After the shock of a breakup, it’s natural to think about trying to get your ex back – even if you’re the one who did the dumping. You’re bound to miss each other, and find there is a big gap in your life, now that your ex isn’t part of it. And most people do wonder whether they did the right thing. Having a wobble or two over your decision, and moments of doubt, is inevitable.

If you were dumped, you’re bound to be badly upset, even traumatized. Your first reaction is probably a desperate desire to get him back at all costs. This is natural, but it will make it harder to see whether it’s really the best thing for you.

Trying to Get Your Ex Back: Taking a Step Back

It’s important to have an answer to this before you make any moves with your ex, because doing the wrong thing, or even the right thing at the wrong time, can split you apart for good.

So you need to give yourself some space and time to get over the breakup, and get some perspective on your future. You can find everything you need to know about getting this right here.

Things ended between you for a reason. You both need to think about that reason and what you can learn from it. And before you decide whether it’s worth trying to get your ex back, you need to believe that things between you can be put right.

Can you build a new relationship together, one that won’t founder on the problems that destroyed your old one?

There is no point in getting back together only to break up again almost immediately. And without spending time apart, you won’t be able to see things clearly enough to know whether trying to get your ex back is the right thing for you.

The WRONG Reasons For Trying to Get Your Ex Back

The first few weeks apart are the hardest, and when couples do get back together during this time, it’s usually for all the WRONG reasons.

You miss him – desperately

There is huge gap in your life in your life now where your relationship used to be. So after a couple of weekends alone, you start texting him. He’s feeling lonely too, so he responds. Texting turns into calling him on the phone, and you agree to meet. You do so and fall into each other’s arms, without addressing any of your problems.

You hate being single

Having tried the singles scene for a couple of weeks, you’ve rediscovered how much you’ve always hated it. Only now it’s even worse, because you have an idealized vision of how things could be if only you were still with your boyfriend. He feels the same, so you both decide “better the devil you know” and get back together.

You idealize the past – and Him

It’s inevitable. You reminisce endlessly about the good times you shared and completely overlook the bad ones. You forget all the things about him you disliked, or which drove you nuts, and become convinced he was Prince Charming personified. This is a common reaction when you are denied something – it immediately becomes 20 times more attractive and desirable.

You refuse to consider a different future

He is “The One”. You are more convinced than ever, and you can’t accept the idea that he might not be. You refuse to face the need to move on and obsess about trying to get your ex back instead. You insist you can’t live without him, without making any genuine attempt to try.

It’s easy to see the destructive pattern in all this – neediness and desperation. And when people get back together for these reasons, they are almost sure to break up again. Probably sooner rather than later.

To get your ex back permanently and build a happy and successful relationship together, you need a much more proactive and positive strategy.

The RIGHT Reasons For Trying to Get Your Ex Back

First of all you need to start moving on with your life. You need to believe in the future and to have built up a positive outlook before you can really tell whether trying to get your ex back is right for you.

Moving on with your life will prove to you – and to him – that you CAN live without him. This will awaken the fear of loss in him, and it’s this fear that will force him to confront the decision to break up. He’ll have to decide anew whether or not he wants to stand by it.

And YOU will be able to make a rational judgement whether your reasons for wanting to get your boyfriend back are good enough for the relationship to succeed this time.

You Were Happy Together Before the Breakup

You had survived the honeymoon period with your relationship intact, and had built something you thought would last. Then something unexpected happened which blew everything apart. But you think the problem can be solved.

It’s worth trying to get your ex back in these circumstances; even it’s only to prove that the problem was, after all, insuperable. Giving up now would only leave you with regrets. But you need to be sure. And if you succeed, then you’ll know you have a relationship worth fighting for.

You Share the Same Outlook and Values

This is a great basis for a successful relationship, and a good reason for trying to put things right. But you need to consider what triggered the breakup. Is it something that can be overcome? Or will it keep recurring? You don’t want to be in an on-off relationship that’s in perpetual crisis.

The Breakup Was Triggered By Specific Circumstances Which Can be Put Right

Maybe you were in a long distance relationship, or some big change occurred that led to the breakup. But you can see a solution to the problem. If so, then it’s worth trying again; but only as long as your boyfriend is equally committed to making things work this time around.

You Had a Unique Chemistry

You’ve never felt such a powerful bond with anybody, and you’re sure you never will again.

First of all you need to be sure that your feelings aren’t propelled by desperation. Have you made a concerted effort to rebuild your life; enough to convince yourself that there IS life after your breakup?

If you have, and you still feel that you ex is the only one for you, then it’s worth giving things one more shot before you admit defeat. Bear in mind though that this is the least convincing reason for trying to get your ex back after a breakup, and be prepared for disappointment.

