How to Earn Your Ex’s Trust – Pt 3

get-ex-to-trust-you-again3. Consistency

I always advice my clients not to be too concerned about whether an ex responds to a text, email or call immediately or responds a week later, but to look at the consistency of their positions as this is a better indicator of whether you are making progress – or being played.

Whether or not someone is consistent about where they are at tells you how much they value a relationship with you. Someone who values a relationship with you will say/do things that communicate that you can depend on them to do what they say they will do. Someone who is only interested in his or her agenda and what will benefit him or her, will say/do anything and be anyone you want them to be.

No reasonable person in his or her right mind should trust someone who does not want to be accountable or held responsible for what they say or do. You trust such a person at your own peril. If you say “but you said/did this”, they can easily say, “but now I say/do” and there is nothing you can do about it. This is the very reason why they keep changing positions — to be so slippery that you can’t hold them down to anything.

Consistency builds trust. Consistency builds credibility. Sometimes consistency erases mistakes. Most emotionally mature adults are willing to be patient with you if you are consistent and reliable.

To get your ex to a point where they feel safe to emotionally open up to you again, he or she needs to know that he or she can hold you responsible for what you say or do. He or she needs to know that he or she can reasonably predict how you will react or respond to whatever situation that might come up, especially those situations when things don’t go your way.

Like all of us, you may not always say or do all the right things (you are human!), but being consistent says that your heart is the right place, and you can be trusted.

If you find yourself saying and doing things — lying, playing mind games, doing things that go against your values or making promises you can not follow through, you are undermining your own trustworthiness.

Initially, it can seem like you are making headway with your agenda and getting results by changing your views and even values to whatever is expected of you at the time, but over time, your ex will figure it out — if they are smart enough.

Nothing confuses most people more than contradictions, and nothing turns off a majority of us more than fickleness or lack of a core or backbone. To rebuild trust, you need to be both consistent in what you say and do. You also need to show up authentically day after day, week after week, month after month.

Remember, once trust has been lost, rebuilding it takes time. Don’t assume that you can re-establish trust by simply exchanging a few friendly texts, e-mails or phone chats. It may take several weeks and even months before your ex feels safe to let his or her guard down again — but it will definitely pay off.

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17 Comments

  • This was a terrific article and I’m glad I found it. I appreciate how different you are compared to coaches out there that say to play games. Like you say, I have been consistent and although getting hot/cold behavior still, I will continue to show her my true self and hope I can break down her walls. Thank you

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    • Consistency is good. But sometimes just being consistent isn’t enough. To see progress you must take some risks in order to move from hot/cold to consistently warm.

      I’d also advice ditching the “break down her walls’ mentality. I know exactly what you mean but our words do affect how we think and how we think affects how we act.

      How about…”she feels safe enough to put her guard down“. Sounds more “loving” than break down her walls, doesn’t it… 😉

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      • Thank you for your reply Yangki, I appreciate it.
        Yes, that does sound much more loving and I am really trying to show her how safe and trusting our relationship can be again.
        It has been a long road but I am willing to go the distance for her. I appreciate all that you do here! Cesca

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  • What if the tell you they are not dating anyone else but they do not want a relationship with you? We ended it because I showed him I did not trust him and he said he can not live with someone who all the time accuse him of things he did not do?

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    • You believe him until you are proven wrong.

      If trust is the reason the relationship ended, trust is the reason you will not get back together. Just as you showed him you did not trust him. now you have to show him you trust him. To be able to do that consistently, you have to work on your trust issues… like really work on them with a professional.

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    • For some people a few hours and for other a few months.

      It depends on 1) what kind of relationship you had/how strong your ex’s feelings for you are, 2) why you broke up, 3) how you broke up, 4) what’s happened since the break-up, and 5) what you are doing to motivate your ex to get engaged.

      Just “hi, how are you” every few days is useless. That’s just contact. It does not motivate your ex to start initiating conversations or be more engaged.

      And before you ask… there are many articles here on how to get your ex emotionally engaged.

      You can start from here: 7 Ways To Get Your Ex Emotionally Engaged

      You might also want to get my “Dating Your Ex” book, which has more detailed advice on emotionally connecting.

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    • If you want her back, you must take control of the reconnection.

      In the initial stages of the process the one who wants his/her ex back is going to do most of the initiating contact and sustaining conversations. This is true for over 90% of all people trying to get back their ex.

      As things pick up, you’ll find your ex initiating contact and making effort to sustain conversations. Until then, it’s pretty much you doing all the heavy lifting.

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    • Just because you tell someone they’re free to reach out to you doesn’t mean that they will. It’s even more unlikely with an ex who’s not emotionally engaged.

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  • I have reached out to her numerous times and she responds but the conversations dry up really quickly. I think that in order for her to feel comfortable, she needs to be the one to control the reconnection. What do you think?

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  • I just wanted you to know I’ve learned a lot from your blog about being emotionally open. It’s been a problem of mine for years. I lost the love of my life because I was unable to allow her into my inner world. I’m slowly allowing myself to be vulnerable and although scary, I feel like this is who I really I am. So, thank you. You are doing great work.

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