Should You Try to Get Your Ex Back?
Yesterday I was on the phone with a long-time client, Jon.
Jon told me how he finally feels like he’s in a good place. His business is thriving, he’s grown tremendously as a person over the last few years, and he’s casually seeing two gorgeous women.
He then asked me, “So, do you think I should reach out to my ex, to see if anything’s still there?”
This surprised me.
Why? Because of the way he phrased the question.
I have an endless supply of guys asking me, “How do I get my ex-girlfriend back?” They’ve already made up their mind and are determined to win her at all costs. And generally, it’s a huge red flag.
But it’s rare for someone to ask me if it’s a good idea in the first place. And not because they need my approval, but because they are truly evaluating whether or not it’s a smart, healthy decision.
I replied to Jon, “Before I answer, let me ask you some questions..”
Here are the six questions I asked him. If you’ve ever thought about getting your ex back, answer these honestly and you’ll know if it’s the right thing to do.
1. Have you had successful romantic connections with other people since the break up?
That means more than just getting a number or a first date. Have you kissed someone or shared an intimate moment? Have you seen someone multiple times and built a deeper connection?
Also, have you dated anyone else besides your ex, ever?
It’s extremely hard to let go of an ex when you haven’t opened your heart to someone else. You need to give yourself a chance to see how many other incredible people are out there.
2. If you have seen other people, did you give those romantic connections a fair shot?
Are you unfairly comparing new romances to your ex? Do you always think, “she/he’s not my ex”?
Have you allowed them to see the real, vulnerable you or have you protected yourself from getting hurt again?
Did you allow enough time for a deeper connection to thrive? Or did you give up when trying to compare a few dates to the chemistry you had with your ex?
You shouldn’t be seeking a clone of your ex — you’ll never find one. Once you accept that, you’ll learn to appreciate the different qualities new people have to offer.
3. Was the relationship with your ex healthy?
Did they treat you well? Were they respectful? Did they invest in you? Were they honest in the relationship? Did they cheat on you.
All those questions apply to you as a partner, too.
If your ex wasn’t good to you, why do you want them back so badly? Have some self-respect. Unless they’ve made massive changes in their life, find someone who’s a better fit.
And if you weren’t good to your ex….
4. Have the circumstances changed?
Consider why you broke up in the first place. Is anything different now?
Perhaps things ended because you couldn’t handle a long distance relationship. Or maybe one of you struggled with addiction.
Whatever the reason, the situation needs to be resolved or on it’s way to doing so. For example, you’re moving back home to the west coast or you’re in AA and sober for 18 months.
Claiming, “I’ll work on them if I just get another chance.” is not acceptable. Get your shit together beforehand, not after.
5. Do you want to be with your ex, and not need to be with them?
Do you enjoy your own company now?
Are you happy when you’re single? Or do you need to always be with someone just to feel valuable?
You have to learn to be self-sufficient. You shouldn’t expect a partner to fix your problems. Relying on someone else for fulfillment is the start of miserable, co-dependent relationships.
Your feelings of neediness may also increase when you see your ex with another partner. You can’t stand the idea of them being intimate with anyone else so you suddenly have to get them back.
When you let yourself think that way, you’re viewing your ex as a possession. They are not yours to claim, even when you’re in a relationship together. They are a human being. You should be happy for them even if they’re happy with someone else.
6. Are you willing to accept the possibility of rejection?
What if your ex has no interest in dating you again? What if they ignore you? Will you be okay?
Of course it may be disappointing, but will it crush you? Will it affect your self-worth? Will you spiral into depression and not meet anyone else? Will you get angry and start taking it out on your ex?
If you can’t confidently say you would walk away and move on from that situation, you’re not ready to try.
When I finished my questions to Jon, he had answered “yes” to every single one.
He’d met other women and had amazing experiences with them. He loved himself and the life he was living — even when single. He and his ex had previously enjoyed a healthy relationship. And she seemed like a sweet girl who cared about him a lot.
Their biggest problem was that Jon had prioritized his work over his ex. He’d loved her but she always came second. He was ready to change that.
So I told him, “Go ahead, reach out to her and see what happens.”
Because he could say yes to those 6 questions, Jon proved he was in a good place to contact his ex. If he’d said no to any one of them, he wouldn’t have been.
Evaluate your situation truthfully and make the right choice.