Question: Yangki, your articles and book have made a lot of things better. I’m connecting with my ex in ways that we were never able to in the 2 years we were together. I’m also a lot more kinder and more empathetic person. But I still feel I’m constantly under the pressure to do something that will make him more attracted to me. I’m reading books and have recently started practicing mindfulness meditation to help me stay present. Is it normal to be so consumed with trying to get your ex back so much that you feel you no longer have a life?
Yangki’s Answer: Trying to get your ex back is such a monumental undertaking that it’s easy to let it consume all the other aspects of your life if you’re not careful.
Sometimes not trying harder is the reason some people don’t get back their ex. They are too paralyzed by fear of saying the wrong thing, saying too much, not saying enough, acting too soon, acting not soon enough, doing too much, doing too little, doing the wrong thing… and pushing their ex further away. They are so consumed by fear that they don’t try hard enough.
But in most cases, trying “harder” isn’t helpful. In fact trying harder if it doesn’t push your ex further away creates resistance. Not resistance to getting back together but resistance to your pushing too hard.
It’s important to remind yourself that you are dealing with another human being with his/her own feelings and emotions, motives, agenda and/or priorities that you have no control over. Even for an ex who is showing all the signs that they want to try things again, a relationship may not be his or her priority at the time. And even when a relationship is a priority, some exes will choose to “wait-and-see” because they want to make sure they are making the right decision.
It helps to have some hobbies and interests to take your mind of “what more to do” to get back your ex. It also helps to take your time.
In Dating Your Ex, I talk a lot about making sure the foundation is strong enough for the next step because what you worked so hard to put in place can come crumbling down if the foundation is not strong enough for the next step.
For example, when you go from your ex responding once in a while to him or her initiating contact, don’t feel pressured to do more right away. Allow things to be that way for a while. Same as when you have a great first date, don’t feel pressured to ask for a second date. Build on that progress or “success” before you do “more”.
Taking the pressure off yourself is as important as taking the pressure off your ex. One affects the other.