They were the one, and you made a huge mistake. Not all is lost; you can still get them back - and keep them.
If you’re willing to be patient, change your ex’s perception of you and work on rebuilding a real, organic connection, this is the guide for you.
You don't want to rush things. Ideally, you want to take small steps towards subtly shifting your ex’s opinion of you.
In this guide, you will learn the following:
- What Are The Chances Of Getting Your Ex Back?
- Step 1: How To Stop Obsessing Over An Ex
- Step 2: How To Cut Off All Contact With An Ex
- When Not To Use No Contact
- Step 3: How To Build A Better You After A Breakup
- Step 4: How To Break No Contact
- Step 5: How To Build Attraction With Your Ex
- Step 6: How To Sustain Attraction With Your Ex
- Appendix: How To Keep Your Ex
Let's be realistic. How are your chances?
What Are The Chances Of Getting Your Ex Back?
Good To Great
If your reasons for breaking up don’t include cheating, abuse, or any other toxic situation, there’s a pretty good chance that you can get things right the second time around.
You won't always get your ex back fast, but it's sometimes possible.
Slim To None
If your relationship ended because of physical and emotional abuse or cheating, giving the relationship a second chance isn’t a good idea. Trust and respect have been broken, which means you lack the necessary foundation for a healthy relationship. In such cases, seeking professional help is highly recommended.
Differences in core values are among the common reasons romantic relationships break down. Core values include how you view life, money, relationships, and everything in between.
If who you are conflicts with who they are and what they believe, you have a major compatibility problem. If your lives are going in completely different directions, or if you want different things, it's nearly impossible to have a healthy, long-lasting relationship. For your sake and theirs, it’s best to move on.
If you know for certain your ex has already got a new partner, then your chances don't look great. You'll need to consult our other guide: how you get your ex back when they're dating someone else, for help on that sticky issue.
Step 1: How To Stop Obsessing Over An Ex
Even if you still love your ex, don't make another call or send another text. Here’s why hounding your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend isn't going to work:
You Aren't Thinking Clearly
Have you wondered why you can't get over your ex? You may be suffering from a pesky thing called frustration attraction. It happens when you experience rejection from someone you feel strongly about. It's the reason you've developed an almost obsessive motivation to have your ex hear you out and take you back.
Your obsessive behavior does nothing to put you in your ex's good books. It only tanks your attraction levels and makes them associate you with a ton of negative feelings.
Your judgment is clouded by all the negative energy surrounding the breakup. You're likely to argue or disrespect them if you communicate in this state.
The bottom line is you aren't going to get your ex back by begging, pleading, or pestering them. What you should be focusing on is healing from all the intense emotions you’re feeling right now and getting in the right headspace.
Your Ex Isn't Thinking Clearly
Your ex isn’t thinking clearly either. They probably associate you with pain, disappointment, anger, and a host of other negative emotions.
Obsessively contacting your ex only makes them feel justified in their decision to stay away from you. It confirms that a breakup was the best decision. For any attempts at reconnecting to work, your ex also has to heal and get in the right emotional state.
Step 2: How To Cut Off All Contact With An Ex
You've got to take a different approach if you ever hope to convince your ex that taking you back is a good idea.
The No Contact Rule
No contact is the go-to method for getting your ex-boyfriend back without talking.
It involves not texting, calling, or seeing your ex for a period of time. 30 to 60 days is usually what experts recommend. Research shows that it takes about 30 days to simmer down and let go of negative memories and feelings following a breakup.
If your relationship ended on really bad terms, a longer no-contact period is better. Simply giving your ex space will help reset their perception of you and increase the chances of them being more receptive to you when you reach out.
The Great Reset
If you've been harassing your ex via text message or calling them incessantly, send them a text apologizing for your behavior and then start with no contact. Something like:
“I’m sorry for my behavior over the last couple of days. I’ve been stressed out by the breakup and a whole lot of other things and I took it out on you. Keep well.’’
This shows your ex-partner that you're ready to respect their need for space. Seemingly overnight, you've undergone a positive transformation. Their curiosity is piqued, and a seed is planted in their subconscious that you can see reason and learn from mistakes.
