How To Show Your Ex You’ve Changed

Research shows that nearly half of all couples who break up get back together again. This can sometimes lead to the dreaded on-again-off-again relationship. But other times, couples who’ve broken up and gotten back together come out stronger because of it. If you’re ready to rekindle your relationship with an ex, use these strategies to show your new and improved self.

  1. Identify where things went wrong. To show your ex you’ve changed, you must first understand what actually requires changing. Reflect on your relationship and the problems you shared. What requests did your ex make that you ignored? What did they consistently complain about? Which of your actions especially hurt them? If you and your ex are on speaking terms, ask them directly what went wrong, and use that feedback to make meaningful changes.
  2. Give an effective apology. One way to demonstrate to your ex that you’re changing and cognizant of their feelings is by giving a good apology. A good apology involves reflecting on how you’ve wronged the other person and how deeply sorry you are. It can also include an offer on how to improve the situation. A bad apology, on the other hand, focuses on excuses and explaining why you acted the way you did. A bad apology will likely only drive your ex away, while a good apology shows your inner growth.
  3. Make life changes. If you made mistakes with your ex, chances are you made mistakes in other areas of your life too. Show your ex you’ve really changed by making sweeping changes in your life, not only ones that affect your romantic relationships. Journal, go to therapy, or read self-help books to learn more about your shortcomings and how to overcome them. Even if these changes aren’t immediately obvious to your ex, they may start to notice you’re oozing the confidence and strength you lacked before.
  4. Enlist the help of mutual friends. If you can’t interact with your ex directly, ask mutual friends to help put in a good word for you. They can tell your ex how sorry you are and what you’ve done to improve yourself. Slowly, this may sway your ex’s view of you and help them see how much you care.
  5. Show up when your ex needs you. Show your ex you’ve changed by being present when they need you, not when you need them. Check in on stressful days, offer your help, and be generous with your support. Putting their needs first, at least while working to rebuild trust, shows you truly care about them, not your own personal gain.
  6. Don’t argue with your ex. It might seem obvious that arguing with an ex isn’t the best way to win them back, but many who want to show they’ve changed try to do so by over-explaining and debating what happened in the relationship. Accept that your ex may have a negative perception of you, even if you’ve changed.
  7. Avoid rebound relationships. If your ex sees you cuddling up with someone new, they’ll likely assume that you’re only reenacting your old ways with another person. To show your ex you’re really changing, let go of distracting rebound relationships, and embrace the single life for a while.
  8. Show, don’t tell. There’s a good reason people often say actions speak louder than words. Actions show the real you, while words and empty promises only convey who you hope to be. If you want to communicate to an ex that you’ve evolved into your higher self, let your actions do the talking. Make time for your ex, perform random acts of kindness, and give them the care and attention they deserve.
  9. Take your time. Real, significant change can’t be rushed. If you try to convince an ex you’re a totally different person overnight, they likely won’t buy it—and for good reason. To show you’ve genuinely changed, work to create better relationships and personal habits slowly over time. That means you must accept that you might not get your ex back for months or even years (if at all).
  10. Keep on living your life. Hopefully you haven’t changed with the intention of trying to show your ex you have. Any shift in your life needs to have happened for you because you wanted it to. That’s the only way it will remain permanent. Incidentally, one of the best ways to show them that you’re no longer the person you once were is by just continuing to live your life as normal. Don’t go out of your way to illustrate your newfound sense of self. Just keep doing you, and it’ll be way more likely to come across.
  11. Know when to give up. You can’t change your ex; you can only change yourself. And similarly, you can’t change or control what your ex thinks. If they can’t see the progress you’ve made, it’s best to let it go. Trying hard to prove how much you’ve changed, without knowing when to throw in the towel, can actually make it seem like you haven’t changed at all. If your ex wants space or isn’t ready to take you back, respect their boundaries and focus on yourself in the meantime.
Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo