Friday November 28th 2014

The Average Time It Takes To Get Back Your Ex

toronto_akiteng-703Whenever I’m asked, “How long does it take to get my ex back?”, my heart sinks. Why?

Because every time we try to make love work in a specific way, at a specific time, in a specific sequence, it’s almost always certain that it’ll backfire on us — and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it backfire on so many men and women.

You can not make love work on a schedule. You just can’t. You can create conditions and learn experience-enhancing skills, habits, traits or other behaviors that make love most likely to happen faster, but when love happens is ultimately out of your control.

This can be hard to swallow especially if you are so used to doing things at the pace you choose and at the times you choose for the results you want. Because you’ve always, by will power, hard work and determination made things happen, you can’t help but try to somehow force love to work on your schedule and do what you want it to do.

Occasionally you may succeed in manipulating a few things to work in your favour, but as you will soon find out, only temporarily. The harder you try to force love to work on your schedule and do what you want it to do the more stress, frustration and unhappiness you experience. In most case, all you end up doing is coming across as pushy, manipulative, controlling, desperate and needy.

Trying to force love to work on a schedule is what sometimes makes some people think that things are not working out even when everything is really working out the way it is supposed to. Many get discouraged and begin to lose hope, and others give up because it’s taking so long. Some give up just when they were closer than they were ever before.

Others take the drastic step of breaking up and cutting off all contact. On the onset this seems like regaining that sense of control because it somehow stops them from feeling the frustration with their current situation. But instead of feeling in control they find themselves thinking over and over about situations they have control over, and losing hours of sleep in search of that much needed but illusive “closure”.

And here is the tragic part. The way that you act and behave when things don’t go your way or when you don’t get what you want tells the other person what kind of person you will be like to live with (for the rest of their lives).  And since the greatest natural relationship killer is the fear of regret — something your behavior may already be causing — the other person will most likely want nothing to do with you after seeing you act pushy,  manipulative, controlling and/ or running away to hide instead of calmly facing the situation.

Let me say it again: You can not make love work on a schedule. The sooner you accept this simple truth the more likely that you’ll not only be able to salvage your relationship, but make it last for a very long time.

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

29 Responses to “The Average Time It Takes To Get Back Your Ex”

  1. Sophie says:

    I think my pushy behaviour has already driven him away. I thought he had commitment phobia and kept pushing for a commitment even when he said he was not yet ready, but wanted to marry me. Now he wants nothing to do with me. Says he can’t give me what I want. My regret is that I wish I had not pushed for love to happen on my time. I wish I had been a little patient.

  2. Chelsea says:

    This is very insightful. I’ve finally started realizing that sometimes it takes a little longer than one wants. I’m learning to be more patient, and it’s really reduced the stress pain and suffering in my life.

  3. Good for you for realizing that trying to force things to happen on your schedule only creates more stress and pain for you… (:

    Great things have no fear of time.

  4. Nicole says:

    Yangki, I hear what you are saying and I know that’s the right thing to do. But sometimes it is just very hard to be patient. My ex and I have been trying to work on the relationship. We talk daily on phone. Sometimes he calls and sometimes I call him. I called him the day before and it went straight to voicemail. I called him again last night, same thing. Now I’m really panicking because he may have met someone else. Should I call him again or should I go no contact and not contact him and if he calls let the machine get it? Please help.

  5. I agree with you 100%, it’s sometimes hard… but it’s only been a day or so and you’re already thinking it has to do with another woman! If it was a couple of weeks plus other “signals” then may be you’d have reason to be concerned.

    My advice is to wait and hear what he says when he calls you back. I’m almost 100% sure he will call. I say “100% sure” because the two of you been working on the relationship. He may have a perfectly good explanation and you’ll feel stupid for rushing to conclusions and wanting to go crazy for no good reason. I also suggest that you do not think too much about how you will react and go with things as they unfold. It’s the thinking too much that drives you nuts all by yourself!

  6. Nicole says:

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. He called and as you said, he had a perfectly good reason. I really need to stop thinking too much about things lol

  7. Musathegentlesoul says:

    There is a saying in the Tao, “Infinite patience brings immediate results.” This is the law of the universe, plain and simple.

  8. Lex says:

    Thank you for your article, Christine. Each time I feel anxious or hopeless I read some of your words and it helps me to relax and feel more at peace. I find it hard not to get discouraged when it feels like the progress I’ve made with my ex is undone–things will get better between us, he opens up a bit more and is communicative, but then regresses into acting arrogant and dismissive when we talk (although he does still contact me regularly). It makes it hard to put myself out there when I feel rejected by him. I know from your articles that some push and pull is normal, and I try to remain positive and not engage in the game playing, but after months of this behaviour it gets to be draining and I start to feel discouraged. Do you have any suggestions?

