So you just got dumped. You feel crushed — like you just got kicked in the gut. After getting drunk and eating an entire pizza while watching a “Scrubs” marathon, you decide you’ll do whatever it takes to win your ex back. But you’re not sure how to effectively go about it. And, honestly, most people don’t go about it in the right, healthy, productive way.
As always, every relationship is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all outline for getting an ex back. It also depends on why you broke up in the first place. If you slept with her mother, nothing in the following list is going to help you.
However, if you feel the relationship just kind of puttered out, and no one did anything to hurt the other, try out as many of these tips as you can. Even if you don’t get back with your ex, you’ll have made yourself a better person for the next relationship you have.
1. Give Yourself Time to Grieve
The end of a relationship is a small death. It’s the death of “us.” Now it’s back to just you. As with any traumatic event, you need to allow yourself some time to process this. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may have these kinds of thoughts:
- “There’s no way she/he would break up with me. She/he will probably call me in a day or two to apologize.”
- “This is bull! I’m the best thing that ever happened to her/him.”
- “I’ll tell her/him that I’ll change. Whatever it was that she/he didn’t like, I’ll change it.”
- “I’ll never love anyone the way I loved her/him. Life is pointless.”
- “Maybe she/he had a point. Maybe I wasn’t giving her/him all she/he needed.”
To be the type of person who can win back your ex, you need to experience these and come out on the other side. Unless you do, you’ll never be able to fully commit and enter into another relationship, whether it’s with your ex or someone else.
2. Address and Fix Why You Broke Up
There are never zero reasons for a breakup. There may be trivial reasons (“I don’t like the way she chews.”), but there is a reason or reasons. Maybe they told you exactly what it was, and maybe you have no idea what it was. If it’s something specific, address it head on.
Lior Gotesman, Founder of RelationshipHero.com, a website dedicated to winning back your ex says, “Don’t blindly follow the no-contact rule. You may be wasting your time or making your situation worse. For example, I had a client whose ex broke up with him because he prioritized work over her. No contact would’ve made her think he still didn’t care. I told him to hop on the next plane to her town and meet for coffee — she was ecstatic.”
3. Build a Life You Love
Before you can worry about “us” again, you need to worry about you. Work on building a life of your own for the time being. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up on getting back with your ex — it just means you want to be the best prepared.
Do things that make you happy. Reconnect with an old friend, take long walks in the country alone, revisit a hobby you have let lapse. Most relationships end with a whimper and not a bang. Were you just in the same old rut of work, Netflix, and coupledom? Adding new things into your life can help add some positive emotion back into an otherwise staid existence.
4. Don’t Debase Yourself
If this breakup caught you off guard or you feel that your ex was “The One,” you might be tempted to do whatever it takes to win her or him back. This could involve 42 unrequited text messages, drunk and weepy voice mails, protestations that you’ll do anything. No one has ever thought this was sexy. Not only does it come across as needy and desperate but also insincere.
Lior offers, “Apologizing doesn’t work if you do it right after the breakup. It won’t come off as sincere, especially if your emotions are running the show. Wait a few days first, and don’t send that wall of text.”
5. Make Some Improvements
Sometimes, when we’re on autopilot in our lives, we don’t notice that some things have fallen by the wayside. Are all of your shirts two years old or more? When was the last time you read a book? Has your weight steadily creeped up? Have you had the same haircut since high school?
While you shouldn’t change the core of who you are for anyone, polishing yourself up to present the best version of you can only help. There’s a phrase I like: “The interior world mirrors the exterior world.” Meaning, if you start to make some physical changes, it starts to affect inner change as well. Sometimes something as simple as a new haircut and outfit can give you a whole new perspective on life.
6. Take Ownership of Why It Happened
“Figure out WHY the breakup happened. Only then will you know what you need to change in order to win your ex back,” Lior said. “It’s easier than you think. If you haven’t figured it out already, you should now. It’s the first step to take when getting your ex back.”
It always takes two to tango. Whatever you think, you were not blameless in the breakup. We’ve all contributed things that chipped away at the base of a relationship. Most people don’t want to open the dark doors in their mind that will lead to all their faults because it would amount to admitting that they were are not perfect. I don’t usually like this phrase, but you need to man up, get in touch with whatever helped cause it, fix it, and move forward. And never use the phrase “I’m sorry, but…” Just say “I’m sorry.”
7. Don’t Expect to Jump Right Back to Where You Were
If they do agree to meet up with you after a few days/weeks/months for a coffee, you cannot just try and jump back to where you left off. If you truly are the new-and-improved version 2.0 of yourself, then you’re going to be starting a new relationship with your ex.
You need to do some of the same things you did when you first courted each other. That means having long conversations, resetting the sexual clock back to zero, and understanding that, while it will be similar to your last time together, it will be new with new rules of engagement. Take time to understand them and the direction you’re going to move in.
Put in the Effort, But Be Willing to Accept It May Not Work
Winning back your ex is one of the most difficult things to do. It takes an extreme amount of work and diligence for your ex to see you as a better version of yourself. And both parties need to be on the same page when it comes to trying to get back together.
Go ahead and give winning them back the old college try, but make sure to give yourself a time when you just have to take a big sigh and give it up. And if you must move on, at least following these tips will make you a better person and much more ready for a relationship.