Over the years, I’ve consulted and talked to hundreds of people who wanted their ex back. Some of them achieved this goal rather quickly, and some of them stagnated, month after month, rarely making any tangible progress in reuniting with their former lover.
What gives? Why do some people get back with their ex in just a matter of months (or even weeks) while others struggle and fight yet never make any progress? Why do some break up again right after getting back together, and others keep their relationship intact permanently?
Well, after helping a ton of breakup survivors with this issue and after gaining insights through my own past experiences, I’ve noticed something intriguing.
In time, I’ve noticed a fundamental difference between the first group of people — those who make little progress in re-attracting their ex — and the second group — those who improve steadily, genuinely, and actually do get back with their ex at the end.
The first group focuses on performance; The second group focuses on self-improvement.
The performance-oriented person
The performance-oriented person tends to approach getting their ex back as a skillset full of pieces that need to be memorized and acted out. You memorize the right things to say, how to handle each situation, all the body language cues, all possible contingencies of your ex’s reaction, and so forth.
These are the people who play hard to get, don’t call their ex back right away on purpose, and act confident and aloof when they’re not really confident or aloof.
In essence, all performance-based advice shows your ex a false representation of you. It’s the equivalent of emotional manipulation. Sadly, the vast majority of advice on getting an ex back is performance-based.
Because it sells better. Let me put it this way: a product submerging you in a vast ocean of pre-prepared texts, scripts, and letters to send to your ex, as well as a handful of mind games to play with them makes an average person think they’re making way more progress than if they’d start consuming healthy self-improvement advice.
Also, people just don’t want to hear that they have emotional problems. They want to hear how learning techniques or “game” alone is enough for them to have an amazing relationship.
When a performance-oriented person arrives at a problem with getting their ex back (i.e., their ex calls them out for being desperate), they usually get hyper-analytical afterward.
They curse material they’re studying and buy another dodgy “get your ex back” product, where they focus on learning and memorizing even more lines, tricks, and tactics. Maybe these will work! Ultimately, these people approach getting their ex back like a chess game.
Still, there’s one more toxic response a performance-oriented person displays when stumbling on an obstacle in the process of getting their ex back. That is the cultivation of unhealthy beliefs.
For example, “No wonder she doesn’t want me, she only likes beefed-up muscular men” or “No wonder he doesn’t love me anymore, he only likes feminine, skinny, slutty women.”
These beliefs often turn into even more destructive variants that encompass not only an ex but a whole group of people.
For example, “All women are shit, they only get into a relationship with beefed-up muscular men” or “All men are crap, they only like feminine, skinny, slutty women.”
The Self-improvement-oriented person
The self-improvement-oriented person seeks not to perfect what they say to their ex when rekindling things; they work on perfecting themselves.
It’s also worth noting that these people don’t dive into self-improvement for their ex. They do it for themselves and let their ex returning be an added benefit to their already good life.
Sure, they still want their ex back, but they’re fine if that doesn’t happen, for they know that there’s someone else, someone potentially more suitable out there if things don’t work out.
When a self-improvement-oriented person comes across a problem (e.i, their ex doesn’t return their call), they don’t begin to overthink, don’t start criticizing their ex or labeling the material they absorbed as “not working.”
On the contrary, they find out where they went wrong in the whole re-attraction process and try better next time. And if there is no next time, there’s not much fussing since they know they don’t need their ex; they have themselves and they’re quite happy with that catch!
Ultimately, these are the people who actually get their ex back and keep them. And rightfully so! They are a whole different beast compared to those who solely focus on performance.
Interestingly, it’s not uncommon that self-improvement-oriented people improve themselves so much that they reach a point where they realize that they’ve outgrown their ex. Thus, they quit trying to get them back altogether.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying performance-based behaviors don’t work. They do. Just not as much as the self-improvement based ones. Also, they’re just not as fulfilling. Getting your ex back through lines, tactics, and ninja tricks is not a healthy long-term solution.
Usually, the people who become successful through a series of performance-based behaviors may actually get their ex back, but chances are that they will not keep their ex or be able to cultivate a lasting and loving relationship with them — or anyone for that matter.
The performance approach to getting an ex back
Meet Bob. Bob feels like he’s going to die. His girlfriend, call her Sindy, of 3 years, has dumped him for being a needy nitwit.
Bob was the type of boyfriend who expected his partner to report where she was on the regular. But not via text, of course. Hell no! Bob wanted a literal picture of where his girlfriend was and with who she was hanging out. Oh, and he also forbade her from going out with any other guy that’s not family. No wonder he’s single.
