Get Back Your Ex Even If You’re Only One Making The Effort

Can a relationship with your ex work if your ex is not trying and you’re the only one making the effort to make it work? The only one initiating contacts and conversations; and the only one still in love, is harder.

While it takes two to make a relationship work, it can take just one to change how the relationship works.

How does that even work? It works when one person changes (in a positive direction), so much that the dynamics of the relationship change.

Just like 1+1 =2, but if you add 0.5 to one part of the equation, the result can never be 2 again. It’ll be 1.5+1=2.5.

Same thing. If one person changes but the other person doesn’t, the person who has changed can positively influence the dynamics of the relationship.

For example: If most of your disagreements end in fights and you learn better ways or disagreeing or arguing, it changes the dynamics of how you disagree or argue. You will still disagree or argue with each other which is a normal part of healthy and functional relationships, but the disagreement and argument will not end in a fight. This not only improves the relationship, it also (without you telling them to) helps your ex learn better ways of disagreeing.

But in order for a relationship with your ex to work when you’re the only one making the effort, three things need to be in place.

1) Love

We all have heard the phrase “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Usually the person saying these words is saying “I still have feelings for you and I care about you, I’m just not motivated/excited about/committed to being in a relationship with you.

What the person saying these words is not saying (at least not aloud) is that, I can be motivated/excited about/made to commit, under the right conditions. In other words that feeling of being IN love can come back.

Your task is to create the right conditions for the feelings of being IN love to come back. The “right” conditions is not about proving to your ex that you have changed, it’s about demonstrating to them that the relationship doesn’t have to work the way it did before (1.5+1=2.5).

That only goes only as far as “feeling in love” is concerned. If the love is completely gone, there is nothing you can do to make the relationship work; however much you want it and however hard you try.

2) Open lines of communication

It doesn’t matter how much love your ex feels for you, if there is NO communication, there is NO relationship. It’s as simple as that.

If there is no communication, there are also no opportunities for you to influence how the relationship works.

“Open” lines of communication means no backdoor tactics or trying to burst your way in. Manipulation and aggressive tactics undermine your efforts to positively change how the relationship works.

To learn more about how to use open lines of communication to change the dynamics of a relationship, please spend more time on my blog.

3) Change

The main reason why many men and women fail to get their ex back is that they say they’ve changed (and sometimes they indeed have changed on a personal level), but they haven’t changed in relation to the other person. A few texts, phone calls or dates, and their ex can see that nothing has changed.

There has to be a process (action), for change to happen. The process can be anything from committing oneself to a self-prescribed personal growth program to working with a professional.

Just like sitting on the couch thinking about how to lose weight doesn’t get the weight off, just sitting and thinking about all the mistakes you made and what needs to change (if your ex takes you back) doesn’t mean you’ve changed.

So YES, a relationship with your ex can work even if you’re the only one making the effort to make it work. BUT, you have to be willing to put in the work to change how the relationship works.

RELATED:

Should I Let My Ex Initiate All Contact? (I’m The Dumpee)

Should I Wait For My Ex To Come Back? 1 Year Break-Up

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20 Comments

  1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Naya

    Yangki, you said “give your ex a place in your life as your boyfriend even though he’s still your ex”, and that’s exactly what I have been doing. Things have slowly started to change for the better. We have many great conversations and talk openly about how we felt after the break up. He says he can see I changed and likes it. I am worried though that he may be thinking of me as a friend now. What do you think? I trust your guidance and advice.

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      “He says he can see I changed and likes it”…

      Hold on to that and continue showing him the relationship can and will be better. As long as you are making it clear his place in your life is that of “a boyfriend”, there is nothing to be worried about.

  2. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Kev

    Long story short, me and my ex broke up 2 months 1 week ago. I didnt beg or ask her to come back. I maintained contact but kept it light and friendly. Neither of us brought up the breakup or the old relationship until last night. She started taking about how she respects me for the way I handled the breakup and didn’t overreact to the things she said were wrong with me. I told her she was right and I have been working to become a better me. We talked about some of our fond memories and at some point things got flirty and it was all happening spontaneously. It seems that we finally broke down the wall between us, but I don’t want to overthink it too much.

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      I also respect you for the mature and grown up way you handled things… it seems to have paid off. All the signs are pointing towards “good”, but you are right not to overthink it.

      Whatever you’re doing seems to be working. All the very best… (:

  3. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Nik

    Yangki, my ex acts like everything is fine and nice when we’re together but when we text she is cold and completely distant. I have been trying to get her to spend more time with me so we can build on the momentum but she says it makes her feel pressured. What’s going on? Is it a case of immaturity? Btw, she’s 39, I am 37.

    1. In my experience, what is happening with your ex is a case of the heart says ‘yes’, but the head says ‘no’

      One possible reason for this is that she still has feelings for you but doesn’t think the relationship can work (may be she’s not seeing enough changes to convince her that things can be different).

