Can You Get Back Your Ex When You’re The Only One Trying?

Trying to get your ex back is hard enough. Trying to get your ex back when you are the only one initiating all the contacts, trying to come up with interesting topics to talk about, asking him/her out, and sometimes, the only one still IN love, is harder.

Is it even possible? The answer is yes. While it takes two to make a relationship work, it can take just one to change how the relationship works.

How does that even work? It works when one person changes (in a positive direction), so much that the dynamics of the relationship change.

Just like 1+1 =2, but if you add 0.5 to one part of the equation, the result can never be 2 again. It’ll be 1.5+1=2.5.

Same thing. If one person changes but the other person doesn’t, the person who has changed can positively influence the dynamics of the relationship.

But in order for the relationship to work, three things need to be in place.

1) Love

We all have heard the phrase “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Usually the person saying these words is saying “I still have feelings for you and I care about you, I’m just not motivated/excited about/committed to being in a relationship with you.

What the person saying these words is not saying (at least not aloud) is that, I can be motivated/excited about/made to commit, under the right conditions. In other words that feeling of being IN love can come back.

Your task is to create the right conditions for the feelings of being IN love to come back. The “right” conditions is not about proving to your ex that you have changed, it’s about demonstrating to him/her that the relationship doesn’t have to work the way it did before (1.5+1=2.5).

That only goes only as far as “feeling in love” is concerned. If the love is completely gone, there is nothing you can do to make the relationship work — however much you want it and however hard you try.

2) Open lines of communication

It doesn’t matter how much love your ex feels for you, if there is NO communication, there is NO relationship. It’s as simple as that.

If there is no communication, there are also no opportunities for you to influence how the relationship works.

“Open” lines of communication means no backdoor tactics or trying to burst your way in. Manipulation and aggressive tactics undermine your efforts to positively change how the relationship works.

To learn more about how to use open lines of communication to change the dynamics of a relationship, please spend more time on my blog.

3) Change

The main reason why many men and women fail to get their ex back is that they say they’ve changed (and sometimes they indeed have changed on a personal level), but they haven’t changed in relation to the other person. A few texts, phone calls or dates, and their ex can see that nothing has changed.

This is one of the reasons I do not think the “no contact” rule is an effective way to affect change in a relationship. On a personal level, it’s a powerful tool but on a relationship level, it can cause more damage to the relationship.

To pivot a little. If you do informal research (which I have been doing for a few years now), you’ll notice that “no contact” is championed and highly recommended by individuals who tend to place the highest value on the interests of the individual over that of the collective “group”. In North America where “no contact” is THE prescription for almost all troubled relationships, men and women also tend to have the most interpersonal and relationship difficulties in general.

Among individuals who generally value the interest of the collective “group” over the interest of the individual, “no contact” is unheard of, shunned and even ridiculed.

Why? Because it doesn’t promote the best interest of the collective, in this case the relationship.

Is it wrong to take care of Number One?

Of course not! In order to be a good partner, capable of giving and receiving love, you have to be able to accept, appreciate, embrace, fulfill and love you first. To get to that place of healthy self-love, one needs to take care of oneself first.

If the end result is to take care of oneself and move on, “no contact” does that wonderfully. But if the end result is to become a better partner in order to improve on the relationship, neglecting the relationship to take care of Number One doesn’t help the relationship. It helps you, the individual, but it doesn’t help “us”, the collective (the relationship)

The kind of change required to positively change how the relationship works is one that involves movement from point A to point B. Movement requires action.

Just like sitting on the couch thinking about how to lose weight doesn’t get the weight off, just sitting and thinking about all the mistakes you made and what needs to change (if your ex takes you back) doesn’t mean you’ve changed.

There has to be a process (action), for change to happen. The process can be anything from committing oneself to a self-prescribed personal growth program to working with a professional.

So YES, you can get back your ex even if you are the only one trying. BUT, you have to be willing to put in the work that positively changes how the relationship works.

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20 Comments

  • Yangki, you said “give your ex a place in your life as your boyfriend even though he’s still your ex”, and that’s exactly what I have been doing. Things have slowly started to change for the better. We have many great conversations and talk openly about how we felt after the break up. He says he can see I changed and likes it. I am worried though that he may be thinking of me as a friend now. What do you think? I trust your guidance and advice.

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    • “He says he can see I changed and likes it”…

      Hold on to that and continue showing him the relationship can and will be better. As long as you are making it clear his place in your life is that of “a boyfriend”, there is nothing to be worried about.

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