How Do I Get My Ex To Become Emotionally Engaged?

open-fun-couple-emotionally-engaging-with-your-exQuestion: Yangki, I love your advice. All the other advice as you say encourages disconnection rather than connection. I know, I followed that advice and treated my now ex badly, and he completely disconnected from the relationship. I’m trying to rebuild that connection we lost and your advice has been very helpful. My question is, can you elaborate a little on the differences between accessibility, availability and engagement. How can I be accessible but not too available, and how do I get my ex emotionally engaged? Is this something covered in your ebook?

The Love Doctor’s Answer: I’m happy to answer any question about how to connect to one’s ex, as opposed to how to disconnect (no contact).

Yes, accessibility, availability and engagement are all covered.

Accessible is when your ex needs you (or you need your ex) you can be reached by phone, email, text etc.

Not too available means that you can be reached, but that doesn’t mean you are there to serve your ex’s every wish or need, or even have to respond to his/her every text, email or call.

You can be accessible but not too available by choosing when to act or respond, and by responding in ways that are appropriate to the situation, and create a strong connection.

Engaged means emotionally interested.

In my experience, getting your ex emotionally engaged is half the work done. Here’s how to do it:

1) make yourself accessible;

2) make it easy for him/her to talk to you;

3) create an emotionally safe environment for him/her to open up to you;

4) ask the questions that show interest in things that matter to him/her;

5) do not push him/her to respond or say what you want to hear, or rush him/her to make a decision;

6) make the small moments of connection count/create a unique sense of history, and;

7) create a sense of compatibility (or wanting the same things in life), etc.

This can be a challenge for those who are concerned about any display of vulnerability. But if you want your ex engaged and responsive, you must allow yourself to become emotionally exposed.

If this is something you haven’t done, then start doing it. You’ll rebuild that connection more quickly than if you are holding back.

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13 Comments

  • I spoke to you a few days ago. I think the things you said I need to be asking myself are very true. I worry too much, about things I can’t change. I imagine if I could let go of that worry I’d be a much happier person, and so I will strive to do so. I think I’m most afraid of the unknown–I have no idea how he’s going to react and so I don’t tell him things (which of course is absurd because then I just wind up worrying about what I THINK he would say, and that’s often nowhere near as bad as what he would actually say). I have had a nice talk with him and voiced some of my concerns and I hope that I’ll be able to open up to him more readily in the future, instead of worrying myself into a hole in my head as I did this time. Thank you again, truly.

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  • Yangki, what does it mean when she says “we’ll see how things go with you in a couple of months”? Neither of us wanted the breakup. I have since improved myself a lot and she has noticed. The break-up was such an eye-opener.

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    • It means that she’s not sure the changes will stick. May be you’ve tried to “change’ before and slipped back into old behaviour, or she’s just that “wait and see” type of person.

      It also means that you’ll still be in each other’s lives in a couple of months.

      Don’t rush her. Just keep showing her that the changes are permanent.

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    • Both. In my experience initiating contact comes first, then spending more time together. But it could happen in any order.

      Anything that tells you she’s opening up more and wanting to get closer is emotional engagement.

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  • Hi Yangki. My boyfriend and I broke up 4 weeks ago but we’ve been talking since it happened and we now see each other once a week. He broke up with me because he thinks I don’t trust him. We’ve been telling each other we love each other and miss each other recently and he has been more open to me recently as well and how things are going to be when we do get back together. Do you think this means he’s thinking about getting back together?

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    • Is he thinking about it? Yes, since you are talking about how things are going to be.

      Will you get back together? It depends on if he believes he can trust you again.

      Given that you only broke up 4 weeks ago, I don’t think you have had enough time to work on whatever reason he felt he could not trust you. Where two people are still attracted to each other but rushing things, one of these three things will most likely happen.

      1- You will talk about how things are going to be but nothing will happen for a long time, and one of you (most likely you), will get frustrated and start pushing for things to happen faster, and he’ll say he doesn’t want to try to work things out anymore.
      2- He will say things are moving too fast and wants to take it more slowly/or he’ll pull away without telling you why.
      3- You will get back together in the next few weeks, and break-up again soon after.

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  • My ex was very clear that we will never get back together. She also said she did not want me to contact her for at least 3 months. Luckily for me I have been a fan of your articles and understand the psychology of no contact. I told her I would not contact her but left it to her if she changes her mind. She contacted me after only 2 weeks of no contact. I’ve basically followed your advice almost word for word and we’re talking more and she’s initiating most of the contacts. We have plans to meet in a couple of weeks.

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    • Good for you. I’ve always said, what is said in the moment of emotion is subject to change. How you act and/or react makes such a huge difference.

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  • We didn’t speak much the first one month after the breakup but after the drama and hurt we’re finally able to talk. I’ve kept the conversations cordial and short for the most part. I wouldn’t say we’re getting along better but we’re civil towards each other and catch up from time to time. It will probably be a while before we even think of getting back together but we’ve made a lot of progress. Thank you.

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  • Ex and I broke up 4 months ago. It was a mostly good and happy relationship overall but we had some issues over how we spend money. I did no contact which you advice not to do and after 2 months of no contact, I sent her a text and got no reply. I then found your site and book and tried again. She replied and said she was sad because her sister was in hospital. I said I’d come to the hospital and she said ok, so I met her there. We had coffee and talked for 3 hours. We text on a regular basis but sometimes she’s warm and open, and other times her answers are short and unemotional. What do I do now to get her to open up more to where she wants a relationship again?

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    • It’s been only 2 weeks since you started talking again. Give it some more time. If her sister is still ill, it may be affecting her emotions — and has nothing to do with you.

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