      The other possible reason is that she’s trying to force herself to move on despite her feelings. When she’s with you, she feels good and likes it, but when you are not together her thoughts or influence of friends and relatives take over.

      The third reason, is she’s playing a mind game. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

      This article might help: How To Get Back An Ex Who’s Acting Hot And Cold

  4. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Erin

    Yangki, my ex and i have been seeing each other intermittenly since november, and more often the last month. He said doesnt know if getting back together is a good idea because he isnt sure if he sees us together forever. Is this a point where i should give up or do i still have a chance? Do you have any recommendations?

    Thank you!

  5. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Landra

    As painful as it is to realize, “if there’s no communication, there’s NO relationship.”
    I’ve been ignored for a month now, not even a simple response or text or email or acknowledgement of my existence.
    He said we could “meet next month” so he could explain why he dumped me without warning or conversation or discussion after 5 years.
    I’ve been keeping in touch, but obviously I’m blind to the fact that he has not once responded to anything I’ve said.

  6. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Katiee

    Yangki you say in your book that if someone wants no contact you should tell them you will respect their wish and ask if at some point you can contact them. My ex after a month of contact says he “can’t be in a relationship right now”. I don’t wan to look desperate and ask him if I can contact him later but I also don’t want to give him the impression I am giving up on us. What do you suggest I do?

    1. He said he “can’t be in a relationship right now”, not “I don’t want contact”. Those are two very different things.

      What “can’t be in a relationship right now” means is that he is not ready right NOW. The keyword is “now”. It’s possible he still needs time to be on his own, or he thinks not much has changed to convince him to want to give the relationship another chance.

      If I were advising him, I’d tell him he’s right. A month of contact is NOT enough time to make a decision whether to get back together — or not.

      Instead of cutting off contact because he’s not ready, get him to the point where he’s ready. That’s what the Dating Your Ex eBook is for.

  7. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Tahmoh

    I feel that if someone is very resentful of the person they say they love, the relationship will never be free or easy, as love should be, IMHO. At the very least I think that these issues should be brought out and talked over, no beating about the bush. If the relationship is meant to be, it should survive an honest discussion about something so fundamental. If it doesn’t or the other person doesn’t want to talk about or deal with it, well…

    1. I agree with what you’re saying — all of it. Except that when in initial contact with an ex who one feels resentment towards, one of the biggest mistakes one can make is bring up issues that caused the break up. Nothing good ever comes out of talking about hot button issues while emotions are still raw. There is also the possibility that an ex has done a lot of self-reflection and done work to change oneself, approaching them from the premise that they are the same person can take things on the negative path very quickly.

      Always best to try to start things from a fresh start — and from a positive note — then work things slowly to where a rational discussion can take place. Sometimes, if both parties have done work on themselves to change and things really go well, such conversations don’t even have to be brought up except in laughing at mistakes of the past.

      Not every issue in a relationship has to be brought up and talked over. It’s good relationship practice to let some things go — especially trivial things. Good practice for life in general.

  8. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: theicon8

    Hello, this blog is exactly what I’ve been going through I’m the only one really trying but I’m not giving up. Me and my ex girlfriend broke up after 3 years she ended it saying she was happy but not all the time and she loved me but was not in love with me. I thought about no contact but what you said really made sense to me why do no contact I choose to take action not sit around and do nothing.

  9. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Bobwu

    Yangki, I appreciate your work. Most people assume that it’s always easier for the person who ended the relationship, but nothing could be further from the truth. I broke it off with my ex of 4 years for immature reasons but after 6 months of not being together I’m still hurting and missing her very much. I don’t think I’ve ever loved anyone the way I love her.

    I’ve repeatedly tried to reach out to her and have apologized over and over for my rush decision. She replies to my texts and calls me back once in a while, but does not want a relationship. I understand that I hurt her deeply and she has every right to be angry. All I’m trying to do at this point is to restore her trust in me again because I took that away from her. I’ve read your every article and bought all your books, and I feel like I really have a chance. I just wish I had come across you before all this happened.

    Thank you for all the work you do.

  10. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Angel

    Yangki, I could not find where to post my comment but hope you can help me. I got back with my ex three weeks ago but I want out because nothing has changed. I broke up with him and immediately went NC for 3 months. The whole time he kept contacting me and telling me how much he loves me and misses me. When I finally responded, he asked me out and was super attentive and so forth. We got back together and we are fighting about the same things. I still love him but I don’t know if this is what I want.

    1. I hear you. It’s easy to forget all the issues in the relationship when you miss someone or when your ex contacts you and shows interest. But if you haven’t dealt those issues they’ll resurface again.

      I’m sure you’ve already been told that you should just move on, otherwise you wouldn’t be on my blog. So here is my “give love chance” advice.

      Before you end the relationship again, talk to him very openly and honestly about your issues and see if they can be worked on or not. If you find that tings just can’t work, then you walk away knowing you at least tried to make it work.

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