How to Show Your Ex That You Have Changed – Show Don’t Tell

From time to time, I will have people asking me how to show their ex that they have changed. So I decided to look through all the questions I have received so far. This is because I believe that the best way to answer your question is to show you a real life example.

Anyway, I managed to find a question by Betty. Let’s analyze the situation together.

 

Italic: The question
Normal font: My analysis
My ex broke up with me three weeks ago. I know what I did that was wrong… I kept bringing up the past, would accuse him of things, and was insecure… Which I know now is really bad of me to do.

We had talked about this issue about a year ago and I tried to work on it but still ended up doing it. My ex lost his job because of a stupid action on his part and I was kinda mean to him about it.

 

It is important to understand that real change doesn’t happen overnight.

This is because we are all creatures of habit. Bad habits are hard to change without the proper approach. Your behavior is a habit. Insecurity is also a habit.

It is just like smoking. Many people know smoking is not good for their health. Unfortunately, just knowing is not enough. Having good intention is also not enough.

Just look at how many people who know the harm of smoking and have the best of intention to quit.

But how many of them actually managed to do it?

 

If you want to quit smoking, you first need to have a big enough why.

For example, I am sure you have come across people who failed to quit smoking for years or even decades until they got diagnosed with heart or lung diseases.

Now, this is a matter of life and death. Finally, there is a big enough why. That’s why these people managed to kick the habit for good even though they have failed for years.

Of course, I am not saying that you have to wait until life or death situation to change your habit.

For example, there are people who managed to quit smoking for good because they want to be the best husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/mother etc.

To them, that is a big enough why.

It is also helpful to have a good replacement habit. Every time you feel like smoking, you can consider doing some push up instead. Or you can close your eyes and meditate.

 

The same principle can be applied to your relationship.

What is currently stopping Betty from having a fulfilling relationship is the bad habit of insecurity. While she knows that she is insecure, just knowing is not enough. She need to have a big enough why.

Perhaps you may ask, “Isn’t the potential of losing her ex a big enough why?”

Well, probably not. Yes, losing her ex may be painful, but somehow not painful enough for her to make the necessary changes. Maybe the comfort of staying insecure is greater than the pain of losing her ex boyfriend, at least in the short term. This is something she may want to think about.

 

She said. “I tried to work on it but still end up doing it.”

Since she didn’t say exactly how she work on it, I may have to make some assumptions here.

 

The First Possibility.

As mentioned above, perhaps the comfort of staying insecure is greater than the pain of losing her ex. That is why she is not really doing whatever it takes to overcome her insecurity or maybe she is just doing it half heartedly.

 

The Second Possibility.

She is using an ineffective approach. That is why it is not working.

Most probably, it is a combination of the 2 reasons above.

So she may want to take some time to really think about a big enough reason to change.

If you are in a similar situation as Betty, you may want to think about the consequences.

What happen if this insecurity stay with you for another twenty years? What kind of impact is it going to have on your life and relationship? Try to imagine it vividly in your mind.

Isn’t that a very big price to pay if you don’t change this bad habit of insecurity?

Obviously, different people have different big enough reason. So this is something you have to figure out for yourself.

Of course, unlike smoking where you can just go cold turkey with a big enough why, you can’t just decide to quit insecurity overnight.

answers

That is why you need to replace insecurity with a much better habit.

First, let’s look at the root of insecurity.

Usually, insecurity is a sign that you are rejecting a part of yourself. In other words, you don’t love yourself enough. You don’t love yourself unconditionally.

That is why you are constantly seeking love and validation from outside sources, such as your partner.

Unfortunately, when you don’t love yourself enough, your ability to love others is limited. Instead of being a loving partner, you will have the tendency to be mean.

As the saying goes, “As Within, So Without”.

Therefore, you want to start replacing the habit of insecurity with the habit of love.

I highly recommend that you start practicing loving kindness meditation. You can follow the instruction in the video below.

If you are wondering why you should practice loving kindness meditation, you may want to read this article:

18 Science-Based Reasons To Try Loving Kindness Meditation Today

 

 

A few days later we got in an argument cause he was distant and he broke up with me. He was really mean to me when I would try and talk to him, then he would talk to me here and there, then yesterday, three weeks later he deleted me off Facebook and told me he’s closing that chapter of his life and trying to move on and I should do the same.

I have been working on myself and trying to a better person cause I realized completely how horrible I was by doing those things. I asked him to give me a chance to show him and he said no and now won’t talk to me.

 

When it comes to showing your ex that you are different, you should always remember these 3 words, “Show Don’t Tell”.

Asking your ex for a chance to show him that you have changed is never going to work. After all, action speaks louder than words.

If you have really changed, you don’t need to ask your ex for a chance. Your ex will be able to see the changes in you with his own eyes.

What Betty should do is to go for a period of no contact, for 2 reasons.

First, her ex boyfriend is already resisting her. The more she pushed, the more her ex boyfriend will pull away.

Second, she really need the time to work on herself.

 

Put it this way. It is pretty obvious that she is still in reaction mode.

She is simply reacting to the situation instead of responding to it. She still has the vibe of desperation inside. Desperation will not inspire your ex to get back together with you.

From the way she write, I can tell that Betty hasn’t really changed and is just reacting out of fear. If she hasn’t really changed, then it is impossible for her to show her ex boyfriend that she has changed.

In fact, if she has this strong need to prove herself in front of her ex, it means she doesn’t love herself enough. She is focusing too much on herself.

When she is focusing so much on herself, she won’t be able to stay in the present moment. When she is not in the present moment, she won’t be able to connect with her ex. When she can’t connect with her ex, her ex will not be inspired to get back together with her.

 

Therefore, her priority is not to ask her ex for a chance to show that she has changed.

Instead, she need to take a step back and start working on herself. Only when she has truly changed should she start to reach out to her ex again.

Otherwise, she will just be sabotaging herself because every time she tries to reach out to her ex, the interaction won’t feel good. And that will push her ex further and further away.

 

 

In two weeks we are both in a wedding together and I don’t know what to do.

I want to show him my change and give me another chance to make him happy. I’m scared his mind is made up and it’s done.

And it’s hard cause he got a job working offshore again and I’m scared he’s just going to stay distant because of it.

Betty

 

Let’s face it. Most people don’t change that fast.

It is very unlikely for Betty to transform herself within 2 weeks, which means she won’t be ready to get her ex back yet.

Therefore, she shouldn’t worry too much about the wedding. If you are in a similar situation as Betty, you just need to be a polite acquaintance with your ex.

Just be friendly and say hi but it is not necessary to engage your ex on an emotional level because you are not ready yet.

Also, if you are in a similar situation where your ex is going to go overseas for a period of time, just let it be.

Don’t try to control the situation. It is not like you can stop your ex from going overseas anyway.

It is not necessary a bad thing after all. Sure, your ex may become distant. But there is also the possibility that your ex will start thinking about you more. Isn’t it?

So why are you choosing to think negatively instead of positively?

And let’s not forget that there are actually things you can do. You can make good use of this period of time to seriously work on yourself.

 

You have 2 choices here.

Option 1:

You can focus on the negativity and just sit there and do nothing.

And when your ex comes back and decided to contact you, only to realize that you haven’t really change, what do you think is your chances of getting your ex back?

 

Option 2:

You can focus on the positives and start working on yourself using the proper approach.

For example, if you have always been insecure, you may want to start practicing loving kindness meditation every day.

You can also start working on the skills mentioned in this article:
What It Really Takes to Get Your Ex Back

Imagine one day, your ex come back and decided to contact you and see your transformation.

Don’t you think you are going to have a much higher chance to get back together with him?

And who says you have to wait for your ex to contact you? If you have really changed and you are no longer in panic or reaction mode, you can always take the initiative to contact your ex.

 

To summarize, here are the main points to take away:

1. Real Changes Don’t Happen Overnight

I know you want to show your ex that you have changed as soon as possible. However, it is important not to kid yourself.

Just because you know what went wrong and have the best of intention to change doesn’t automatically mean you have changed. Most probably, you have not.

Why is that so?

Because it is a habitual behavior. You have been acting a particular way for a long period of time. So you can’t just switch it off as and when you want.

Most probably, you are simply suppressing your old behavior. So your change is only on the surface level. It is not a real lasting change.

Therefore, when you are under stress, you will automatically go back to your old behavior, just like what Betty did.

“We had talked about this issue about a year ago and I tried to work on it but still ended up doing it.”

Put in this way.

There are 4 levels of competency. Let say insecurity is your main problem, here is how it looks like.

 

Level 1. Unconscious Incompetence

You don’t even know you are insecure.

 

Level 2. Conscious Incompetence

You start to realize that you are insecure.

 

Level 3. Conscious Competence

You are aware of what triggers your insecurity and you are able to stop the behavior when you are conscious of it.

 

Level 4. Unconscious Incompetence

You are no longer insecure.

From my observation, most people are only at Level 2: Conscious Incompetence when they are trying to show their ex that they have changed.

Obviously, that is not going to work. You need to have the patience to work on yourself until you reach Level 4 or at least a high Level 3.

By then, you don’t even need to show your ex that you have changed. Your ex will notice it himself.

 

2. Use an Effective Approach to Work On Yourself

First, make sure you have a big enough why. Take as long as you need to think about it.

