How To Get Your Ex Back (Assuming They’re Worth It)

We all make mistakes sometimes. Maybe you thought you needed some space from your ex, only to realize later that they’re the one thing in this world making you happy. Or maybe you thought your cute new coworker was “The One” but then recognized that you were just in the midst of a rut with your longtime love. It’s possible to get your ex back if you think your breakup was a mistake. Here’s how.

  1. Prepare for them to still feel a little cold. You may have deeply hurt them. Before you try winning them back, you need to gain their respect again. Don’t make assumptions that you’ll call them and resume the relationship just like before. Start slow and realize that a reconciliation might not be in the cards if you don’t play it right. You have to respect their feelings and feel empathetic over what happened.
  2. Apologize from the heart. If you were the one to tell them you wanted to break up, you’re the one who’s responsible for the apology. Don’t use a canned apology, and make sure it’s more than “I’m sorry.” Craft out your apology from the heart. Let them know you made a mistake that you’re trying to fix.
  3. Figure out why you broke up and work from there. Did you cheat on them? Then make sure you tell them how it was the biggest mistake of your life. Acknowledge the fact that your ex was betrayed by you and then take action to make up for it. Maybe you just weren’t on the same stage in life at the time of your breakup, and now you’ve matured. Prove that you’ve grown. Show them what you’ve done, and detail all of the steps you plan on taking from there. For a relationship to thrive after a breakup, you need to show that you’re different than you were when you broke up.
  4. Try romantic gestures. It’s nice to be romantic, but know that this can enter creep territory pretty quickly — so, a small present or gesture may be best. Send them a gift in the mail with a note saying “I saw this and thought of you. Hope you’re well, and I’d love to catch up someday.” Not only will they like the fact that you spontaneously thought of them, but it puts the ball in their court. This is a much better gesture if you know they’re still single. Trying to break up their new relationship isn’t the best move.
  5. Talk to their best friend. If you have a good relationship with a mutual friend, it couldn’t hurt to talk to them. That way, you can get some of your feelings out without worrying about coming on too strong. Ask to get coffee and catch up, and see where the conversation takes you from there. Be honest about the meeting — tell them that you wanted to catch up with them, but also wanted to make sure everything was well with your ex.
  6. If you just broke up, take some time. Time really heals all wounds. Work on yourself to be a better and stronger person, and make the time apart healthy. Don’t go off and sleep with someone else. Even though you technically can, it won’t help your chances of getting back together with your ex, and will just make you feel more muddled. Random hookups are only good if you’re not already emotionally attached to someone else.
  7. Text them but don’t bombard them. A text is a good way to test the waters. Stay positive with it, and remind yourself that it’s okay if they take some time to respond. A good text is something like, “I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving this year!” Questions are also good, especially if the two of you dated for a long time. “This may seem out of the blue, but I’m so stumped on what to get my dad for Christmas and I know you always had some good ideas” will show that you value their opinion while also bringing up a good memory.
  8. Avoid trying to get their attention on social media. If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, ditch the emo song lyrics and poetry. By this age, you should know how to express yourself better. Social media tagging or pitiful Facebook posts will only make the situation worse. The relationship was between the two of you — not the two of you, your friends from high school, your college professors, your parent’s neighbors, and your mailman.
  9. Remind yourself that this (technically) isn’t the same relationship. Unless you broke up for a reason like time or distance and remained good friends, you’ll want to take things slow. Otherwise, you’re disrespecting the relationship. If you know this is the person you’re meant to be with, you won’t want to jump ahead and make it hard for them to process their feelings this time around. When you date someone again, there will obviously be similarities. But, there will also be differences. Just like you, they have grown since the two of you split.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.