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PSA: the concept presented in this article isn’t mine. I’ve got it from Nat Eliason’s piece Decomplication: How to Find Simple Solutions to “Hard” Problems. All I’ve done is applied his concept to the problem of getting an ex. Enjoy.
How can you sleep better? How can you lose weight? How can you be more productive?
Plug these phrases into Google, and the top pages barrage you with a litany of tactics, strategies, and hacks and encourage you to buy specialized devices, apps, supplements, online programs, and books. You’re even urged to hire a coach to help you out.
Do these everyday problems really ought such complex and (often) expensive solutions? Do you really need all this shit the top pages on Google try to ram down your throat?
No. Of course you don’t. Most problems have relatively simple solutions.
The only reason a solution is presented as complex is because it appeals to your biases, frustrations, and insecurities better and helps businesses make more money. In other words, it’s a net positive for a business to create artificial complexity around a topic on purpose.
But here’s the good news: once you recognize these things, you can turn any problem back into its simple solution through the process of decomplication.
Applying Artificial Complexity To Ex-Back Advice
The “get your ex back” space is overflowing with artificial complexity for reasons I’ll get to later. For now, take your average “get your ex back” course. It offers a variety of tactics and strategies (which are mostly placebos) and follows some intricate step-by-step system that you’re encouraged to adhere to religiously and follow from A to Z.
But do you really have to keep all of these things in mind trying to mend your relationship? No. If we break the whole thing down, all you really “need” to do is:
- Tell your ex you want them back (if you haven’t communicated it clearly yet).
- Give them space and let them reach out when they feel ready to reconnect.
- Reflect on your relationship and, based on the reflection, improve yourself.
- When (or if) they reach out, invite them on a date.
- If they accept, escalate. If they don’t, move on.
Once you get your ex on a date, and you’ve actually worked on yourself and didn’t just mope and sit around twiddling your thumbs waiting for them to reach out, you’ll probably get back with them. It’s that simple. You don’t need to read 600 pages of ex-back advice or buy a fancy 3000$ course to “get it.”
Why Artificial Complexity Happens
Until now, I’ve noticed three relevant factors that give birth to artificial complexity in the “get your ex back” industry: our tendency for quick and comfortable fixes, cognitive dissonance, and money and marketing.
Quick and comfortable fixes
We want the answer to be to reach out in, say, 30 days and deploy a bunch of ninja tactics like the good reminder text, the handwritten letter, or posting and boasting how great we’re doing on social media to make our ex jealous and rekindle their interest.
Analogous to quick and comfortable fixes, we’re just spoiled. We want our ex back, but we also want them back this minute. Even worse, we want them back without working on ourselves, risking rejection and telling them we want them back, giving them space, etc.
Getting an ex back is simple, but actually pulling it off is difficult due to all the junk information available to us. I mean, if you scour the ”get your ex back” landscape, you’ll quickly realize that most resources deliver incorrect, shoddy, and emotionally unhealthy advice.
Eventually, the difficulty of getting an ex back leads to failure, and that’s when our cognitive dissonance kicks in. We start craving to strip ourselves from any responsibility tied to our failure, which makes us seek alternative explanations to explain that failure.
It’s not that my patience sucks, that the no contact rule isn’t working, or that I’m not good enough at emotionally connecting with my ex; the problem is that I simply haven’t found the right tactic or strategy yet.
If we accept the solution to getting an ex back is simple, we have no one to blame for screwing up the re-attraction process but ourselves. And that’s scary, and why not many people do it. But if we can delude ourselves that the solution is complex, we can find solace in the toxic mindset of, “I just haven’t found the right tactic or strategy yet.”
Money And Marketing
This is hands down, the biggest culprit behind artificial complexity in the “get your ex back” industry.
In many cases, if someone is selling something (course, book, coaching, etc.), it benefits them to make the problem their product solves seem more complex than it is while also making their solution easy so that you feel like you need to buy what they’re selling.
Now, this isn’t always a bad thing.
A good “get your ex back” course can take the complex world of re-attraction, explain its simplicity, and then teach you how to mend your relationship on your own.
But then there are ten times as many bad “get your ex back” courses that will inject artificial complexity (on top of predatory marketing) into re-attraction only to get you to purchase.
How To Decomplicate Getting An Ex Back
Here are seven useful tips I stumbled across till now.
1. Asses If Anyone Profits From The Solution
Meaning, is anyone making money or has built their business around the solution they are offering? If that’s the case, they’re probably inducing some form of artificial complexity into it — whether it’s a healthy or unhealthy amount comes down to the person (or people) running the business.
This is where thorough research into what you’re getting into is paramount. Always, always, always do your research before buying an online product from a random site.
2. Asses If You Already Know The Simple Solution
Yet most people will intentionally or unintentionally ignore this fact or desperately try to suppress it through an almost endless pursuit for emotionally easier and more complex solutions for getting an ex back.
3. Assess If You’re Assigning Value To Complexity
We, as humans, unconsciously or consciously treat complexity as more valuable and trustworthy than simplicity. In fact, most of us want a fancy and complex way of getting our ex back.
The fancifulness makes us feel smart and special and as though we’re doing something impressive — something not a lot of people know about. And whatever the complex solution is (i.e., active no contact, advanced relational skills, the 3R method, etc.) just sounds sexier than “give your ex space and work on yourself.”
4. Asses What Variables You Control
If you think getting an ex back is difficult, yet you can’t help but call them five times a day, keep showing up at their doorstep unannounced, flowers and chocolates in hand, or you try to get information on them through their friends, it’s not actually difficult.
You’re only making it difficult through a series of shitty choices.
5. Inverse The Law of Artificial Complexity
The Law Of Artificial Complexity states: The more people experience a problem, the more artificial complexity will be added to the solution.
Once you recognize this, you can take its inverse and get to The Law of Decomplication: The more people experience a problem, the simpler the solution probably is.
6. Leverage First Principle Thinking
Meaning: break down complicated problems into basic elements (premises, rules, axioms, fundamental or very certain truths, mental models, inarguable principles, etc.) and then reassemble them from the ground up.
For example, to sleep better, create a quiet, dark, comfy environment where you can wake up naturally. To lose weight, eat less and exercise more. To be more productive, remove the ability to do things (distractions) that make you unproductive.
7. Take Responsibility
As much as I’d love to put regulations around the degree of artificial complexity people can weave into their marketing and brand message, I can’t. And expecting some authority to do it is wasted effort — at least in the western world.
The responsibility to recognize when we’re being over-influenced by artificial complexity and work on decomlicating the problem and arrive at a better, simpler solution sadly falls on us. But the quicker you do it, the more clarity you’ll get around getting an ex back, and the better you’ll feel.
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