Love-Hate Feelings For Your Ex – Pt 2

4-must-do-before-giving-up-on-your-ex-is-over

1- Take responsibility for your powerlessness and/or helplessness

Much of the helplessness and powerlessness many of us feel comes from how we think about a situation. We are either focusing too much on the things we can not control or change (e.g. our ex’s “issues”, feelings and their responses) or, avoiding what we need to do to change.

But while blaming factors outside of your control gets you off the hook, the price you pay is the inability to create the reality you desire and want.

Even in a situation where it seems like your ex is calling all the shots, and all you can do is wait for your ex to decide what happens, you control a lot more than you think or know you do. You control YOU.

You control what you say. You control what you do. You control how you react. But most of all, you control how you think.

Next time when something “happens” that makes you feel like you have no say in the matter, examine your thoughts about it. What are you telling yourself to avoid taking any responsibility for what happened before, what is happening now and what may happen in the future?

If what you are telling yourself makes you feel helpless and/or hopeless, consciously decide to change your thinking from “I don’t know what else to do” to “I may be able to do something “.

This is not about just changing from negative to positive thoughts (sometimes you need a little dose of the “negative” to keep yourself realistic), but changing your response from feeling like you have no control over a situation to finding a solution that can change your current situation.

Some of my clients have told me that by just examining how they are thinking about what is happening, they can clearly see how trying too hard is turning off their ex.

2 – Stick to a course of action long enough to see change

Most needy and clingy people operate almost solely on emotion alone. Not only do emotions obscure their sound judgment, emotions by their very fluctuating nature make it hard to stick to any particular course of action.

The worst thing you can do to your chances of getting your ex back is be seen as not sure, or don’t know what you are doing to make the relationship work.

To show that you know what you are doing, don’t try to do too much too soon. This is especially important when dealing with an ex who is not very responsive. Small consistent actions get you further than big drastic emotion-driven decisions — like cutting off all contact and two weeks later coming back claiming you want to give the relationship another chance. It doesn’t inspire the kind of trust that communicates confidence in what you are doing.

It is important to keep in mind when setting up your personal improvement and growth goals and actions, the end goal is not to block any and all emotions — you do need your emotions for your heart or gut feeling decisions. The goal is to make sure that your decisions are not influenced by fear, worry, anxiety or attempts to manipulate your ex.

3 – Manage your communications effectively.

Your ex not only wants to know that you know what you are doing, he/she wants to be convinced that the relationship will work. He/she wants to know that there will be a pay-off for him/her trusting you enough to give you another chance.

To be convincing you have to be able to communicate the pay-off in a specific language. The words you use can create unnecessary conflict, escalate already existing feelings of resentment, or they can defuse conflict, prevent an argument, or warm up your ex’s heart, again.

As mentioned is Part 1, when you are needy and clingy, most of the time what you say or do is not received by your ex the way you intended. Often times, the more you try to explain what you actually meant, the more needy and clingy you appear to be. What started as a text to explain a previous misunderstanding ends up with 30 texts that made things worse.

To avoid these kind of “misunderstandings”:

i) Identify the ways in which your language contributes to your ex’s defensiveness or resentment towards you.

This is not easy as those words you shouldn’t have said often come out in the heat of emotion. What I’ve found works for my clients is thinking back to a more recent argument, fight or situation that unintentionally went from bad to worse. What did you say that made your ex more defensive or unresponsive? Try to avoid using the same words or tone of voice.

ii) Use simple sentences, be brief and don’t over-stay your welcome.

This is especially hard when it feels so good to be talking to your ex again, and things seem to be going on so well. But if you have that love-hate dynamic going on, you know too well that the high will be followed by a low.

To avoid hitting the low, know when to end the conversation — usually on a high note. This keeps the lines of communication open and makes it easier to build momentum because you are not re-starting contacts every few weeks.

4- Try at least three times

There is no magic number for how many times you should try to get back your ex. My advice is: for an ex who is not responsive, try at least three times to make sure it’s really over. For one who is open to contact even if reluctantly, keep trying for as long as you can keep doing it.

But as mentioned in my other articles and book, persistence is not just a matter of stubbornly refusing to give up, or an excuse to make your ex’s life miserable.

i) You have to make the necessary changes that make you attractive to your ex, again.

ii) You have to have a good plan.

iii) You have to keep the lines of communication open and connect with your ex beyond “Hi, what’s up?” or “How’s your day”.

iv) You have to be consistent in your words and actions, and be seen as committed to making the relationship work.

v) You have to know how hard to push and when to step back and let things unfold naturally.

Last but not least, you have to know when it’s time to give up. That point when you know it’s time is not always black-and-white clear. What I find helps is keeping track of your progress. If after three months of doing all the above, you are exactly where you were when you began, then may be it’s time to give up.

