Wednesday July 30th 2014

How To Get Back Your Ex When You’ve Hurt Her

toronto_akiteng-861Question: I broke up with my ex six weeks ago over something really stupid. We had dated for almost 1 year. We spent a lot of time together, enjoyed many of the same things and laughed a lot. I did something that at the time I thought that she over reacted but after really thinking about it, I can see she had a point and must have felt really terrible about how I treated her. I must have hurt her when I didn’t see how she felt. I can’t help kicking myself, and turning it over and over in my head, “If only I had said/not said this” or “If only I had done /not done that.” I still love her so much and I really miss her so much. After giving it that much thought, I want to try to get her back. How do I take those first tentative steps to getting back my ex?

The Love Doctor’s Answer: If you did something really criminal relationship-wise, like cheated on her and/or broke up the relationship to explore a relationship with a mutual friend, she may want nothing to do with you. But if what you did is forgivable, she may be open to giving the  relationship another shot. Ssome relationships are just meant to be and you will not know if you do not try to find out.

But before you go rushing to get your love back, you need to do a few things:

1. Really analyze what went wrong

Just making amends by telling him/her you’re truly sorry isn’t going to do it. You must do whatever you need to do to make sure that you do not repeat your mistakes – and that they can be confident you’ve changed.

2. Be willing to do whatever it takes, this may include eating a really humble pie

It’s always easy to blame your “problems” on someone else. To believe that if he/she wasn’t acting in a certain way, your relationship would be great. Wrong. You attracted this person because the two of you are vibrating at the same frequency and in the same direction and your direction may be that of pain and self-destruction. Admit your issues, and like I said resolve them, otherwise you’ll get in the cycle of on-again and off-again madness.

3. Try to find out before hand how he/she feels

Observe his/her expressions and body language when around you. If you haven’t had a chance to meet since the break up and you have mutual friends or you are close to his/her family, ask them if he/she has confided in them whether he/she is open to getting back together. They may even have some ideas for you regarding how you can make the transition easier. However, this is a very risky move especially if the reason you broke up in the first place has to do with trust, or not being open enough. They may see it as your usual “sneaky” self.

Some people try to get back on phone, but a face-to-face meeting is the best approach. You will come across as more sincere if he/she can see your body language.

4. Do not try and make it look like you accidentally bumped into him/her and now want to discuss getting back together

He/she won’t take you seriously. Instead ask to see him/her and explain why. If he/she says “No-way” , at least you have a fair idea that he/she may still be angry at you. Don’t be discouraged though. He/she has the right to hurt. We all do.

5. Try contacting him/her again a few weeks after

My advice is always try at least 4 times (a few weeks in between) before you completely give up. If he/she still does not respond chances are they have moved on. Sorry. No need to make a pest of yourself or start acting like a stalker.

But if he/she responds:

1. Start slow

Do not rush in and try to continue the relationship from where it had stopped. That old relationship is dead, so start dating your ex all over again like the first time you met him or her. Even if you already know tis person, allow time for him or her warm up to you slowly.

2. Hear him/her out

If there were some angry feelings before and after the break-up, do not rush to apologize before you’v heard what the person has to say. Let him/her talk about the hurt, the anger, and all the emotions. Don’t’ try to belittle any of them. People have the right to their emotions even if you do not agree. After they’ve gotten it out they will most likely feel understood and will be willing later on to hear your side of the story.

3. Apologize

Go all out to convey how truly sorry you are. Avoid going into a rant and rave about what he/she did to make you do what you did. It’s self defeating. Let him/her know how dreadful you feel about the whole issue.

4. Promise to start the relationship with a clean slate

Try and set out constructive ideas how you will avoid, at all costs, things ever reaching that state again. Resolve that it will never happen again and work towards it.

5. Woo him/her again

Let him/her know in subtle ways that you will never repeat the mistake. Make the relationship come alive by rekindling the fires. Make him/her feel special. Give him/her many reasons to be deliriously happy.

Now remember these are only the “MOST” important steps, the major ones. There are some more smaller steps between these seven that will ensure that you don’t act like a psycho or be stuck with a head full of useless strategies– and damaging yourself in the process. With careful planning — all big success stories involve planning — you can make your ex realize how important — and valuable — your relationship was and still is.

There Not many people are that fortunate, make it work!

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

12 Responses to “How To Get Back Your Ex When You’ve Hurt Her”

  1. James says:

    My girlfriend broke up with me about 5 weeks ago over religious beliefs. Initially, I made all the mistakes in trying to get her back. She told me she lost all trust for me after how I acted. I waited 3 weeks for things to cool down and called her seeing if she wanted to be friends. She said she misses talking to me but she thinks being friends would be too complicated right now. What do I do?

