Should I Wait For My Ex and For How Long?

Question: My ex and I broke up because he was not happy with his life and needed to work on himself. We maintained contact and it’s been 50-50 initiating and also initiating dates. He has been open with me and has told me he is seeing a counselor for some anxiety related issues, has a new job and is working out. I am happy for him, but at the same time worried that since we’ve been broken up for almost a year, we might be falling into a friend-zone. Don’t get me wrong, I support him and all but for how long do I have to wait for him to work on himself? Thanks you.

Yangki’s Answer: I applaud your ex for realizing that he needs to work on himself and for not going NC while he does it. However, from years of experience helping people get back their ex, “I’m working on myself” though it sounds reasonably impressive isn’t always what is seems to be.

Some exes use “I’m working on myself” when 1) they want to keep you as “just a friend” and fear losing you if they let you in on their “agenda” or 2) don’t want to hurt your feelings by telling you “we will never get back together” or 3) if you’re having ex-sex, want the sex but not you. In these situations “I’m working on myself” is just an excuse, after all you can’t fault someone for wanting to improve him/herself or for wanting to be healthier/happier.

I am not saying this is the case with your ex, I’m letting you know that these words mean different things in different situations. The other thing with this is that it is hard to tell when someone will feel that there is enough work done because it is a continuous process.

Based on my experience with many of my clients, if you push and try to get him into a relationship before he feels ready, he’ll convince himself that you are the “wrong” person for him because you are putting you and your agenda before him and his agenda.

Use the contact space to keep yourself updated on what is happening in his life. But in addition, try to subtly find out if there is really a place for you in his “new life” after he’s worked on himself. One thing you can try is next time he talks about the “improvements” in his life, ask him “Is there any way I can be of help/support” (for whatever it is he is talking about).  If he dismisses your “offer”, that’s not a good sign. If however, he is happy “including you” in whatever he is working on, it means he still wants you to be a major player in his life. Go out of your way to be of help/support thereby creating a place for yourself in the “new life” he is creating for himself.

It’s important that you train yourself to relax, have your own independent life and concentrate on building a better and stronger relationship, and when it’s time you will know by the way you do things with each other. Something will be different. It could be that you’ll just see a look, a change in how much time you spend together, the hints your ex is giving about the possibility, etc. It could be anything that makes you think and feel that you haven’t felt or been that way with each other since the break-up (or ever before).

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  1. says: DiggingVera

    I’ve been on no contact for 8 weeks but tonight I called my ex because I did a little snooping on her Facebook page and she had written that she’s the happiest she’s even been for the last 3 years — the time we dated. She said “I’ll call you back” and has not called. I’ve been texting her like crazy but no response. I’m literally back in tears after 8 weeks in which I was getting used to being without her. I’m going back to NC and will not respond even if she contacts me.

  2. says: Moveslow

    I called my ex after no contact for 1.5 months. He has not called me back. How much time should I give him before I call him again or should I even call him?

    1. This is why I discourage “no-contact”. It’s a bullet in your own foot. That said it’s normal for an ex not to respond the first time you initiate contact. I suggest that you give it a week/two and then send an email that is casual and friendly but does not mention “the relationship”. Something that asks about him, some of the things you know are important to him, etc. and briefly mentions you are doing well. Then end with you’ll be in touch.

  3. says: Blues

    Not having contact is your best chance of getting her back. Let her know what it is like to miss you. Only when she truly realizes how much she misses having you around will you have a chance at getting her back.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki C. Akiteng

      You’re only seeing it from your point of view – not the other person’s. There is no guarantee that he/she’ll miss having you around especially if having you around is what he/she was running away from in the first place. Remember, it’s so much easier to forget someone who doesn’t seem to care about our well-being than it is to forget someone who cares. If a friend distanced him/herself from me when I was going through a hard time and sorting out some personal stuff, I would NEVER be interested in having that person in my life ever again.