Struggling to Hold On to Your Ex – This Might Help

Lately, I’ve been getting more and more emails from men and women who say my advice has helped them move things to a point where they are in regular contact with their ex, and things even seem to be heading towards getting back together. But for some unknown reason, their ex is still confused about how they feel and what they want. Many of the emails are asking me whether in such a situation one ought to be trying to get back together with their ex or just give up. One person asked me if it’s even possible to fight for the relationship and at the same time allow it to happen naturally.

When it comes to relationships, there is having a relationship with someone and there is struggling to hold on to a relationship you want.

What’s the difference?

When you take an object and wrap your hands around it tightly, you are communicating that you want to keep it. You are also communicating that you do not wish to let go of it. The (this is mine) energy going into holding tightly is one of control, possessiveness and constant fear of losing what you have in your hand.

This is what “struggling to hold on to a relationship” feels like. Though the fear is disguised as “I love him/her very much”, the energy in the relationship is one of anxiety, worrying, over-analyzing, needing to control or manipulate things to keep someone from leaving.

Despite your trying so hard to make the relationship work, make the other person feel loved and/or manipulate their emotions (i.e. make them jealous, use guilt or ultimatums), in the end, they end up leaving.

When you  open your palm and let the object rest on it, you are communicating that you want to keep it. You are also communicating that you are willing to let go of it, if you have to. The energy is one of openness, ease and effortlessness.

This is what having a relationship in which you are not struggling to hold on to someone feels like. The energy in the relationship is one of openness, ease and effortlessness. The words “I love him/her very much” are devoid of fear or need to control, possess or manipulate to keep the other person from leaving.

How do you know you are struggling to hold onto a relationship versus having a relationship?

  • You feel anxious more often than calm and relaxed
  • You worry about the relationship (and the other person leaving) more often than feel confident about the love you have for each other
  • You over-analyze (and scrutinize) the relationship more often than going with the flow
  • You feel the need to control or manipulate things more often than letting things unfold naturally
  • You are in “can’t live without but can’t live with” type of relationship
  • You are more of relationship coach or couple’s therapist than a lover and partner

Sometimes the simple act of loosening your grip on a relationship is what turns struggling to hold on to a relationship (and to someone) to having a relationship with them.

Don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourself – and for your relationship.

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54 Comments

  1. says: Emilia

    My ex says he likes me but he’s confused about whether he wants me as a friend with benefits or girlfriend. I want more than anything for us to be girlfriend and boyfriend again, but I don’t know what to do. We have already had some time apart.

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Have you asked him what he means by “be friends”? Does it include “and see what happens?” If it does, don’t get all upset about it. Take it as just “space” and opportunity to show him that things can work again. If not, then you have to decide if you can manage that at the moment.

      Don’t force yourself to do more than you can emotionally handle because you’ll end up hurting yourself, AND also losing the relationship.

  2. says: Ed

    We were together for 4 wonderful months then from out of the blue she said she needed to be alone, that things had moved too fast and she needed time to evaluate how she really feels about me. We still hang out and she says someday we might get back together. Does this somehow mean she regrets breaking up with me or does she just want to be friends. Help!

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      It means just that. Things moved too fast, she wasn’t sure if it’s what she wants and pulled back so she can get a better perspective of the relationship. It also means that you still have a chance to prove to her that you’re what/who she’s looking for. How you go about proving to her that you are what/who she’s looking for will determine whether you get back together, become “just friends” or go your separate ways.

  3. says: Erica

    Yangki, my situation is a little different in that my ex broke up with me but he is the one who has instituted the no contact rule. He doesn’t want any form of contact and has unfriended me on FB, blocked msn and will not pick up his phone when I call. We were very close, and I don’t understand how things could go from the best we’ve ever been as a couple to not talking to each other at all. He did say when we broke up that he still loved me but does not want to be in a relationship. So I think he’s distancing because he does not want to face his feelings, right?

    1. There’s two ways to look at it…

      1) If when he was breaking up with you he said he didn’t want any contact at all, then it is possible that he is using no contact to distance from his feelings for you and move on with his life.

      2) If he decided to do no contact because you overwhelmed him — pleading, begging, and acting in ways that were not in your best interest, then his decision to use go NC is because he does not want to deal with the drama that follows most break-ups.

    1. It’s possible that she’ll never come back, and it’s also possible that she will come back.

      Hope is expecting a positive outcome. But just expecting alone is not enough. You’ve to do what is necessary to create the outcome you want.

  4. says: Jamie

    Yangki, thanks for all ur advices. It’s been helping me to control my emotions better whenever I have the urge to contact my ex. I have read through ur blog for about a month or 2 and ur ebook too. But I’m at a confused stage now which I can’t seem to find the answers in ur blog. What if my ex was the dumper, but suggested that we can still remain and friends and stayed in contact with me, but admitted that he is not able to communicate with me at the moment. How can I fight for this relationship and get my ex back in this situation?

  5. says: Kim

    We both tried so hard to fight for the relationship during the relationship that it just wasn’t working. We both aren’t a whole emotionally stable person and trying to fight for a relationship that wasn’t made up of whole people couldn’t work at this time.

  6. says: Cassandra

    I wish my ex had fought for me and for our relationship. We were together for 8 years and broke up last November. He lost his job and went from being this kind and loving person to being angry and withdrawn. I tried to stand by him but he was not doing anything to help himself. I told him I loved him too much to see him do this to himself. The next day he initiated complete no contact. I haven’t heard from him since. I sent him a Christmas card.

  7. says: Scotty

    I did ask her if there was any other reason and she denied it, but I think I have a pretty good idea. Her family never liked me. She has told me a couple of times that her family compares me to her ex and it makes her so mad. They think I am not good enough for her.

    1. That can create conflict in one’s mind. But if they’re happy with the relationship, the family will eventually come around.

      If they have their own doubts or concerns about the relationship, the family “pressure” will get to them, and they’ll find all kinds of reasons (“I’m not ready for a relationship”, “I need time to focus on myself”, “We should take a break and see how things go”. etc) , to end the relationship.

      Focus on removing her doubts or concerns so that she’s so sure she wants to be with you, and her family will see how happy she is, and accept (or tolerate) you.

  8. says: Scotty

    Yangki, we were together for 4 amazing months. There was nothing wrong between us, she decided she wasn’t ready for another relationship because she wasn’t over what happened with her ex. She said I was a great guy and she wished we had met at a different time. I text her once in a while and she responds immediately. I just want to get an idea if there is even a chance for me or if I am wasting my time.

    1. It’s hard to tell without knowing more about what happened with her ex… if it’s something she can get over, roughly how long that will take… or even if that’s the “real” reason she ended the relationship.

      Sometimes, “I am not ready for a relationship right now” is the easy way out. One of those “it’s not you, it’s me” excuses that people use when they’re afraid to tell you the “real” reason, or don’t want you to hold up hope.

  9. says: Eve

    Yangki, I can see the mistakes that I made and what I could have done to make things better but my ex will not give me a chance to make things right. He says he is done with our relationship and doesn’t want me to set myself up for disappointment. He does not want any contact at the moment. I haven’t lost all hope yet but I don’t know what else to do either.

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