When You SHOULDN’T Be Trying to Get Your Ex Back

Sometimes you have to accept that the relationship you once treasured above everything is over.

If this isn’t the first time you have broken up, then it’s time to admit that you and your ex are not right for each other. No matter how hard it is, your relationship is causing far more pain than happiness; and by moving on both you and your boyfriend will have a chance to find real happiness with someone else. It will take courage, but you have to recognize that it just wasn’t meant to be.

If your relationship was abusive, then you must walk away from it. Whoever is doing the abusing should seek help for their problems; but even if they do succeed in overcoming them, it’s essential that you don’t try to get back together.

This is for both your sakes. It would be too easy for you to regress to your old ways. A formerly abusive person needs the incentive of a new relationship to have any chance of avoiding a relapse into their old patterns.

What To Do Next

By now should have proved to yourself that there IS life after your breakup, so you will be better equipped to face up to it if your relationship turns out to be beyond saving.

It will take time to understand and appreciate the reasons for the breakup. When you do, you will be able to judge whether trying to get your ex back is both realistic and right for you.

When you are sure you can face your ex without losing your self-control, you can think about catching up with him, and seeing where he has got to in his life. But don’t approach your first meeting with any great hopes of what may come of it.

It will soon become clear whether there is any chance of getting back together. If you truly love each other, and your feelings of regret and the desire to try again are mutual, then there is a good chance that things will turn out well for you. But you shouldn’t even start trying to get your ex back until you are ready to face the possibility that your split may turn out to be final.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. James

    Me and my ex were together for 3 years. For the last year or so she didn’t seem interested in me anymore and the relationship became more of a best friends situation. We still got on really well but the month before she ended it she ended up getting close to a long term friend that could give her new attention that she wanted. She started seeing this friend before breaking it off with me and has since entered a relationship with this guy and have moved in together within 2 months despite them both having their own places. It’s been 4 months and I have been working on me and slowly healing but yesterday she contacted me about some stuff she still has of mine. We talked and expressed we missed each other and I said we need to stop talking but she continued to message me about just everyday things. I had a really strong connection with this young woman and she has said she finds me attractive still but she just started wanting different things from life. I have identified where I could of been a better partner and lockdown didn’t help the situation leading up to our break up because she (I’m sure) felt trapped. Whilst I continue to self improve and achieve my own goals is it worth staying in touch with her and seeing if things can work again? Should I have more self worth and get on with my life despite the deep connection and shared views and goals in life?

    1. Sarah

      I think you should make yourself your priority now. You say you have been working on your own goals and that’s exactly what you should go on doing; it’s where your future lies. And when she sees how you are growing and changing your girlfriend may well come to see you differently. And you may come to see her differently too: it’s possible that you will decide she is not the right woman for the new you. So stay on the path you are following and see where is leads. Stay in touch with her if you wish but make your own future your main focus.

  2. Sheila

    Should I move on from my ex? I’m doing no contact and I won’t contact him first. I’ve been really hurt and I just want to move on. I just don’t he’ll ever love me the same way. I’m really sad about it but if a guy is meant for you he’ll come back. I want to focus on my life now and try to forget him. How can I forget him completely and soon enough?

    1. Sarah

      It’s brave of you to face up to the disappointment and loss of a breakup. There is an article about dealing with the pain of a breakup here, and one about how to move on here.

  3. Ellen

    I’ve done no contact and started texting my ex again. It was good and last weekend we met up. It was good and he texted me afterwards, but when I texted him a few days later he didn’t answer. I tried again, still no response. I don’t understand what I did wrong. What should I do?

    1. Sarah

      This happens sometimes; it’s not always a straightforward road to reconciliation. It’s better not to chase him. Wait a week, then go back to using an attraction text as in The Ex Boyfriend Guide.

  4. Mary

    This is the second time my ex and I have broken up. Last time it was me, this time it was him. He says he doesn’t feel the same about me any more. Should I try to get him back?

    1. Sarah

      There are peaks and troughs in every relationship. Just because yours is currently in a trough doesn’t mean it has to stay there. You can turn you relationship around; go here to find out how.

  5. Donna

    This isn’t our first breakup but I really love my ex and still want him back. How many times should you get back together before you have to give up all hope of things working out between you?

    1. Sarah

      Breaking up once can sometimes make you see more clearly whether it is the right relationship for you. But if you still couldn’t make it work together then you should try to be very realistic about whether it is worth trying a third, let alone a fourth or fifth time.

  6. Tessa

    I broke up with my ex a month ago but I really miss him and want him back. I was confused but I think I was wrong to give up on our relationship and that we can make it work. Is it worth asking him to think about it?

