Sunday October 26th 2014

What To Do When Your Ex Is Scared

toronto_akiteng-984Question:In your eBook you said to wait until things have warmed up with an ex before bringing up the subject of getting back together. However, in the past few weeks, before I bought your eBook, I asked my ex to get back together and she said she’s not in a position to get back into the relationship. I told her neither was I since I still had a lot of work to do on myself. Now I know I should not have said I was not ready to get back together after asking her to get back together and regretted it the moment the words came out of my mouth. I made a lot of mistakes when we were together and really need to show her I’m working on me.

Fortunately, she’s still responding positively to all my contacts and I am using this space to try and warm things up. But she’s still scared to open up to me, of course. I don’t blame her at all. I didn’t realize the damage that was being done to the relationship until it was too late. Under these circumstances, is it still possible to make this relationship work?” I would LOVE to talk to her on phone but don’t know what I should talk about when I call her. I’m thinking of just being truthful and tell her I want her back but that didn’t work well the first time. Should I tell her “I want us to have a fresh start?” What do you think?

The Love Doctor’s Answer: It’d be nice to just say you want her back — but at this point in the process it might just alienate her further since she’s said she’s not in a position to get back into the relationship.

She has to believe that things will be better. This is what your contacts need to be about. Whenever you can, steer the conversation towards a different and better future.  The formula is: I recognize where we had problems… this is what needs to change for things to be different… this is how I am doing my part changing the dynamics between us… this is what the future will look like.

These are NOT words you say to your ex (the way I’ve stated it here, you’ll come across as “weird”). This is a mental formula you keep in your head for all your contacts. And you don’t have to directly include him or her in the future, instead describe the future in such away that she can see him/herself in it — and want it. If she doesn’t see herself thinking, feeling and doing things differently (in a better way) from the old relationship, she won’t want what you’re offering.

But you also have to go beyond talking — words are cheap. You have to show her how it’s going to happen by doing the things you said will make the relationship different!

As you can see it doesn’t happen over night — but the point is to recognize what needs to be done, to start doing it and keep doing it until you start to see results. If you handle this right, it won’t be long before you see changes in your ex’s attitude towards you.

A word of caution here for others reading this response.  I don’t want to sugar coat this and make it look like it’ll work for everybody. Your ex has to want to communicate with you in the first place – even if he or she is not sure or ready to get back with you, right away. Just willingness to commn=unicate is all the opportunity you need to start warming things up.

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

29 Responses to “What To Do When Your Ex Is Scared”

  1. Malarie says:

    Spot on. I had this happen to me and he had to beg on his hands and knees and really convince me he realizes the mistakes he made. He also had to explain to me how he would work with me to solve those problems we had in the relationship. If I’d felt that things would be the same as before I’d have moved on.

  2. Wiser Paul says:

    Then how do I get her back if I don’t know what she’s thinking?

  3. There is no way of knowing what anyone thinks unless they tell you. But you can try to gauge how they feel by their actions. For example: if she makes an effort to keep contact with you, you can tell she still has a positive view of you; if she’s asking friends about your dating life, it’s likely that she still thinks there might be a chance or that you’re still not over her; if she asks to see you face to face, it means she’s once again comfortable in your physical space and might even mean that she’s actually interested in finding out if the “chemistry” is still there. etc. I’ve another post on common signs that say your ex is interested again, if you’re interested, click here to read it….

  4. Sal2290 says:

    I really love your advice. I’m a 43 year old man, was married 11 years. I met this wonderful amazing woman and had a relationship for 2 months. She broke up with me because I didn’t treat her the way I should have. I’m heart broken but also now know that I was not ready for a relationship when I met her. I’m right now going through some personal changes and improving myself to be the man she wanted but I failed to be. Hopefully, I can go back and try to win her back by showing her that I really get it and things will be different because I’m different and better. I know I have to try to win her back because I’ve never met anyone like her and feel she’s the one. I’ll regret it if I don’t at least try.

  5. Usually it takes one wake up relationship to, well wake you up. If she is that “special”, I also say you should at least try. You just never know until you try – try it the right way.