  9. I hear you. It takes time and can get discouraging and even lead to giving up just when you were closer than ever. I have in my eBook “Dating Your Ex” a whole section on how to handle the push-pull phase. If you already have the eBook, make sure you follow the love principles outlined in previous chapters because it makes the push-pull phase a lot easier when you’re in the right attitude. Just trying to hang in there may prove to be a waste of time. And just following “how to” without the grounding of time-tested principles may just make things worse — and damage the relationship beyond repair.

    It’s all about how you perceive, handle and respond to uncertainty during this phase.

  10. Lex says:

    Thanks, Christine. I do have the e-book, are there any sections in particular I should re-read?

    Lately I’ve tried to take a bit of a step back and let the contact happen more on his schedule, but your comment about how just ‘hanging in there’ can make things worse has me worried.

    Are there some basic steps to developing a plan to get someone back? So far I’ve tried to focus on making myself better, keeping the connection alive, having fun together and trying to have more open communication…but maybe that’s not enough? And how do I find a balance between being hopeful for a future with him but also being at peace with the possibility that it may not happen?

  11. I didn’t mean to worry you… just being realistic. Some people as you mention think all they have to do is focus on making themselves better and keep the connection alive and things will happen… but there is more… like how you communicate those changes you’ve made, grow trust, ignite that elusive “feeling” of being in love again etc. If you notice, in my book I do not put much emphasis on “communication” in the traditional North America sense. More than fun and “open communication”, you have to build “emotional safety” — where the other person feels that it’s okay to open themselves to a relationship with you once again. That’s what the other chapters in the book cover.

    “Are there any sections in particular I should re-read?”

    You benefit from my book and are more likely to succeed if you follow ALL the steps progressively other than just picking out some parts of it. One step builds on the previous step and all the accumulated love principles. Picking out certain sections doesn’t help much if the ground work for that step isn’t in place. Most people do very well with just the action-steps outlined in the book and many get back together. For specific situation steps, I’d have to talk to you and hear your story, then advice you accordingly. Each relationship is different and some relationships (especially those that have had more than one prior breakup or the “feeling” of being in love is gone) have “other” things going on that may make getting back together more complicated.

  12. Lorraine says:

    Lex, I’m in a similar situation of struggling with being hopeful and being at peace with the possibility that it might not happen. What’s helping me is not reading all the negative stories in other blogs and just focusing on my situation. I discovered that when I read negative stories I lose hope but when I’m being in my own place where I’m not allowing other people’s bad experiences to cloud my thinking, I feel at peace. I don’t know if this will help you. I just felt that I should share and may be it’ll help someone else.

  13. Lorriane, first of all thanks for addressing that part of Lex’s comment. Second of all, that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve read in a long while. It is possible to get sucked into the despair and the drama played out in the lives of others. Sometimes from others’ stories, the mind can start to create stories of our own which are far different from the reality of our situation… then using our own created stories (which may have nothing to do with reality) we frighten or discourage ourselves. This is the main reason we do not allow personal stories and rants on this blog.

  14. Augustine says:

    First of all, I’m very impressed by the advice on your site. I’ve read advice on getting an ex back from many other sources and yours is the only advice that not only makes sense but actually feels right.

    My question is: In your experience what is the right time period to expect to get one’s ex back? Two, three months or longer?

  15. There is no “right” time period; it could be the next three months, the next week, or even the next few hours. A lot depends on the type of relationship, an ex’s willingness to be open to possibilities and if one is prepared and capable of refocusing one’s energy away from the uncertainty of the situation on to something one has some certainty about.

  16. Hamza says:

    Yangki, I bought your eBook because I’d done very many “VERY BAD THINGS” with my ex ); HAHA! I have to say though that it was the happiest I’ve been considering that I was diagnozed with depression at age 16 and I’m 43.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say that the book is very helpful. However, even though I’m applying the steps, I feel like things are not moving forward. Two weeks ago, she was very open and receptive and this week, she’s distant and not responding to my emails. I called her last night after not hearing from her for 4 days and she seemed happy to hear from me, but cut the conversation short because she had an important call to make. I don’t want to just to conclusions, but part of me feels strongly that there is someone else involved. How do I approach this situation? Ask her directly or simply ignore it?