As expected, Bob wanted his ex back after their whole shit show. He realized he made some huge mistakes and wants another shot at their relationship.
So, he quickly searches the internet for solutions and finds a handful of shoddy “get your ex back” programs that promise to get him the result he wants quickly. He buys all of them — like every other naive breakup survivor.
Then, just as the programs recommend, after 21 to 45 days of no contact, Bob sends his ex a short pre-ordained text message. His ex responds, and he follows it up with several quirky lines to get her sending laugh emojis.
Over the next few days, he continues to talk to Sindy about pre-ordained topics he’s comfortable with — just like his programs recommend. Likewise, he only talks with his ex in the evenings and ignores her messages till then. Supposedly this is more romantic than talking mid-day or in the mornings.
He’s able to punctuate each hiatus with tried and tested jokes and lines his trusty “get your ex back” gurus supplied him with. Sindy laughs on cue and responds as predicted.
She’s interested again. Fuck yes!
A week later, after some fun and flirty texting, Sindy finally agrees to go on a date with Bob. It’s their first one since their breakup. When they meet, Bob executes everything he’s learned: stick to light and positive topics, lean back and sit across from her, let her talk more than you do, pretend to like her less than you actually like her, use a planned excuse to get her back to your place, etc.
There are hiccups along the way, but it all more or less works out. Sindy seems genuinely re-attracted, and when Bob finally works up the nerve to kiss her, she kisses back enthusiastically.
Fast forward the next couple of dates; everything goes well. There’s a ton of uplifting talks, fun times, and mind-blowing makeup sex.
Bob is on cloud nine. He’s drunk on validation, and there’s nothing but excitement ballooning and dancing within him. He jumps online to talk to his friends and tell them all about the clever lines, scripts, and tactics he used and how much they helped him get his ex back.
Little does Bob know that it wasn’t his lines and tricks that his ex fell for; it was because she thought he finally matured and transcended his unattractive needy tendencies. She felt as if her boyfriend turned into a secure and attractive human being — someone worthy of her time, love, trust, and respect.
However, it was not long until Sindy’s view on Bob changed.
Bob and Sindy saw each other a few more times over the following weeks, but something was off — something changed.
Since he’s already had sex with her, Bob stops running the lines and tactics he learned (primarily because he already wasted them all). Further, he slowly reverts to his usual, needy self: desperate for approval and validation, possessive, and incapable of trusting people due to his own insecurities.
This change begins subtly with Bob getting more and more curious about the guy-friends Sindy keeps chatting with on Instagram. Soon this curiosity turns into irritation and then into fear. At that point, the whole shit-show begins anew.
Bob begins spying on Sindy’s phone location, he goes through her texts without her knowing to see if there are any other men she’s flirting with, and finally, he tries to slyly forbid his girlfriend from seeing some of the new friends she made while single.
Nevertheless, Bob was not the only one changing. Sindy goes through similar notions.
She not only beings to realize that her boyfriend was putting on an act the whole time. She also realizes that she doesn’t have many common interests with him. When together, they mostly just watch movies and eat junk food. There is no continual dating and courtship, nor is there much excitement in the relationship overall.
One day, Bob texts Sindy about coming to his place for the weekend. She was busy studying for her finals that night and thus didn’t reply. In her mind, she really was busy, she tells herself. But what she doesn’t admit is that she could have made time for Bob if she wanted.
She felt something was off with Bob.
Bob begins to feel insecure about this and asks his friends and other people on various online forums for advice.
The next day, after her finals, Sindy sees her phone and notices five new texts from Bob. The first two are casual, but each one gets progressively weirder and more nonsensical. Consequently, Sindy gets turned off — it’s Bob’s neediness rearing its ugly head again.
After a few more weeks of simmering in the same shit-stew, Sindy throws in the towel and dumps Bob. Again.
Bob’s story is a quintessential example of why pre-prepared lines, routines, ninja tactics, and the like are only short-term solutions for getting an ex back.
All Bob did was use techniques and lines to trick Sindy into thinking he was far more mature, confident, and less invested in her than he actually was. And it worked, but only for a short period.
The irony here is that what attracted Sindy the most was not Bob’s lines but the mature persona he put on. She genuinely thought he matured. She was so attracted to this faux-quality that she, for a time, even overlooked Bob’s glaring incompatibility.
But as Bob’s lines and techniques ran out, the true level of his emotional investment and maturity became more and more apparent. Bob’s behavior became needy again and disgusted Sindy, causing her to eventually dump him for the second time.
Here’s the kicker, though. Bob was lucky. A lot of people don’t even come close to getting this far with performance-based advice.
