Your ex warming up and emotionally opening up to you is the No.1 sign your ex is open to getting back together. It means that they are feeling safe with you again.
You’ve probably heard that in order for someone to emotionally open up, they need to feel emotionally safe to do so.
What does it mean to be emotionally Safe?
In psychology, emotional safety refers to an emotional state achieved in attachment relationships where in each individual is open and vulnerable. When a relationship is emotionally safe, the partners trust each other and routinely give each other the benefit of the doubt in questionable situations. When emotional safety is lost, the partners are inclined to be distrustful, looking for possible hidden meanings and potential threats in each other’s words and behaviors [Source: Wikipedia].
1. Attachment 2. openness 3. vulnerability and 4. trust. I could just stop right here.
But Emotional safety is so important that your ex emotionally opening up is the most important sign that your ex will eventually come back
When emotional safety is lost in a relationship
The loss of emotional safety is the first sign that things are not going too well in the relationship. The first thing many of us notice is our then boy/girlfriend, partner, spouse or significant other talks to us less and less. When we ask questions, we get one word or one sentence answers. When we try to engage them in conversation, it’s like they are there but not really there.
1. Your ex emotionally disengages
This is the first stage of someone emotionally disengaging and checking out of the relationship. They are still physically there but emotionally checked out.
2. Your ex physically pulls away
Next thing we notice is them spending less and less time with us. Even with the time they spend with us, they are not their happy, playful and open selves anymore. They start cancelling dates, time spent together gets shorter and shorter, and getting them to actually spend time with you is like asking them to do you a favour.
This is the second stage of someone checking out of the relationship. First they emotionally withdraw and then they physically pull away.
3. Your ex breaks up with you
The last stage is when they tell you they want out.
Signs your ex is eventually coming back
Over the years helping men and women get back their ex, I’ve noticed that getting back together is almost like two people walking the relationship backwards.
1. Your ex emotionally reengages you
The first signs that an ex is warming up to you, and and emotionally opening up to you is that they want to talk to you more and more. In the very initial stages, you may get one word or one sentence answers to your questions, but as things warm up, your ex opens up more and more.
2. Your ex wants to see you physically and spend time with you
The next sign that your ex wants to get closer to you again is when they want to spend physical time with you. The more dates, the more progress towards getting back together.
If after 1 – 2 months of keeping in contact with your ex, you are still getting one word or one sentence answers to your questions, it’s usually not a good sign. It means they don’t feel emotionally safe with and around you; and keeping you at a distance. That’s what those one word or one sentence answers are, keeping you at emotional distance.
Same thing, if after 2 – 3 months of regular contact, your ex still does not want to see you in person or want to spend physically time with you. They are telling you they do not feel safe to allow you back into their lives. There are many reasons for this, some very specific to a particular relationship.
You may even re-establish contact, chat here and there and hang out a few times, but that’s just your ex’s way (consciously or sub-consciously) of testing the emotional environment for any warning signs of emotionally hurt.
Your ex tests for emotional safety with getting close and pulling away
If for any reason your ex feels (it’s a feeling people, and not always rational) the emotional environment is still unsafe; or not what they are looking for anymore, you’ll begin to see the pattern of emotional pulling away again.
Testing the emotional environment and emotional pulling away can go on for a while; until your ex is convinced it’s safe to get in back fully; or decides it’s best to avoid any potential for emotional hurt altogether.
The task of creating an emotional environment that makes your ex feel emotionally safe to open up again, to be vulnerable again, to trust again and to attach again falls on you.
It’s your job to find out what makes your ex feel emotionally safe
In general there are things that make all of us feel emotionally safe and want to emotionally open up. Some things are more important to some people than to others, and some people need more of one thing than the other.
For example, in order to emotionally open up some exes need:
- A text or call every few hours and exes need contact once a day/week.
- More us-time and some exes need more me-time.
- To talk openly about everything and some exes need small doses of emotional sharing.
- More validation and others need to feel heard.
- To be able to trust you and others need to be trusted more.
The reason for the break-up and the reason for your ex not wanting to try the relationship again hold the key to what your ex needs to feel emotionally safe and to emotionally open up to you.
Pay attention to the things they told you makes them feel emotionally safe: What did you notice just before they started emotionally pulling away? Are there topics do they avoid talking about? What questions do they not respond to or cause them to stop responding? All these are good indicators of not only what makes them feel emotionally safe, but how they feel about getting back together.
Create a plan on how to get your ex to eventually emotionally open up
To create emotional safety and get your ex to emotionally open up to you again, you need regular contact. Avoiding your ex or avoiding talking about emotions and feelings does not create emotional safety. In fact it does the very opposite. It creates what’s called in conflict management a “distancing spiral.” It’s very difficult to make progress in a “distancing spiral”, let alone have a relationship.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few important emotional safety needs, create a plan that incorporates into your communications and efforts to get back together at least 3 – 5 of those needs. If you can incorporate at least one in every conversation (text, phone or face-to-face), you’ll see things progress faster; and your ex eventually come back.