Absence Does Not Make Your Ex’s Heart Grow Fonder

absence-does-not-always-make-the-heart-grow-fonderQuestion: Hi Yangki, I’m a first timer on this blog and I have a really serious question: What happened to the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”?

Yangki’s Response: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” still applies between two people who are fond of each other. The key word here is “fond”.

Unfortunately not many people understand what this means when it comes to break-ups and exes.


  • Having an affection or liking for;
  • Affectionate; loving; tender; indulgent; doting
    prizing highly; desirous

Many (if not most) break-ups happen because one person (or both people) is no longer FOND of the other. Your ex may still love you, but not be fond of you at the time of the break-up, or hasn’t been fond of you for a very long time — and vice versa.

Here is where most people get confused.

Fonder means MORE fond of, or increase in affection, liking, tenderness, indulgence, doting, desire etc.

This means that there has to be “fond of” for there to be “fonder”. No “fond of”, no “fonder”.

Someone who wasn’t fond of you when you were together, isn’t going to be fonder of you in your absence. 

He/she may miss you and miss the good times, but “miss” (definition: aware of the absence and wish someone/something was there) and “fonder” are not the same thing.

People miss other people, places or things all the time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they like or even want that person back, or want to return to a certain place. Say you had a roommate who snores, is untidy or too noisy, but who makes you laugh or is a great cook. When he/she moves out, of course you are going to miss him/her, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you want him/her to move back in.

To me it’s simple common sense. I could even stretch it a little and say, it’s simple math.

  • Fond of  + Absence = Fonder
    Positive  +  Negative = Positive (assuming “fond” is greater than “absence”)
  • Not Fond of  +  Absence = Out of sight, out of mind
    Negative + Negative = Negative  (not good for someone who wants his/her ex back)

Unless of course one is in denial then, Not Fond + Absence = Head in the sand.

Why do so many people get “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” so wrong when it comes to break-ups and exes?

Because they put way too much emphasis on “absence”, and way too little importance on “fonder”. The irony is that, it’s “fond of” that makes an ex want to come back, not absence.

And we wonder why so many of us never get our ex back!

Here is more math for you…

  • Not Fond of  +  Meaningless Contact = Waste Of Time
    Negative + Negative = Negative
  • Not Fond of  +  Meaningful and Effective Communication = Work In Progress
    Negative + Positive  = Positive (assuming communication is creating more affection, liking, tenderness, desire etc)

I told you it was simple common sense… even I, can do the math… :p

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  • Hi, this is the first time I’ve read this blog and love the advice. Me and my boyfriend broke up 5 months ago, since that time he has told me I’m not the one, he does not want me back and he no longer loves me. However his actions don’t always match up to his words as I have spent nights with him and I have seen how much he missed me? Any idea of what I should do, was going to try and just cut him out of my life, but I really want to fight for him

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    • Spend a little more time on the site. There is a lot of advice on how to approach getting back someone who says one thing and does another. Read the comments as well, I have responded to many questions with a similar situation as yours.

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  • Yangki, it took me a while to understand your concept and now I see why my ex is not responding to my messages even when I send them anonymously. She told a mutual friend that she knew it was me because she knows I like to play mind games. I just wanted her to miss me and now I have completely lost her trust. She says she hates me and will never speak to me again.

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    • Yes, if they just disappear with no explanation or break up with you via text. They’re showing you they have no respect for you/you have no value to them.

      No, if they tell you why they are breaking up with you. You may not like that they ended the relationship or think their reason is valid… but it’s their reason. You can’t force anyone to be in a relationship.

      Emotionally mature/competent people when faced with a break-up RESPOND in ways that get them what they want, not REACT to not getting what they want.

      That said, if you no longer want anything to do with your ex because of a toxic dynamic, then cutting them off makes sense.

      Bottom line: Break-ups happen, it’s how you respond/react to the break-up that makes the difference.

      Africans have a saying: Do not burn a bridge if there’s even a very slight chance you might want to walk back that route.

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    • I have no clue. The “no-contact experts” will probably give you a better answer.

      My guess would be to give him more time. For how long? Again, I have no clue. May be next time you break-up with someone…don’t do no contact. They’re not going to be sitting around “waiting” for you to contact them after you are done with no contact.

      Personally, if someone treated me like I am easily disposable…. I don’t want them back in my life.

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  • Going “cold turkey” with your ex after a break up is great in theory, but it is not grounded in the reality. It downplays the fact that even though the relationship ended, you’ve invested so much time and energy into another human being. In most cases your ex is the most emotionally significant person in your life that’s why you need them, sometimes even more than when you were together.

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    • I still don’t think it’ll make a difference, but give it a try. You seem to strongly believe that “giving it time” (no contact) is the magic solution. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. You either get it, or you don’t.

      As for making your ex believe you moved on, be careful what you wish for. He might actually believe it.

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  • I was so surprised when my ex contacted me because we never spoke after we broke up 6 months ago. We exchanged a few texts after which he asked if he can call me. The conversation started well, we were laughing and flirting, then I said something and it all went down hill from there. He said he made a mistake contacting me and hang up. I let things cool down for a month then texted him “Something important to tell you.” His response “go to hell”. Should I give him more time and try to contact him again? We were together for 3 and a half years.

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    • You could try to contact him again at some point, but I don’t think any “more time” is going to make a difference.

      From the sounds of it, this was not exactly an easy relationship. You both thought that a little “time and space” would fix things, but all you had to do was get in contact again, and it’s same old.

      If all you are doing is “giving it time”, you will get the same result.

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