They may conjure the impression of confidence and maturity for only the first date or even just for the span of a few text conversations before they falter. Such are the stresses of performance.
Learning mind-games, ninja tricks, and using pre-prepared lines, scripts, and texts without doing genuine, identity-level work to permanently decrease your neediness and increase your maturity ends up only being a band-aid solution. It provides a short, temporary relief from an otherwise permanent problem. It causes more stress. And it ultimately makes us feel worse about ourselves.
The Self-improvement Approach To Getting An Ex Back
Getting an ex back is not about pursuing, chasing, learning what to say, or what to do. Getting an ex back is about making a change in your mindset, your self-perception, and your self-respect. And it’s as simple as changing your mind about a few things. So, take a moment to consider…
…that instead of trying to prove yourself to your ex, you could realize you don’t need to nor shouldn’t try to prove yourself to anyone.
… that instead of trying to impress them, you could wonder if they’ll work on impressing you.
…that instead of silently wondering what to say or do next to re-attract them, you could silently wonder what they’ll say or do to re-attract you?
…that before you send them that fourth text message or call them up for the second time in a row, you could ask yourself if they texted or called you anytime beforehand?
… that instead of obsessing how you come across when you talk to them, you could focus on how they come across when they talk to you — are they invested, semi-invested, or turned off?
… that instead of declaring them as the “love of your life,” you could start dating other people and realize that what you’re carrying is a false belief — a fallacy.
… that instead of getting upset and pissed off when they don’t want to get back together with you, you could decide that it means you probably wouldn’t want to get back together with someone like that anyway?
This may all sound a bit selfish. But, in fact, it’s called having firm boundaries, noteworthy self-respect, and high self-esteem. It’s the equivalent of being a mature and healthy individual with standards and not a spineless, manipulative, immature, and shallow fuck.
Only make time for your ex if they make time for you. Only put effort into meeting your ex’s needs if they put in the effort to meet your needs. Only work on getting your ex back if they work on getting you back.
Maybe you think you’re not strong or experienced enough to do these things. Maybe you think you’re too needy or attached to your ex. Maybe you think you’re too weak. And perhaps you’re right about all of that.
But being right doesn’t change the point. If you want a better chance at getting your ex back — hell, if you want a better chance of attracting any romantic interest — you’ll have to work on changing your mind. There’s no other way around it.
You’ll have a much better chance of re-attracting your ex if you can be someone who they can respect, someone who they can trust, someone actually worth coming back to.
If you’re constantly the only one fighting for their love, chasing after them, seeking approval, blowing up their phone, fussing about how they perceive you, and so forth, how can they ever respect, trust and love you?
Newsflash: they can’t.
No one is attracted to or truly loves someone who they can’t respect or trust. That’s why you can have all the best tactics, strategies, and ninja tricks the greedy “get your ex back” gurus give you, and in the long run, still fail to win back and keep your ex.
Maybe you’ve already searched for tactics, strategies, and ninja tricks to win your ex back, to make them obsess about you, to make them lust for you.
It’s okay. We’ve all been there. Just know this.
The mindset those things produce only leads to unattractive behavior. It promotes anxiety, insecurity, and obsession. It encourages the need to impress, try too hard and say things that are not genuine, sincere, or ethical. It nurtures relational dysfunction and misery.
You are what attracts or repels your ex, not the tactics, strategies, and ninja tricks you use. If you aren’t satisfied with the results you’re getting, then it’s time to improve yourself.
Change your mind about getting your ex back. Change your mind about yourself and change your results.
This new mindset that I’m conveying throughout this article leads to attractive behavior. It helps you freely express yourself instead of saying or doing what you think your ex wants you to say or do. It lessens your irrational fears and insecurities instead of expanding them. It erodes the feelings of unworthiness instead of hardening them even further.
I don’t care if your ex has a Lingerie-model bod, a bursting social circle traversing all seven continents, or a bazillion dollars in their bank account. Are they worth your time, energy, and effort? Do you enjoy being around them? Do they treat you well?
These are the questions you should be asking yourself.
Ultimately, instead of looking for new tactics, strategies, and ninja tricks to get your ex back, improve yourself. The only real breakup advice is self-improvement. Hell, the only real dating and relationship advice is self-improvement. Work on yourself. Eat well. Work out. Conquer your anxieties. Overcome your insecurities. Resolve your shame. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Otherwise, no one else will. (1)(2)(3)
This article is based on one of my favorite books: Models: Attract Women Through Honesty, by Mark Manson. If you liked it, consider buying the book. And don’t let the name fool you. While catering to men, this book is also insanely valuable to women. I encourage you to read it regardless of gender.
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