Get a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle to get 2 columns.

On the left, write down as many benefits as you can think of for changing yourself.

On the right, write down as many consequences as you can think of for not changing yourself.

Some people are more motivated by the benefits while others are more driven by the consequences. It doesn’t matter. Just stick to whatever works for you.

Once you have got your why, it is time to find a good replacement behavior.

For example, if the breakup was due to you taking your ex for granted, then you may want to start practicing gratitude.

Start showing more appreciation to the people around you. Another exercise you can do is to write down 10 things you are grateful for every morning. It is a fantastic way to start a new day.

Remember, you are trying to cultivate a new habit here. So you need to practice everyday until it becomes second nature.

Only then do you start to reach out to your ex, after you have really changed, not before.

With that said, it is important to be honest with yourself. If you have been working on yourself for a long period of time but you are not seeing any progress, then it is probably time to seek help.

After all, some people do have deeper emotional issues that they cannot resolved by themselves. If that is the case, you may want to look for a therapist.

 

3. Getting Your Ex Back Is A Process That Cannot Be Rushed

In my opinion, at least 60% of the chances to get your ex back is determined by the amount of effort you put in to improve yourself.

Specifically, you want to focus on real, lasting internal transformation, just like what is being mentioned in this article.

I am not saying that you have to wait till you are perfect before you can start getting your ex back because it is impossible to be perfect in the first place.

However, the changes within you need to be significant enough so that your ex can actually see the difference in you.

Before that, it is pointless to try. If you try to get your ex back when you are still in panic and reaction mode, your ex can sense it and it will push your ex further away. You are only sabotaging yourself and ruining your own chances.

 

Remember, getting your ex back cannot be rushed.

So if you happen to be facing a situation where you have to meet your ex in 2 to 3 weeks time in a wedding, party or whatever event, don’t worry about that.

Remember this. It is not like this event is the only chance for you to get your ex back. So just relax and don’t treat it like a battlefield.

Your only objective is to attend the event, not to get your ex back. If you happen to see your ex, just be polite and say hi. You don’t have to engage him emotionally or talk about the old relationship when you are not ready yet.

There will always be a chance in the future to engage your ex emotionally when you are ready.

 

If your ex is going overseas, don’t panic.

Don’t worry about your ex moving on. It is not necessary a bad thing.

Remember, the old relationship is dead. That is the reason why you broke up.

Therefore, you are not trying to get your old relationship back. When your ex has moved on, it is an opportunity for you to start a new and better relationship with him.

 

Don’t worry if your ex says he no longer wants to be with you.

That’s because he was speaking to the old you. He hasn’t got the chance to experience the new and improved version of you yet.

So if you are really serious about getting your ex back, you know what to do.

Make sure you really take the time to work on yourself. Otherwise, your ex boyfriend will never have the chance to meet the new you.

Related Article: How to Show My Ex I Have Changed If He Doesn’t Want to Meet Me

 

56 thoughts on “How to Show Your Ex That You Have Changed – Show Don’t Tell

  1. Hey Mark :) I have some questions about my situation and I would really appreciate if you could give me your opinion and what you think I should do.

    My ex boyfriend broke up with me 4 months ago, and we were together for 1.5 years. Now, through these 4 months I started to work on the Advanced Relational Skills that you and Clay advise, and I feel like I’ve accomplished some changes within myself. And me and my ex keep almost regular contact, although I didn’t stop working on those skills.

    Now here’s my problem. I believe my ex is taking advantage of my good intentions. I think I am at stage 3 of getting him back, because he sometimes flirts with me, like real hard, sexual flirting, and other times he asks me how I am and when I try to know how he is, he doesn’t reply most of the times or gives me an inconclusive answer, like resisting me. And so, our conversations are quite short, unless I talk about sexual topics. You see, he wants to get intimate with me… I made a mistake by sending him naughty pictures of myself when he asked me to do it, and then he sent naughty pictures of him to me. This happened more than once or twice. I already put up a boundary, and I told him that he only talks to me when I have stuff to show to him and when we’re talking about sex, that he doesn’t reach out to me that much like I reach out to him, that I didn’t feel like he cared about me, and that it needed to stop. He said he was quite busy with college, but he would try to reach out to me more often.
    And he actually started reaching out more. The thing is… his messages are way too short. It looks like he’s doing it so that he can get the prize, which is sex or intimacy from me. And I really have a hard time believing he’s that busy, because if he were so busy, he wouldn’t be so interested when we talk about getting intimate with each other and his sexual fantasies between the two of us. In my opinion, he’s keeping me as his plan B, and it doesn’t seem like he’s that confused. And I do not like that at all. I feel used. I feel a very deep anger, and sometimes I wish I could just flat out tell him what a jerk he is and just give up on him. But I know that’s not the correct thing to do, like Clay teaches in his program, and my feelings are way too strong. So I’ve been feeling a mix of anger and pain.

    I swear I’ve been trying to ask him about what he’s up to, how he is, trying to make an emotional bond with him, but… I don’t know, sometimes I believe he’s busy and other times I think he’s just lying to me. I already told him “If you want to see anything else from me, come and meet me in person, and we’ll talk about that”. Obviously, I’m not going to get intimate with him, but judging by the course this is taking, it’s the only way I can get him interested. And he’s resisting a bit to meet me in person, saying he has lots of work for college.

    Again, I would really appreciate if you could help me with this situation.
    Thanks in advance! :)

    • Oh, I forgot to say that I managed to get him to open up a little to me before this started to happen, and that I supported him during tough times or before his tests. He liked it a lot, thanking me and saying “You’re really sweet.” and stuff like that. Also, he sometimes would call me babe, or sweetie, to which I asked “Why are you calling me that?” and he said “Why not? Aren’t you a loving, sweet person?”
      He also complemented my photos on Facebook, saying that I looked beautiful and such, but this was like 2 or 3 months ago…

      I don’t know if this is all an act on his part or not… Sometimes I think he gives me something to keep me around, like a complement or a little bit of attention, and then withdraws for an indefinite period of time. I do know that his college life can be quite stressful and tiring, but I’m not sure if that’s a big enough why to be short on his messages most of the time (except when the topic is sex). That’s why I think he’s keeping me as his plan B. So my question is: how can I become more of his “plan A”, so to speak?

      By the way, I have no idea if he’s seeing someone or not, if he’s with someone else or not, I have no clue. I don’t think he is, otherwise he wouldn’t send me intimate pictures of himself, right? But I do believe he might be trying to use me as his “sex outlet” while he figures out what he wants. And I don’t like that.

      Pretty, pretty please, help me with this situation, I have lots of questions popping up. :) Thank you!

      • It seems like he is following one of those “get your ex back” program that teaches mind games.

        1: If your ex girlfriend contact you, keep the reply short because you don’t want her to think that you miss her badly.

        2. You must give her the impression that you are happy and you are having a very busy life.

        3. Always be the first to end the message. Let her know you are busy with something else.

        So I think he is playing mind games on you. I don’t want to name names here but I happen to have this ebook on my hard drive.

        (Important Note: For other people reading this, I hope you can now see why mind games don’t work. You will only piss your ex off. It doesn’t inspire any emotional connection at all.)

        So what should you do here?

        Don’t play the game with him. Stick to your own value.

        Communicate with him and tell him that you don’t like what he is doing. Obviously, don’t just flat out tell him that he is a jerk. Follow the steps laid out in the Communication Module of Ex Solution Program. Make sure it passes the alien test.

        I know you may be afraid that telling your ex about what you don’t like may push him away. However, it is important to stand up for what you want. That is why the Composure module is so important. If you are too afraid to tell your ex what you want, this mind game will continue.

        If your ex decides to continue playing these mind games, then you just have to walk away for the time being. After all, you only have control over yourself. You don’t have control over his behavior.

        That doesn’t mean you no longer have the chance to get him back. Just wait till he realizes these mind games don’t work and decided to stop playing them on you. Then you can communicate with him again. Meanwhile, keep working on the skills taught in the program and become the best version of yourself.

        I also suggest you go and watch the videos on Composure and Communication again because it seems like you still need some work in these areas.

        • Thank you, Mark, for your reply! I will definitely work on my composure and my communication. So thanks for pointing that out.

          Wait, he’s following a silly get your ex back program? Do you think he’s trying to get me back, based on his actions?
          And yes, I read articles on another quite popular website that taught women those games and about becoming the “ungettable girl” and seducing him and such, but for some reason they didn’t make much sense to me, and thank God!

          Well, I’m not that scared of telling him what I don’t like. I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to tell him without being mean or rude. Well, it worked the first time I told him… for the first 3 days after that. Then he started to withdraw a bit more.

          You don’t think he’s putting me on hold while he figures out what he wants? That’s my biggest concern: it’s about being “used” or being the plan B while he’s searching for someone who suits him or satisfies his “desires”.

          Again, thank you, thank you for shedding some light on my situation! :D

        • It is just a possibility because I find the tactics he is using on you quite familiar.

          Even if he is trying to get you back, I don’t think you should get back together with him through this route. A relationship based on mind games is not build on a strong foundation. Sooner or later, a breakup is probably going to happen again because you never really address the root cause of the breakup.

          I don’t think you should worry about whether he is putting you on hold to figure out what he wants.