  2. Nora says:

    I dated my ex for 2 years before we broke up. I loved him but could not live a life without emotions. He actually told me he was incapable having emotions and had intimacy issues. We’ve been broken up for over a year now but I still feel guilt. I keep thinking may be I should have done more, got him professional help or just accepted a life without warmth and intimacy? This guilt is like an enormous boulder blocking me from making any progress moving on.

  3. Guilt is a heavy burden to carry. You’ve been carrying it for over a year, I can only imagine how much it’s weighed you down.

    I personally can’t imagine a relationship without emotions and intimacy (I’m East African, after all …:) ) , but I know some people who can live happily without both. Not my place to judge.

    But if you want to get past your guilt, you might want to start focusing on you for a change. I think that you are way too focused on his issues and what you should’ve and could’ve done for him. What about you, what do you really want?

    I know it sounds “selfish”, but sometimes in order to be able to give to others what they want and need, we have to have what we want and need first. Even if you had stayed with him but deep inside felt unfulfilled and even unhappy, you’d still feel guilt. Guilt for being untrue to yourself, your wants and needs. That’s an even heavier burden to carry.

    You can still try to help him if he accepts your help, but you can’t keep trying to be responsible for something you did not cause, and have no control over.

  4. Shane says:

    I think that it is harder to forgive oneself. I became someone I don’t like and drove her away with my constant demands for her time. She had so many things going on in her life and I should have been more considerate. I should have been more supportive of her pursuing her Masters and when she wanted time with her friends, I should have given her space. Now that she’s gone I clearly see all my mistakes but have no way of telling her what I’m sorry. She wants no contact with me, whatsoever. I’m broken and depressed.

  5. I’m not surprised she wants no contact with you. You are too emotional right now and she’s afraid (and rightly so) that you will overwhelm her with your pain –most human beings can handle only so much of other’s emotions.

    Yes, you were not considerate. Yes, you were not supportive. And yes, you were not so many other things. You can’t go back and change the past. You can only learn from it.

    Like most people with a mind on overdrive, there is a very high chance that you are over-thinking this, distorting facts and even taking responsibility for things that aren’t your fault. It’s hard to forgive oneself when you are being too hard on yourself. Until you make peace with your mind, the pain will continue.

  6. Ellen says:

    He left me and does not want to get back with me because of what I did. But when I meet him face to face I can tell that the feelings are still there. We hold hands, hug and cuddle and one time, he even admitted to still having feelings for me, but then the next day, he backed off and ignored me for two weeks. I don’t know what to do. We have been broken up for 4 months. Do you think he could still be hurting? I can’t just give up and move on because I still love him very much.

  7. What you describe seems to be someone who still has feelings for you, but still hurting from what happened. I’m sure you have already apologized, so many times, but an apology is not enough. You have to prove to him that you really understand how you hurt him and trying to get him to “get over it” is the wrong way to do it. Allow him time to process his emotions on his own. This does not mean cut off contact, it means reach out once in a while but don’t actively try to get him back.

    It’s okay to hold his hand, hug and cuddle, but don’t do anything that looks like you are trying to push him into something he is not ready for. Let him know you are there for him and feel your support and presence but with no pressure.

    I don’t know what you did to hurt him… in my opinion but 4 months is a long time for him to still be in such pain. Most people after a couple of months either get over the hurt and try the relationship again or decide to move on. May be there are other things going on that have nothing to do with you, like depression…

  8. Debut says:

    Yangki, treat the other person how you would wish to be treated seems to be the message of your blog. For me forgiving myself for how I treated her has been an ongoing challenge. The breakup has allowed me the safety to access my vulnerability and understand my own problems. I had tried before, but it’s tough when your daily life requires you to keep shields up just to get through it.

  9. You are on the right path. People who are hard on themselves, tend to be hard on others.

    Keep in mind that it takes time for change to take root. The worst thing you can do for your chances is rush back after a couple of weeks claiming you have changed. My advice is to maintain contact so she can follow your progress towards becoming a better you, but do not actively try to get her back until the new behaviours are visibly believable.

    All the very best!

  10. Hammer says:

    This information is right on time and well articulated. I cheated and despite the pain I caused her, my ex forgave me. We ‘re spending many hours together but she says she’s not ready to get back in a relationship because the experience made her insecure and doubting herself. I obviously hurt her so much. What can I do to make her move past these feelings?

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