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.


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  1. says: VanillaC

    My ex-boyfriend and I ended a 3 year relationship two weeks ago. I have sent him a text every now and then, and he responds but I feel like he isn’t interested in talking to me. His responses are polite but because he does not ask me about me I feel like he doesn’t really want to talk to me.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Polite but not emotionally engaged responses are not unusual following a break-up. In fact I say it may times here, and in my Dating Your Ex book that in the initial stages, you will do most of the initiating contact, asking questions and keeping communication lines open. When you do your part right, that’ll change with time… things will balance out and he’ll show more interest and be more engaged.

      I suggest that you spend a little more time here, read as many articles as you can. Things won’t seem so hopeless when you know how to move forward, regardless.

  2. says: imadedat

    The love of my life broke up with me two weeks ago because he was tired arguing. I begged and cried for him to reconsider but he said he is so emotionally drained and doesn’t want to put any more effort in. Is it over?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Yes, the old relationship is definitely over. But it doesn’t mean you can not start a new one. If he is open to contact and the feelings of love are still there, you may still have a chance. BUT only if you can convince him that there will be no more arguing. Words will not be enough to convince him, you have to SHOW him.

      The sooner you start working on “you”, the sooner you can start to actively get him back

  3. says: Rubi

    My ex broke it off because he could not deal with a long distance relationship. I had to move to another state due to work, and although we saw each other twice a month, it wasn’t enough for him. Last month I relocated back to the state he is in. When I told him of the move beforehand, he said “We don’t know what the future holds.” But since moving back he hasn’t made an effort to contact me or ask to see me. The only text I got from him was on the night I arrived basically asking how I was and said he’d be in touch. What do you think is going on? Is he trying to avoid me? If so, then why would he say, “We don’t know what the future holds.” I’m confused. Please help.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      “We don’t know what the future holds” could mean anything. Based on what you just wrote, it seems to mean that he is leaving things open to any and all possible futures. I hope you didn’t relocate hoping that it meant he was considering the two for you getting back together.

      Why don’t you reach out to him and see how he responds? Or if you think that’s “desperate” (pride thing), give him a few more days and see if he contacts you. He may be thinking you need time and space to settle down. If he doesn’t contact you, I suggest you contact him. It may not be what you think.

  4. says: Semiota

    My ex says he loves me but does not want a relationship “right now”. I don’t know if I should stay the course a little while longer or step back a little until he is ready. What do you think?

    1. It depends on what “course” you are on. Not “right now” just means he’s not ready to make a decision yet. It’s possible whatever “course” you are on is not doing enough to move him towards a decision.

      If you are pushing too hard or rushing things, it might help to slow down a bit. But if you are just “playing safe” and not talking any bold actions that show him that it’s possible to have the relationship you didn’t have, “stepping back” will not help. It might actually make him decide it’s best to move on.

  5. says: Gail

    I applied NC successfully for 30 days and started to text him and got some very positive replies. Then he started ignoring me again, so I did two more weeks after not getting a response to my last text. I again got positive responses to texts. He never initiates any contact though. If I don’t text him for 5 days he does not reach out. I asked him if he wanted me to leave him alone and got no response. Do you think this means that he’s not interested enough in getting back together?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki C. Akiteng

      Hard to tell since there is no genuine connection, escalation of contact or momentum.

      One thing is for sure, you’re not going to get to where he’s interested by cutting off contact, re-initiating it and cutting it off again. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what is making him act that way. How do you take someone with a pattern of disappearing and reappearing seriously? It’s even possible he’s imitating your pattern to get back at you.

  6. says: Tyler

    My ex and I split in 2012. We ended up merging into a longer love relationship in 2013 and beyond. It was over three years. Although, I agree with the article that the longer time goes by the harder it is, and who knows why or how my ex and I suddenly became an item again. We started back out as friends a year and a half after we initially split. We were friendly over the next year and a half and it suddenly grew intimate again. So it does happen. Each case would have to be evaluated. We certainly weren’t looking to get back together and nor did it come up. It happened without words.

  7. says: Jerry C.

    Yangki, I followed your advice, kept lines of communication open and make the emotional connection in every contact. Everything was going perfectly well until two weeks ago when she started acting cold and distant toward me. I confronted her about it, she said she just wasn’t feeling what she wanted to feel for me and that the feelings go up and down each day. I asked if there was something I could change and she said no, it’s just how she feels. I then asked her if she wanted some space and she said no, she just wants some understanding. I don’t know what my next move should be.

    1. Give her what she wants… some understanding.

      As I mentioned in the book, when trying to reconcile, feelings of being in love especially in the initial stages can come and go depending on the person’s emotional landscape. Sometimes it has to do with you, and sometimes it doesn’t.

      The fact that she refused your offer to “give her space” says that she’s still invested in trying to make things work. Someone looking for a way out would have jumped at the opportunity. Don’t let your emotions get in the way.

  8. says: SpaceGirl

    I’m one of those people who have been trying to get their ex back for more than 6 months. We’ve been broken up for a bit more than a year now, and I started trying to get him back around 9 months ago. I didn’t know what I was doing for much of that time, and I confused myself with conflicting advice. But I don’t want to give up until I’ve tried your approach, so here’s to hoping it will work out this time, and if not, here’s to hoping I will learn enough for my next relationship to work out!!

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