          I think it is actually more important that you figure out what you want. When you are very clear about what you want, you will know how to act in different situation. You will be more decisive. You will be able to respond to situation instead of react. For example, if you know you won’t stand for mind games, you will not hesitate to walk away.

          I am saying this because somehow I see that you are reacting to whatever he is doing. I hope that make sense to you. Have you taken the time to do the 5 x 5 list?

  2. Yes, I agree that if he were trying to get me back through this approach, it wouldn’t be very effective, as I’m already “withdrawing” from him. He’s not pulling me any closer.

    Two weeks ago I felt like I was talking to him a lot, like almost constantly contacting him and I felt I was pushing too hard. So I cut a little the number of times I contact him, because he said he had lots of work to do and even showed me what he had to do and prepare for his upcoming classes, and I’m now waiting for a reply from him since last Sunday: he contacted me, asking me how I was, but since I was having a tough time with college (I’m a college student like him) and I was also sad/angry because of his behavior, I said “Not very well…” to which he replied “What’s wrong?” and I said “Nothing… But thank you for asking :)” and he sent me a smiley emoticon. Then I asked him what he was up to, and he left me hanging.
    Our conversations almost always have this pattern. You see, I try to connect with him, and I got some connection in the beginning, but lately for some reason it’s not working. When I’m feeling down, and I tell him about that, he tries to make me open up to him. I have opened up to him when I was having trouble with my colleagues, and he cheered me up and actually made me feel better. The thing is, that happened because he knew I had those naughty pictures for him, but I demanded he worked for them.

    Yes, I am aware that I’m reacting to his behavior… and down goes my commitment skill because I feel bad about showing him my body and going against my values by doing so. That’s why I’m feeling so frustrated. Maybe if I didn’t send him anything I wouldn’t be so reactive, but oh well… I know what I want, and I want to have a healthy relationship that stands the test of time, no matter if it’s with my ex or with anyone else. I’m not insisting on him, I’m giving him space and at the same time I’m walking away.

    Riding this Dragon is quite confusing, exhausting and frustrating. The days I managed to talk more to him are during the weekend. Hence me being confused about him being truly busy or not.
    I talked to him last week about meeting up for ice cream or coffee, but he said it would be impossible before Christmas holidays, so I said “We can go some day during the holidays. One hour would be enough.” and he said “I’m not sure if I can yet… I’ll have to check my agenda when that time comes.” and I said “That’s okay, you can tell me later.” and he said “Ok, I’ll tell you.” I haven’t seen him since our last date before the breakup…

    Thanks again, Mark. I will try to improve my ability to respond to situations. Do you think he’s confused? Like, attracted to me and repelled at the same time because he’s embarrassed of what he did, or starting to regret breaking up, or even “scared” of me? I know I probably shouldn’t ask these questions since they’re irrelevant for my mindset, but I would like to know if I’m making progress with him.

    • I think you are trying to use the advance relational skills on your ex before you have mastered them and when you are still in DCM. That is probably why it wasn’t working very well.

      I will suggest that you spend more time practicing the skills in low stake situations, with your friends, family and colleagues etc, like what is recommended in the program before you use those skills on your ex. Otherwise, you will find it hard to connect with him on a deeper emotional level. I will sent you an email with more information. So check your email later.

      • Thank you Mark. :) I will definitely work more on them.

        In the meantime, I contacted my ex, and he told me he was very sick and in tremendous pain because of kidney stone. I showed my support, but there was a time I felt I wasn’t getting a connection and so I pushed too hard and he eventually burst out at me. I felt hurt and apologized, and he said it was okay.

        I just feel I’m not getting the attention and respect I deserve from him, given I really care about him and what I did for him, and that hurts. I left him alone out of my anger, although I didn’t snap at him or anything. And that’s really a proof that I need more work. It seems that the more support I try to give to him, the more he pulls away. He was never the kind of guy that likes opening up, and he keeps his pain for himself.

        I need more work, indeed. I really feel like telling him I don’t like his behavior, but he’s not feeling very well and I don’t want to make things worse. Maybe I’ll wait until he gets better.

        • I forgot to say that I had success in the beginning, and that he appreciated my support, and our conversation was going pretty well. However, when I started to talk about college and I asked him about the specific things he was busy with (a very simple question), he got a little bit angry and started to withdraw. He said “I don’t feel like talking about that now.” and I asked “Why not?” and he said “Because I don’t! I’m in pain, dammit.”
          I comforted him, slowly and giving him space. He thanked me and I told him I was there for him if he needed help. His anger faded as I was showing more empathy, but he didn’t like the fact I was asking him “feeling better?” way too often. But he communicated that with me in a non aggressive way, saying it was nothing against me or against what I said.

          This really is stage 3, right? I read in one of your articles that anger is one sign that he still has strong feelings, although I’m not sure if this applies to that. I think I’m going to give him some space, and in the meantime, I’m going to work more on the ARS. I really need to manage my anger, anxiety and some bits of insecurity.

          By the way, just a question out of curiosity. After this, do you still think he’s following those “get your ex back” tactics?

        • No. With all the details you have provided, especially about the pain from kidney stones, it seems more like he is really sick and probably stress. That is why at times, he just don’t feel like replying you.

          It seems like you have a covert contract going on within you. You supported him, therefore you expected him to give you more attention. So you may want to take note of that.

          I don’t think you are in Stage 3 yet. More like Stage 2. Don’t worry too much about losing progress. It is quite normal. When you are trying to get your ex back, sometimes you will take two steps forward and one step back. Just take it as a feedback.

  3. Just a little update on my situation.
    After him saying those things to me, and me starting to distance a bit from him, I noticed that his online profile’s “behavior” was a little strange. (Yes, I said I was talking to him through text messages, but we actually talk through Facebook chat. Text messages and Facebook chat messages are pretty much the same to me, since they’re both forms of instant messaging in my opinion, so it doesn’t make much sense for me to differentiate them).
    Anyways, what I noticed was his activity timer next to his name in my chat list working in a pretty strange way. The timer would reset to 1 min pretty frequently without him appearing online. I got curious and so I went to investigate this technical phenomenon and why this would happen. After reading many posts on technology websites, I got to the sad conclusion that he is appearing offline to me. Some kind of “soft blocking”.

    Now I’m extremely hurt with this action. I didn’t do anything desperate. I made it clear to him that I just wanted to understand him and that I wasn’t angry or anything like that. I respected his space. Just because I asked him why he was pulling away from me he overreacted like this. He probably thought that blocking would be too harsh, so he went for a softer way of distancing himself.

    I know, I know… I’m reacting, I know. Now my best bet would be to give him space. I can’t even bring myself to talk to him because I feel disrespected and hurt anyways… I even cried and felt horrible about this. I know he needs to study, but his timer resetting means that he is actively talking to other people, according to what I read. So this makes it personal, and he was lying to me after all. Yes, he might have his problems, but that wasn’t the reason for not wanting to talk. It might have been because of something else, but clearly that was an excuse.

    And as if this pain wasn’t enough, I’m starting to see time slip away. It’s been 5 months since we broke up… I have no idea if he’s seeing someone else or not. My guess until last week is that he wasn’t over me because of his naughty talk and him saying things like “I love looking at your pics.” (he did say this 2 weeks ago), flirting and sending me the stuff you know. But now… well, everything can change in a blink of an eye. Giving him space like this is making me feel powerless and taking a passive role. I’m still working on myself, of course, but I feel that no matter how much I work on the ARS, respect is something that I like and being disrespected hurts a lot.

    I know that maybe I shouldn’t take it personally when he says hurtful things and that I should look at the Context and not at the Content. But he never says he’s sorry. The whole “I do whatever I want to do now” proves his arrogance and disrespect. He puffed up at me, like that jerk example on Clay’s videos on Commitment and Composure. There’s this part of me that wants to give up on him and move on somehow, but the pleasant memories I have of us won’t let me. I still want him back. But I don’t want to be treated like this.

    And no, I’m not stalking his Facebook wall. I never wanted to, anyway. I’m scared of seeing something I wouldn’t like, so I stay away from his updates.

    • I think he is reacting towards what you said about pulling away. As you mentioned, there are many possible reasons why he may be giving you short replies. The fact is, he is giving you short replies. That is a fact. No one can dispute that.

      But whether he is pulling away is the meaning you attached to it, which may or may not be true. So that is not a fact. Basically, you didn’t pass the alien test. So you may want to take a look at the communication module again.

      If I am not wrong, throughout these 5 months, you have always been in contact with him? You may want to consider implementing active no contact from now onwards and stick to it ruthlessly.

      There are a few reasons for doing so.

      First, you are still in reaction mode. Because of that, you are more likely to do or say the wrong things that actually push your ex away.

      And I think you need to brush up some of the skills such as communication (the alien test) as well as acceptance. The other skills such as awareness and composure are also important. Don’t neglect them.

      I think your healing process has been slowed down because throughout these 5 months, you have been playing on “hard” mode. You haven’t really heal your own wounds, yet you are trying to care for him. That is why even after 5 months, you are still in reaction mode.

      It is just like you sprained your ankle. Instead of resting, you keep running around. By doing so, it will take a longer time for you to recover fully, or even making the injury worse.

      Follow the program to the tee. Don’t contact him again until you are truly out of reaction mode.

