Question: I need your help figuring out whether I should go back to my ex or not. I don’t want to go back to the way things were. My question is: How do I know it will be different? How can I tell he has truly changed? Are there any signs I should be looking for?
Yangki’s Answer: Great question. I’d need more details of your relationship e.g. how long were you together before you broke up, what kind of relationship you had (in terms of give and take), why did you break up, what do you think needs to change for things to be different etc. for me to give you a more detailed response.
In the absence of such information, I’ll give you some of the obvious red flags that tell you you should NOT take them back. This list applies to men and women alike.
1 – They have not truly and completely accepted the break-up. They still talk like you’re still in a relationship and/or act like you owe them contact, a response, your time etc.
2 – They are always trying to convince you to take them back (because they’ve changed). You get the sense that they still “don’t’ get it” and have no real interest in your needs, all they want is for you to take them back.
3 – They haven’t changed one bit – same drama, same neediness, same controlling, same everything. From a distance the same old ‘issues” may not be like a “big deal” but when you get back together, it’s same-old-same-old all over again.
4 – They haven’t taken full responsibility for their role in the relationship ending. They are blaming the break-up on you, your friend(s), family, your ex, work, therapist, etc., and may even still be blaming them for the two of you not being able to “get back” together. If they can’t see what they need to do to be a better partner to you, you are going back to the same old relationship – or worse.
5 – They are obsessed with “fixing you” and believe the reason you are not together is because of something “wrong” with you, and if you can fix you, everything will be alright. They talk like they know you better than you know yourself and you feel like you’re constantly being “coached” or “counseled” by a life coach or relationships “expert”.
6 – They won’t let you take any responsibility for your role in the break up, and say things like “You were great, I’m the one who messed up” or “You’re a wonderful person, I made you do x and y”. See this for what it is, “emotional bribery”. It takes two to create a relationship and it takes two to destroy it. If they don’t get that simple fact, they still don’t get it. It’s that simple!
7 – They are using your family or friends to get to you. I’m not talking about being “friendly” with your family and/or friends. It’s great to have someone who gets along with your family and friends. I am talking about hearing from your family or friends that your ex still loves you, wants you back etc. It may feel ‘nice” knowing they still love you, but someone doing this knows that if and when they say those things to you directly, they won’t be believed (and for good reason).
8 – They are still playing stupid mind-games with you and trying to manipulate your emotions. People who play mind games know that the only way you can take them back is if they can manipulate you into taking them back. They are not trying to attract you back, they are trying to trick you into taking them back.
9 – They are rushing you into making a decision to take them back. When you express your concerns, doubts and even fears about getting back together, but they don’t want to hear any of it or dismiss it as you being afraid of love/commitment/getting hurt again etc. They’re rushing you into a relationship because they know if they take things slow, you might see that nothing is any different.
10 – You had concerns and doubts and about them not being the right person for you and even after the break-up those concerns doubts and fears still persist. Listen to what your gut tells you about them being the wrong person or it being the wrong relationship or wrong timing. Sometimes our gut knows things that our conscious mind is trying to convince us aren’t real.
If you’re not sure if you should take back your ex but a part of you believes that your ex really has changed or is doing the best they can to be a better partner to you, then give them a chance even if part of you thinks getting back together will be a mistake. Make sure that you take very small baby steps, and be mindful of the above red flags.