Whether or not your actions are judged as emotionally supportive or punitive has little to do with “your intentions” for taking any particular action.
For example, your ex is not be sure whether he/she wants a break or break-up, you suggest that it’s best to just break-up, or decide to break-up with him/her because you think that’s what he/she wants anyway.
Your ex will not take that as “supportive”, but will see it as he/she is being punished for not making up his/her mind. Most exes will agree to the break-up even if initially it was not something they wanted. Same thing with an ex who wants some space/time. You ending all contact when all they asked was “some” space does not feel supportive, but rather punitive.
In your mind you think you are “giving them space”, but if all they wanted just a little “breathing space”, or “time to get themselves together”, cutting them off feels severe.
And if your ex wants to maintain some form of contact/and or wants to remain friends, and you reject the gesture, your ex may not see it as you thinking about the future of the relationship. All he/she sees is rejection, and will react to the rejection.
To increase your chances with you have to become emotionally flexible.
Emotional flexibility is not something that comes naturally to some of us, and is close to impossible for others (control freaks, the judgemental and uptight, drama queens, and people with anxiety disorder).
What does it mean to be emotionally flexible?
When trying to get your ex back, emotional flexibility is being open enough to be able to adapt to what the situation requires at the time.
Emotional flexibility goes beyond being understanding and/or sensitive because it requires you to be able to ACTIVELY respond to your ex’s emotional cues or feedback.
Sometimes this requires you to ACT upon fast coming new information. Other times, you have to step back and allow emotions, a conversation or event to run it’s course.
If you can adjust and adapt your emotional responses to fit the situation, you can find ways to be more emotionally supportive in ways that make your ex feel that his/her emotional needs and wants are being taken into consideration.
Being emotionally flexible also allows you to be more relaxed — when dealing with your own and your ex’s emotions, which by itself is very attractive.