      Second, you will be giving him a chance to experience what it is like without you in his life. Some people really need to experience losing something valuable before they will start to treasure it.

      Third, it is about changing your strategy. If a particular strategy is not working, it doesn’t make sense for you to keep doing the same thing. It may be time for you to change your direction.

      Fourth. It is about taking good care of yourself. If you continue keeping in touch with him, you are only hurting yourself especially when you are still in reaction mode. You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself.

      Just because you are not contacting him doesn’t mean you are passive. As long as you are constantly working on healing yourself and practicing those relationship skills, you are doing something constructive. You will need these skills if you want to get your ex to open up.

      The reason why you can’t see progress with your ex is because you are trying to use those skills on him before you have mastered them. That is why it backfired. This was actually mentioned in the program. Stick to active no contact.

      I suggest that you go through the entire program again. I believe you will pick up something new. Most probably, you have missed out some important information the first time you went through them.

      • It’s been 5 months since we broke up, but it’s been 4 months since I started contacting him. I actually did 43 days of ANC, right after he broke up with me. On day 43, he contacted me.

        Of course, there might be a million reasons why he doesn’t want to talk to me. Being busy with his upcoming finals, and me being an annoyance he could very well do without, for the time being, for example. But that’s not a big enough why. He’s not talking to me because he doesn’t want to. That’s the most probable reason. I’m busy with my own finals too, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a moment to talk with my friends. Maybe I’m better at multitasking, who knows… Believe me, I used to look at things as they are. But, from my personal experience with my friends and colleagues, the benefit of doubt has disappointed me a lot of times. It made me feel like an innocent little child while they actually had “bad intentions” all along. Hence my negative thoughts.

        But I can’t make a big deal of it. I have to focus on my upcoming exams. My academic life is going well, and I definitely don’t want to lose that.
        And he’s a very closed off guy. He doesn’t open up to anyone. He told me that not opening up to me wasn’t anything personal, that he doesn’t like talking about his problems to anyone.

        When my ANC period was over, I felt like I had healed. The thing is that I didn’t manage my expectations. My hopes dramatically increased when we started flirting and being playful with each other. Then he started to have problems in his life and so he started to wall me out, bit by bit.

        Right now, like I said, I need to prepare for my finals. And so does he. I really need to put my heartache aside and focus on my studies. And, of course, hone my ARS again. I was reading through our chat log and I noticed the things I said weren’t coming from someone who had them mastered. I was way too anxious. So yes, you’re right.

        The other part of me is getting ready to move on. It’s going be even more painful than getting through to him. I don’t want to give up on our memories. I dream about him every night. But I’m too young for all this pain. I have other stressful and painful situations in my life, and the situation with my ex is a source of pain I could very well do without and it’s the least of my problems. I’m going to give this another shot. There are countless harder situations than mine and comparing to those, mine seems to be easy to overcome.

        Then I look at all the other couples and other people of my age. They seem to get along so well and yet they don’t even know what the ARS are. And here I am, working on them… I would be feeling even more lonely if I didn’t grab a hold of them, since I was able to make new connections with friends. But they didn’t need that. They act completely out of composure, of awareness, of acceptance, but yet they have such strong connections with other people. I feel terrible, sometimes. I mean, why can’t I be like them?

        I was thinking of sending him a short message when his finals start, wishing him good luck. Something small, maybe next week or in 2 weeks, since I don’t exactly know when his finals start, but I know it’s near the time when mine do. What do you think?

        Thank you for taking your time, Mark. I know I was probably an annoying follower of yours, haha.

        • Yes, you should definitely focus on your studies for now. Finish your exam first before you worry about him again.

          Yes, it’s true that there are some couples who are somehow able to have a great relationship even though they don’t know ARS. But I believe their relationship will be even better if they know ARS.

          Of course, let’s not forget that during the honeymoon period, there is little need for ARS to maintain the relationship. But when things get tough after the honeymoon period, that’s where the ARS comes in.

          Let’s put it this way. The ARS will serve you well in any relationships. As you mentioned, you have already experienced some benefits from ARS.

          So why not focus on the positives instead of the negatives. In the long run, you are going to fare better than those who don’t know the ARS.

          In today’s world, there are more and more breakups. So I think in the future, the ARS is going to be more important than ever.

          I don’t think you should send him the good luck message at this point. I am a big believer that you should be the one putting in the initial effort if you want to get your ex back. However, I think you are putting in way too much effort without getting the proper level of positive feedback.

          So it is probably time for you to pull back. Otherwise, it may make you look desperate and he will start taking you for granted. I will suggest sticking to ANC.

  4. Thanks for pointing that out, Mark.

    Although I said I would give him space and in the meantime start to work more on the ARS, he actually contacted me. It’s been almost a week since my last comment here, so I have to say that he contacted me twice.
    The first time this week, he asked me, as usual, how I was. He always starts the conversation by asking me how I am. Then I thanked him for reaching out to check on me, to which he replied “I want you to be okay.” I found those words to be very kind of him, and so I said “Aww” and he left me there hanging, as usual…

    Then today he contacted me again, same question, but then something strange happened… which takes us back to the inicial things I was experiencing when I started trying to get him back. He said “I just saw the naughty pictures you sent me.” and then he went on and on about how aroused he was. Trying to evade his subject, I asked him if he was feeling better, and he said “Not really… And besides that, some stuff happened and it really pissed me off.” I obviously asked him about what happened, and he told me his mom was getting worse (his mom has several health issues for a long time), kidney stone was still there, there were problems on one side of his family and there was also some issues with college. Then I told him he could have come and talk to me about those things, to which he said “I didn’t feel like doing it. I don’t like talking about my problems. I really don’t.” and I said “I understand. Man stuff.” and he said “Yes, exactly.” And then again he talked about how horny he was because he looked at those pictures I sent him, and guess what happens next out of the blue: he actually sends me a picture of him, demonstrating how aroused he was (I hope you get what I’m saying here). I didn’t ask for anything. This happened many times before, like I told you. And then he said he had to hurry because he had to go to college, and then again left me hanging just like that.

    What’s going on? I swear this makes me laugh because its so random and unexpected, and above all crazy.

    Thank you for taking your time to help me with my doubts. :)

    • More recently, I managed to finally tell him I wasn’t pleased with his behavior. He apologized for many times, but didn’t exactly explain why he was doing it. He only said he wasn’t doing it on purpose, and that he gets busy and ends up not replying. I made it clear I wasn’t angry at him, I just wanted to understand why he was doing it, and I told him that I would get sad sometimes. He constantly said sorry. Then I asked him why this didn’t happen when he was aroused, and he got angry.
      I think I hurt him a bit, but I told him I wasn’t angry and that there was no need to be so defensive. I got hurt as well because even though I explained him what I felt, that didn’t work and made me feel worse about his behavior.

      • Actually what was the reason for your breakup in the first place?

        When you were still together, does he share his feelings with you? Is it easy for you to get him to open up?

        Is he a text message person?

        Put it this way. If it was already very difficult for you to get him to open up when you were still together, then I am not surprised if you are having problems getting him to open up now.

        Also, if he used to send you short text (except for naughty stuff) when you were still together, then it is not surprising that he is keeping his text short now. After all, he is just being his usual self?

        • He broke up with me because he didn’t feel like I gave him attention or cared about him. He said I would constantly talk about my problems and never cared to ask how he was or his mom, that he had to be the one starting the conversation all the time, otherwise we wouldn’t talk all day. At the time, it was a huge shock to me, and now I realize that I shouldn’t have relied too much on him to vent. I had lots of problems with my family and dealing with loneliness, since I didn’t have many friends. But I loved him and I still do. I also thought he would spend too much time with his friends and when he went out, I shut myself and wouldn’t talk to him until he texted me saying he just got home. Basically, I was way too clingy and needy.

          Yes, he would share his feelings. When he was in pain because of his spine problems, he asked me to back rub him, and when we went out he would sit with me, hug me, and sometimes cry while he vented. I remember one time when he did his test, and about 30 minutes after he finished it, he was utterly disappointed with the grade he got. He got frustrated, and pulled me to him with tears in his eyes. After comforting him, he would thank me constantly and say things like “I’m so thankful for being your boyfriend.” But he would also say “You know, I prefer keeping my problems to myself. I don’t like to bother people.” So him being closed off emotionally isn’t new. The thing is that he’s more closed than before.

          And when we were still together, he didn’t talk much about naughty stuff. We talked once in a while about it, telling what we wanted to do to each other and then went and actually do it, but not as frequently as now.

          Right now I’m giving him space because he blew up at me for no apparent reason. He now has liver problems because of the medicine he’s taking, his mom is still in a pretty bad state, and he’s closing off a lot. He told me he was pretty sad during Christmas because of his health problems. He’s also studying for his finals, and this time of the year is quite frustrating for him, because I remember him saying back when we were still together “I’m sick of studying! It’s the only thing I can do. I can’t have fun at all. I can’t even spend time with my loving girlfriend (me at the time) or with my family or do the things I like. I hate this.”

