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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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