How to Earn Your Ex’s Trust – Pt. 1

Getting your ex to emotionally open up, especially in the initial stages tends to be the most stressful part of the process for so many people trying to get their ex back. A good number of men and women go straight into “let’s try this again”. They pour their heart’s content in an email thinking that if only they can show their ex how sorry they are, how much they are still in love, and how much they want to give the relationship another chance, their ex will want to take them back.

Telling your ex how sorry you are and how much you still love him or her doesn’t work. The more “emotional” you get, the more emotionally closed off they become.

So how do you get him or her to emotionally open up again?

People in general open up ONLY and ONLY when they feel safe to do so.

In a majority of cases, a break-up creates suspicion and distrust. It’s a human thing to want to protect oneself from any more harm. The way most of us protect ourselves is create emotional barriers between ourselves and potential harm. As long as there is a sense that we might get harmed, the barriers will stay up.

So, if you find the two of you telling each other how much you love the other, but unable to find your way back to the relationship, it’s very likely that the issue is one of trust. Your responsibility as the person wanting to make things work is prove to your ex that he or she will not be harmed or injured by your actions. And how you do that is by creating an environment that makes your ex feel safe to let their guard down and allow you in again.

Below are some building blocks of trust.

1. Honesty.

The advice out there is that you should hold back information about yourself from your ex. There is sense in not overloading someone with details about your life, 1) they may not be interested and 2) they may use it against you. But if you want to build trust, you have to take the risk of being vulnerable.

Mind games, half-truths and avoiding direct contact with your ex don’t repair trust.

To show your ex that you’re sincere in your attempt to resolve things and try to build a better relationship, try as much as is possible to be transparent. It doesn’t just make things easier, it gets the best results in the long run.

Much of the research on trust shows that people tend to respond to others’ actions with similar actions. If others trust us, we tend to respond in kind. If they treat as with suspicion, we tend to view them with suspicion. If your ex for any reason thinks or even senses that you are less than sincere or are hiding something, he or she will interpret it as you don’t trust him or her, and therefore he or she can’t trust you. If you can’t be trusted, then he or she isn’t emotionally safe around you.

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10 Comments

  • Thanks Yangki, your advice worked. We met for the first time in 5 months, and I think it went well because he asked to see me again. I will book another session with you because I need help creating momentum. You are an amazing coach and very compassionate human being. Thank you very much.

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  • Thank you for this great site. I am a 50yo man and your advice makes sense to me. As of right now she’s leaving everything to if or not she likes the new me. I am doing everything to show her I have changed my ways and putting myself out there knowing I might get hurt again, but that’s a chance I am willing to take for this wonderful woman. My question to you is, in your experience, has anyone got back their ex a year after a breakup? We did not cease contact and remained in each other’s lives because we care about each other very much. She always said she wants me to get my act together and I guess i was too stubborn and only started seeing a therapist 4 months ago. She says she sees I am changing but needs to see more.

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    • Yes. A lot depends on what happens in that one year when you are broken up.

      The good thing going for you is that you stayed in each other’s lives, proof of maturity on both sides (you’re 50, I would be shocked it if were otherwise… :))

      The other good thing going for you is that she’s open to the possibility of the two of you getting back together.

      Now it’s up to you to make her not only see the new you, but like him and fall in love with him!

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  • My ex and I met online and dated for 5 months. Her feelings for me were stronger than my feelings for her and I just didn’t think it was fair to her, so I ended it. She wasn’t upset or at least did not show but instead asked if we could stay in contact, and out of guilt I said yes. In the two months we’ve been broken up I think that my feelings for her have grown stronger. It’s probably because all my other breakups ended with no contact and this is the first time I’ve stayed in contact with an ex. My question is: Should I tell her how I feel about her? I can’t stop thinking about her and I just want to know if we have a chance.

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    • Sounds like you have a keeper there!

      I definitely think you should let her know how you feel, but before you do it make sure you’re ready to stay, and won’t break her heart again. People can only be hurt so many times.

      I also think that before you tell her, try it out with one or two romantic gestures — something that you think will really impress her and see how she responds. In other words, work you way towards “the talk”. This might end up being your “get back together talk”.

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  • This is my second attempt at getting my ex back. He and I were together for 2 years 3 months. I was insecure and needy and ran him away. We didn’t talk for 7 weeks until we ran into each other at a party and one thing lead to another and we got back together. Just a month later we were back into the same old problems and broke up again. We didn’t do NC but LC. We’ve started hanging out again and it just feels more relaxed this time but we’ll see how things go.

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    • Good for you… things should feel and BE different, that’s how you know you are not doing the old relationship again.

      Keep in mind that contact, hanging out etc, is not what is going to get you back together long term. It’s making sure you’ve worked on why you are insecure and needy. THAT is why you broke -up, why you may not get back together, and why you may get back together and break-up again.

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  • I really like this site. I’ve been in too many online offering advice on getting back your ex but it seems that very few really want help, they just wanted to vent. It makes the whole situation seem hopeless and stuck. Not helpful at all. I want to improve the relationship with my ex and this is really helping.

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  • I pity all the people here pining for their exes. It’s over for a reason. Going back to your ex is like throwing out an old sofa and then digging in the dumpster to retrieve it. If you do, you deserve everything you get.

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    • So true if you have a habit of buying cheap worthless sofas that you have to throw in the dumpster. Says more about your taste and choices than it says about the sofa or dumpster diving…(:

      Fortunately, some people have a taste for the finer things in life. If it’s that one-of-a-kind, and for one reason or another you gave it away and then realized what a fool you are, I say, do everything within your power to get that sofa back.

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