          I have to say that two months ago he was more open to me. He was also more playful, he would reach out more and talk more. And I actually don’t know where he stands about texting habits… When we were together, I remember him saying he didn’t like typing messages because he was slow at typing and would take him loads of time, but I really doubt that. I actually have a hard time trusting him. I think he says that so he avoids hurting me, but he might me lying at me and actually be talking to other people. And if that’s true, it hurts, because I being put aside…

          And him blowing up at me came after I constantly asked him why he was pulling away and giving short answers and if there was something going on. He misunderstood me and said “Stop dramatizing. I didn’t do anything to you. I already gave you the answer. I do whatever I want to do now. What explanations do I have to give you when I finish my lunch and I want to go study?” to which I said “None. But I’m not talking about that.” and he said “Okay then, thank you.” and I got pretty hurt with his words. It got me thinking that he was lying to me when he said he didn’t want to talk because of his problems.
          Then I remembered the idea of Context vs Content, and I thought “Well, maybe that wasn’t him talking, maybe that was his frustration with finals and his health issues talking to me, and maybe combining with an emotional turmoil. Let’s give him space.” Also, I might be entering Riding the Dragon again. I know I was in stage 3 before because I actually sent an email to the ESP coaches, explaining what was going on, and Francis replied me, saying I was Riding the Dragon. But this was back in October, before he even started to send me naughty stuff.

          I still couldn’t get a date with him. I brought the subject again, but he said he didn’t know when he would be available. I’m starting to think that’s a gentle way of saying no.
          I also have doubts about giving him space when he doesn’t want to talk. If I’m giving space, which means not talking to him, how is that going to deepen our connection? Because I’m not actually doing anything other than accepting that he doesn’t want to talk.

          I want to thank you for taking your time and having the patience to help me. Really, you’re doing a lot for me.

  5. I’m going to try and keep this short basically me and my ex broke up a few weeks ago and when I ask myself why a lot of things come to mind like our relationship was really routine, we never went out much mainly because neither of us had any money. Also towards the end of the relationship I became really dependant on him and needy and this would cause us to fight a lot because I felt like I needed his attention all the time because really I cut all my friends off for him. Our relationship was just this constant drama over something, however apart from when we thought it was cleae him and I loved each other a lot. We were together 11 months and he talked of marrying me one day, moving in next year etc. We had a really strong connection, and I still believe he is my soul mate. I think it was the wrong time to be in a relationship, he’s been struggling almost a year to find a job. He broke up with me after I started another arguement, and basically I made the mistake of begging to following two days. Then I just stopped talking and this is when he was the one who keps caling and texting and we’ve been talking, sometimes serious conversation where he had told me he still loves me, this is the best thing for us right now, he just wants to get a job and a car, he even said he wanted to marry me at one point, and he also said he definitely wants to talk to me again in a few months when he’s sorted everything with himself. He’s also done this thing on his facebook where he used this stupid pickupline on a girl as a joke trying to be funny and she screenshotted it and posted it, this was two days after we broke up and I asked him about and he said he wanted to make me jealous because he knew I’d see it. It annoyed me and I don’t understand why he intentionally hurt my feelings. I understand we can’t get back together and I realize where I went wrong and I want to overcome that, and I do want him back and I just need someone’s opinion on my situation to see what I should do. Also we haven’t talked for five days, he sent me a merry Christmas message and I sent a reply making it obvious I was upset and he called me to make sure I was alright and we sort of had an arguement but after that he said he loves me etc and said goodnight. He hasn’t talked to me since and I haven’t initiated contact which he probably thought I would have by now. Thank you

    • Even if you contact him now, do you think you will be able to move the relationship forward? Or put it this way. Let say both of you get back together today, will the relationship last? Probably not. Because both of you are still too emotional. The problems that cause the breakup are still there.

      You may want to consider not contacting him for a while and make use of this period of time to work on the skills I mentioned in this article.

      Also, take the time to reflect on what went wrong and what you can do to improve the situation.

      You already know some of things you should and shouldn’t do.

      For example, you shouldn’t cut all your friends off. You are setting yourself up for an enmeshed relationship, which is a very bad idea. You have “lost yourself” in this relationship. So I suggest you “find yourself” back.

      One obvious thing you should do is to get in touch with your friends again. And don’t cut your friends off again if you do get back together with your ex in the future.

      I don’t think it is the “timing” that cause the breakup. If you want to save your relationship, you need to take responsibility. Don’t blame the timing. It is more about the lack of understanding that causes the breakup.

      Most probably, he was already stressed because he couldn’t find a job. So the last thing he wanted is to deal with constant drama in the relationship. You could have given him more encouragement instead.

      Now, I am not saying that it is all your fault. He probably has a part to play in this breakup too. Maybe he has neglected you. But you have no control over him. If you want to get your ex back, you can only take responsibility of yourself.

      For example, maybe it is due to poor communication skills. Therefore, you don’t know how to ask for the attention you need in a proper way. That is why you resorted to argument to hopefully get the attention you crave. However, you now know that it is not a very smart approach and doesn’t get you what you want.

      So what should you do now? Well, work on your communication skills. Today, we live in the information age. If you spend some time in the library, you will definitely be able to find some good books about communication. In fact, I recommended a good book in this article. Most probably, you will be able to find it in your library too.

      In other words, you should take some time to reflect and decide which areas you need to improve on and work on them. If you think you lack certain skills, go and develop them. When your ex can see the changes in you and he can see that the relationship will be better this time round, he is more likely to get back together with you.

      Having this period of no contact can also be helpful to your ex. Who knows? He may be able to find a job and will not feel as stressful. By then, maybe he will start thinking of you more.

      • Thank you so much for your advice, he called me the other day and we both decided to give each other at least a month of complete space. I’ve already reconnected with friends and I’m going to work on overcoming the problems I had and what you said. Thank you a lot again

      • Hey Mark, I made a mistake last week and told my ex to not contact me ever again and basically started a fight after I was having a bad day and had a really negative mindset. I realize I messed up and I don’t know where to go from here, we haven’t talked for 6 days and I’m not sure if I should apologize or just keep on going on with no contact and work on myself

  6. Hi Mark, i really hope you can answer my question. I just broke up with my ex 1 week ago and we have not spoken since. Which is totally fine with me. I was a mess the few days after the breakup but have calmed down since. While i’m sure i am not entirely ready to talk to him, i still want him back. We broke up because he felt like I was insensitive, demanding and generally not too appreciative of him. While i feel like it is true to a certain extend, I also feel like maybe my ways of showing gratitude/communication is not working for him?
    Anyways, he is really non confrontational so whenever he encounters something he doesn’t like, he wouldn’t even let me know so I can work on them. But we do have mutual friend and she helped me realise some of the issues because he had been confiding in her.
    Other thing is, we have actually broken up twice before this final one and I can feel that he has already lost interest in me after the first breakup. Which is probably why he didn’t really put in any effort in making our relationship work. And so, after breaking up for the third time, I am thinking that he is completely over me and we have no chances of getting back together. But mark, do you think if I improve myself as a person, would he still give us a chance?

    • Looks like you have a pretty challenging situation here, dealing with a non confrontational partner.

      I used to be a very non confrontational person, and still is to a certain extent. So I believe I can give you some insight on what changes you need to make.

      I am not sure how many of these traits fit your ex boyfriend. In general, a non confrontational person tend to have some of these traits, introvert, shy, soft spoken, avoid problems, fragile ego, over sensitive, will say yes and then regret later on.

      So in order to have a successful relationship with him, you need to develop certain skills. Of course, these skills will be helpful for any relationships. It is just that for a non confrontational person, you need these skills even more.

      First, you need to be really patient with him. Don’t try to settle too many things with him all at once. Remember, he doesn’t like problems. If you do so, he will run so fast that you can’t catch him.

      You need to make him feel safe about expressing what he really wants. As much as possible, try not to get angry. In the first place, anger is seldom a good way to deal with any situation. For example, if he can’t really tell you what he wants, don’t get frustrated and say “What do you really want!”

      Remember, a non confrontational person has difficulty asking for what he wants. It is partly due to his personality. But a lot of times, it is actually because he doesn’t even know what he wants. So don’t expect to get everything out of him in one seating.

      Also, the skills I mentioned in this article are going to be important as well. So make sure you work on them.

      So he got back together with you after the first breakup even though he has lost interest in you? Maybe he did so in order to avoid another confrontation but regretted. Most probably, he realized that the situation didn’t really change after getting back together with you?

      Therefore, if you really want to get back together with him and make sure that this time round, the relationship will last, then you definitely need to work on the skills I mentioned above.

      Obviously, I cannot give you any guarantee that he will want you back if you improve yourself. I can only tell you that there are people who have worse situations than yours but still manage to get back together eventually. And the reason these people succeed is because they are willing to try their best.

      So I suggest that you should improve yourself anyway. This will increase your chances of getting him back. Also, you are doing so not just for the sake of getting your ex back. You are doing so mainly for yourself. At the end of the day, the relationship skills will help you have a better relationship in the future whether it is with your ex or someone else, if you actually put in the time to develop them.

      • Hi Mark,
        Thanks for the reply! You’re pretty spot on regarding the fact that he likes to avoid problems and having a fragile ego. I will definitely work on the skills you have mentioned!

        He just reached out to me 2 days ago apologising for the harsh things he had said during the break up and hope that we move on from that and stay as good friends.