If you haven't been hounding your ex, still send them a text apologizing for specific things. This will help reset their perception of you and plant that seed.
Trust The Process
Once you've planted the seed, let your ex's subconscious mind do the rest. Having parted on more emotionally neutral terms, their thoughts of you will grow more positive with each passing day.
On days when you feel like giving in and reaching out to your ex, remind yourself why you shouldn’t. A careless text could derail your progress and an innocent call could escalate into a screaming match.
Wondering if no contact works? Yes: no contact prevents you from interacting with each other before you’re emotionally ready. The power of silence after a breakup can do wonders... you just have to be patient.
Rather than looking for signs that your ex is trying to get your attention online or telepathically, try and move past those thoughts and remember why you're keeping away.
The no-contact rule works so well because it helps your ex forget about all the reasons why you broke up while making them miss you and appreciate all the things you used to do for them. Trust the process.
When Not To Use No Contact
If you and your ex share major responsibilities, such as parenting or paying bills, cutting off all communication is going to be difficult. Try to keep your interactions short, polite, and friendly.
If your ex says to you outright that they want to get back together, there really is no need to continue with no contact. Do a victory dance. Then, craft a calm response letting them know you agree and you’d like to meet the next day. When you see your ex, make it official, and get started on making your new relationship better.
But, if your ex isn’t directly saying that they want you back and texting things like “I miss you” or “Wish you were here right now” — that’s a completely different story. They’re letting you know that they still have strong feelings for you but they aren’t reinforcing that with clear intent. To avoid the dreaded "exes with benefits" situation or any other confusing arrangement, continue with no contact.
Step 3: How To Build A Better You After A Breakup
Breaking up can hurt so much, and resisting the urge to reach out to your ex will be hard. That's why it’s important to find other things to occupy your mind.
Here are a few ways to use this time effectively:
You might wonder if breakups are ever easy. Sadly, they're rarely easy. But letting yourself go and neglecting self-care is the worst thing you could do.
A breakup can leave you with low self-esteem, so it's important to take care of yourself. Treat yourself to a few spa sessions or try out that hairstyle or hair color you've been wanting to try out. Overhaul your wardrobe and get yourself a few killer outfits. A new look is guaranteed to make you feel confident.
Get out there and experience different things. Regularly engage in a physical activity that you enjoy to release much-needed 'feel-good' hormones into your system. Doing so will help you look and feel better.
Rekindle Meaningful Relationships
Did you neglect your other relationships while you were with your ex? If so, you may have created a toxic situation.
Codependency occurs when you start to lose your identity in a relationship. This can lead to a lot of misplaced frustration, resentment, and anger. If you had a co-dependent relationship, it's likely that you'll miss your ex badly when you break up.
A healthy relationship allows you to grow closer without losing other meaningful relationships. However, if the damage has already been done, it's time to get that balance right. Start spending more time with friends and family.
Take Up New Hobbies And Interests
A healthy long-term relationship requires you to maintain your self-identity. Use this time to catch up on the things you neglected while you were in a relationship. Plus, if you're having existential thoughts like "can you ever stop loving someone?" then hobbies will be the perfect distraction.
Consider taking up new hobbies and interests. Be open to meeting different people and experiencing new things. This will increase your desirability and make you a better version of the person your ex fell in love with in the first place.
Do Some Reflection
To prevent you from making the same mistakes, reflect on why your old relationship failed. Perhaps you had communication issues, and learning the right communication skills would guarantee success this time around. Maybe you just need to compromise and find healthier ways of handling your differences.
Rather than worrying whether he'll come back, try to see things from your ex's perspective so that when you reconnect, you can share your thoughts and reassure them that things will be different this time around.
If you're having trouble with the reflection process, book a few sessions with a mental health professional. This can help you work through your emotions and put your past relationship into perspective. It’ll also help you figure out if you want your ex back for the right reasons.
Focus On Personal Development
It's easy to spend the whole breakup wondering if your ex is thinking about you too, but here's a better way to spend your time:
Grab a few self-improvement books and go on a journey of self-discovery. A better understanding of your needs, wants, and expectations can help you make better decisions in your next relationship.