  6. Kesead says:

    She tried to talk me out of it saying she did not want us to become strangers but I went ahead with n/c anyway. Ever since, she has been ice cold and indifferent. I’ve reached out to her with letters or email about once every couple weeks, which seems to make her even angrier. Yesterday she sent me an email saying she just wants me to leave her alone. In hindsight, I wish I had never did n/c. My little boy reaction of fear of rejection seems to have created the reality. At this point, I’ve lost all hope of ever getting her back. I don’t think anything will change her mind.

  7. Given that she asked you not to cut off all contact after the break up and you did it anyway, I’m sure she feels her indifference is justified. My advice for you is to step back, just stop trying to get her back… but don’t close the door behind you either, that is write to say, I’m moving on or something to that effect . Just go on living your life and not try to pursue her or expect her to pursue you. This alone will not change her mind but it will at least begin to soften the negative vibe between the two of you.

  8. vinnie says:

    I have just separated with my wife about a month ago after almost 2 years of marriage been together for 4 years, she said she doesn’t feel the love no more, she needs some space and think what she wants. In a month time we have met about three times and talked on the phone few times, i wanted to celebrate our anniversary together but she came up with idea of not feel well, i really felt bad about this, i haven’t called her or contacted her by any means after that. I am taking it slowly and giving her space but i am confused i think i am drifting apart day by day, or is it too early for me to think?

  9. I’m not sure of what you mean by “is it too early for me to think?” Hopefully this post will address your concern about drifting apart…

    Will Your Ex move Further Away from You If too Much Time Passes?

  10. Erica says:

    My boyfriend of 9 years broke up with me three weeks ago after 9 years together. His reason was that “he didnt have fun with me anymore.” However, he indicated that he is still really attracted to me and we have communicated for the past three weeks about the relationship, his feelings and my feelings. I would really like to be able to talk to you with him about our relationship, but am not sure how to get him to agree to that. He is very private about his emotions and that is what caused our issues. I thought everything was fine in the relationship whereas he was having the opposite emotion. The continued communication makes me have hope for the relationship, but I dont know where to go from here…

  11. No problem if he is not ready at this point or any other to talk to me. I work with both couples and singles and sometimes all it takes is one person to move the relationship into the right direction.

  12. EA says:

    Can you kindly remove my last name from my comment above (posted at 10:59am). I love your website – I would just rather my last name not be included on here.

    Thank you!!

  13. I completely understand… :)
    Thanks for the kind words about my website…

  14. Edric says:

    My ex left me on june 4th the day before she started her new job so i went to her job and wrote all over her car and how much i love her and i put roses in her drivers seat and she loved it she said i made her feel so special and then the next day we got into a little arguement and she broke up with me we have had a off and on relationship well shes been staying with her friend going out to clubs and has not really made contact with me i have met up with her and did what all guys do i begged her back but she could not even look me in the eye because i can tell she is trying to force herself not to be with me she has told me that she does not see things working out with us but i really love her and she told me she loves me but she doesnt know if she is still in love with me how can i get her back do i do no contact or what i just really want her back i know we can work on our problems we’ve been together for 2 and 1/2 years.

  15. I agree with you that it seems the love is still there but the other things happening in the relationship e.g. “little argument” is what is causing her to feel that it won’t work out. This is what needs to change. How much you love her is not the issue, if you two can have a healthy loving relationship is the issue.

    I suggest you read all my posts and articles on “no contact” because I strongly believe from years of experience helping men and women get their ex back, “no contact” is NOT a strategy for getting back an ex. It is not even a healthy way to build any kind of healthy loving relationship that will stand the test of time. Just search “no contact” and you’ll see many posts and articles and comments and responses to other questions on using no contact.

  16. Steve says:

    My breakup was shattering enough to get me into therapy. Neither of us was perfect by any means, but I took her for granted and she finally had enough and left. Therapy has helped me see my own mistakes and showed me how I can be a better boyfriend for her. The problem is that she doesn’t want to talk to me or see me. She says she will only believe I’ve changed when she sees it. But how can she see it when she won’t talk to see me?

  17. That’s a tough place to be, but she’s right, you know. Seeing is believing. Most people say “I’ve changed” just to get an ex back after they get what they want they go back to being their old selves…

    If you have a mutual friend or someone you know she’s close to — and one who’ll agree to talk to her on your behalf (without taking sides), ask that person to explain to your ex that you will not try to pressure her into doing anything she does not want to. All you want is to “make up” to her for all the times you took her for granted. If it develops into something more… great! but if it does not, you’ll part ways knowing that you tried to be the person you were not in the relationship, and it just didn’t work out. If she agree to a ‘trial period”, please don’t try pushing “let’s get back together”. Your job is to SHOW her so she can believe (on her own) that you’re a better person. That’s all. The rest will sort itself out.

