What Does Your Ex Want And Need From You?

Most, if not all of us, want someone who has rejected us to realize just how much they’ve lost, and miss us.

Some exes do indeed realize just how important we’re in their lives. But sometimes however good boy/girlfriend material you are, you can’t persuade your ex that you have all the qualities they’re looking for in a partner.

In the beginning of the relationship, they were sure that you are “the one”, but as time went by, you failed to measure up to expectations. They became more and more dissatisfied with the relationship because it did not meet their needs and wants. Feeling unsatisfied and unhappy, they decided to end the relationship despite the fact that they still have strong feelings for you.

The conflict between your ex’s feelings of love, and their unmet needs and wants often plays out in how your ex interacts with you and the decisions they make about you. To you they come across as confused and don’t know what they want but to your ex they see you as incapable of meeting their most important needs and wants.

That’s why knowing the wants and needs driving the decisions your ex is making about you can help you not only communicate your value more effectively, but also determine if you have a chance of getting together — or if you are just wasting your time trying to get back someone who is firmly determined to move on without you.

The best way to find out is to ask. Asking takes away the guess work and gives you a more accurate and complete picture of what’s important to your ex. But when you are broken up asking someone what they want, or need can sometimes come across needy.

It is necessary to go back and think about the relationship and the things that made your ex unhappy, made them treat you differently or they complained about.

Keep in mind that what someone wants and what they need are often two different things. Many of us may not know exactly what we want, but we always know what we need. Your task is to determine what are your ex’s wants and what are their true needs.

Look at it this way, a wants is what could be nice to have, but if you do not have it, you will still be happy in the relationship (e.g. It’s be nice to be able to go on vacation twice a year, but once a year is also okay).

A need on the other hand is what you need to be happy in the relationship (e.g. emotional connection, good communication, trust, respect, boundaries, spending quality time, intimacy etc.).

Go through the list of unmet needs and wants your ex expressed in the course of the relationship and/or break-up, and figure out how you are going to meet each want or need. If you need to, list your ex’s wants and needs on a piece of paper.

  • How can you meet their most important wants and needs?
  • What has changed that will enable you to meet their needs and wants?
  • Why should your ex believe that their needs and wants will be met if you get back together?

Once you have figured it out how to meet the unmet needs and wants your ex expressed when you were still together and/or during the break-up, demonstrate to your ex that what you can meet their most important wants and needs.

  • If your ex’s needed you to make them feel like they mattered to you, reach out even when they aren’t, ask how they are, ask about the things they care about etc.
  • If they wanted you to eat healthy, have conversations about food, send them photos that show you are conscious of what you eat etc.
  • If they needed you to open up emotionally, talk to them about things you’d normally not talk about, let them in on your feelings about what’s happening in your life. You get the point.

The more you know about the needs and wants driving your ex’s decision about you, the more easily you can demonstrate why being in a relationship with you is something they want and need.

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  1. says: Erina

    Thanks. I needed a bit of a reality check. I read the chapter in the book about when there is another woman and have followed your advice but I guess I got distracted because he asked her to the SB party instead of me. To be fair, he asked me first but I didn’t want to rush things, so I said no. I kind of expected him to pursue me but he chose to take her instead. Our mutual friends say, they never saw with the other woman the chemistry that my ex and I have, and also he called me twice to ask where i was and if I was having fun. I guess that counts for something.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      It counts for something, but as mentioned in the book, look for consistency in behaviour. It’s a better indicator of the progress you are making than isolated incidents.

      Again, stay focused… focused…\/…(:

  2. says: Erina

    My ex never talked about his feelings either. Most of the time I had to try to figure out what his needs are based on the things he said when we are having arguments. One of the things in your book that made a huge difference for on me is where you say it’s best to approach the conversation from a perspective of wanting to share than pointing out a problem or complain about the relationship. By allowing him to explain his needs in his own words, it’s helped us get closer. I just wish I had your book earlier because he’s seeing someone else. He says it’s not serious but it still scares me that I may have lost him for good.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      If he says it’s not serious, you have to take him at his word… unless you want to give up now after having come this far.

      Would it have helped if you had the Dating Your Ex book earlier? Yes. Is it too late? From the sounds of it, NO. As mentioned in the book, the presence of someone else in your ex’s life complicates things somewhat, but it doesn’t mean you do not have a chance. If handled well, it may actually help him see what he will be losing by choosing the other woman.

      In short, get yourself together and focus. As long as he is giving you a chance to change his mind and heart, don’t get distracted by your own self-doubt.