What are some of the things you can work on to become a better partner? You might need to find new ways to cope with stress. You could even need to work on your listening skills. Don't dwell on past mistakes, use them to guide you.
Breakups are emotionally stressful. Try not to suppress your emotions, find healthy ways of dealing with them. Take up journaling or start seeing a therapist or a clinical psychologist. You could even learn a new skill or start on a project that you've always wanted to work on.
Use Social Media Strategically
Breakups make us focus on the worst parts of our exes. We exaggerate their negative traits and minimize every good thing we ever saw in them. It's what we do to vindicate ourselves. It’s likely what your ex is doing too.
It’s also likely that your ex is part of the 88% of people who use social media to keep tabs on their exes. That's why social media is a great way to make your ex see you in a positive light again.
Be strategic about the things you post. This is by no means deception or manipulation—especially if you are actually making an effort to become physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
Keeping your posts positive shows your ex that you are living your best life, getting healthy, and focusing on worthwhile pursuits. These are the kinds of statuses that will make your ex jealous.
Even if your ex has blocked you, they’re likely to get wind of your exploits through a mutual friend. It will get them curious, keeping you on their mind in a more positive way.
Remember that seed? It will also communicate to your ex on a subconscious level that you are open to change and committed to personal growth - two attractive traits in a long-term partner.
Make Them A Little Jealous
Want to learn how you can make your ex boyfriend jealous? Well, using social media to document your prolific single life is how to do it.
They'll get to see you living your best life and doing exciting things without them so soon after your breakup. Unlike what they expected, you aren’t having a hard time, moping around, or feeling sorry for yourself.
You could even take it up a notch by giving your ex the impression that you’re already mingling with other people. This is likely to increase your desirability and trigger a fear of loss.
Breakup coaches agree that when used properly, jealousy greatly improves your chances of getting your ex back. The hard part is you’ve got to be subtle about it. If your ex so much as sniffs out that you’re doing it intentionally, it could have the opposite effect.
Not only will it damage that positive perception you’ve tried so hard to establish, but it might also ruin your chances of getting them back.
Step 4: How To Break No Contact
Your ex might text you before the no-contact period is up. They may finally want to have that conversation you couldn't have when emotions were still running high. They could simply just be checking up on you.
If you want to know whether your ex wants you back, his first messages after no contact will reveal the truth.
Unless they're making clear signs that they miss you and want to get back together, it’s crucial not to crack. It's also not a good idea to start texting your ex before you’re in the right emotional space.
When To Break No Contact
If there are clear signs your ex is becoming interested again, and the no-contact period was more for him than you, then it could be the time to text back.
If you find yourself constantly dreaming of your ex, you might view it as a sign from the universe that it's time to get back in touch. It very well could be, but make sure you're ready and that enough time has passed.
If your ex starts to nag or you sense agitation or frustration from them, it might be best to send a response to calm the situation. You don’t want your ex thinking that you’re bitter or trying to get revenge. A simple text like this will do:
“Hey, sorry, I’m not trying to be rude or anything. I’ve just been really busy and focused on moving on. Keep well.”
The aim is to keep it short and cordial. Avoid being drawn into anything serious and then follow through with the no-contact period. Doing so minimizes the risk of fighting.
What To Text After No Contact
Breakup coach Brad Browning believes that texting is a great way to start communicating with an ex. There’s a lot less pressure to respond, and you’re able to think about your responses. It also allows you to start on the important task of establishing positive communication with your ex.
So, what should you text after no contact? The trick is to not come off as too desperate or pushy when trying to open the channels of communication again.
Great Icebreaker Texts
Avoid one-word texts as they don’t serve any purpose. You need to send texts of value that make your ex feel good. Here are a few great examples:
An Innocent Question
Ask your ex an innocent question that only they can answer and end the text in a light-hearted manner.
“Hey, what’s the name of that cool place we went to over Christmas break? Hope everything is going well with you!”
“Hey, you know that awesome dinner we had a few streets away from your office? What was the name of that place again? I want to take a friend there.”
An Interesting Fact
Let your ex in on an event they would really be interested in and end the message off with something friendly.
“Hey, just read about a food festival called Tastes of the World that’s coming to town in a few weeks…just remembered how much you love food festivals. Hope all is well with you.”
