A Break-Up Vs. A Bad Start – They Didn’t Break-Up With You (NOT Your Ex)

You met an amazing human and hit it off right away. They are so into you, and you are so into them.

The first weeks or months are like something out of a romance movie. They are attentive, affectionate, caring, supportive and want to spend so much with you. Even when they are busy, they make the effort to text or call. Things seem to be going really well. You have never been happier.

But then things start to change. The texts become less frequent and less spontaneous. It takes them more and more time to respond. Some days they do not respond at all. If you ask them if everything is okay, they say they has just been busy. But if you don’t make the effort to contact them, you don’t talk for days.

They seem to have changed in a very short period of time. The same person who was so attentive, affectionate, and caring, has gone from wanting to see you everyday to avoiding being with you. They are acting cold and distant, and not as open with you anymore. The sex is not only less frequent, but also different.

All the signs are there that they’re losing interest, but you pray and hope that things will go back to how they were in the beginning real soon. Then one day, they tell you that they want space or they just disappear. You are in shock.

How could this be? Just a couple of weeks ago they were all over you and couldn’t get enough of you, and now it’s over?

It doesn’t make sense. You felt it, and they felt it. It was real. It was strong. It was intense. It was amazing.
And now it’s over? Just like that?

Maybe not. Things could have just gotten off to a bad start even when it felt great. The feelings were there, they were real but not strong enough to move things from attraction to a real relationship.

And while you are freaking out, completely devastated, unable to understand why, they are relaxed about it even to a point where they seem like a cold-hearted narcissist who has no empathy. May be they are, but the reality is that they did not break-up with you, there was simply not enough momentum to take things to the next level.

The approach you use to attract back someone who lost interest after just a few dates, or when things were just beginning to get serious is different from one you use to attract back someone you were in a “relationship” with.

With someone you were with for six months or more, you know exactly how they feel about you. But with someone you dated very briefly, things are not as clear.

It could just be that the honeymoon phase wore off, and they can’t tell the difference between the natural end of the honeymoon phase and the loss of love.

They feel that because things are not as exciting, fun and high on lust anymore, it means that you are not compatible, or that the relationship isn’t working.

This can complicate the “getting back” process somewhat if feelings were not explicitly communicated. You might find that you are approaching things from the “get your ex back” perspective and getting a lot of unnecessary resistance because the other person does not consider themselves “an ex”.

They don’t understand why you are saying the things you are saying, or doing what you are doing to attract back an ex because in reality there was never a break-up to begin with.

Any move you try to “get them back”, only makes them pull away even further.

If you feel that your relationship ended too quickly, and you weren’t given a fair chance because your ex prematurely decided that you were not compatible, or that the relationship wasn’t working after only a few weeks or months of dating, I’m happy to work with you one-on-one to assess your chances, and guide you through the delicate nuances of Break-Up vs. A Bad Start.

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  • I met my ex 1.5 years ago when he was finalizing his divorce. This was my first time dating someone who was still married. Things were great until after the divorce finalized. He became distant and sad most of the time. I tried to be supportive but after a while I became resentful and ended it. We recently reconnected after a year of no contact. He says he felt overwhelmed and scared of the new life ahead of him and lost sight of us. I told him I want to take things slow but every now and then, I keep asking myself if it was us or if it was the divorce. We were together for only 6 months.

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    • It’s normal to have the feelings you have. 6 months is not enough time to know someone really well. If you still have feelings for him, give yourself a chance for find out if it was really about the divorce or something else.

      It’ll help to pay attention to some of the reasons he gives for his marriage ending… unfortunately many people tend to repeat their habits.

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  • We met online and were together for 3 months. It was awesome and we were really into each other. The breakup happened because we were supposed to go out Friday night and he was no show. I confronted him about it and he got mad that I was angry about it. He said he needed space and I said ok. Its been about 7 weeks since and I haven’t contacted him, I haven’t heard from him either. I’m wondering if too much time has passed to try to reestablish contact.

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    • I don’t think there is a cut off time for when to try to re-establish contact. My general experience has been that the longer you stay out of contact, the less chances that the other person will want to re-establish contact. The chances for very short term relationships are even lower.

      Unfortunately, I do not have the crystal ball and can’t tell you for sure what will happen. If you feel like reaching out, I think that you should. He may or may not respond or want contact, but you’ll never know if you don’t try to find out.