    1. Sarah

      If you’re sure you could have a good relationship this time then why not? And asking him to think about is a good idea: it respects the fact that you dumped him and doesn’t put him under pressure to make an instant decision.

  7. Ryan

    Me and my boyfriend broke up 2 weeks ago because he started becoming friends with a girl but they were a little too close for my liking. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable with them being super close like that and he freaked out and broke up with me. And I asked him if he was breaking up with me because of his friend and he said no and he wasn’t interested in her that way. Fast forward, we were still texting about us breaking up and he was saying things like he doesn’t wanna get back together with me because it would be weird when he brought my name up to his friend and vice versa. And he told me that after we broke up , he flirted with the girl but she didn’t react to it . And that he felt stupid for breaking up with me and guilty but in the same breath told me he doesn’t like me anymore but still loves and misses me. Just yesterday I gave him back his sweater that I had and we were texting and he asked me why did I give it back because it smelled like me. And I told him he could wash it but he told me he wants to keep it the way it is so he can smell it from time to time. In conclusion, I’m just really confused because I’m upset with him but I miss him and still hang on to the fact that we might get back together.

    1. Sarah

      Maybe he didn’t like the fact that you didn’t trust him, but it sounds as if he was attracted to the other girl. So give him some time to think about what he really wants.

  8. Isa

    Well, I need insight on this please, before the pandemic my relationship was great! We fought a few times and all but nothing abusive at all, before the pandemic hit my country and we had to be forced into a lockdown, we had a fight that we settled that very night, actually the fight was largely my fault because I was being very selfish and he was really stressed packing for an important trip and doing things that were really out of his control. Anyway we settled that very night, made out and he travelled for a few days ( I thought we’d see in a few weeks) then boom the lockdown came.
    Initially he forgave me but the more the distance the more he thought of it over and over and he became distant, I guess he thought of other things I did too (I made alot of mistakes looking back now)… then he broke up the first time and we literally settled the next day but never fixed the real issue COMMUNICATION and ofcourse distance.
    A few months a tv show came on and I got so addicted to it( because I had no life this year) and neglected him for a whole month, he never told me he felt neglected till it became too much for him and he broke up with me, we settled that same night again!! We also didnt fix the problem COMMUNICATION AND DISTANCE. I still neglected him alittle but we were okay for awhile then I did something again that probably triggered the bad memories and boom he started looking at the relationship again and he broke up yet again.
    We’ve been apart because of the lockdown and the fact that I cant leave my house for close to 10months and haven’t seen each other once. We have underlying issues too.
    But Next year the distance thing wont be a problem AT ALL. I’ve realised my mistakes and realised I wasnt really a good girlfriend at all, esp to someone who had a lot of bad relationships and gave up on it entirely. I never really worked on myself, but I’m willing too
    Do you think I should try to get him back?
    He told my sister that he still cares about but the distance and our issues had alot to do with the mess we are in.
    What do you think?

    1. Sarah

      Try to keep things on a more even keel until you can see each other and talk things over properly. This has been a bad year for everybody so it would be better to try to defer important decisions until things are more normal again.

  9. jy

    what if the reason why he broke up with me was because he lost feelings with me because of a big fight driven by my insecurities and stress from school? the fights before were resolved and we got over them but this fight just made him have feelings on and off. All these time i have just been pushing him, chasing him. I could sense him leaving and i guess i became more insecure and then more fights started until he lost feelings for me entirely. is he even worth?

    1. Sarah

      Is he worth what? You admit you’ve been harassing him, yet you are surprised he doesn’t like it?

  10. Harper

    My ex boyfriend and I broke up a little bit over a year ago and I did the no contact twice, the second time I did it for about 3 months and then I sent him a text and we had a great conversation catching up with each other and he seemed really engaged. The next evening he sent me a text about what he did that day and I respond the next day. We started texting back and forth just about every day. While in no contact the second time I had deleted him off of Snapchat. One day when we were texting he pretty much asked me to add him back but didn’t ask why I deleted him. I added him back. Recently I told him that I would be coming home for a school break and asked would he be available and he said that he would probably be busy the entire time I’m home. This is my third time asking to hangout since we’ve been broken up. I haven’t seen him in a year. When he declined my offer to see him I then asked “Darn will I ever see you again?” And I got no response. We have talked on Snapchat since then but not answering my question. What do I do? I want him back. Should I stay in contact with him. Should I fall back and not initiate contact anymore? This has been going on for a year!!!

    1. Sarah

      It sounds as he’s trying to make it clear (as gently as possible) that it’s over. Certainly you’re not helping things by chasing him. He knows you want to see him again; if and when he feels the same, he knows how to get in touch. But for now you should let him go.

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