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

Question: I need expert advice. Should I be concerned my ex is pulling further away, or is this normal? What can I do if I feel my ex pulling away?

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 further away from me. 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 pull away when they don’t. Sometimes an ex will pull  further away is because of something you said or did; and sometimes, they pull away on their own. This is normal.

But if 1) there is more pulling/pushing away than pulling close; 2) the pulling/pushing away happens too frequently or; 3) the length of time they pull away is way much longer than the length of time you are close, it’s usually not a good sign. It usually means your ex it is the normal and expected pull-push dynamic; it’s your ex pulling further and further away, and you should be concerned.

It’s hard to put a timeline on how long it takes to get your ex back. Most people get back within 2 – 4 months of the break-up. But there are so many factors at play that may further delay getting back together .e.g.

  • The reason(s) for the break-up;
  • The emotional state of both parties;
  • If you’re doing no contact (that’s 1 -3 months of not doing anything to attract back your ex)
  • Other things unrelated to the relationship going on one or both people’s lives (e.g. job search, relocation, illness etc);
  • 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 my ex further 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.

The first 1 – 2 months after a break-up are the most crucial in terms of your chances of getting your ex back. However, 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.


Will Contacting Your Ex Push Them Further Away? (Bitter Truth)

Fearful Avoidant Ex Is Hot And Cold Should I Reach Out?

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  1. says: Liam

    I’ll do as you say and keep contact but not tell her I love her. I’m just worried she will not know how deep my feelings for her are. The reason we broke up is she wanted me to be more involved and did not think I loved her. She also said she thought I had moved on when I did not contact her for 3 weeks.

    1. Her saying she thought you had moved on 3 weeks after breaking up, says she doesn’t trust you to be around for the long haul. Telling her how much you love her isn’t going to make her feel any more secure.

      What you should be doing is be more “involved”, whatever that means for her. My guess is doing things that show that you are building a future together.

  2. says: Liam

    Thanks for the advice. I was so wrapped up in my job and guy friends that I did not realize we were growing apart. She was miserable and ended it. Since breaking up, I’ve had a lot of self reflection and can see the mistakes I made. I wish I could have paid more attention to her. I told her I’m sorry and can see my mistakes but that seems not to be enough. What more can I do?

    1. I hear you. Just saying “I see were I made mistakes, I’m sorry” is not enough. It’s just words. You need to back it up with actions.

      For example, if she texts you while you are with your friends, text her right back. If she wants to talk, give her your undivided time and attention. If she says she’s letting you go back to the guys, don’t just say okay. Tell her you’d rather talk to her.

      She needs to see that she is a priority just like your work and guy friends were a priority. And this has to be consistent as she’ll test you in many different ways just to see if the “new you” is for real.

  3. says: Bosco

    Yangki, thank you for writing all these articles. It gives me hope. I feel that my ex and I belong together but she has asked for space and I’m giving it to her. If she reached out to me, I’d respond and show her that I will always be here for her. Once again thank you.

  4. says: Buddy

    I sent her a text this morning and we had a nice conversation about what we’ve both been up to and our plans for the rest of the week. Everything was cool up to that point. I told her I had to go after 15 minutes and I said, “I’ll call you later, if you like me to”. She responded, “I don’t know about that”. I wrote, “You don’t want me to call you later or not to call you at all?”. She wrote back, “Never mind. Talk to you later “. I have no idea what it means. Does it mean she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore?

    1. I think it means that you are coming across as too needy. My guess is that this is something you have done in the past.

      You talked for 15 minutes and said just about everything you had to say to each other for the day. She didn’t think it was necessary for you to talk again later the same day.

      When you asked “You don’t want me to call you later or not to call you at all?”, she realized that you STILL don’t get it.

  5. says: Susie

    I drove my ex away. I was needy and insecure and made him feel that he was not making me happy no matter what he did to reassure me he loved me. We still talk and he says he still loves me and thinks about me but can’t be with me right now. I asked if there is a chance of getting back and couldn’t say either because he does not know what can happen in the future. It’s so painful to see him with other women but I am trying very hard to not let that get to me. In the end, if he comes back I know that he wants to be with me.

    1. He’s keeping his option open, that’s a good thing.

      It hurts seeing the person you love with someone else, but given that being needy and insecure was the reason you broke up, this could also be a test for you, to see how you handle the situation. I’m not saying he’s doing it intentionally or even unintentionally (this is not about him). I’m saying, if you are indeed working on becoming a less needy and more secure person, this is one way to see for yourself if you are making progress.

  6. says: Katrina

    Me and ex broke up last month. We were together for three years. We broke up because I was emotionally controlling him. He always told me and showed me that he loved me but I became too needy and unappreciative. Even after we broke up he still texted and called me but I didn’t respond. He eventually stopped. I contacted him two days ago but he does not want contact with me. He says he deserves someone who appreciates him and treats him better. I regret everything and wish I handled myself differently after the breakup. Is it too late for me?

    1. I don’t know if it’s “too late” for you. What I do know is that when someone says they don’t want you to contact them, contacting them anyway is just another form of neediness. He’ll just see it as the continuation of you emotionally controlling him.

      If you haven’t already done it, apologize for not treating him better in the relationship and for how you handled yourself after the breakup — and leave it at that.

      No, “I’ll leave you alone”, “I’ll give you your space” or some other passive aggressive scripts. Instead try to create good will so that you in the future try to build on it.

      In the meantime. WORK ON YOURSELF!

  7. says: Frances

    I thought that there is no way my ex will ever want to talk to me again but he did. We have become close and he has been extremely nice to me. For the first time I feel like we are finally putting the past behind us. This would not have been possible without your wise and compassionate advice, so thank you.

  8. says: Chrystal

    Yangki, I told my ex I wanted us to try the relationship again, but do it better this time around. He says it’s not worth his time, energy or effort. Do I still have a chance?

    1. Without knowing what preceded you telling him you wanted to try the relationship again, I can’t say one way or the other.

      If you said this after so much damage had been done to the relationship pre or post-break-up, it means he’s made up his mind he wants to move on.

      If you said this while trying to get him back and him being somewhat responsive, it may mean that you had not done enough to show him that a better relationship is possible.

      This is why I strongly advice against going to your ex and asking for another chance earlier on in the process. Chances are very high that he/she will say absolutely not! Not because he/she doesn’t love you anymore, but because you have not given him/her good reason to believe things can be better.

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