Making your ex realize they made a mistake and lost you when they broke up with you is a realistic and achievable goal.
Some exes realize they made a mistake breaking up with you soon after the break-up, others realize what they lost weeks or even months after the break-up. But there are also exes who feel happier after breaking up with you. In the beginning of the relationship, they were sure that you are “the one”, but as time went by they became dissatisfied with the relationship because it did not meet their needs and wants. Feeling unsatisfied and unhappy, they decided to end the relationship despite the fact that they still have strong feelings for you.
Then there are exes who realize they made a mistake and lost you when they broke up but don’t want you back. They’re not happy that they lost you but think that they can always find love again, with someone else.
So what makes an ex realize they made a mistake and lost you?
It all boils down to did your ex feel you meet most of their wants and needs; and do they continue to think that you are capable of meeting their wants and needs.
The conflict between your ex’s feelings of love, and their unmet needs and wants often plays out in how your ex interacts with you; and the decisions they make about you. An ex who still has feelings for you but ended the relationship because they felt that their needs weren’t met in the relationship may keep reaching out but resist or hold back on getting back together. The part of them that still has strong feelings for you realizes what they lost; but the part of them that’s worried that their needs and wants will not be met if you got back together keeps them from getting back together.
Loving you is in conflict with your ex’s relationship needs and wants
Like most people you think “my ex doesn’t know what he wants”‘ because your ex comes across as confused and doesn’t know what they want. But to your ex, they know exactly what they want; they want you. But they’re concerned that even with all the love they have for you; if their most important needs and wants are not met, they will not be happy.
Some exes even get into a new relationship soon after the break-up because they have convinced themselves that a new relationship will meet their needs and wants; and some new/rebound relationships do. Slowly over time, your exes feelings for you fade away because they’re happier in the new relationship.
Is it a lost cause then that your ex realizes what they lost but don’t want to be with you?
Not by a long shot. It’s harder to get back an ex who lost feelings of love than it is to attract back an ex who’s feelings are still strong; but is concerned that the relationship does not meet their needs and wants.
Your first step is to identify your ex’s needs and wants driving the decisions your ex is making about you.
The best way to find out is to ask your ex. Asking takes away the guess work and gives you a more accurate and complete picture of what’s important to your ex. But when you are broken up asking your ex what they want and need can sometimes come across needy.
If you had a strong friendship, or communicate very well your ex will not see you asking as needy. So go ahead and ask. But if you didn’t have a friendship, didn’t communicate well; or if you have a history of being needy and seeking validation, don’t ask.
1. Do a post-break relationship inventory
If you haven’t yet done a post-break-up relationship inventory, you should. It’s necessary to go back and take an objective look at the relationship rom an outsider’s perspective.
Think back to some of the conversations, arguments and fights you had. What unmet needs and wants did your ex express? These include but are not limited to: connection, space, affection, prioritization, trust, emotional openness, empathy/listened to and heard, validation, sense of security, availability, responsiveness, commitment, acceptance (not trying to change them) etc.
Go through the list of unmet needs and wants your ex expressed in the course of the relationship and/or break-up. If you need to, list your ex’s wants and needs on a piece of paper. Be really honest with yourself. If doesn’t help to focus only on your ex’s shortcomings ignoring the role you played in the relationship ending.
Attachment or relationship needs vs. wants
Keep in mind that what someone wants and what they need are often two different things. Many of us may not know exactly what we want, but we always know what we need. Your task is to determine what are your ex’s wants and what are their true needs.
Look at it this way, a wants is what could be nice to have, but if you do not have it, you will still be happy in the relationship (e.g. It’s be nice to be able to go on vacation twice a year, but once a year is also okay).
A need on the other hand is what you need to be happy in the relationship (e.g. emotional connection, good communication, trust, respect, boundaries, spending quality time, intimacy etc.).
2. Put in a plan or action to meet your ex’s needs and wants
Once you have figured it out how to meet the unmet needs and wants your ex expressed when you were still together and/or during the break-up; create a plan of action to meet those needs and wants.
Availability/responsiveness: If your ex’s needed you to be there for them and make them feel like they mattered to you: reach out even when they aren’t responding; respond within an appropriate time frame (see what that means); respond to their bids for connection etc.
