You can imagine that this is one of the most common questions people ask me.
So, your girlfriend dumped you, your life has been turned upside down, you feel like hell, you miss her every moment, and you’ll do whatever it takes to win her back. Sound familiar?
You’re in a terrible spot, that’s for sure. But before you can even begin to think about how to get her back, you need to figure out what went wrong. Because if you think you can just pick up where you left of and keep repeating the same mistakes you made before, you’re crazy.
Obviously something in your old relationship was dysfunctional, just didn’t work. Oh, maybe it worked OK for you, but obviously your girlfriend was unhappy enough to end the relationship. If you don’t change whatever that was, then the relationship isn’t ever going to work, even if you do get back together. Trust me. If you don’t change, she’s just going to end up dumping you again.
I always urge people to take at least a month off after a breakup. That means no communication with your ex at all. No phone calls, no emails, no letters, no flowers, no gifts, no text messages. Nothing. Silence.
This gives you plenty of time to think over what I just mentioned. Why did your girlfriend dump you? Maybe you think it wasn’t your fault, that she left you for some other guy. My question for you is what did that guy have that you failed to give her?
Don’t just think about this stuff – write it down. Get a cheap spiral notebook and just write down your ideas in it. No one will ever see it, so don’t be embarrassed. Just write down the mistakes you made in your relationship with your ex. Also be sure to write down the positive things you contributed, to keep things balanced. If you write just a little bit every day during that month of silence, you’ll find that you’ve written quite a bit by the end.
If you’ve found some obvious things about yourself you’d like to change, like a bad temper or laziness, then get to work changing them. Ask other people’s advice. If your anger problem is too serious, find an anger management class at your local health or community center.
Even if you can’t find specific things to work on, it’s a good idea for a general improvement of yourself. What I mean by that in three words is get a life. Go out and have fun. Take a trip and go someplace you’ve always wanted to go but have never gone. Ask one of your buddies to take a road trip with you.
Join a club or a gym and try something new. Anything to get you off your couch and out of your funk. You need to remind yourself that you’re a good person who is able to have fun and enjoy your life. Take a cooking class, join a bowling league, start a softball team, take rides with the local cycling club, learn how to sail or box or row or skydive or whatever you’ve always wanted to do.
I can hear you right now saying, “Thanks, Brad, but you haven’t said one word yet about how to get my ex-girlfriend to fall in love with me! What do I do about that?”
If you’re following my advice, then you’re doing what you can. You should know by now that you can’t make your ex-girlfriend do anything. If you could, you should’ve started earlier and made her not dump you. But we both know that’s impossible. She’s a human being with free will, and she can do whatever she wants.
The Zen answer to your question is that you have to let go of your ex-girlfriend. Yes, it’s a paradox, but I’m sure you’ve heard it before. If you love something, let it go, and so one. Let me break it down for you. If you keep bothering your ex-girlfriend, chasing her around, bombarding her with pleading, annoying messages, smothering her, then you’re just going to drive her even further away. That’s human nature.
But if you leave her alone for a while and focus on making yourself a happier, more interesting person, then you have the best chance of getting her back. If she sees you again in a month or two and notices that you are no longer the pathetic loser she dumped, she will be impressed. She’ll see that you have a lot of interesting, attractive qualities that she didn’t notice before. Since she obviously had some attraction to you in the past during your relationship, she’s likely to still have some embers smoldering in her heart. It’s easier to start a new fire with those old sparks already there.
So once that month or two of quiet time has passed, you can – if you even still want to get her back after that – contact her carefully through some innocent text messages (asking the name of an old restaurant where you once ate together, or something like that) and gradually connect with her again. You have to play this part cool and careful, but if you are patient, you’ll get to see her and hang out again, and she’ll be able to see that you’ve changed. You don’t tell her how much she’s changed – you let her notice herself.
Let me sum up here. You’ve now done everything you can to stack the deck in your favor. There’s a good chance that your ex-girlfriend will feel some new attraction for you and that may lead to you getting back together. But it’s just a chance. You can’t do more than this. Begging won’t help.
But one really good thing about this process is that if you’ve truly started enjoying your life more, learning new things, having fun, going out and having adventures, then you’ve made yourself much more attractive to any future girlfriends out there. So even if your ex doesn’t come back, you’re still ready to move ahead.
For more personalized advice on your individual situation, you can also get in touch with a breakup expert like Brad Browning and sign up for ongoing personalized coaching.