3 Reasons Why You’re Not Making Progress With Your Ex

Almost everyone trying to get their ex back feels like sometimes they are just spinning their wheels, unable to gain traction or move things forward.

Unfortunately, a majority cut their losses and give up at this point. Some give up just at the point where things were starting to turn around.

If it feels like you have not moving forward it is either because:

1) You are playing it safe (e.g. low/limited contact, friend-zone).

You are not pushing your ex away/messing things up, but at the same time you are not moving things forward either. Some people find themselves in low/limited contact for months, or until their ex is with someone else, then they try to “do something” to move things forward. But by then, it’s too late. [More in: Does Limited or Low Contact Work?]

2) You have no strategy/plan of action and/or doing the wrong things.

This is where most people miss the boat. They are so focused on managing contact that they forget that people don’t fall in love with you because you contact them just the right amount. People fall in love because of how you make them feel.

Stuck-ness means that you need to change your whole approach to the situation. You need to change your understanding of it, and your response to it. [More in: Why Your Ex Doesn’t Want To Talk To You]

3) You don’t trust yourself or what you are doing.

This is where the over-analyzing every word, every action, every interaction comes in. You want to be absolutely sure you are making the right decision before you do anything, you got the right words before you say them, and know the right action before you take it. But in the end, you only end up creating a state of mind where you are hyper-vigilant about your own words and actions.

  • Afraid to take any action because you think you’ll make a fool of yourself;
  • Worried that if you say this or that, it’ll drive your ex further away;
  • Freaking out when you make a mistake or things don’t turn out the way you’d hoped;
  • Putting yourself down and underestimating your own abilities and strengths;
  • Running away from people and situations you think you can’t handle;
  • Struggling with uncertainty and unexpected situations;
  • Constantly asking for and believing everyone else’s thoughts and opinions, except your own;
  • Afraid to make decisions or making a decision and then drive yourself crazy with anxiety and worry;
  • Making things worse or making a mess of everything.
[More in: Your Ex Will Trust You Again When You Trust You]

 

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30 Comments

  • It makes so much sense when you talk of giving space as an avoidance strategy. My ex has this habit of pulling away every time we have a disagreement. We don’t yell at each other, we just don’t agree on how much time we spend with each other. She is not interested in many things and wants me to stay home with her every single day. When I rebel, she stops responding to my texts. After a couple of weeks she texts me back saying she was giving me my space. I thought she was just being passive-aggressive.

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    • She is being passive-aggressive, you are right about that. She perceives your ‘rebellion’ as an ‘attack’ on her need for you to spend time with her and ‘giving you space’ is her way of fighting back. But there may be some manipulation going on as well, especially if after she does ‘gives you space’, you to start staying home with her every single day.

      As long as there’s some kind of ‘reward’ in it for her, she’ll keep doing it.

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  • What does it mean when my ex says “he doesn’t see a future for us” but continues to text me and even have sex with me. Is he confused about his feelings? I do want to ask him but I’m afraid that it will drive him away. What should I do? Thanks.

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    • I don’t think this is about feelings. It’s possible that he still has feelings for you and even still wants all the benefits of being in a relationship, but doesn’t want a “relationship” with you. Depending on how long you’ve been trying and what you have been ding to try to get him back , these words mentioned more than once should not just be brushed off.

      I say ask him. If asking him drives him away, he wasn’t going to hang around for too long anyways. You do want to know if it’s worth putting in any more of your time or effort into trying to get him ex back.

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  • I am still learning how to communicate effectively. We used to argue a lot and now I simply acknowledge what she is trying to say and how she is feeling, and things don’t escalate as they used to.

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    • Good for you. Be patient with yourself, you’ll get the hang of it. Every time you don’t react the same way, it sends a message that you have changed. The key is consistency.

      One more thing: Avoiding arguments is not enough to get your ex back. You have to be proactive in moving things forward, or you’ll find yourself in a situation where things are not as bad as they used to be, but also not moving forward.

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  • Yangki, your book has been so helpful. I met with my ex and explained how I felt and that I wanted us to try again but in a new way. I also acknowledged he may be in a different place. He said he still has feelings for me but doesn’t know what to do. At his suggestion, we have spoken on the phone and agreed to again next week. I think things are going well and I’m trying to trust my own instincts. But I’m unsure whether I should be doing small things (eg texts) between our calls to keep building the connection or allow him to set the pace he’s happy with?

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    • Both. Allow him to set the pace he’s happy with and also do small things to continue to build the connection.

      You have only had the book for 10 days, I don’t think you built enough momentum and asked too soon. Remember the more times you ask and don’t get “yes”, the more he’ll convince himself that he does not want to come back. So make sure you build enough momentum before you ask again.

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  • This site is really helping me navigate the difficult struggle dealing with my very cold and distant ex. He wants to remain friends but he does not make the effort to initiate contact. If I do not reach out, he never does. But I see progress in his replies when I ask about the app he is developing. He opens up and we talk for an hour. It is not much but I feel more confident trying to make the emotional connection. Wish me luck.

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  • My ex and I communicate by text. She says she still loves me and would give me another chance but right now she can’t because I hurt her badly. I want to keep contact because I know I’m changing and will continue to put in the work. I want her to see that I’m changing but how do I do that without flat out saying “I’m changing.” Is this something covered in your book?

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    • Yes it is. Telling someone that “I’m changing” does not work because people in general are skeptical, and for good reason, of such statements. Too many people say they’ve changed or are changing but never really mean it or do. Your ex not only needs to experience the change for her to believe you, she also needs some kind of “proof” of how that change happened. That’s why it’s important to 1) maintain contact and 2) be able to effectively communicate both the change and proof of change to her.

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  • Dear Love Doctor,

    My Boyfriend recently (2 weeks ago) called a break – which is more like a complete break up- and wants to stay in communication – then look at spending time with eachother as friends and “see how it goes”.

    This post really caught my eye since I have written so many (unsent) letters to him trying to explain how I see how much Ive hurt him and how I feel so bad about it.

    Is this wrong? How do you make someone feel as if you understand how much you hurt them – by NOT writing those things? is 2 weeks too soon to be doing things like that?

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    • I think that you should keep the letters to yourself, for now. Spend time with each other and create more positive memories to offset whatever is left over from the past. You may find that you do not need to give him the letters, or when you give them to him, he handles it better

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