Why Can’t My Ex Decide If They Want Me Back? (How They Decide)

Think your ex is just being stubborn, playing mind games, stringing you along, leading you on? This study will make you completely re-think why your ex can’t decide if they want you back, and what you can about it.

If you needed to get a new phone, how do you make your decision?

1. Do you worry about choosing the right phone? Do thorough research to compare all the specifics, read the forums to see what others are saying and ask almost everyone you know what they think? And after you finally buy the phone, do you worry that maybe you didn’t make the best choice?

2. Do you decide in advance what’s most import to you; and don’t need a lot of information or options to compare? Do you go with your gut and buy the phone that meets most of the things you’re looking for?

According to assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University, Joyce Ehrlinger, there are two types of decision-makers;

  1. Maximisers – who obsess over every decision before and after making one, and
  2. Satisficers – who are content with whatever decision they make.

If your ex is a maximiser, not to alarm you or anything; Houston, you have a problem!

According to Joyce Ehrlinger, ‘maximisers’ want to be certain they made the right decision. But making that “right” decision is a never-ending process.

Maximisers spend months making a decision most people make in a minute. And even after they’ve made a decision, they are still not happy or satisfied with their decision because they cannot be absolutely certain they made the ‘perfect decision’. This causes enormous amounts of anxiety and stress, and some maximisers even go into depression over simple decisions.

And it’s not just buying a phone, house, coffee-maker, and even socks that maximsers stress about. They also agonize over applying for a job, and second-guess their relationship partners.

The study published in journal Personality and Individual Differences claims that this indecision and desire to make the right decision and right choice drives off partners. Because maximisers have a hard time making decisions, they also have a hard time making a commitment.

If your ex is a mazimiser, it may feel like your ex is leading you on

What this means is that, if your ex is a satisficer they’re going to decide very quickly if they want you back or not. If your ex decides they want you back, they’ll do what it takes to get back together. As long as certain problems or their concerns are resolved; they’re good. On the other hand, if your ex decides that they don’t want you back; they’re likely to stick with their decision. No regrets.

If your ex is a maximiser, they’re going to keep you wondering if they’re ever going to decide. Because their decision making strategy is to weigh choices carefully; get back together or not, they’re un likely to decide until they’ve deeply examined every option.

Your ex may even be wondering if there’s someone else out there who’s an even better fit for them; and may even want to date a few people before making a decision.

This never-ending decision-making process can sometimes feel like your ex is leading you on. If you are lucky, they’ll tell you what  is holding them back from making a decision; but most of the time all they’ll tell you is that “something” is missing or “something” just doesn’t feel right. When you ask them what that “something” is, they can’t tell you what it is; or they tell you one thing one time and another thing another time.

Your ex could go on in this state of indecisiveness indefinitely

If you are right now dealing with one, you may be going crazy with their indecision. To be honest with you, I can’t blame you. I know some ‘maximisers’ and they literally “scratch” my brain with their agonizing obsession over decisions most people make with little or no problem at all.

They ask me for my opinion about something; then go to another friend/family member/expert and ask what they think about what I said. Then come back to me and ask me what I think about what the friend/family member/expert said about what I said. But even that is still not good enough.

Trying to understand your maximizer ex frustrating. And like like I said, it may feel like your ex is playing you like a fiddle. But if:

  • it’s not in your ex’s nature to play mind games or lead others on
  • you’ve seen him/her worry (too much) about other decisions, or
  • have had your “everything is going to be okay” moments with him/her (too many as a matter of fact).

That’s your ex being the maximiser that they’re.

So what do you do, walk away if you ex can’t decide if they want you back? That’s certainly an option. There is however another option. It involves a little bit of work, and patience… continue reading

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  1. says: Merethe

    BU 6 months ago. together 9 years, one child, house, cars etc.
    He still have 90% of his belongings see at home, we are in a relationship on Facebook, with both of us having photos of each other on the main site. Have had daily contact since december 12th. Texting, meet ups, family time, family weekend away skiing.
    He said to his mother one that he felt us becoming closer the last weeks. But he still don`t know. I am starting to feel like I do not have anymore to give. I need some guidance.

        1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

          Unfortunately, no. Due to a heavy schedule, I don’t offer email coaching as a stand alone service anymore.

          I offer daily EMAIL SUPPORT as a part of the on-going coaching package.

  2. says: Regina

    Yangki, my ex is a maximiser and has always been one as long as I have known him. He’s a straight up guy who does not play games but I read too many articles on other sites about ex leading you on and I think I have been pushing him too hard. I need to be patient and let him make his decision without any pressure.

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      If he’s a maximiser, the pressure to make a decision may be what is holding him back. Take away the pressure and see what happens.

  3. says: LostinPA

    Hi Yangki,

    I was reading your book and I’m wondering if you think your methods work for someone like me whose boyfriend broke up with me basically because he’s a maximizer – he is having trouble committing to forever and doesn’t want to keep hurting me. I obviously am not perfect in the relationship – I feel I may have pushed him to forever a bit quickly and have not been myself for a while due to his indecision, but I don’t feel like the “blame” really lays with me or that I need to drastically change. He just needs to choose to be with me.

    Thoughts?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Yes, the advice in my book works for the majority of situations, especially where the ex is open to some form of contact. However, I do recognize that there are some unique differences in relationships, break-ups and even personalities, that is why I offer one-on-one coaching — to understand what’s unique about a relationship and give advice tailored for the specific relationship or ex.

      I am happy to work with you on what needs to change and how, what you can do so that he chooses to be with you.

  4. says: Casandra

    Yangki, I recently found your site and have been reading your articles and following your advice. He replies to my texts but does not say much. he said to me it feels like talking to a stranger after not talking for so long. I make sure I connect emotionally and he seems to respond to that. However, since last Friday he has not responded to any of my texts. Before that he said he does not want to lead me on because he is not ready for a relationship right now. I told him I was not expecting anything but just wanted to see where things go. He seemed okay with it that is why him not responding a little disturbing. We did have other conversations after he told me he does not want to lead me on and even talked about going out to a game. We both like sports. I don’t want to panic, but I am worried i will not hear from him again. What do you think I should do?

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      It’s only been 4 days, neither of you is doing NC, so give it time. He responded regularly before and you didn’t have a fight. There are reasons a person doesn’t respond – some of which have nothing to do with you. If it gets to a week or 10 days and you still haven’t heard from him, send him a text asking if he is alright/you’re worried about him. If he still doesn’t respond, then chances are he does not want to give you false hopes of getting back together or risking falling for you again.

  5. says: Frank P.

    My ex-wife finally agreed to meet and talk. She says she wants to take things slow and see where it goes. Is that good or bad?