        I was feeling rather calm by then so I replied back thanking him for reaching out but i didn’t specifically agree on the part of being friends. after that, we just exchanged a few more texts and thats it.

        I read your post on how being friends might actually be a good thing but I am still worried about being in the friend zone. All the other “gurus” out there kept going on and on about not being too available for him/ send him mix signals etc will get me out of the friend zone but I feel it’s treading into mind games and tricks. And i DO NOT want to do that. Do you have any advice for that? Thanks in advance ! :)

        • You already know that he is someone who likes to avoid problem. Usually, people with this kind of tendency also tend to think negatively.

          So let say he actually has the intention to get back together with you. But because of all the mixed signals you sent out to him, his negative thoughts will automatically conclude that there is no more hope. So I don’t suggest you going into mind games.

          Don’t worry about the friend zone thing. As long as you have truly loved each other before, you are definitely more than friends. Friend is simply a label. You can watch this video for more information about friend zone with your ex.

        • Hi mark!,

          Somehow I couldn’t reply to your message but I just want to thank you for taking time to reply to mine. I’m not sure what phase i am in currently right now, we are texting back and forth regularly and it seems pretty ok. However, I had to initiate most of the time and we only talked about random things/superficial things like school and all that stuff. So pardon me if I ask another question but how do I get him to open up to me? How do I get him to connect emotionally? Thanks alot for reading my comment!

        • Well, this is a question that is impossible to answer within a few sentences. There are a number of skills you need to learn and practice in order to get your ex to open up.

          You can start with this kindle book, Get Your Ex to Open Up: Conversational Skills for Getting Back Together and Saving Your Relationship. It is only $2.99 but it contains practical tips you can immediately put into practice to get people to open up to you. You should practice this skill in low stake situation first, with other people so that you can master it. After that, you can start using this skill on your ex to get him to open up.

  7. Thanks Mark, will do! I already restarted my ANC period. Today is day 15. I’m going through the whole program again, like you advised. :)

    I haven’t heard from him yet since that day. I’m actually starting to get worried. I haven’t seen him online since that day. Now it seems like he turned off chat to everyone.
    He didn’t block me or unfriend me, as I’ve already checked that. He might just be studying, but I’m scared that his health condition got worse… I’m scared that something might have happened to him…

    I have his number in case I need it in the future. Let’s hope he didn’t change it without telling me. And his email too.

    The fact that time is passing by is also starting to scare me. Sometimes I ask myself “How come 5 months have passed and I’m still hurt by the breakup?” I guess it was partially because it was a very sudden, out of the blue tragedy (at least for me), but also partially because I still love him and I let my hopes get really high.
    5 months take away from me the “safety net” of rebound relationships, because if he gets into a relationship now, it probably will be a serious one and not a rebound. And that scares me. I know that I can’t do anything about it unless working on myself…

    I have been reading and watching a lot of stuff outside ESP on empathy and communication.

    Do you think I still have a chance of succeeding? I mean, with all of this happening? I know that there were worse cases than mine and yet people got back together. You see, he really loved me. He was really in love with me. That’s why I didn’t give up yet. But I really didn’t like the way he talked to me last time.

    I really appreciate the time you’re taking to help me. Thanks again, Mark. :)

    • Hmm, not necessary true. Some people can get into a new relationship soon after a breakup and it is not necessary a rebound.

      On the other hand, there are also people who can get into one rebound relationship after another years after a breakup because they simply couldn’t let go of that particular ex.

      Anyway, you really shouldn’t worry about all these things now because they are outside your control. Focus on what you can control instead and embrace those that you can’t.

      Did you realize that the BS machine is firing off in your head? You are scaring yourself with things that may not even happen. Maybe you want to review the module on BS machine and present moment awareness again?

      You are right when you say that there are people out there in very difficult situations but still manage to get back together. I won’t necessary say their situations are worse than yours but I would say at least they are comparable.

      In fact, I have seen a number of success stories inside the Online Support Community. I would say that what helped them get their ex back eventually is the ARS. These people focused a lot on the process instead of the event. That’s why they are successful.

      So I think the best thing you can do for yourself right now is to have a really solid handle of the ARS. Focus on the process instead of the event.

      • That’s my doubt, Mark. I don’t know if he already let go of me or not. In fact, I know close to nothing about him now, despite my genuine good intentions. Every time I tried to know more about his life, how he was doing, how were his studies, he withdrew back into his shell like a scared turtle.

        My exams are over, everything went smoothly and I’m very happy about that. And my ANC period is coming to its end as well. But I still couldn’t move on from what he said to me. I still feel hurt and angry. And no, not a single word from him, he still has his chat turned off to me. I don’t think I’ll make the first move. The first time I did ANC he was the one that initiated contact with me. Back then I wasn’t angry anymore and I was getting ready to talk to him again, but he anticipated me. I really want to tell him I didn’t like the way he talked to me and that he hurt me.

        Here’s a theory I came up with:
        In my opinion, he started to force himself to move on. He is clearly attracted to me (at least he was or seemed to be before this happened), he started to see me doing things that no one else he knows can do (my talents in art), how much success I was having in college and maybe started to think “Maybe I made a mistake… But I can’t go back now.” That might explain why he flirted to me one day, but then that thought popped up in his mind and he withdrew, only to come back like a week or two later with the flirting.

        He broke up with me because I wasn’t giving him the attention he needed, so I worked on that and started to show him more curiosity about the things he was doing and caring more about him. Apparently, that might have made him go crazy and led him thinking “I can’t go back in my decision. I need to get away from her.” And boom, there he goes acting like a jerk to me, and avoiding me to focus on and stick to his decision of leaving me. Adding to that is his exams and stress. He keeps me away from him so he doesn’t have to deal with an extra nuisance (me).
        What do you think about my theory, Mark?

        I’ve been meditating a lot and venting on my journals, but I still feel hurt and angry at him. I’ve been expanding my empathy, but I’m not able to apply it to this situation. And this is why I don’t want to contact him first. That will paint me in a desperate and annoying light. If he wants to talk, sure, we’ll talk. If he doesn’t, well… it’s his loss.

  8. Hi!
    My ex broke up with me a month ago (basically on our 2 year anniversary). Our first 7 months were great, however he got a new job at that point and he began traveling frequently. Usually Sunday/Monday through Thursday. He lived an hour away from me when he was home, so it was another added stressor always figuring who would go where. I could tell I started to feel insecure with his new schedule. I had found this guy I loved and he always would leave. I understood it was work, but I felt bad for myself. On top of it, he became friend with his colleague who, over the past year and a half constantly texted him. He didn’t do a great job of offering the emotional support and on top it was always texting his buddy. I should say, all his friends are married or engaged and his work friend is single.. I found myself picking fights with him mainly for his attention and wasn’t happy with the situation. A lot of my emotions came out while drinking and sometimes we would argue more while drinking as the feelings poured out. I often didn’t say some things (while not drinking) because I didn’t want to be a nagger. His father was an alcoholic and I know it freaked him out arguing while drinking. Was just silly fights, but still. I felt I wasn’t myself as I’m normally happy go lucky and I was acting sensitive towards him. This past summer, I had began focusing on my insecurities and focusing more on me. I started to feel so much better, understanding why I felt how I did and things for me and him began getting better (in my head). He had listed his place (good time in market to sell he said) and was going to move in with me. I helped him pack the weeks leading up to his move, and again he was gone for work during the weekdays so I didn’t see him too much. He had just gotten back from a work trip(with his buddy) had his stuff moved to storage that Friday, and met up with me that Saturday. He started texted his buddy that night and I got upset he was more interested in his friends life. We ended up arguing all night (I had felt like he was acting distant). He went back to his apt and texted the next am saying he didn’t think he should move in, and if he felt that way, didn’t think it was a good idea being together.

    He naturally had a work trip he left that night. The next day was our 2 year anniversary and he texted saying I know this is tough timing, but he didn’t forget what the day was and he did love me. I didn’t get to talk to him in person until a week later. He bacsilly told me he wants to be selfish; travel when he wants and not have to plan with anyone; if he wants to move for his job, he wants the opportunity to. He felt our relationship shouldnt be so hard with the arguments and he ended it. I asked if he met someone and he said no (I trusted him and believe it). He brought up some past arguments we had (4 in particular) and said each time he checked out a little more. Here I am fighting for him and he told me he checked out. I mentioned his dad was an alcoholic as he is no longer involved in my exes life, but my ex grew up in a household where his parents fought. I always tried to connect with him there as I felt like he almost wouldn’t let me in so he can be happy. He told me he loved me 6 months in, and soon after he pulled away and focused on work more.
    He didn’t bring some big items he has of mine (skis, bike, apt keys) and he didn’t take the stuff he had at my apt. I heard from him only once in Xmas. I responded and said I appreciated the message. 2 days later, I reached out asking if I should grab my bike, and no response. I haven’t been in touch at all since and he hasn’t either. He is way more active in Facebook now, and each of the past few weekends, he has been in different states skiing, so he’s clearly been traveling (likely around his work travel). One of those trips his work buddy was there, which made me believe he thinks grass may be greener.
    I took this time to really focus on me, continue my journey towards happiness. I feel much better (especially then I did a month ago), but still have those feelings for him. We had something so special and the good time were good and I don’t want to give that up. I know it takes two, and while my insecurities may have pushed him away, he didn’t meet me half way either. But, he looks as though he is acting selfish like he said he wanted to and I don’t know if this would work now.. Help!

