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I’ve noticed lots of people making unconscious covert contracts with their exes, and it’s a big problem that I want to shed light on.
A covert contract is an unspoken and implied agreement between you and your ex. It’s what you expect them to do based on what you’re doing for them. The only problem is that your ex has no idea that this agreement exists. You just hope they know about it.
The term “covert contract” was coined by Dr.Robert Glover, the author of No More Mr. Nice Guy, and comes in many forms, colloquially referred to as “nice guy/girl” or “pleaser” behaviors. Below are some of the most common ones that I keep seeing with my readers:
- If I text you first, you should reward me by texting first next time.
- If you go on a date with me, you owe me another one.
- If I have sex with you, you should fall back in love with me and never leave me again.
- If I cook you dinner, you should have sex with me.
- If I’m nice to you, you should start wanting me back.
- If I do everything for you all the time, you should do everything for me all the time.
- If I never say “no” to you, you should never say “no” to me.
Covert contracts unconsciously guide you towards self-sabotage and unattractive behaviors for three reasons:
- The underlying motives upon which one bases them are burrowed in insecurity, low self-esteem, fear of confrontation and rejection, and beliefs about not being good enough.
- They reflect a sense of entitlement, egocentrism, and, at worst, narcissism.
- They don’t give your ex the freedom to say “no” to your expectations. After all, they are covert!
Here’s a reality check if you’re someone who keeps forming covert contracts with your ex: hidden expectations will only lower their attraction and make you miserable.
Your ex will eventually disappoint you when you hold them to a particular contract. And when they do, you’ll get upset, bitter, enraged, resentful, and passive-aggressive — none of which make you look attractive or benefit your emotional well-being.
In a way, covert contracts are like a ticking time bomb. But how do you drop them and avoid making additional ones and screwing up the re-attraction process? Well, here are a couple of tips:
1. Become conscious of when you’re creating covert contracts with your ex. And stop yourself from continuing with your creations. Additionally, Identify the ones you’ve already made — ask yourself, “what you give and what you expect in return?” — and drop them. Radical honesty and compassion are crucial while probing your brain and figuring these things out.
2. Be assertive, vulnerable, and state what you want directly. For example, don’t become your ex’s friend only to expect them to fall in love with you again and fuck you later. Be vulnerable and tell them how you still love them and want to fuck them instead. Then avoid caving and retracting the statement. Stand by it despite the discomfort and potential embarrassment. And most importantly, don’t attach yourself to the desired outcome — a.k.a., get comfortable with rejection.
3. Do some self-development work. Since the root of your tendency to make covert contracts are emotional problems — insecurity, fear, low self-esteem, limiting beliefs, entitlement, egocentrism, etc. — go and work on those things. Once you deal with them, your tendency to make covert contracts will go away automatically.
4. Get yourself to a place where you’re willing to walk away if you aren’t getting your needs met. The most common fear that drives people to form covert contracts is the fear of loss — being scared of losing an ex. So, if you get to a place where you’re willing to lose your ex despite this often-crippling fear, you probably won’t form any further contracts.
5. Address and overcome toxic shame. According to Dr.Robert Glover, it’s a conviction that one is inherently bad, defective, different, or unlovable. Many people suffer from this form of shame and try to compensate for it through various covert contracts and, in general, pleaser behaviors. The kicker however, is that the more they please, the further they suppress their shame, making them needier and more miserable in the process.
No, seriously. That’s it. This is how you stop using covert contracts. I know you’re looking for more — perhaps even a magic pill solution — but these five simple tips are all you really need.
And while it takes a long time to implement them and see positive results, you’d be surprised how less painful they make mending things with your ex and how healthier your relationships will turn out afterward — all of your relationships.
If you need more help getting your ex back, check out my Radical Re-Attraction Course. It includes hours of video and hundreds of pages of writing, and a community with exclusive weekly videos, private chat, and 1-on-1 coaching.
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