Break-ups bring up all kinds of emotions and many of us intuitively know that if we want to try to make things work again with an ex, we must first and foremost manage our emotions.
Yet no matter how hard we try to remain “unemotional” we can’t always avoid getting “emotional” whether be it expressing how much we miss an ex, how sad we feel or how angry we are that they ended the relationship or are ignoring us.
As long as this is not how we are most of the time, once in a while getting “emotional” doesn’t mean we lost control of our emotions. It just means that we’re human.
Being human means that we are ‘emotional’ beings whether we know it or not, and whether we accept it or not. Unlike some of the “get back your ex” advice that tries to take emotions and feelings off the process or encourages people to use emotions as a weapon to get someone to do what they would not otherwise do willingly, I believe that most disagreements, most conflicts and most attempts to attract back an ex can be resolved more successfully when both reason and emotion are applied and taken into account.
You probably read in many of my articles about using both your “head and heart”, both reason and emotion are important in this process. In some situations, using reason to resolve an issue makes a lot of difference and in others, showing emotions appropriately (when, how and what emotion) makes all the difference.
The challenge is that break-ups bring up all kinds of emotions, all at the same time. This is why break-ups are hard to do and attracting back an ex is even harder. Trying to talk to an ex with so many emotions (wanted and unwanted) competing for attention and expression and doing so without becoming overwhelmed or overwhelming the other person is not easy.
Over the years, I have found that of all break-up emotions and feelings (sadness, hurt, fear, frustration, worry, anxiety, resentment etc), anger is the one that most complicates an attempt to get an ex back and undermines cases where chances of getting back together are really good.
Next time you find yourselves disagreeing and things quickly escalating to an angry match , check you own anger by taking a deep breath, count to ten, then say something like:
- “Given our past I can see why you’re concerned that…. (the fights will continue, I may act needy, things will be the same, I want to control you etc)…. or
- “When you put it like that, I can see why you might… (not want to get back together right away, want space, not want to talk about the break-up etc).
If things have gone too far and words that should not have been said have been said, respectfully end the conversation with something like:
- “I may not be seeing things from your perspective. I think it’ll help if we both spend the next few hours/days thinking about this separately and meet again and go over what we both think/feel/would work?”
Having gracefully excused yourself, take time to really understand your ex’s perspective and how they may be feelings before you meet again. Always remember (I can’t say this enough times), there is no right or wrong way to feel. How and what one feels is exactly how they should feel. It’s their reality, their truth. How one reacts or responds to how they feel is another story.
You may think and feel that your ex should feel how you feel or feel differently, but that doesn’t matter (you control freak!). It’s their experience, their reality and you should try to understand it, and validate it if you want a relationship with them.
Why this approach to relationships and specifically to attracting back an ex?
Because everyone without exception wants to be understood and valued. During a break-up most of us question whether our ex really understands us and more importantly if they really value us. It’s at the back of our minds even when we know that they do. Okay, at the back of most people’s minds. The need for validation is at the front of needy and insecure peoples’ minds and they are not ashamed to desperately seek that validation even when it hurts their chances of attracting back an ex.
Feeling that someone understands and values our thoughts and feelings makes us feel loved. The problem for most of us is that our ego gets in the way, we want to win the argument or defend our position instead of acting from a place of love and with love.
In one of Dr. Gottman’s studies they were able to successfully predict which newlyweds would divorce within six years by observing their interactions during the first three minutes of a 15-minute argument. Couples who showed understanding and appreciation of the other person’s point of view even when they didn’t agree with it were able to prevent a conflict from escalating, and resolved their differences while strengthening the relationship.
Try this next time you see a verbal fight coming. (PS: Then come here and thank me).