Should I Be Concerned My Ex Is Pulling Further Away, Or Is This Normal?

Question: Yangki, I have been reading your site for the past couple of weeks. As you can tell, I obviously still want my ex back. We had a wonderful relationship but I started to get jealous and needy and he pulled back, which made me even more needy and clingy leading to him breaking up with me. It’s been 5 months since we broke up. Our conversations are mostly light and friendly. But I feel like he is pulling farther away from me. My question is, should I be concerned that he is pulling farther away, or is this normal? My second question is, in your experience is there a certain time after which no matter what you do, you have no chance?

Yangki’s Answer: In almost every case of trying to attract back and ex there is a pull-push dynamic. This is because you have a history together and before someone comes back, they want to make sure it is safe to come back. They pull you close when they feel safe and push you away when they don’t. Sometimes you caused them to pull away and sometimes, they pull away on their own. This is normal.

But if 1) there is more pushing away than pulling close, 2) the pushing away happens too frequently or 3) the length of time they push you away (or pull away) is way much longer than the length of time you are close, it’s usually not a good sign.

It’s hard to put a timeline on how long it takes to get your ex back. There are so many factors at play e.g.

1. the emotional state of both parties;

2. other things unrelated to the relationship going on one or both people’s lives (e.g. job search, relocation, illness etc);

3. the confidence level of the person trying to get the other back. Most people operating from a place of fear, e.g. I don’t want to scare him/her away, or I don’t want to come across as needy etc, usually take much longer to get their ex back. The majority never get their ex back.

While the first three months after a break-up are the most crucial in terms of your chances of getting your ex back, hurrying back to get your ex often does not work. In cases where it does work, the relationship usually doesn’t last because you are continuing from where the old relationship ended. This is when you get the on-and-off-again type scenarios.

What I’ve noticed is that if you’ve been actively trying to get your ex back for 6 plus months and there is no progress, the chances of you getting back together are dramatically reduced. It doesn’t mean you can never get your ex back, it just means it’s harder as more time passes.

Remember the saying “time heals all wounds”? Not completely true. Time does not heal all wounds, some wounds we learn to live with. Given enough time, even an ex who still hurts, misses you and longs for you can learn to live without you.

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42 Comments

  • My ex was pulling away after getting close again and I read your article about exes and attachment styles. My ex is high-avoidance low-anxiety and I’m high-anxiety low-avoidance. Seeing how my high-anxiety triggers his high-avoidance and his high-avoidance triggers my high-anxiety is helping me connect with him. My anxiety was one of the reasons we broke up. He told me he loved me but could not keep reassuring me every time I became anxious. He also thought I loved him more than he loved me and it made him feel guilty.

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