Question: 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. Take responsibility for your role in the break-up
The more you keep blaming your ex’s (his/her action or his/her issues) for the break-up, the longer it’ll take to accept what has happened. Any attempts at an apology will come across as “blaming your ex”.
2. Be willing to do whatever it takes, this may include eating a really humble pie
Just telling your ex 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 he/she believes that you’ve changed.
3. 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.
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!