Question: I bumped into my ex-girlfriend and she’s even more beautiful than when we were dating. We had a mutual breakup so there were no bad feelings between us. She asked me if I wanted to catch up over coffee and I said yes. We just talked about what we have both been up to, laughed at some old time stories and generally had a great time.
She has no current boyfriend and I’m just out of a two year relationship. I asked her out again and she has said yes. I get the feeling she now sees me only as a friend and may be I feel that about her too — just not sure. In your work, have you really seen relationships been restored after break up? I’m not trying to get her back, just wanted to know if you’ve seen cases of people getting back together after along period of time apart? What are the odds or indicators that there is even a chance of that happening?
The Love Doctor’s Answer: YES, I’ve seen two people get back together after a break-up. I have seen hundreds of dating and formerly married couples get back after along period of time a part. But I’ve I also seen hundreds of relationships were two people don’t get back together after a break up.
Each relationship is different and each couple is different. Some relationships have a better foundation and others were nothing but a series of one night stands. Some relationships have nothing except assumptions, neediness and stress, and others were great relationships that ended because of a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication.
Over the years, I’ve identified some obvious indicators of whether two people will get back together or not, and how soon.
1. How long you were in a relationship
People who’ve been in a relationship for a longer period of time tend to stand a better chance because of the bond created over time.
2. How serious your relationship was
If you have both introduced each other to your closest friends/family and if their reaction was positive, the encouragement (or pressure) from your social support networks often works to your advantage. The opposite is also true.
3. Why you broke up
This one is a big one. Some reasons for a break-up are easily reconcilable and others are deal breakers. The deal breakers often include: no feelings of attraction, feeling that the relationship is wrong or that the other is not the right person, conflict in life styles and goals etc.
4. How you broke up
People who consider their break up mutual or amiable are more likely to keep in touch than where a break up was nasty. They are also more likely to remember and reminisce on the positive things about the relationship, what could have been done better etc. This may lead to wanting to try and see if they can do it better.
5. What changes each has made since breaking up
Unless an ex believes the relationship will be different/better than what he/she walked away from, they see no point in getting back together.
6. Whether or not one or both of you are seeing/dating someone else
If your ex is with someone else, he or she may not be in a hurry to get back together because s/he wants to see if the other relationship offers more. A lot depends on whether you can show him/her that what you offer is better.
7. Where s/he places a relationship in the list of his/her priorities
After a break-up most people tend to pour all their time and energy onto something else e.g. personal development, spiritual pursuits, career, hobby, social networking etc. These can become attractive alternatives and will require more effort and resourceful on your part to be able to inject yourself into your ex’s “new life”.
8. What you’ve tried doing to get your ex back
Some things people do to try to get their ex back actually make it impossible to get an ex back. They either confirm what the ex does not want about you or brings out the worst in you that your ex did not even know existed.
Men and woman in long distance relationships may face additional relationship uncertainty which may influence the desire to try again or thwart attempts to make it work. On the other hand, distance if used correctly is a positive ingredient for ‘starting a fresh”.
10. Ability to handle uncertainty
Vague statements, conflicting signals and shifting positions often get many people so stressed out that they start acting in counter-productive ways. Men and women who are better able to detect (sometimes it’s”just your gut instinct), the inconsistent or contradicting information or signals from an ex and use that to elicit cooperation have a better chance of turning things around.
These are just the common indicators. Like I said, each relationship is different and each couple is different. With a little careful planning, a good strategy, patience and consistency, most situations can be turned around.
PS: You said you’re not trying to get her back but if you decide to, go for it, you seem to have a GOOD chance :=)