You feel like you are doing “something” to get your ex back, but it’s not moving your ex closer to getting back together.
They are responding and seem to want to keep the lines of communication open, but they are not emotionally open, they say they don’t want to lead you on, that they need to focus on themselves or that they are not looking to get into a relationship.
You feeling like you are being pulled in then pushed away. You’re thinking, if only you could contact them the right amount and if only you knew how to say things the right way, everything would work out fine.
The problem is not with the amount of contact, the problem is that there is no emotional safety for both of you in a relationship where contact starts, stops, and then start again after a few days or weeks. Where one day the conversation is really good and connecting, and the next day you’re like two strangers who don’t know what to say to each other. Where one day you act like you want your ex back and the next you act like you don’t care about them.
No consistency in contact. No consistency in connecting. No consistency in positive emotions. No consistency in anything.
Why would your ex want to put down their guard and risk rejection (or being played) when the person trying to attract them back is not willing to put down their guard and risk rejection? How can they be warm and open when you are acting hot and cold yourself?
Consistency is so important that I tell my clients: it’s better to risk coming across as needy than make your ex feel that they can’t trust you not to hurt them (again).
Consistency should not be confused with being predictable. Being predictable is doing the same thing over and over. It’s contacting your ex every x number of days (like clockwork). It’s sending “hi, how are/what’s up/how’s you day?” text every time you make contact (blah, blah, blah). It’s bringing up the old relationship/getting back together in every conversation (nag, nag, nag). It’s your ex ending every conversation with you trying to hang on (please, please, please). Etc.
Being consistent in a way that makes your ex feel safe to put their guard down is:
- Being the same regardless of what your ex chooses to do/does.
- Reaching out when your ex’s responds and when your ex doesn’t respond.
- Trying to emotionally connect when your ex is receptive and when your ex is guarded.
- Showing your ex you care about them even when you feel they don’t care about you.
- Staying emotionally calm even when your ex posts things on Facebook that upset you.
- Making sure your words match your actions.
It does not mean you can’t get upset, show frustration, have arguments or mess up, it means that even when you are upset/frustrated or when you have an argument, you do not say or do things that make your ex feel that they can’t trust you not to hurt them (again).
Just as you are afraid of rejection, your ex is too. And just as you fear you might get hurt, your ex has fears too.
What if nothing has changed? What if it doesn’t work out? What if they get bored or fall out love again? What if you are not “the one”? What if there is someone else out there?
The difference is you are more willing to take the risk that’s why you are the one initiating contact, trying to connect, trying to make the relationship work again, and trying to get back together. Your ex may not have the same confidence in you and/or in the relationship, that’s why it’s important to provide that emotional safety they need.
The quicker you can get your ex to trust you not to hurt them (again), the quicker you can get them to emotionally open up.
The more they open up the more they respond, the more they more they respond the more emotionally invested they become, the more emotionally invested they are, the more they initiate contact, face-to-face meetings etc. The more time you spend in contact and on dates, the better your chances of getting back together.