  9. I just realized that, even though I really love myself, I have some kind of insecurities.

    I am actually a very happy, logical thinking and empathetic person. But once I really like someone, I cling to them. I then have the expectations that this person can make me happy when I am down.

    Before I was together with my ex I had a best friend. At one point he slowly started to lose contact with me and I felt insecure. I tried and tried to hold the connection, but almost nothing came from him. And when I told him that he did nothing to change it.

    That same thing was with my ex boyfriend.

    So maybe it’s not them, it’s me. I have to lose the expectation that as soon as I “have” someone, they can make me happy. I am the only one who can make myself happy. It has always been that way and will also stay like this.

    I really like your articles :)

    • Well, no one is perfect. I think everyone has their own fear and insecurities to overcome.

      The important thing is to recognize it and work on it. Self improvement is a never ending process after all.

      By the way, I am glad that you like my articles. Thank you :)

  10. Hey mark, know I’m not a woman but I find this website really helpful and would like your insight on my case.

    So about two weeks ago my girl of 5 years broke up with me. She was the sweetheart, extremely kind with the best intentions to make every happy type girlfriend. Last year or so we lived together at my parents and I didn’t put in all my effort to be in the relationship and I had a few things come up in my life that put me into a sort of mini depression. We’re both 19 and I don’t have a job license and not attending college yet.

    It always bothered her that I wouldn’t open up to her with my emotions and I wouldn’t spend enough Time with her throughout the day and I’d only go out with her when we did something fun and never really went out just to be with her like she wanted all the time.

    After the breakup I slightly begged and told her I’d change in the future, and she seemed so sad that she hurt me but that she wasn’t happy with how I was and that I wasn’t going anywhere. Didn’t talk much since but today my aunt called her because she wanted answers as to why she threw away all of us (she was really close with my family too) and she said that I wouldn’t take the hint that we were over and that even if I changed she wouldn’t want to be with me at least for a few years and by crossing paths accidentally.

    Do I move on and forget about trying to get her back or just go with regular ANC and work on myself to be the partner she wants and contact her when I’m ready?

    Is this just reactance?

    • Work on yourself and contact her when you are ready. Also, try not to have any third party involved. Your aunt calling her can put more pressure on her and increases her reactance towards you. Even if it is not you who asked your aunt to contact her, she may think it is you.

      • Yeah she contacted her without me knowing, unfortunately. A problem I have had for a long time is when I am stressed or something is annoying me I sometimes snap, this happened a few times with my ex too. Is there an exercise I can do to learn to keep myself from lashing out? Another thing is sometimes when I get offended by something someone said I’ll get defensive and say things to hurt them back or get them off my case. I hate when I do these things because at times I feel I have less control over myself then I’d like and I always feel guilty soon after for hurting the other person.

        • Well, I am not a therapist, so I may not be the best person to give you advice in this area.

          I will just give you my opinion. I think it is your habitual behavior and habits can be changed. So you may want to start from something small.

          Maybe start from your family. Do you lash out at your family members from time to time as well? If you do, maybe you can start from there. Before you say anything you may regret, maybe just try to walk away. You can tell them in advance that this is what you are going to do so that they don’t find your behavior strange. Because they are your loved ones, they will support you.

          Meditation may also help. You can consider the meditation method I share here and see whether it is useful.

  11. Hi Mark,
    I would really like your opinion to my situation. I have been seeing a man for 2 1/2 years or a little longer. It has been up and down, he has told me he will not be vulnerable again because you get hurt. We have broken up, about a month ago and he is already seeing someone else. I have had a feeling he was lining up someone else before we called it quits. I sort of did the quitting because he can’t express his feelings for me until now, he says he wanted to make it work, he just can’t love me cause he knows what the feeling of love is like. Is there any hope for this person? He has self-esteem issues, insecurity and therefore he is self centered. I have seen him getting closer to me but it’s like he takes 2 steps forward then 16 back. Please explain, is he just toying with women or does he truly have issues that might be fixable? he has a good heart, I’ve seen it but he can’t stay there. Is he saying things like he doesn’t love me to hurt me? or is it out of fear and me not being able to handle his fear might be pushing him away? Please help!

    • Don’t worry about him saying he will not be vulnerable again. When people are emotional, they can say anything. However, once their emotional state changes, they will say another thing.

      You don’t have to worry about the other woman he is seeing as well. Most probably, it is just a rebound relationship. You may want to read this article to learn more about rebound relationship.

      Put it this way, you said he has a lot of issues such as low self esteem, insecurity etc. Which is why he couldn’t have a healthy relationship with you. So if he can’t maintain his relationship with you, do you think he can maintain his relationship with the other woman? Most probably not. After the honeymoon period, problems will start to arise.

      I never met him before. So I can’t tell you whether he is toying with you just based on what you said. But there are people out there who do have issues that need to be fixed before they can have a healthy relationship with someone.

      With that said, you can’t change a person. Yes, a person can and do change. However, that only happens if they want to change. Trying to fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed will only cause you a lot of frustration.

      I am not saying that your relationship cannot be saved. Just that it is going to take a lot of effort on your part.

      Instead of trying to fix him, why not improve yourself? You cannot change someone but you can become the woman who can inspire him to want to change so that he deserves you. In other words, you need to do a lot of personal development work on yourself.

      Specifically, go and learn skills that will help you have a better relationship. That’s what you need to save a relationship. You can read this article to find out what skills to focus on.

    • Hi Mark!
      I ‘ve been having a long distance relationship with a much older man for around two months. I really like him, we have a lot in common. Last time I visited him, we were having a great time, but at some point I got insecure and needy, because he got busy with work and couldn’t spent so much time with me as expected. I couldn’t help myself to text him a lot of very emotional messages, not angry, but filled with frustration and sadness. I clearly overreacted. He became very distant after my messages and now he doesn’t contact me at all. I don’t know what to do. I ‘ve felt the need to tell him that I am sorry since the day I came back, but it’s been almost 3 weeks that we barely had some contact. We just texted two times very shortly, once I asked how he was doing, and the other few days ago about work. Both times he was very pleased, but still doesn’t start any kind of contact. I am working hard on my insecurities with my therapist, and I would like to be able to show him I am changing, but don’t know how to do it over text messages and also don’t know if I should say I am sorry or not.
      Thank you so much!

      • You don’t have to apologize for that. It doesn’t make a big difference. As I mentioned in the article, real changes don’t happen so soon for most people. It is probably not going to happen after just a few therapy sessions.

        So don’t be in a hurry to show him that you have changed. Otherwise, it will backfire and make things more difficult for yourself. If you have truly changed from the core, it will show naturally in the way you communicate. If you find that you have to try very hard to show that you have changed, then most probably, the change is not significant enough yet.

        Be patient. You are going to get much better result if you really take the time to work on yourself. If you haven’t read this article already, you may want to do so now. It gives you a good idea of what you need to focus on in order to help you connect with your ex on a deeper emotional level.

  12. Hey mark! My boyfriend didn’t really break up with me but after an argument which I started because i was jealous of one of his friends, he blocked me everywhere and i had no way of contacting him. After 4 days he unblocked me only on whatsapp and then when i messaged him and apologised to him, he said i will never change and my sorries are meaningless as i do the same thing again and again. But after I apologised for more than 1 day he decided to stay and forgive me but he said he won’t talk much with me and its been two days whenever i message him he replies once or max twice and then say i’ll ttyl. I am doing my best to let go of this habit of jealousy and being insecure. He doesn’t believe me when i say this to him and he always says that you will do this again no matter what.
    Please help me and tell me what can i do to bring him back and make my relationship better just as it was before.

  13. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your insightful articles. They’ve really helped me reflect and calm down. I wanted to get your advice on my situation:

    My ex (29) and I (26) broke up after 1.5 years because he was angry at how I lied about keeping in touch with my previous ex-boyfriend (texting, occasionally meeting up but no physical infidelities). He knew all along because he was reading my emails/messages and checking my phone (without my knowledge), but kept silent about it for 8 months because he did not want to fight with me. He finally broke up with me about a month ago (end of June) when I discovered that he has been checking my stuff. He said he still loves me, but cannot be in a relationship with me because he does not trust me.

    The breakup was very nasty with him angry, lashing out, and calling me names. I made the mistake of pleading and begging him for about 2-3 weeks, but he would not change his mind. He repeatedly said he needs time and space to heal, and said he might reconsider once his anger subsides and when he feels like he can trust me again (but said it’s an unlikely scenario). He also told me to move on and not to initiate any contact with him, because he does not want to blow up and say anymore harsh words to someone who means a lot to him. He said if there is any communication, HE has to be one to reach out first. During these last few conversations, he said that he still loves me, that I am a perfect girl, but it’s just this one thing that I consistently lied about that made him change his feelings towards me.

    My questions/thoughts are:
    1) My friends and family are extremely upset about him invading my privacy for 8 months and are telling me he’s not worth getting back. This is a source of pressure for me. They say that while I lied, he is also deceptive for spying on me and never confronting me about it. I’m really confused by what everyone is telling me and would appreciate an objective opinion.

