If there’s one thing that hurts like anything, it’s seeing your ex with someone else. This is particularly true when it’s unexpected or when you thought you were over them. However the situation arises, you’ll notice some old feelings resurface. You might even realize you want them back, thoguh no one wants to be a home-wrecker, so these feelings are best left alone. That being said, if you’re sure you’re meant to be together and that you have unfinished business, here’s how to win your ex back.
- Show that you’ve changed. There’s no point glorifying the past relationship because, for a range of reasons, it ended. You might be missing precisely those aspects of who you were at the time, but that isn’t right. Identify what you want out of this and then you can demonstrate to your ex just how you have changed. Maybe you got therapy, took up running, or found an outlet for your anger. Set some time apart in which you can reflect for yourself. This is a great practice in general, but it will also benefit the way you form relationships going forward. You can expect the same from them in return.
- Show them you have reflected. They want to know that you feel better about yourself too. It took two people to break the relationship before and you have to know you will be starting again. Don’t be one of those on again, off again couples who claim they’re celebrating their three-year anniversary when you know they’ve only been together for half of that. Being honest with yourself will allow you to let other people in. Plus, if your ex is interested in you, they will want to know you’re feeling good and in a good place.
- Acknowledge that the relationship will be different. You might go into the relationship aspiring to a past version of yourself. Stop that. Change that. You will only make the same mistakes and waste everyone’s time. If you’re going to win your ex back, you’ll need to make sure there’s something different about this new incarnation of your relationship. That’s the only way you’ll stand a chance.
- Be willing to grow together. Prepare to do more emotional training. Be vigilant about what you need before things spill over and you have an argument. Don’t just project into the relationship. Finally, don’t use the relationship as a crutch or stopgap if you’re feeling unfulfilled in other aspects of your life. There are people involved.
- Admit you made mistakes. The other person will have made mistakes too, but this isn’t the time to blame them. Show humility and grace. Don’t convince them to be with you by only listing your flaws. This isn’t a pity date, but strike the right balance between self-awareness, and self-deprecation.
- Communicate what you need. This isn’t just about accommodating your ex. Make sure that whatever went wrong before can be prevented and troubleshot. The steps to enabling this start early on in the relationship, particularly when you’re working against your complex history together. This means that you have to negotiate your vulnerable side and accept that you won’t magically be perfect. You have to believe you will be better, otherwise, there’s no reason to be having this conversation at all.
- Make your relationship a safe space. If it wasn’t before, don’t linger on that. It happened, and it’s done. Make it clear to your ex that this won’t be the same relationship as before. You will take more actions to anticipate their needs, and you will communicate what you want too. There’s nothing more frustrating than a person who never tells anyone what they need but resents when people don’t meet their needs.
- Don’t hound them. If you aren’t met with enthusiastic agreement when you broach this topic, respect that. If you really want to make your ex-partner happy, you will let them be happy even when it doesn’t involve you. You have to be willing to accept the fact that they may be much happier without you and not keen to revisit what you once had. And as it turns out, that might be doing you favor even if you can’t accept that now.
Why you may want to think twice about trying to win your ex back
You’re sure that you love them and that you have unfinished business, but that doesn’t mean that you’re meant to be. In fact, even if your heart is pulling you in their direction, here’s why you might want to nix the idea of another round with them.
- Your relationship ended for a reason. Whatever happened between you, it was obviously major enough for you to break up. Trying to win your ex back completely ignores the fact that you walked away from each other (or someone did the walking away) because there was an insurmountable problem. It’s easy to get caught up in the good times, but it’s vital that you remember the bad ones as well. When you confront how bad things got, it’ll become easier to leave it alone.
- You haven’t fixed any of your issues. As mentioned, that insurmountable problem between you hasn’t actually gone away. Especially if you only broke up a few weeks or even a few months ago, trying to win your ex back is a futile exercise. Neither of you will have had time to do the necessary work it takes to process and change problematic behaviors. Don’t waste your time.
- If it didn’t work last time, it probably won’t work this time. Because your relationship ended for a reason and that reason still hasn’t changed, the chance of your relationship being successful this time around is slim to none. You’ll just get into the same troubling patterns as you did the first time around and things will crash and burn. The difference is, this time it will probably hurt even more
- There’s someone better out there for you. While you’re spending all your time trying to win your ex back, there’s someone great out there that wouldn’t make it so hard. You wouldn’t be at odds all the time. You wouldn’t cry more than you laugh or feel desperate, alone, and upset all the time. The sooner you walk away from your previous partner, the sooner you’ll be able to find someone who’s so much better for you.