You recently broke up and you’re hurting. You’re wracked with indecision. You don’t know if you should make a last ditch effort to get back with your ex or you should try to get over them. Give up or go crawling back? Both options seem painful and difficult. What should you do?
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to choose.
Because whether you want to get over your ex or get them back, you have to do the same thing. The best way to get your ex back is to get over them.
How can getting over your ex help you get them back? The answer is about mindset.
Right now you’re torn apart. You’re stuck between trying to get your ex back and trying to get over them so you’re powerless to do either. This immense emotional pain makes you unable take action and make a meaningful change.
First, you need to stop trying to make that choice. It’s just making you feel worse. Right now you’re incapable of thinking clearly because your heart is broken. When you get to a better place emotionally, you’ll know what you want. For now, just take a breath.
Instead of torturing yourself, here’s what to do right now.
1. Cut off contact
I know you’re afraid to lose them forever. You also think it’s going to be painful to cut them out of your life.
You’re right. It’s going to hurt. But it’s a crucial first step to either getting over them or getting them back.
Just like I used to say when I sold windows: no pane, no gain.
Even if you’re still sleeping together, you’re not doing it out of love but of fear of being alone. You’re using each other as placeholders until something better comes along. You’re living in the ruins of your relationship.
Stop making excuses. Rip off the bandaid and start rebuilding your life. Until you cut off contact, you have no hope of ever getting over them OR getting them back.
Do what you have to do. However it ended, be clear with them that it’s over and that you can’t be around them or talk to them for awhile. Don’t put a time frame on it but be firm and stick to it.
Don’t text them. Don’t call them. Don’t interact with them on social media for at least a month.
2. Accept that it’s over
Even if you still intend on trying to get them back, you need accept that this relationship is over for now. Imagine never seeing them again. Accept that that’s a very real possibility but know that you could make it even if that happens. You had a life before them and you can have a life after them.
Let yourself process this. Take the time to grieve the relationship.
This process is difficult and uncomfortable. It means abandoning all hope of a future with this person. Trust me. I’ll explain why this works in just a second.
You’re having trouble moving on because you’re focusing on the good parts of the relationship: happy memories, the way they made you feel, your future plans.
Accept that these things are in the past. The breakup doesn’t take any of this away from you. These are all positive things that made you who you are. But you can’t repeat the past.
This feels like a crushing blow, but it’s really an opportunity. You are now free to move forward.
3. Work on yourself
Being in a relationship gives us strength but often this comes at a cost. We lose some of what made us desirable and powerful because we rely on the other person to fill in our gaps.
We don’t need to build strong social lives because we have a person who will always be there for us. We let ourselves go in terms of fitness and health because we’re “taken”. We settle for security and contentment and stop striving for our dreams and goals.
This is one of the biggest sources of pain that comes from a breakup. It’s possible that the part of them you miss is actually the very thing that was holding you back.
When you’re in a relationship, you’re like Pooh bear, stuck at home in your den, eating honey and cuddling with piglet. Now you have the chance to be Paddington, out there travelling the world and foiling international conspiracies, I assume. I never saw the movie. But you get my drift.
Take a look at your life without them
I want you to make a list.
What do you love about your life? Family, friends, your job, your hobbies, pets? Whatever it is, write it down. No matter how silly it feels.
Now, read it back and really let it sink in. See? There are plenty of things that give your life value that have nothing to do with your ex. It’s important to recognize and appreciate these things. They will be what give you strength through the tough time ahead.
- Next, what do you not love?
- What’s missing? What could be improved?
I know you’re dying to change things. Specifically, you want your ex back (or you want to get over them). You can’t fix these things directly. Imagine your house is full of smoke. Would you try to get it out by opening a window and waving your hands around? No, you’d find the fire and put it out. You need to find the underlying reason that you feel this way and address it.
This means, rather than begging and pleading, do something proactive.
In this case, you’re so broken up about your breakup because you haven’t built a life that can sustain you through being single.
Look to the list. Take one item. Maybe it’s the fact that your career isn’t where you want it to be. Perfect.
Think of one thing you can do today to start moving towards a more successful and fulfilling career. Now do it. Continue to set goals and achieve them.
Why this works
We talked about cutting off contact, accepting it’s over, and improving yourself.
It’s obvious that these steps will help you get over your breakup but how can they help you get your ex back?
It’s pretty simple. Ruts kill relationships. One or both of you gets bored, tired, restless. You start to wonder what else is out there. You begin to resent them for holding you back.
By letting them go and moving on, you break this cycle.
By cutting off contact and accepting the breakup you show that you’re mature, responsible, and strong.
By improving yourself you show them that you weren’t the problem in the relationship.
All of a sudden, your ex looks at you and sees a more attractive option than they’re seeing in the terrible singles scene.
You’re making all these changes and you’ve become exciting and new, exactly what they were looking for.
By improving yourself you’re putting yourself in a position of power. You’ve shown that you don’t need them to be happy and successful. In fact, you’re stronger now than you were when you were together.
This will make them feel self-conscious. Without knowing it, they’ll crave the approval and attraction of this new, more valuable version of you, the version that no longer needs them. It’s simple psychology.
Plus, now that you’re out of the woods of doubt, sadness and despair, you’re finally ready to make the choice. If you’ve done all these things, you’ll know that you’re not acting out of fear of being alone but out of love for yourself and your ex.
Now you can look at your new, awesome life and see if it would really be better with them in it. If not, you’ll have no problem moving forward. If you still want them, they’ll be dying to take you back.