Validation/acceptance: If your ex’s felt that they were always trying to change them and didn’t accept then for who/how they are ask how they are: ask about the things they care about, communicate that you care about and accept the person for who they are etc.
Emotional openness: If your ex needed you to emotionally open up and stop being so closed off: talk to them about things you’d normally not talk about; let them in on your feelings about what’s happening in your life etc.
How will meeting your ex’s needs and wants make your ex realize what they lost?
Your ex will realize what they lost because now you’re everything they’re looking for in a partner; and more. They broke up with you thinking there was someone out there who would meet their needs and wants; and nobody knows them well enough to do what you are doing.
The more you know about the needs and wants driving your ex’s decision about you, the more easily you can make your ex realize 1) what they lost breaking up with you and; 2) that being in a relationship with you is something they want and need.
How to Get An Ex Who Lost Feelings For You To Fall Back In Love
Can You Love Someone But Not Want to Be With Them?
How to Make An Avoidant Ex Feel Safe Enough To Come Back
YES ma’am 🙂
Ma’am? Seriously?… 🙂
Thanks. I needed a bit of a reality check. I read the chapter in the book about when there is another woman and have followed your advice but I guess I got distracted because he asked her to the SB party instead of me. To be fair, he asked me first but I didn’t want to rush things, so I said no. I kind of expected him to pursue me but he chose to take her instead. Our mutual friends say, they never saw with the other woman the chemistry that my ex and I have, and also he called me twice to ask where i was and if I was having fun. I guess that counts for something.
It counts for something, but as mentioned in the book, look for consistency in behaviour. It’s a better indicator of the progress you are making than isolated incidents.
Again, stay focused… focused…\/… 🙂
My ex never talked about his feelings either. Most of the time I had to try to figure out what his needs are based on the things he said when we are having arguments. One of the things in your book that made a huge difference for on me is where you say it’s best to approach the conversation from a perspective of wanting to share than pointing out a problem or complain about the relationship. By allowing him to explain his needs in his own words, it’s helped us get closer. I just wish I had your book earlier because he’s seeing someone else. He says it’s not serious but it still scares me that I may have lost him for good.
If he says it’s not serious, you have to take him at his word… unless you want to give up now after having come this far.
Would it have helped if you had the Dating Your Ex book earlier? Yes. Is it too late? From the sounds of it, NO. As mentioned in the book, the presence of someone else in your ex’s life complicates things somewhat, but it doesn’t mean you do not have a chance. If handled well, it may actually help him see what he will be losing by choosing the other woman.
In short, get yourself together and focus. As long as he is giving you a chance to change his mind and heart, don’t get distracted by your own self-doubt.
Yangki, your articles have really helped me get a perspective on things. Thanks.
I read this article a couple of weeks ago and it really hit a cord with me. I knew my ex was unhappy with the relationship but didn’t know why. We only talked about our expectation when we first started dating but never really discussed our wants and needs in the duration of our 4 year relationship. e continued to handout and enjoy each other’s company even after our breakup but there was always that elephant in the room. After reading this article, we had a long conversation. It turns out he had a long list of needs that I didn’t know about. Some of the things he mentioned, I wasn’t happy about myself but assumed he was happy with the way things were. I told him I want to be a better partner for him. He seems happy with what we’ve accomplished so far. Am I naive to think that this may be the beginning of us getting back together?
No you are not. This may be the beginning of the new relationship. But you still have a long way to go. Finding out the unmet needs driving his decisions about you is the first step. The next step is showing him that you CAN meet those needs.
The positive thing about your relationship is that you like each other and enjoy each other’s company. That plays to your advantage in that you have more opportunities to show him you can meet his needs. You also seem to agree on some of the things that made both of you unhappy. This means that he’s more likely to believe that the changes will be permanent. This can fast track things.
I’m shy about sharing those details on the internet, and would prefer to talk to you privately, if that’s possible. I’ve spent hours on your blog and I think that you can help me. How do I contact you?
I offer one-on-one coaching, and happy to be of help. Please go to “coaching” in the menu at the top of the blog, and it’ll take you to all the information you need to set up a phone session with me.