing to each other. During these trial period, they don’t fully commit but they also don’t date other people. They spend time together and see if the issues that lead them apart are still there.
What If My Ex Still Doesn’t Want To Get Back Together?
Respect their choice. This whole process was not to make your ex do something they don’t want to do. It was just to give you the best shot and rekindling a relationship you thought was special. If your ex still doesn’t want to get back together, it means this relationship did not mean as much to them as it meant to you. And that’s okay. You have tried your best. If you are both meant to be, you will find your way into each other’s life again in the future. But for now, it’s time to focus on moving on. Thankfully, it will be easier for you to move on knowing that you tried your best to save this relationship.
What if My Ex Is Confused or They Want More Time?
Your ex may feel very confused after meeting up with you and talking about everything. If so, just give them time to think things through. Don’t force them to make a decision immediately. Let them know that there is no pressure on them to say yes.
What if My Ex Is Hot and Cold?
Your ex may be very kind and warm to you one day. And be completely cold the next day. If they do this, it’s actually a sign that they have strong feelings for you. Don’t let it get to your head. Give your ex space and time. Don’t pressure them into speaking to you. And at the same time, keep focusing on self-improvement and personal growth.
What if My Ex Wants To Date Other People?
Some people want to explore their options before they can commit to a relationship. This is especially common in young couples who feel they need to “play the field” before committing. If so, don’t try to hold them back. If your relationship is truly special, they will come back. Meanwhile, don’t wait for them. Start dating again when you feel ready.
Part 4: Things You Both Need to Do After Getting Back Together to Make It Last
Okay, so you and your ex are back together. Does that mean you can just relax and be careless again?
Not so soon. You still want to make sure that your relationship is built on a healthy foundation and that you don’t go back to the same unhealthy patterns that broke both of you in the first place.
Build your relationship on respect, honesty, affection, and communication.
After getting back together, you want to focus on these four pillars to create a healthy relationship.
1. Respect: Respect your partner as a human being, as an individual, and as a partner. Respect their boundaries, their desires, their ambitions, their passions, and their hobbies. Respect also means not complaining about your ex to your friends or family. If you have a quarrel with them, you should be able to bring it up to them instead of going behind their back and complaining to your friends.
2. Honesty: You both should try to be completely honest with each other without any hesitation. If you ever feel your partner is not being honest with you, you should address that and talk about it.
3. Affection: Show affection often and without constraint. A lot of couples tend to neglect this and end up losing the spark in the relationship. Buy her flowers. Give him a back massage. Go on romantic dates. Cuddle up in a blanket and watch TV together. Do what you know your ex will like and ask them to do what you like.
4. Communicate: Probably the most important part of any relationship is to communicate. But communicate with the intention of coming to a solution rather than just proving your point. You want to think of communication as a team effort where you try to solve problems. If you don’t know how to, get help from a couples therapist.
Call Out When one of you is not sticking to the plan.
Remember the plan you made at the time you were both talking about getting back together? You both need to stick to that plan. And if one of you isn’t sticking to the plan, the other one needs to call them out.
Think of your relationship like a team effort. Sometimes, a team member needs a little motivation from their teammate to do what’s necessary. And sometimes, you need to call out your teammate for not putting in their 100%. They may need some time for themselves, or they may just be feeling burned out. If so, give them some time. Modify the plan if need be. But don’t just ignore it if they stop putting in the effort.
Stop Looking at arguments or disagreements as something you need to win.
This falls under healthy communication but it’s so important that I decided to point it out again. Stop trying to win the arguments or disagreements between you and your now partner (formal ex).
If you have a difference in opinion, respect their opinion. Respect and communication work hand in hand. If you have a disagreement, respect them enough to try to understand their point of view. Respect your relationship and try to resolve the issue rather than trying to win.
Be willing to walk away if the relationship is not right for you.
Lastly, don’t continue in your rekindled relationship if it’s unhealthy for you. Understand that you have invested a lot of time and energy in this relationship, and you may be biased when you are contemplating leaving.
There is a phenomenon called the sunk cost fallacy in relationships. In a study published in the Journal of Current Psychology, researchers found that we continue to stay in an unhealthy or unfulfilling relationship because we have already invested a lot of time in it.
Essentially, you kind of convince yourself to stay in a bad relationship because you have already invested so much time in it.
But if you and your ex continue unhealthy relationship patterns even after getting back together and even after following the advice I have laid out in this article, then you must be prepared to leave.
You need to put your own well-being, mental health, and self-worth above the time you have spent trying to save this relationship. You should respect your ex, but you should respect and love yourself more. And if that means you should walk away from your ex, then you should do it. Even if it’s the hardest thing you ever have to do.
When Should I Seek Professional Help or Couples Counseling?
It’s never too late or too early to go to couples counseling with your partner. If you and your ex are back together and finding it hard to communicate or understand each other, then couples counseling can help you both tremendously. A good counselor will equip you with the tools needed to rebuild the trust, understand each other and resolve conflict effectively.
On the other hand, if you feel you suffer from low self-esteem or you feel you are very anxious in a relationship, then you should seek out individual counseling. It will help you accept yourself and change your thought patterns to being more positive about yourself.
My Ex and I Broke Up a Second Time After Getting Back Together, Can This Still Work?
Yes, the above advice still works if you both have broken up before. A lot of couples who are in an unhealthy on/off cycle do turn it into a healthy relationship when they get help and focus on self-improvement.
What Can I Do To Increase My Chances Of Getting Back Together?
Being respectful to your ex, and working on self-improvement gives you the best chances of getting back together. Follow the steps in the above guide. To find out your chances of getting back together, take this quiz.