But if you can see progress, even small progress, it’s not over!

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54 Comments

  • I recently came across your site. I’ve done everything wrong including blowing her phone, crying, pleading and nc for 5 weeks. Last evening I sent her a text apologizing for the way I handled things and she immediately wrote back saying she understood. I’m going to follow your advice and hope that I didn’t wait to long to start making all the right moves in trying to win her back.

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    • If she’s still open to contact and responds, it’s not too late.

      I suggest not talking about how you handled things or the break-up again. Use the advice on here to help you move things forward slowly and steadily.

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  • Yangki, since applying your methods my ex is texting me more asking about how things are with me. We send each other videos and pictures of things we both like. He still calls me by the pet name he did when we were together. All indications are there that he still has feelings for me but he told me the other day that he likes to spend time with me but is not thinking of us getting back together. It seems that he just wants to be friends.

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    • It’s possible he just wants to be friends but it’s also possible that he wants to take things slow. Just because he is not thinking of getting back together now doesn’t mean he won’t change his mind weeks or months from now.

      If I were you I wouldn’t give up just yet.

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  • Yangki, you are my God-send. There have been a few times when it looked like it was over, and I read your advice and was motivated to keep going. Things are good between he and I right now and I am hopeful, but I also understand that it may not work. In the event that it doesn’t work, I want to know that I tried everything. We were together 14 long years, and that’s too long a time to just walk away without a big fight.

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  • I have gained clarity through reading your articles and book. I was a little selfish and did not really think about how my actions affect my ex. I since reached out to him but he is still guarded. I know in your book you say it takes time to get him to open up, so I’m doing this eyes open and with no unrealistic expectations.

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    • You’re right. Getting back together takes time… but not just time, you have to consistently take the right steps towards a reunion.

      Hang in there!

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  • We got back together and I thought we were okay but we started having problems again just like what happened before. I have given him 3 chances before this and nothing got better. Should I give him another chance?

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    • Whether to give up or not is entirely up to you. But if you do decide to keep trying to make it work, I strongly suggest that you have a long and honest talk about what needs to change, both make commitments to change, and take time to date each other to see the red flags show up. If you do not commit to doing things differently, chances are you’ll end up back where things ended.

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  • I really blew it with my ex. He broke up wit me then texted me 2 days later saying he wanted to see how i was doing. I got this advice not to text back. Then 3 days later i felt really bad for not replying his text and texted him saying i was doing fine and everything was so great. He texted back right away saying he was glad to hear that and apologized for hurting me. I was at my friend’s party when i got the text so I texted “i’m really having a good time at the party”, he texted back “great, enjoy” I texted back “sorry it was for someone else” and he texted back “it’s ok. take care.”

    I texted him 2 more time and he never responded. I again texted him the next day no response. What should I do? I love him and I don’t want to play these games again. Please help.

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    • I think that when he texted you he really meant what he said but then realized you wanted to play some stupid game instead, and was put off. You’ve texted him too many times already, give it a few days and he doesn’t contact you, contact him with an apology (that’s if you really mean it about stopping the game playing). Sometimes when we come clean we get a second chance… it is a risk but one worth taking.

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  • Hi. My ex broke up with me 4 months ago. We reconnected after a month with no contact, and send messages to each other now and then. We had a great talk sunday of the last week, and on friday she said that she wanted to miss me. Should I stop contacting her? Or keep in touch with limited contact? Also, I want to point out that is the best website about imporivng yourself I have seen. I has helped me a lot. Thank you so much.

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    • Thanks for your kind words. I’m not sure how much of the website you’ve read because you asked: “Should I stop contacting her?”

      Here on this site we DO NOT approve, support or endorse “no contact”. This site is specifically designed for people who agree that “no contact” as a strategy to get your ex back is manipulative, unhealthy and immature. So may be you are on the wrong website.

      I strongly believe and with good reason that if you want to have any relationship, let alone get your ex back, you have to stop withdrawing and re-engaging as a strategy to keep the other person interested/in the relationship. That works for some people and not others; and even when it works, at some point it stops working.

      In fact, withdrawing and re-engaging does exactly what it has done to your relationship, it erodes feelings of being in love.

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  • My ex and I met today for the first time. We had not seen each other since we broke up 2 months, ago but text and talk to each other everyday. She says she still has strong feelings for me and that she can’t rule out us getting back together someday, but right now she’s not ready because she doesn’t want to get hurt again. I’m not sure if she’s letting me down gently, but she did say she wants to be friends. I’m okay with being friends, I have read many of your articles on being friends and have your ebook. I’m still worried tho and looking for some reassurance, I guess.

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    • I don’t think she’s letting you down gently if she’s saying she’s open to the possibility of the two of you getting back together. What you need to do is prove to her that she’ll not be hurt again — that things will be different if she does decide to come back.

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