I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “if you love someone, let them go… if they come back to you, they’re really yours. If not, they never were.”
But is this actually good advice? Is there any actual wisdom in that saying?
Should you let your ex go if you want to get back together with them?
The answer is… sort of, but not really. There is a bit of truth to this saying, which I’ll explain in a second, but there’s also a lot of reasons why it’s also not very good advice.
Why You Can’t Just Let Your Ex Go
For starters, in a lot of cases, it’s totally unrealistic to just “let your ex go”. How are you supposed to let someone go — as if it’s as simple as snapping your fingers and forgetting about them altogether — when you’re deeply in love with them, and you have years of shared history together? It’s just not going to happen.
Sure, maybe if you only went on a couple of dates and haven’t build any kind of real, meaningful connection with your ex, it might be possible to just “let them go” as easily as the saying would suggest. But as I’m sure most of you are well aware, in most situations you can’t just forget about someone you love or give up on trying to get a second chance with them.
So, in that regard, the answer is no… you almost certainly can’t just “let them go” as if that’s all there is to it. And why should you? Despite what you might hear from your friends and family, many relationships are worth saving. Many couples that have a very deep connection, a long and happy history together, and so on… and in those kinds of situations, of course it’s worth it to put in the effort and try and get back together and start over.
If you still really love your ex, and believe that you have a good shot at fixing things and re-building a happy long-term future… you probably should try to get them back.
So, I don’t advocate simply forgetting about your ex and simply hoping they’ll come back to you. There are plenty of things you can do, starting right now, to improve your odds of getting that second chance with your ex. In fact, my entire best-selling Ex Factor program is literally filled with proven psychological techniques that actually help make your ex come back to you. In other words, it’s not as simple as just “forgetting about your ex and hoping they come back”. You CAN actively improve your chances by doing and saying certain things.
Finding A Middle Ground
However, there is truth the saying, if you don’t interpret it literally. The advice “let them go” is the part that has some validity to it, because it hints at the No Contact strategy and at the general mindset of “not chasing your ex”. In fact, you should never chase your ex if you want them back.
In essence, you DO need to give your ex space by employing a period of No Contact and avoiding any kind of ‘clingy’ or ‘desperate’ behaviours. It’s true, especially in the first few weeks after a breakup, that dropping off your ex’s radar and ignoring them altogether is almost always essential if you want them back.
Really, the key thing with No Contact is that it forces your ex to understand that:
You accept and respect their decision and won’t try to pester them or beg them to change their mind
You’re going to move on quickly if they don’t wake up and change their mind about the breakup, which creates a sense of urgency for your ex
You’re confident, highly sought-after by the opposite sex, and more than capable of replacing your ex with someone new
Breaking up with you means you’re going to be gone from their life completely, and they can’t have the best of both worlds by keeping you around while they get over the breakup
So if you think about it, employing a period of No Contact and all the benefits that come with it is a lot like “letting your ex go”… except it’s a proven, scientifically-validated strategy rather than an act of indifference or a mindset of just “letting them walk away and hoping for the best”.
Basically, by going silent after the breakup, you’re maximizing the post-breakup emotions your ex will be forced to experience, and sending several strong subconscious messages that help to shift the balance of power in your favour. This helps your ex forget about the negative aspects of your old relationship, let go of negative memories and feelings towards you, and re-set their mind back to what I call “emotional neutral”.
However, while No Contact is critical in 99% of situations when you’re trying to get your ex back, it’s not a passive strategy. It requires you to actively commit to ignoring your ex and giving them plenty of space… it requires you to have self-discipline and upend your ex’s expectations…. And it sets the stage for what comes next, after No Contact is over: re-connecting with your ex and re-building their attraction for you.
The suggestion that you “let your ex go” also hints at an underlying mindset that you need to have whenever you’re trying to get your ex to take you back: indifference. You need to give the impression that you don’t NEED your ex… that, while you obviously would’ve preferred to stay together and work out whatever problems led to the breakup, you respect your ex’s wishes, you won’t sit around and act as their “backup plan”, and you’re more than capable and willing to move on and find someone new in the near future unless your ex smartens up and changes their mind.
There’s also some validity to this saying because, as you know, you shouldn’t beg, plead, or try to talk your ex into taking you back. These behaviours–begging, pleading, apologizing over and over again, promising your ex you’ll change–are toxic and will kill your chance of getting them back. So in that regard, it’s true that you’re better off “letting your ex go” by giving them plenty of time and space… you definitely don’t want to do the opposite by pestering your ex, showing your desperation, or lowering your own self-worth in their eyes by begging for another chance.
The Bottom Line
So, what’s the overall verdict? No, you shouldn’t–and probably won’t be able to–simply forget about your ex and just hope for the best. At least, not if you really do believe you and your ex have a good chance of a happy future together… and if you really desperately want them back.
But if you interpret this old saying in a more abstract sense. If you take it to mean, “don’t pester your ex or try to convince them to take you back” instead of “just walk away and hope it works out” then there’s plenty of truth and wisdom to it.