When someone comes to me asking for help getting their ex back, one of the things I look for is if there was strong enough emotional attraction and if enough time had been spent creating an emotionally safe relationship.
A good number of people are quick to say, yes to both. But when I ask a few questions, we both quickly realize that in fact the emotional attraction was minimal or wasn’t there at all, and not much attention had been paid to creating a strong emotional connection.
When there is no emotional attraction or when the emotional bond between two people is weak, it usually shows. While the relationship may seem stable – and even exciting and passionate on the surface, the emotional safety needed for open and honest communication, trust, respect, and even liking may be missing.
Nowhere does lack of emotional connection, emotional bonding and emotional safety show more than when two people go through a rough spot in the relationship, more especially just before, during and after a break-up.
Where the emotional attraction or the emotional bond between two people is weak there is usually a dysfunction in communication just before the break up, hostility during a break up and emotional disconnection after the breakup.
Where the emotional bond is strong, both people find it painful to just break away and act like they never knew each other. Some people choose to remain friends, others mutually agree to completely severe ties and most reconnect at some later stage in life with no hurt feelings.
But it’s in when one or both people are trying to get back together that the lack of emotional attraction or a weak emotional connection really becomes the deciding factor.
It goes without saying that no relationship is perfect, and there are varying degrees of “emotional safety.” See how you answer to these five questions (zero being “never” and ten being “all the time”), it may just give you an indication of what your chances of getting back together are. Be completely honest with yourself, it doesn’t do you any good lying to yourself.
1. Did you both feel safe enough to tell each other everything (your inner thoughts and feelings) holding nothing back?
2. Was there this strong urge (on both sides) to share your ideas, thoughts, and interests with the other; and were you able to build on each other’s ideas, and thoughts to a point where you always felt that you both wanted what’s best for yourselves and for each other?
3. Did you both have the feeling that the other was emotionally invested and making enough of an effort to nurture the relationship?
4. Did you trust your partner and did he or she believe that you were honest, trustworthy and had no hidden agenda?
5. When you had a disagreement or fight did you communicate honestly, forgive yourselves and each other, talk about what you learned from the experience and move on?
Congratulations, if you feel good about your answers. Your task now is to take the momentary lapse in emotional safety back into the emotionally safe zone. If you can do that, you’re already half way to getting your ex back.
If your responses leave you feeling like you didn’t do enough to create an emotionally safe relationship, this is where you should be starting from. If your ex doesn’t feel emotionally safe to return to the relationship, nothing will work.