    2) There is no physical cheating involved. He is aware of this (from reading my messages) but he is angry about the lies. Thinking back, I lied because I truly felt like my interactions with my previous ex-bf were platonic and somewhat harmless and I didn’t want to disrupt the status quo with my current ex by bringing it up.

    3) If he does not contact me on his own, should I GO AGAINST what he asked me to do and reach out via text first? I fear this may upset him.

    Is my situation completely impossible? I’m now on Day 15 of NC and I’ve been doing better and am feeling less emotional. I’ve started seeing a therapist to identify my own mistakes and insecurities as well.

  14. Hi Mark,

    I’m really glad I found your site – it’s refreshing to see some advice that echoes how I feel about the standard No Contact approach (and related techniques). I only wish I’d found you much sooner…

    My boyfriend left at the beginning of the year (due to loss of attraction/not having “the right kind of chemistry”, though the rest of the relationship was really good). I immediately started following the other strategies: I downloaded a few different ones to make an amalgamated approach – some were good for knowing exactly what to say to him, while others had more detail about what to do during NC to recover. Unfortunately, like you say, they didn’t have quite enough; although I did my best to move on (distracted myself with activities, started seeing a therapist to deal with certain issues etc.), I wasn’t really emotionally ready when I started to contact him again. Although I had accepted the situation rationally, I was still reacting rather than responding to him, though I was able to curb myself enough to not let him see – for a while, anyway. Things got far enough along that, after about three months of texting and a couple of lunch dates (at his suggestion), he brought up the idea of getting back together, but when he said he wanted to think about it some more, I reacted badly: instead of giving him space, I sent him emails trying to get him to discuss his concerns, so I could try to allay them, and also telling him what worried me, what I thought had gone wrong and how I thought we could fix things, insisting that I needed him to be open with me about how he was feeling.

    I was trying to be more demanding (something he’d wanted me to be), but I realised afterwards that I was really just being insecure (partly because he’d kept me in the dark about things in the past, and also because there’s another girl in the picture). Instead of seeming assertive, I’d just given him the impression that being with me would be hard work and made him think about what could go wrong… I did back off after a few days/emails, but he sent a reply saying that he didn’t think that things were going to work as passion can’t be simulated, and he didn’t want to risk both of us getting hurt again. I’m afraid that I’ve ruined things for good and cemented his negative thoughts about me.

    I’ve started a new NC period (which I plan to do the right way this time), but I know that things will be harder this time around, as he’ll be even more resistant to contact (he wouldn’t text me first before, as he didn’t want it to lead to us getting closer again). I also don’t know how I’ll be able to show him that I’ve changed: I’m not insecure in everyday life, it’s just the pressure when I’m with him that makes me fall apart (to the extent that when we were together, I would be so on edge that I’d get stressed about stupid things going wrong, even though I knew they didn’t matter, just because I wanted things to be as perfect as they could be). I know that this will be different when I’ve mastered awareness, acceptance etc., I just don’t know how he’ll be able to see it if we’re never in the situations where it would previously have shown!

    I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but just so I can have some hope: are there ways that I can show him during casual interactions that I won’t fall apart if things get more intense?

    • There is no shortcut when it comes to getting your ex back. If you find that you break down every time things get intense, it means that your level of awareness and acceptance is not strong enough. So the obvious solution is to spend more time to deepen your skills.

      I know this may not be the answer you are looking for but I don’t want to sugarcoat you. It doesn’t help you at all if i just tell you the answer you want to hear.

      Like I mentioned in this article, real changes do take time. The only way you can show your ex that you have changed is that you have truly changed. You can’t fake it. If you have really transformed from the core, it will show naturally when you are interacting with him. Things that used to make you panic will no longer have the same effect on you.

      Once you have truly changed, it is still going to take some time before he will trust you. That’s where consistency comes in. You can only be consistent when the change is real and lasting.

      Anyway, don’t worry about ruining things for good. Emotions are not fixed. Just because he feels negative about you right now doesn’t mean he is going to feel negative about you forever. And don’t worry too much about what he says when passion can’t be simulated. It is simply a matter of content vs context.

      • Hi Mark,

        Thanks for your reply. Spending more time to deepen my skills is exactly what I meant is exactly what I meant by “doing NC the right way this time”; I’m just concerned that the things that used to make me panic are things that only crop up with someone I’m actually in a relationship with… I was handling myself pretty well until it got to the point of discussing getting back together, but if we never get to that point (or any kind of intense interaction) again, how will he be able to see any change? My worry is that, unless he knows that things would be different, he will be even more guarded with his contact to make sure that we don’t get to that point – it seems a catch-22 situation! I know it’s too early to think about contact yet, I just want to be sure I have at least some chance of turning things around. I suppose, like you say, that relies on his emotions softening as time goes on.

        Thanks for the link on content vs context; unfortunately, his thoughts on passion/chemistry are something he’s stated many times over the past few months – definitely not something he said in the heat of the moment. In fact, his main complaint was that we were deficient in heated moments of any kind… I’m certainly hoping that re-centering myself and re-establishing contact will be enough to let things develop naturally, the way they did when we first met (as per the “why you don’t need to re-attract your ex” video), but I know that only time will tell.

        • The concept in the video doesn’t just apply to heated moments. Basically, if you are able to shift his emotional state, the content (what he says) can be changed. If he keeps on saying the same thing over the past few months, it simply means your emotional connection with him is not strong enough yet.

  15. Hi Mark,

    I just want to start off that I’m really enjoying your articles. They are really insightful.

    First off, do you think it’s possible to reconcile with my long distance girl friend? We’ve been together for 1.5 years and broke up about a month ago. Of course I don’t want to tell her I changed but to show her, but it’s really hard to do that because I am unable to just meet up with her. We usually communicate through chat and webcam. How can I show her that I changed?

    We broke up because I eventually lose confidence in myself and I failed to keep our relationship interesting.

    I really appreciate your help. Thank you

    • If you have truly changed, it will show naturally. She will be able to see or sense the change, even through webcam or text.

      For example, previously, certain events may cause you to panic or react strongly. If you have truly changed, you will no longer have the same reaction. You will naturally be more calm and in control.

      Real changes cannot be fake. If you find that you have to try very hard to show her, it simply means you haven’t really changed.

  16. Hey mark, you’re posts have been helping me me stay calm. I applied No contact for a month, within the month he texted me once about how he hopes I stay focused emphasizing “from your friend…” I replied to him telling him how I hope he is safe and focused on school as well and then no response. Then after 32days of no contact I felt ready to call. So I went outside and called but the rings fell short meaning he hung up once he saw it was me, afterwards I texted him “hey, just called to ask how you were doing , hope you and your family are well” I was calm afterwards but then later I realized I was crushed by the fact he still has never responded back. What do I do now? I really want him back in my life and he has blocked all forms of contact from me.

    • The fact that you feel crushed means you are still not emotionally ready to get your ex back. It is a sign of a lack of acceptance, which is a very important skill you need to have if you want to get your ex back. So I suggest that you spend more time working on your acceptance. If you are wondering why acceptance is important, you can read this article for more information.

  17. My fiancée broke up with me about a month ago. Back info is that were together for over 3 yrs and we did argue a lot over stupid things. He was not good with communication and I have no patience. So my clingyness and control issues were stressing him and his reason for loosing the spark he had for me but I think the underlying issue is commitment on his part. About a year ago when I started picking wedding dates and talking about rentals and stuff he got more distant. Every time he would hangout with his bachelor friends he would get worse. And i didn’t help obviously by making him stressed when he was back with me. I feel like when we were together he was never really there mentally. Your awareness section really spoke to me. So I did all the wrong things when we first broke up. Crying, yelling, pleading, throwing stuff. He came back the day after he broke up to stay with me because my family was out of town for the week and he knows I hate to be alone. During that time he anted me to know he’d always be there if I needed somebody to talk to. Wanted to stay friends. That weekend pleading happened. Then I did NC for week. Had to call Sunday to give him important mail, had short convo, then continued Nc for another 2 weeks. He has never text me during any of this. Its been silent. I text him to break it, he still has some stuff at my place. Ended up calling him and talking about us. Then 3 days later I text him a letter about everything I wanted him to know that I couldn’t get out right on phone call. I kept loosing my train of thought. I have heard nothing back and that was 2 days ago. What should I do now? I am sure of wanting to make things work with him and I have been working on myself.

  18. My boyfriend of 1.5 years broke up with me 5 days ago. He just unfriended me and my family today. His family members are still friends with me, for now. We had some issues with the relationship, we were long distance and I had a tendency to say things I don’t mean. Just before he broke up with me I softly broke up with him and retracted it and told him that I was just reacting because my needs weren’t being met in certain ways. He took this as somewhat toxic language…like “i hurt you because you deserved it” language. I have been working with a therapist and listening to “nonviolent communication” on cd. I really think I am approaching this in a way more mature way than I have in the past. When we broke up officially, I thanked him for sharing his thoughts with me and took ownership and we both cried and ended it nicely. I have no idea why he would unfriend me so quickly, but does this mean it is officially over?

    • A lot of the things we do are governed by emotions. Even more so for a breakup. So what he does is just an emotional reaction to the breakup. That doesn’t necessary mean the relationship is officially over. This is because a person’s emotional state is not static. It can change over time. This video will explain this concept in more details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *