What If My Ex Says It’s Not Me, It’s Him?

my-ex-says-it-is-not-me-it-is-himQuestion: Yangki, in you dating your ex book you say that we should not focus on our ex’s issues and faults. What if the reason for the breakup is because your ex is addicted to porn, shouldn’t that be a concern? Shouldn’t one try to help their ex overcome the addiction?

I love my ex very much and I really want to help him overcome his addiction. He needs help and it breaks my heart that he is pushing me away when all I want is to help him. He says he wants to be alone and not be in a relationship not just with me, but anyone. I care about him so much and know that he needs someone to help him. I’m willing to do anything to help him, I just don’t know what to do.

Yangki’s Answer: There are two issues here. Let me address the most important first— your “concern” for your ex.

You may care and love your ex very much, but anyone with common sense reading your question will see that this is not about helping your ex. This is about getting him back.

You’ve decided that YOU are what your ex needs and pushing yourself into his life, no wonder he is pushing you away.

If you are really sincere about helping him, then don’t be trying to help him and get him at the same time. That’s selfish, manipulative and controlling. If I were advising your ex, I’d tell him to run. Not walk, but run.

The second issue you raise is about what I say in my book.  I think what you are referring to is the part about taking responsibility for creating your relationship problems.

My experience has been that people who blame what they perceive to be their ex’s issues (damaged in childhood, low self esteem, fear of commitment, past relationship failures, ex-wife or divorce, etc) for the breakup and/or for their ex’s resistance to getting back together DO NOT GET THEIR EX BACK.

As a coach trying to help you get your ex back, saying the reason for the break-up is all because of your ex’s issues is essentially admitting that there is nothing you or I can do to change the situation. It’s admitting that the relationship is beyond help. 

It’s the same reason why I think it’s unhelpful to say to the person being dumped “it’s not you, it’s me”. It may indeed be about the dumper, or the dumper might think he/she is softening the blow, but by doing so, the dumper is basically saying to the dumpee, there is nothing you can do to save this relationship.

There is nothing wrong with admitting there is nothing you can do, if the relationship is indeed beyond help. But that’s often not the case (in my experience).

When a break-up happens, some people can’t bring themselves to own their role in the break-up because to them, that means they are to “blame”, something is fundamentally wrong with them or that they have to change. They’d rather someone else takes the “blame”, and/or try to change that person. It doesn’t usually work.

So while there are situations where it is clear that your ex has issues, putting all your efforts in trying to address your ex’s issues is NOT going to get the two of you back together.

In some cases, you have to be realistic and accept that the relationship will not work unless your ex gets help. He/she has to accept that he/she needs help and proactively seek that help.

You also have to accept that until your ex gets the help he/she needs, the relationship is not going to work. Trying to get him/her back pretending that you are trying to “help” him/her is manipulative, selfish and unhealthy for the relationship.

That’s only if your ex’s issues are really THE issue. But like I said, in 90% of the cases I work with, the reason for the break-up and for no progress getting one’s ex back is inability to own up and take responsibility.

There is a lot you can do to change the situation, and get your ex back simply by 1) re-examining how you are looking at the break-up, and 2) changing the way you are going about getting your ex back.

What would you have done differently? What is within your control to change? What have YOU changed?

What is it within your control to change are things about YOU. You are the only person you can change.

If you change things about YOU that played a role in how the relationship played out and ultimately ended, and the relationship is still not working out, then you know for sure that things are indeed beyond help.

Until then, focusing all your attention on your ex’s “issues” is throwing your hands up and declaring defeat, before you’ve even tried.

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1 Comment

  • I appreciated this post because I have become fixated on my ex’s issues, and it has led me to feel helpless. I examine all of these things about his past, his previous relationships, his impulsiveness, and I get fixated on these problems. I see our relationship as just another casualty of his inability and fear to commit. Of course, when you see things that way, it looks bleak. I realize that I have to re-frame this in my mind. It will take effort, but it’s the only way to actually accomplish anything.

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