What Your Ex Means By A Relationship With You Can’t Work

Almost everyone trying to attract back their ex knows that it is best to “let things happen organically”. But even for the most laid back and most patient of us, there comes a time when you want to “hurry” things up a little.

The lines of communication are open, contact is regular, there is emotional connection and you are even going out on dates, but your ex just doesn’t seem able to make up their mind. You get the feeling that they’re struggling with something; and that something is holding them back from taking that next step to get back together

As tempting as it is to want to “hurry” things up a little, don’t. My experience has been that when you push an ex to make a decision they are not ready to make, the decision they make will not be in your favour.

The best thing you can do in a situation like this is determine if your ex’s difficulty making up their mind is because they think it can’t work between the two of you, or if they think the relationship will not work.

There is a difference between “it can’t work” and “it will not work”, and this difference may well be that little thing you need for it to “click”.

Your ex says it WILL NOT work

When your ex says the relationship “will not work”, they are choosing not to give the relationship another chance. What they are saying to you is “I could, if I wanted to, but I’m choosing not to”.

In my experience, someone will often “choose” not to give the relationship another chance because they’re judging you based on what they knew about you before the break-up — behaviours, habits, preferences, interests etc. Changing “I won’t” to “I want” not only means changing the old perception your ex has of you, but also convincing your ex that there is more you bring to the relationship this time around, and that the additional value will be worth it for them.

Your ex says it CAN’T work

When your ex says “it can’t work” between the two of you, they’re saying that there are differences between the two of you that can’t be resolved or reconciled. They’ve most likely thought about it over and over and as much as they love and care bout you, they believe that the relationship simply can’t work. It maybe that you have two very different personalities, you are in different places in your lives, your goals have changed over time, or you are not the person they thought you were.

Sometimes it has nothing to do with you, it’s just a feeling or belief your ex has. Your ex will tell you, “You are perfect just the way you are” or “” there is nothing I’d ask you to change about you” or “I see that you have changed a lot, and I am proud of you, but….”

Over the years, I have found that it is much harder to convince an ex that you are right for them if they strongly believe there is nothing that can be done to reconcile your differences or make the relationship work.

Harder in my book however doesn’t mean impossible. There have been cases where an ex said there is nothing my client can do that will convince them that the relationship can work and ended up changing their mind.

What helped is break down what an ex believes are irreconcilable difference into to wants and needs and coming up with solutions that address each of these wants and needs.

RELATED: What To Do When Your Ex Loves You But Doesn’t Want To Be With You

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  1. says: Anne

    Hi Yangki, thank you for site and book, Dating Your Ex. I cannot even tell you how perfect the timing was for me to discover all of it. I have been working on myself for the past 6 months. My husband and I have been separated for almost year – he’s the one who left. When I’ve previously mentioned reconciliation, his response was not seeing a future together, to then not being sure and more recently that I deserve better than to be with someone who might be bitter. His recent response has me a little puzzled, because I don’t know what to do to help him overcome bitterness towards me?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      You have been separated for a year, I need a little more information about your situation to be able to give the best advice. Please consider signing up for one-on-one phone coaching.

  2. says: Amy

    We are still keeping in touch ever since and sometimes call each other endearing names we used while we were together. However he has told me a week after the split that he realized he needs to be alone and he doesn’t want to give me false hope that we will eventually be together again. It makes things even more difficult when we are both in different countries. Do you think it’s worth putting in the effort to change his mind? Thank you so much for all that you do Yangki, your work has helped me a lot in a journey of self healing and emotional growth.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      I am humbled by your kind words, and happy to have been of some help in your healing and growth.

      Whether it is worth putting in more effort or not is a decision only you can make. I don’t think it’s a good idea to outsource to me or anyone a decision that is about your heart and/or life because the only person who’ll have to live with the decision is YOU.

  3. says: Norri

    My ex and I broke up almost 2 months ago but since then we’ve seen each other four times and been intimate twice. I would say things are good between us. He says he loves me but he’s scared of getting back together out of fear that we won’t work out. After reading your book and articles I realized that I rushed things and haven’t shown him enough how the relationship can be different. So now I’m resetting the pace and doing more to show him the changes. I hope this is the right thing to do. What do you think?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Yes, it’s the right thing to do.

      Sometimes when someone thinks it won’t work out, it is because you have continued with the old relationship. Use the advice on making things FEEL new to create a different tone to the relationship.

      Showing him the changes and making things FEEL new should speed up the process.

  4. says: Joels

    I broke up with her 6 months ago, then I realized how much I really love her. Losing her is tougher than I thought. I’m following the advice in your eBook and so far we are exchanging many fun texts, still no phone calls. She says she’s not ready to talk or meet me for drinks. You said in your eBook that your ex will test you, I’m I being tested? I want to be more real, be there for her and really make her happy.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      It’s possible that she’s testing you, but it’s more like she’s afraid of being hurt again. If you are serious about really being there for her and making her happy, give her time. Right now all she has as proof that the changes you’ve made are real and lasting is your word. When she sees for herself that you are consistent in being real and being present, she’ll feel safe to open up more.