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  • Hi Yangki, I’m trying to show my ex that I have changed but he says I can never change and also he does not think we’re right for each other. We were together for 5 months. He was first to say I love you and also one who asked to be exclusive. After I acted needy because he didn’t respond to my texts he started acting distant. He broke up with me saying he needed space. I didn’t contact him for 6 weeks. Last week I contacted him and asked him to see me so we can talk. We met and talked but he wants to move on. I don’t want to give up if there is still hope but I don’t know how to fix it.

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    • Situations like yours are unfortunately too common. After the honeymoon period, we all start to reevaluate the relationship, and if a red flag goes off at the time we’re reevaluating things, it makes us see the relationship more negatively.

      Showing him that you can change is possible if he’s still open to contact. Showing him that you are right for each other (in my experience) is much harder. If you like, we can talk by phone so I understand why he thinks you are not right for each other, and if there is a way to make the relationship work.

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  • Thank you for explaining the difference. Mine is definitely a bad start. We dated for 6 months and during that time broke up twice, both time he said things were going too fast for him and we needed a break. 3 weeks ago, he again broke it off saying his life is right now complicated and he can’t be with me the way I want him to. I know he is going through stuff with divorce and moving out etc, and I guess right now all I can do is accept that he does not have time for a relationship. Do you think it’s okay that we still have sex?

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    • Yes, looks like a bad start alright. You may have needed more from him than he was able to give you at the time, which is what being needy is about.

      As for having sex with him, that’s a decision only you can make. Your body, your decision, I am ultra liberal like that… 🙂

      What I mean is, it’s not my place to tell grown adults how to run their sex lives. What I do know as a coach is that sex with your ex can sometimes hurt your chances, but it can also sometimes do no harm to your chances, especially if you understand that having sex does not mean you are in a relationship or that you will get back together.

      This explains it more:

      Does Sex With Your Ex Hurt Your Chances?

      Does Sex too Soon Ruin A Relationship

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  • I was in a short term relationship approx 4 months and we were an amazing together. We spent pretty much every day with each other. She ended it because I was apparently “too needy”. I thought of doing no contact to give her space, but after reading your articles about no contact, I sent her a text acknowledging that I crowded her space and that I was sorry. I explained to her that this was my first real relationship after being married for 18 years. The next day she sent me a text saying she understood. She said I was a great guy but that I needed to find a life outside of her. I thanked her and again apologized. She sent a text back asking if wanted to go out to dinner sometime. We made arrangements to go out to dinner this Friday.

    We have had a couple of pleasant phone conversations. I think she still cares about me and this is probably a case of a bad start. Were both in our late 40s. What is your opinion about the whole situation? Do you think there is hope? Btw, great advice, only one that made sense to someone my age.

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    • I agree that this is a case of a bad start. Normally I’d say it’s too early to tell if there is hope or not… but she asked you out for dinner in the very first exchange! That’s HUGE.

      You have a second chance at making this work, just make sure you don’t step over to the needy side again… (:

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  • I found this really helpful. My 4 month relationship was the best I have ever had. But I pushed him away with asking how he felt about me. He eventually said he didnt feel that he loved me. He tried but the feeling never came. We havent spoke in a bout a month. Is there a possibility to get him back?

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    • If there is even a possibility, it’s probably too low because he never fell in love with you in the first place. Since he already tried feeling something and didn’t, it’s very likely that he’s convinced that those feelings will never come. It’d have been different if he felt he didn’t try, or didn’t try hard enough. Then may be he’d want to give it a another chance.

      That said, if he’s still open to communicating with you, and you can show him that things can be different, you might have a chance. It’s always better to err on the side of trying than give up before you even try. That way you’ll know for sure.

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  • Yangki, thank you. We had a relationship of 7mnths wich was great but ended 7 weeks ago because of stress and huge decisions. He said he still loved me and part of him wanted to stay in the relationship but he needed time en space for himself to get his life together again. After reading a book of an “expert” I started NC. Bad decision. I found your book and now we are talking again, but not on emotional level yet. Can I follow your book or better an other plan to reinforce our connection again?

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    • I don’t understand what you mean by “better an other plan to reinforce our connection again?”

      As for following my book, that’s a decision only you can make.

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