A Sweet Reminder
Send your ex a text about how you saw something that reminded you of them and made you smile.
“ Hey, I just found that silly hat I wore to our first dress-up party, I thought of you and it made me smile!”
If your ex responds, don’t bombard them with texts. Try not to exchange more than 7 texts a day. Space out your responses to build a little suspense, and avoid coming off as desperate or clingy.
Your ex might actually be testing you - so it's best to remain calm and collected.
Keep your texts brief and engaging. Ask genuine questions and talk about things that interest your ex. At this stage, your goal is to keep the positive communication going so that when you suggest a meeting, your ex is eager and not reluctant.
How To Deal With Ghosting
Ghosting is a surprisingly common problem during breakups, and it can result in a lot of hurt, confusion, and anger. If your ex ghosted you, it could be that they found your communication style unpleasant or they were too immature for an adult conversation.
This can be extremely unhelpful when it comes to your healing process, as communication is often the key to moving on. Unfortunately, you can't do much about being ghosted except work through your feelings with friends, family, or a professional.
If they'd rather ghost you than communicate effectively, you're probably better off. However, it's likely a sign that they'll never come back.
If you're the one that wants to ghost your ex, and you know there's no chance of a calm or effective conversation, then it could be the right thing to do. If you hate your ex, they might even be worth blocking. Read our other article to learn more about blocking your ex.
Step 5: How To Build Attraction With Your Ex
You’ve worked hard to open up the channels of communication. But, you're never going to make the transition from texting to dating if you don't build attraction.
Arrange A Meeting
There are certain stages to getting back together with an ex, and it begins with meeting up.
Setting up a meeting at just the right time is undoubtedly the most important part of this entire process. Alluding to anything romantic might scare your ex off so it's best to keep things as casual as possible. Coffee should do it. But don’t lead with, "Can we go out for coffee?” come up with a valid reason for wanting to see them.
A good way to do this is to ask for help or advice that plays on your ex’s strengths. Texts along these lines should do the trick:
“I’m working on something and I could really use your great judgment, could we grab a quick 30-minute coffee?"
"I'm remodeling my living room and you've always had impeccable taste. Any chance I could pick your brain over a quick coffee?"
This achieves two things: Your subtle compliment strokes their ego and makes them feel good. And, you're tapping into their innate human need to be needed.
The need to be needed is one of our fundamental needs. We want to feel like we play an important role, be it in an organization, community, family, or someone else's life. We want to feel significant in the eyes of others, even if it's just one other person.
Play On "Ex" Appeal
As human beings, we tend to take comfort in the familiar, this is why exes are a lot easier for us to get back together with. It's simpler for us to rekindle an old flame than to go out there and find a romantic new prospect.
We're inclined to get back together with our exes because they feel comfortable and we know what to expect. If we feel like we could have something better with them, it increases their appeal. This is why exes tend to find their way back to each other—even after years.
Your ex has fallen for you before and you were madly in love at some point. They found your traits and physical features attractive. You also have some good memories to use as subtle reminders of how great things were between you. Again, that puts you way ahead of the competition. You have a massive advantage, use it.
Make An Impression
Once you've managed to bag that first meeting with your ex, you should pull out all the stops to show your ex that you are an improved version of the person they once fell for.
Show off your new look and exude confidence. Use every weapon in your arsenal to grab their attention and pique their interest. Make a memorable impression and ignite that spark of attraction that will keep your ex thinking about you long after your meeting.
Your ex might be on high alert. If they pick up on desperation or any form of deceit, it could ruin your chances of getting back together. This is why step 3 is so important. It's crucial that you actually use the time apart to reflect and work on yourself.
If you've been working on yourself and prioritizing your mental and physical health, the first time you meet with your ex should work in your favor. There's a great chance that your ex will find your confidence and positive energy irresistible.
Subconsciously, seeing this new improved version of you will position you as a potential romantic interest. You won't represent failure, you'll represent potential.
Take Your Cues From Your Ex
Much like a first date, be charismatic and fun. Take note of how much interest your ex shows. Pay attention to their body language so you can adjust your approach. If they’re flirting, flirt back. If they’re keeping things friendly, keep it friendly too.
