Thursday October 2nd 2014

Have I Ruined It With My Ex Or Is There Still Hope?

Question: I’m writing to you because I’m worried that I’ve ruined any chance of getting my ex back. My ex broke up with me and for over a month we had no contact. When I contacted him he said being “just friends” is all he could offer me at the time. I had read in many articles that we can’t be friends with an ex, so I told him I loved him too much to be ‘just friends’. I could not pretend I didn’t have feelings for him. It’d be too hard for me because I wanted him as my boyfriend not friend. He looked really disappointed but said “I understand. I’d probably feel the same way”.

I didn’t contact him or hear from him for 2 weeks. At that time I bought your book and you said not to get all worked up because an ex said he wanted friendship but to use that as space to show that things could be different. I contacted him asking him what’s up. He replied right away. We’ve had some minimal contact as per your book but I feel that he’s guarded with me. He responds to my contacts sometimes right away and sometimes after hours or a day but he always makes a point to respond. I’m worried that because I said we couldn’t be friends that he’s probably moved on. Do you think I ruined my chances with him or is there still hope for us?

The Love Doctor’s Answer: I don’t know if you ruined things or not… what happens in the next few weeks/months will make it clear whether it’s really over or not.

I do however think you made the mistake most people make of thinking being “just friends” for a transitional period of time is a bad thing. I know many “get ex back” books and articles say never accept an offer to be “just friends.” The reasoning behind being that when you reject the offer of friendship, it’ll make an ex worry about losing you and want to get back with you right away. But as most people will testify, this advise is misguided. He wasn’t worried about losing you when he broke up with you, he won’t be worried about “losing” you just because you say you can’t be friends. It may temporarily make him sad that you won’t be in his life but he’ll get over it — even much faster when someone new catches his interest.

People with an “all-or-nothing” mindset often fail to get an ex back, not because the ex doesn’t want them back but because they’re too insecure, controlling or simply not good at give-and-take relating. And in my experience, being insecure, controlling or not good at give-and-take relating is the very reason why the relationship didn’t work out. By doing exactly what ended the relationship, they’re repeating the same mistake that got them to where they are in the first place. The sad part is that most aren’t even aware that that’s what they’re doing.

Trying to force an ex to make a decision – one that he or she would rather not make right now ALWAYS backfires — soon or later.  One simply can’t “force” love to happen. You have to nurture it and what better way to do it than in a “friendly space”.

In the “friendship zone”, you get to contact him without worrying about whether or not you should. You also have access to any new information about his current love life and can make informed decisions based on fact/reality and not heresay or the imaginations of your mind. But best of all, in the “friendship zone” you get most of the same continued companionship of having him around so you can demonstrate to him that you’re not the same person he broke up with months ago.

It’d probably look silly for you to go back and apologize or say “let’s be just friends.” I personally advice my clients not to offer “friendship” mainly because the other person may not understand exactly what you’re saying or offering. But I also tell them when offered, accept it not as a “label” but as a “space” you can use to turn things around.

My advice is for you to stop worrying about him being guarded and work on getting him to let his guard down. He’s giving you “the space” to do that, and instead of being insecure about it or trying to control things, show him you’re a better person than the one he broke up with and for that reason he can expect a better relationship than the one the two of you had.

Remember: What you pay attention to, becomes your reality!

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

7 Responses to “Have I Ruined It With My Ex Or Is There Still Hope?”

  1. Heather says:

    Yangki, I really need your advice because you seem to be the only coach out there who does not encourage mind games. I worked with a coach who told me to act like I don’t care about my ex when around him so that he realizes I’m getting over him and be more willing to do the chasing. We meet at parties and before I got this advice he would come over to me, ask how I was doing and chat a little bit. Since I started ignoring him he’s kept his distance. I wasn’t mean to him or anything, I just didn’t look his way and continued having fun with my friends because I thought he’d see I’m having a good time and remember the times spent together. I want him to come over to me again and talk to me, how do I fix this?

  2. I’m sorry you got bad advice… this is exactly why I discourage mind games. They backfire!

    I don’t think there is a way to get him to come over to you (on his own). There is a high chance that he knows exactly the kind of game you are playing. My advice is for you to swallow your pride, go over to him, ask how he is doing and chat a little bit. You may have to do this a few times before he gets comfortable with approaching you again…

    And please… stop the game playing.

  3. Rebecca says:

    There is NEVER a valid reason to get back together with an ex. Once I was foolish enough to go back with an ex and found the same problems that made us break up initially still existed. My advice is move on, don’t look back.

  4. There are some valid reasons why two people should never get back together. If someone abused you or pointed a gun at you for example, it is wise not to get back together. But saying “NEVER a valid reason to get back together with an ex” is too much generalization. Sounds like something coming from a place of bitterness.

    Believe it or not, it is possible to have a better relationship after a break-up.

    Have you considered that may be you are the problem… after all, you are the only common denominator in all those relationships. Just saying…

  5. Shell says:

    I have made the exact same mistake as this with my ex except we have stayed in contact with each other since we broke up.I broke up over something silly with him and he offered to be friends.Because I wanted to be with him I also was not sure being friends was the right thing to do and was questioning why he wanted to be friends until someone told me to stop analysing every little thing he said.I was told to accept the friendship and see where it leads.Its been hard but we are still in contact after two months.Will just have to wait and see what happens.

  6. Kerri says:

    I’ve been in NC and everyone keeps telling me my ex is going to contact me. It’s been over 2 months and not a word from him. After reading your articles, I’m wondering if may this NC is a mistake. I told him he should not contact me until he knew what he wanted. I’m scared that I may have chased away the one man I love than anything in the world. Should I break NC or complete the 3 months then contact him?

  7. I’m sorry, I don’t know how the “no contact rule” works, and therefore can’t give you the best advice. The best place to ask your question are forums where people discuss how to implement the “no contact rule”, or ask a coach who had experience with it.

    Here I don’t advice or encourage using the “no contact rule” if you are hoping some day to reconcile with your ex. This blog is for those who want their ex back, and do not want to use “no contact”.

Please read our POLICY for asking your question, then ask a BRIEF question or share insight. Thanks, I appreciate YOU!!