  17. I didn’t mean it like that… lol. Geez Hamza, you’ve a VERY “dirty” mind. I’m not surprised that you’ve done very many very BAD things…lol.

    As you may have read in the book, the pull and push phase of the process happens in almost all relationships. Let it not discourage you.

    It’s possible that there is someone else, but it’s also possible that there’s no one and she’s just trying to find her bearing in all this. Until she says something to you that indicates there is someone else or comes out directly and tells you, bringing it up will make you look needy, not to mention jealous and possessive. Not good when she’s trying to make up her mind about you.

  18. Bijo says:

    I agree with this article wholeheartedly. There’s no quick fix and don’t put a time limit on anything. Trust the process and grow with it. It is also important to stay focused on what is important to you, be realistic and flexible.

  19. Kayla says:

    Thank you so much for this Blog. It just seems to me that everyone is expecting relationships to be so easy and are willing to give up so easily. It is never a loss when you fully apply yourself unreservedly with someone you love — regardless of how long it takes.

  20. Lordes says:

    Yangki, I’m so appreciative of your work. I feel that I have made a lot of progress since starting to follow your advice. My ex went from saying we will never get back together to lets see where things go. We spend lots of time together and I can see from how he looks at me that he still loves me. But for the past week I sense him pulling away. I sensed this after we had a conversation about our future plans, a conversation btw he brought up. I asked him if he saw us being a couple again, and he said yes but felt pressured. We still talk several times a day, but it’s just not the same. Is the push-pull dynamic you talk about in your book?

  21. The push-pull dynamic usually happens when it feels like you are back together and yet really not back together. This seems to be what is happening.

    Most people react with pulling away when they feel pressured to do something that they were going to do. The pressure often causes them to rethink or change their minds. Continue what you’ve been doing, but take off the pressure from pushing for getting back together until he is ready.

  22. Lordes says:

    Do you think that I should tell him that I don’t want him to feel pressured?

  23. I don’t think that it’ll make him feel any less pressure. It might make him feel even more pressure.

    Imagine trying to make a decision and someone is telling you, “No pressure. Take your time”, and you know too well that they are waiting for you to make THE decision.

  24. Gabe says:

    It’s very refreshing to find a site that has a positive take on breakups. For the first time, I think that my situation may not be so hopeless after all. She ended it end of January, but I was able to convince her not to breakup. That lasted for only two weeks. She sent me a text saying she could not do it anymore and needed space to find herself. I didn’t contact her for two weeks, and when I did, she didn’t respond. I left it for another two weeks and contacted her again, still no response. Another two weeks, and then i finally got a response. She said she misses me and still loves me but needs time. Given your experience in this matters, how do you suggest I approach this going forward? I do want her back and I’m willing to wait for as long as it takes.

  25. Give her the time she needs. From her response, the feelings are still there, and that’s usually a good sign. Whether or not you will get her back depends on if after she “finds herself”, she still wants to be with you. Give yourself the best chance by working on yourself as well, especially on those things that made he feel that she “couldn’t do it anymore”.

    Since she did not specify how much time she needs, and you did not ask, if she does not contact you within a month (which is the amount of time it took you to get her to respond the last time), reach out to her again. Don’t let too much time pass because “too much” time with no contact creates it’s own problems. The more time passes, the more emotional disconnection. Getting that connection back is not easy — and sometimes, it’s impossible.

  26. Cheri says:

    I have progressed massively since starting to use your advice. At first it was hard, he ignored most of my texts, took days to reply and was very distant when he replied. But things have been getting better. We communicate better and he has gone from initially telling me he has moved on to initiating contact. But there is one problem. He says he’s afraid it will not work out because we have been broken up for almost 2 years. How do I deal with my situation?

  27. His fears are a “normal” part of the process. It just means you still have some work to do in terms of showing him that because you’ve changed, the relationship has a better chance of working.

    In other words, don’t let it discourage you. As long as you see progress, you are doing okay. When it starts to feel like whatever you do things remain the same for weeks or months, that’s when you get worried.

    All the best!… (:

  28. Tricia says:

    My ex and I have strong feelings for each other but we decided to start by hanging out as “friends”. It was her suggestion and I went along with it. I had previously made the mistake of telling an ex that it is all or nothing and she moved on. Also I wasn’t there for my ex and I needed her to see that I had made positive changes in my life to better myself. I know she’s waiting to see that the things that upset her last time wont be a problem again. The attraction is still there and things do seem different.

Please read our Blog Policy before asking your question or leaving a comment. Thanks, I appreciate YOU!!