In the wake of "Unfriend Your Ex Day," I wanted to approach the relationship to one's ex from a different perspective. What prompted my musings was that many of you have written to me recently with the same question:
"I still love my ex, and I think he still loves me. How do I get him back? Or should I just try to forget him?"
When I or my Love Mentors have delved into the particular situation, we've found that often, even though your relationship is officially "over," he may suddenly resume his normal e-mails or texting with you, or even call you and ask to get together. But before you rush back and pretend that everything is business as usual, ask yourself, "What's really changed?" You can give him some more contact, but do not make it too easy for him. For example, in the first few interactions, challenge him by asking if he has had any further thoughts about the breakdown in your relationship. If he wants to see you, just schedule a half-hour coffee date and make sure you have something planned that you must go to afterward. Don't wind up impulsively sleeping with him again when he hasn't demonstrated much transformation. This is the kiss of death, and I have seen it happen all too often.
In my new bestselling relationship advice book, "Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love," I share all the secrets and guiding principles behind any possible reconciliation. Here are 12 key signs to look for in your ex's behavior while you're in contact with him. In order to have more and more contact with you, he has to show that he is sincere. Words are cheap. More importantly, watch for his follow-through on actions he promises you. To help you determine whether the separation from you has helped your guy achieve a breakthrough in his commitment, fears or self-doubts, look for one of these 12 signs, ranging from modest improvements in behavior to deep transformations.
The 12 Signs of Change:
- He shows you that he's worried or upset (this is realistic if he really cares for you!)
- You wind up having deep, open and honest conversations with each other about your relationship, what was missing in it, and where you'd like to take it in the future
- He realizes what he did wrong and is sincerely apologetic (not defensive)
- He wants to make things up to you
- He shows renewed devotion toward you -- perhaps by helping you with a work project or other tasks
- He courts you in novel romantic ways (poems, thoughtful gifts or exciting dates)
- He is suddenly saying all the things you used to say about the relationship being great
- He expresses his appreciation for you and all you bring to his life
- If he has cheated, he cuts off contact with his lover (see the next section for more)
- He wants to enter psychotherapy or take a growth course -- either individually or with you -- to understand his own dynamics and to make your relationship better. If he goes into therapy, suggest seeing someone who can see both of you, as well as him individually. It'll work out better that way
- He actively pursues moving in together
- He proposes marriage
If he shows these signs and does want to get back with you, make sure you are having serious conversations about your future and what it's going to take to get your relationship to a deeper level, like counseling, apartment hunting or even ring shopping.
The bottom line is courage. No guts, no glory. Instead of investing so much time and energy in a relationship that is dragging you down, you can choose to set a limit. After all, you could be much happier in a new relationship with someone who is appreciative and actively building a future with you. A relationship should make your life better, not worse.