Question: Should I let my ex initiate all the contact? We’ve been texting pretty much every day, but I am always the one initiating it. We chat for 20 – 30 minutes on average and we get along well. We’re in the same industry, like the same TV shows, and share many common interests. I feel like I should be getting a little more interest from her. Some other experts say it should always be the dumper who initiates contact. I did not initiate contact for two weeks and she never reached out. In your dating your ex book you talk about building momentum and over the past few weeks, I think I’ve been able to do that. I want to keep the momentum going, but I don’t want to appear needy either. Please help.
Yangki’s Answer: First of all, you should be proud of yourself for being able to build momentum in such a short time. It’s a testimony to your relationship and to your efforts. It may be the very reason you will not get your ex back.
In theory, it makes sense that if you were the one who was dumped then you should let the dumper initiate contact; but in practice leaving your ex to initiate all contact can hurt your chances.
This is why it is a bad idea to leave your ex to initiate all contact:
1. It kills any chance of getting back together
As you have noticed, some exes don’t initiate contact especially in the beginning. If they are fearful avoidant, they may be trying to make it look like you want them more than they want you. If they are dismissive avoidant, well, they don’t initiate contact because relationship are generally low in their priority. But if you initiate contact they respond positively; like your ex does.
If you don’t initiate contact, and they don’t initiate contact, it’s over.
2. It sends the wrong message
If you’ve been needy in the past, you may think that leaving your ex to initiate all contact is away to give them space; and take off pressure. But the message it sends is that you are still needy because you still do not know how to stay in contact and be close without becoming needy and clingy.
3. It gives your ex all control
By leaving it up to your ex to initiate all contacts; you are giving up any control you have over the situation. Your ex gets to decide the when, how and what, and all you can do is follow or react. It’s a place of powerlessness, and can cause a lot of anxiety, fear and doubt (both sides)
4. Any momentum you’ve built up will be lost
You have created so much momentum, letting your ex initiate all contact at this stage will take you back to zero. All the work you’ve put in will be lost; and you will have to work even harder to get things to where they are right now.
What I am saying is, it’s normal to feel that you should be getting a little more interest from her. But as discussed in the book, in the initial stages (1 – 3 months or more for some people), you will do most of the initiating contact; just because you are the one trying to get her back.
Also as discussed in the book, you are seen as needy not because you contact someone or because you say certain words. You are seen as needy because she feels that you need more (contact, time, closeness, commitment etc.,) than she is able to give you, is willing to give you, or is appropriate for where things stand between the two of you.
As you said, she likes talking to you, so for now continue with what you are doing. If you keep the emotional momentum going, you’ll start to see her initiate more and show more engagement.
You’ve come this far, don’t let frustration get the best of you.