  18. Tony says:

    I left my girlfriend of 3 years for a woman I met online. After only 4 months with her, I realize I made a huge mistake. I’ve been trying to get my ex back but she does not want me back. She loved me well, I don’t know why I did it. Advice please.

  19. I don’t know if you can get her to take you back especially if you even don’t even know why you did what you did in the first place. This is not about your ex or the new woman, this is about you. You seem not to know what you want and in the process hurting others. Instead of trying to get your ex back, spend sometime trying to figure out what you want and finding happiness all by yourself without needing to attach yourself to someone else to be happy. Then may be you can try to get her back… it’s going to be tough though!

  20. Katz says:

    Yangki, as for women trying to get their ex back and doing most of the heavy lifting, what are your thoughts about the notion that men prefer to pursue than be pursued?

  21. I have a lot to say about that, actually…(:

    First of all, I’m one woman who does not think that women are a certain way and men are a certain way. We (men and women) all are unique individuals with our own unique ways of thinking, feeling, acting and reacting. That’s what makes each of us “special”… like no other woman or man.

    I’ve found that women who recognize that each man is uniquely different, and men who recognize that each woman is uniquely different tend to relate better with the opposite sex, and have better, healthier and more fulfilling relationships. Those who think women think/feel/do this, and men think/feel/do that have a harder time attracting and relating to the opposite gender. They are busy looking for “clues” based on what they think women/men are supposed to think/feel/do, and find themselves too confused, too afraid or unable to attract and relate to the opposite gender.

    About pursuing… some people prefer to pursue, some people prefer to be pursued… most people don’t give a crap. If they are into you, it does not matter to them whether they are pursing you or you are pursuing them.

    If they are not into you… whether you pursue them or not, they are just NOT into you.

    It’s that simple. The rest is running around in circles chasing one’s own tail (no pun intended).

  22. Julian says:

    Yangki, I agree 100% with everything you said above. However, I think you miss one very important point. Just like racism, there is so much more to be gained personally, financially and politically in propagating divisions between men and women. Corporations, Hollywood, the media, politicians, activist groups, authors etc. make millions of dollars from keeping us divided and separate.

  23. Did you say, “millions of dollars”?

    I take back everything I said about us being unique individuals and not just our gender.

    Ladies and gentlemen, Men are from Neptune and Women are from Mercury.

    Now where are my millions of dollars???…(:

  24. Cissey says:

    Yangki, you’re so right about responding instead of reacting. My ex and I had an incident a couple of days ago where I felt that he was trying to push my buttons. He always complained that I fight nasty and act defensive for no reason. In this incident, I took a deep breath and instead of getting defensive sent a text back keeping it factual as I needed to be without being nasty. He responded with “Wow! what did you do with my ex?” and a smiley.

  25. Good for you! Sometimes a familiar reaction is exactly what your ex is looking for. If you react as he expects, it sends a message that nothing has changed.

  26. Wiser Paul says:

    The hardest part is not knowing what she’s thinking. I think I could move on better if I just knew she didn’t want to get back together at all.

  27. I agree with you that hardest part of this process is not knowing what the other is thinking. It’s even harder when you can’t make up your mind as to what you really want to do – move on or try to get your ex back. You can’t have it both ways. The more energy and time you spend moving back and forth, the less energy and time you have to focus on either one. That’s when you feel really stuck.

  28. Rockybigy says:

    For the last 2 months we’ve been trying to get back together, but she keeps saying she does not think we’re a match for each other. She acknowledges that I’m again the man she first fell in love with but says we’re not the same people we were three years ago. I don’t understand why if I’m again the original man she fell in love with, why can’t things go back to how they used to be?

  29. I understand your frustration, but I have to agree with her. Most people think going to the past will help a struggling relationship and to some degree it does, but as she says, people evolve and what they want and need changes with time. What was good enough three years ago, may not be good enough now.

    So if you really want to make this work, meet her at where she is NOW as opposed to trying to get things back to how they used to be.

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