Help! My Ex Can’t Move On From the Past

Question: Three weeks ago I contacted my ex about some important documents. I went to pick up the documents and we ended up going out for dinner. A month ago she wouldn’t return any of my calls. We have had many phone conversation mostly about business, family and mutual friends. When we talk I’m cheerful, confident and relaxed because I want her to see that I am not the emotional wreck she knew a few weeks ago. Some days she’s really warm, friendly and even flirtatious and other days she’s cold and does not want to talk to me. She says I hurt her deeply she is having a hard time putting it behind her. I admit I wasn’t the best boyfriend to her. I now realize I was way too clingy and controlling and when I was angry I was sarcastic, criticizing, ridiculing etc. We both are very hot tempered. I’ve come a long way thanks to therapy. Do you think she still loves me but won’t admit it? What should I say to her to help her put the pain behind her?

Yangki’s Answer: There is obviously still a connection there, I can’t say with 100% certainly that it’s love, only  she can.  Now whether that connection  is sufficient to get the two of you back together or not depends on how fast she can move past that hurt and if she can trust you not to hurt her again.  It also depends on a lot other things going on in her life and if getting back with you is top on her priority list.

I assume that you’ve already apologized to her (not explained/justified what happened but accepted responsibility) for the hurt you caused her. She needs to know you really, really understand how you hurt and that you’re genuinely sorry. Do not expect her to forgive you right away, give her time to process her hurt in her own time and way.

Next time she says she’s having a hard time putting the hurt behind her (which she will) acknowledge it with something like “I’m really sorry I hurt you” and STOP THERE! It’s her reality. You can’t talk someone out of feeling hurt. You can temporarily calm the feeling of hurt but when she is on her own, it’ll come up because feelings MUST be and have to be processed by the person feeling them not by someone else.

The next step is for you to show her that it won’t happen again. This means making sure you don’t do things that remind her of why she’s hurting and why you’re not together. So it all comes down to how much changing you have done.

Don’t be surprised if after a few “great moments” she says she thinks she needs to pull back/not see you “like that” anymore ( I’ve seen it a zillion times before with so many of my clients). Do not panic and get all clingy (again).  Simply tell her it’s not what you want but you understand and hope that she knows that she can reach out to you any time she wants to.  Then ask her if you can email/call her once in a while just to see how she’s doing.  Tell her you expect nothing, you just want to know she’s okay.

The goal is to make sure the door is still open and also show her that you indeed have changed.

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  • Shaun says:

    Hi, I live in the UK. My girlfriend dumped me 3 weeks ago. This is the best site I have found. And I like how it makes sense.

    I am desperate for advice. The situation is very complicated and involves unresolved bereavement and health issues. I can’t find anything on the net remotely close to our situation and I need help so badly. Regards Shaun

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    • Love Doctor, Yangki Christine Akiteng Love Doctor, Yangki Christine Akiteng says:

      Internet advice does not cover all situations, and some situations can’t be helped by merely reading internet advice.

      I work with clients in the UK, and happy to talk to you about your situation and hopefully be of help.

      Click here to sign up for a phone call.

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  • Ace says:

    We never had any major fights either but one day she just told me she doesn’t see a future for us. I asked her to explain it but she said she didn’t feel about me the way she wants to. I begged her and told her how much I love her but she was firm about her decision. I went no contact for 2 weeks but after reading your blog, I realized I was making a mistake and immediately contacted her. She responds to my texts and is friendly. But when I tell her I love her, she does not respond. You say in your article that if you love someone you should let them know. I still love her and miss her very much. How should I go about telling her I love her?

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    • Love Doctor, Yangki Christine Akiteng Love Doctor, Yangki Christine Akiteng says:

      I believe that if you love someone you should tell them, but now is not the right time to be telling her how much you love her or want her back. You already did a lot of that when you were “begging” and that didn’t change her mind. That’s because at this point in time, how much you love her is probably not what she wants to hear.

      The only person who right now cares if they are still loved is you. You are the only one feeling bad because you think that she might not love you anymore. So you keep saying “I love you” over and over and in so many different ways because you think somehow you’ll get some kind of reassurance that she still has feelings for you. Trying to get assurance of love makes you comes across as need, clingy and emotionally unattractive

      If she’s responding, keep the contact and build on it to get her to warm up to you again. But hold off the “love overload” because it will turn her off.

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  • Benita says:

    Okay so I text my ex after 2 months of no contact and he sends me a text back saying he’s sorry for everything and feels bad for breaking up with me, but it’s for the best. He says he wants to be on good terms and misses my friendship. What exactly does he mean by that? And should I be friends with him even though I want him back?

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    • Love Doctor, Yangki Christine Akiteng Love Doctor, Yangki Christine Akiteng says:

      He means he’s not thinking about getting back together, at least not at this point, but wants to be friends.

      Whether you should be friends or not is upto you. Some people can handle it, and others can’t.

      Here’s an article on why I personally think that being friends can work to your advantage if you want your ex back.

      3 Reasons Why Being Friends Can Get Back Your Ex

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