  5. says: Christian

    Yangki, I told my ex I was making changes to be a better partner and she said she was happy for me and that my next relationship will be better. What does she mean?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      It depends on the context in which she said it and where you are in the process of trying to get back together. It could mean she doesn’t want to come out and say the next relationship will be with her, or it could mean she wants you to think of your next relationship with someone else, not her.

  6. says: Kim

    My ex and I have broken up 11 times within a 2 year duration of the relationship. The recent breakup is 7 weeks ago. We didn’t talk for 4 weeks, he contacted me first. We still have feelings for each other but I don’t know if it will work for us. Part of me believes everything will work out in the end, but another part of me says we’ve tried to make it work too many times and it just is never going to work. What do you think, give it another chance or just move on?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      11 times in 2 years is too many times. I’m sure almost everyone has told you to move on already, but for some reason, here you are, still trying to make it work.

      Both parts of you are right.

      It is never going to work if you are doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

      It can work BUT only if the dynamic of the relationship changes fundamentally, and I mean FUNDAMENTALLY! That’s going to require a LOT of self-work on both sides.

  7. says: Hayden

    We had little misunderstanding and he said he needed space. I said ok because I thought it’ll be for a short time and things would get back to normal. We didn’t talk for 3 weeks. On advice of a friend I contacted him and told him I need to get my stuff from his place. He responded by asking me if we were breaking up. I told him it seems like he is the one that was breaking up with me. He got very upset and now will not respond to any of my texts. I apologized for listening to bad advice but he says we’re done and he will not put up with my crazy behavior anymore. I know I messed up real bad. Why is he so upset when he was the one that wanted a break? Are we done?

    1. Without more details of your relationship, I can’t say for sure that you are done. He may just be upset. But if this is some kind of pattern, he may have reached his breaking point.

      He’s probably upset because he asked for a “break” (from the crazy behaviour), not a “break-up”. He might have thought/hoped that a break would make things better, but instead things got even crazier.

      I don’t think you helped things by apologizing for listening to bad advice. It’s more like an excuse.

  8. says: Millie

    My ex dumped me 5 weeks ago. I wished him the best and meant it because he is a great guy and I loved him. He said it would be nice have some kind of contact to check on how I’m doing. they’re doing. I told him. I want the same. We’ve been communicating via text once or twice a week.

  9. says: Princess

    You are a true God sent. I am following your ex dating book step by step to get into a NEW relationship with my ex. I didn’t go NC and I am glad I didnt. We are working through our differences to make the relationship work this time. We’ve broken up twice in 4 yrs, but have never resolved the underlying issues hence we’ve been stuck in a vicious cycle. Hopefully we’ll break it with your help 🙂

  10. says: Steph

    Yangki, your blog has greatly helped me with new understanding. Even though I personally have made long strides and drastic changes, I feel like my relationship with my ex isn’t going anywhere. I feel more distanced from him than ever. I’ve been initiating contact with him about once a week for the past four months, but he still hasn’t initiated any contacts. I’m always the one who makes the first contact and he responds after a few hours or the next day. Do you think I should continue trying to talk to him more to see if he still has feelings for me or move on at this point?

    1. It’s great to hear that you’ve made strides in your personal development. Change is never easy, but the rewards are worth it.

      I’m sorry to hear that your relationship isn’t going anywhere. Four months is a long time for nothing to have changed. Either 1) you are just doing contact and not connecting emotionally, 2) you are playing too safe because you fear you will push him further away or 3) he is just not interested in getting back together and just being polite by responding.

      While texting is “safe” and great for instant contact, it doesn’t help much in terms of creating a deep emotional connection. I suggest changing things from texting to talking on the phone, or even ask him out and see what he says. Take a few risks with him… flirt, tease, touch, etc. If after a month or so, you still don’t see any changes, it may just be that you are never getting back together. But you can’t know that for sure if you don’t take a few risks and change things up.

  11. says: Rainbow

    My ex broke up with me and 2 days later he texted me asking how I was doing. I told him I needed sometime of no contact to heal. He replied “ok”. After 4 weeks of NC, I sent him a text and he replied, “If you’d like to talk sometime, let me know”. A week later, I texted him asking if he’d like to meet me for a drink. I never heard back from him. I texted him again telling him I’d really like to talk to him. No response. I have sent him 3 more texts, still no response. Why would he say, “If you’d like to talk sometime, let me know” and then say anything else?

    1. I don’t know for sure. I think that he either felt guilty for breaking up with you or was genuinely concerned about your well-being, but he doesn’t necessarily want to get back together with you. I don’t know if he decided that before or after you told him you needed sometime of no contact. Meeting you for a drink would have sent the wrong message.

      I do agree with you on one thing, he should have at least responded to tell you he doesn’t want to meet you. It contradicts the seemingly “caring” person who wanted to know how you were doing and offered to talk if you wanted to.

      If you really think about it, 4 texts and no response, is a RESPONSE

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