(This technique will also reveal whether your ex still loves you.)
In case you're rusty, sure signs of flirting are:
Intense Eye Contact
If your ex holds eye contact for longer than what’s appropriate for a casual conversation, take it as a sign to stare back and let the sparks fly.
If your ex is finding excuses to touch you, that’s a very good sign. Be sure to reciprocate and let the chemistry between you grow.
If your ex is leaning forward or trying to keep as little distance between you as possible, you’re in luck. Lean in too and see where that takes you.
If your ex is showering you with compliments, they’re definitely flirting. Enjoy it and send some flattery their way too.
Keep Things Positive
Remember how you’ve been working on maintaining a positive image? Keep that up. Make sure every interaction is enjoyable and leaves your ex feeling good. Make them laugh, remind them of a fun memory or get them talking about something they're passionate about.
Focus on establishing enough of an emotional connection to get them to want to see you again...and again.
Positivity matters because of something called recency bias. We’re hardwired to remember and focus on things that have happened recently. The advantage of leaving your ex with great memories to focus on is that they start to associate you with happiness.
We’re naturally drawn to people who make us feel good, so this positive association will make your ex want to talk to you more, see you more, and hopefully get back together with you.
Use Your Spirituality
If the Law of Attraction feels right to you, then you may use this opportunity to manifest your ex back into your life. Just remember, if it's meant to be, it will be.
Step 6: How To Sustain Attraction With Your Ex
If you’ve followed the advice provided in the previous steps, you should be in a really good place with your ex. There should be a renewed sense of excitement and attraction between you. Your final goal should be to sustain the attraction. Even if he still loves you, it's important to take things slow.
Don't Rush Things
Your ex could want you back after your first meeting. Sometimes, it takes several meetings with lots of flirting and attraction-building to completely change your ex’s mind about breaking up.
Whatever the case, you don't want to rush things. Ideally, you want to subtly shift your ex’s perception of you so that getting back together is completely their idea.
Understandably, you're eager to get back together with them but what you need at this point is a bit more patience. Taking things slow is your way of protecting yourself from a potentially destructive situation.
A better relationship will require effort and change from both of you. If you're the only one committed to change and personal growth, you're likely to end up in a frustrating, one-sided relationship.
When you don't rush into things, you give yourself time to gauge if your ex is actively trying to become a better person too. You're checking to see if they would be willing to match your energy and make a new relationship work. More importantly, you're letting the attraction and emotional connection between you develop organically.
Enjoy The Journey
Avoid drama, conflict, and serious discussions about the breakup and your previous relationship—for now. Reserve that for after you've made things official.
Enjoy getting to know each other again. Go on adventurous dates. Do some of the things you did during no contact together and gradually move your dates to more intimate settings. If you keep up the positivity and sustain the attraction, it’s only a matter of time before you have your ex in your arms for good.
Appendix: How To Keep Your Ex
Let's face it. You don't just want to get your ex back; you want to keep them. No one enjoys the tragic cycle of breaking up and getting back together with an ex.
You want to give your new relationship a fighting chance, which means doing things a little differently this time around. Here are a few tips to get you moving in the right direction:
Get better at expressing your needs and listening to each other. Talk openly and honestly about problems as they arise.
Set aside one night a month to resolve any issues in your relationship. You should be able to bring up concerns without anger or judgment. Remember, the goal is to work on tackling the problem together, not attacking each other.
Don't Neglect Each Other
Try not to take each other for granted. Don't let the attraction or emotional connection fade. Plan a weekly date night to do something fun and romantic. Remember to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and, more importantly, each other.
Don't Neglect Yourselves
Set aside a day for alone time. Use the time apart to see friends, explore your interests, and catch up on any personal projects.
The secret is to keep growing in separate areas of your lives. Keep doing the things you did during no contact and support each other's personal growth—your relationship will thank you for it.
Know When To Get Help
Knowing when to seek help can save your relationship. As you embark on this new journey, it might be beneficial to see a relationship coach or try couples therapy.
You can learn better communication skills and overcome any psychological barriers that are affecting your relationship. You can also figure out how to meet each other's needs and handle your differences.