How To Get Your Ex Back The Right Way - Max Jancar
5 Big Ideas That Will Help You Reunite With Your Ex... And Stay Together For Good

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How To Get Your Ex Back The Right Way

By Max Jancar | Updated: July 17, 2021 | 37 Minute Read

How To Get Your Ex Back

So this is probably, like, the 37th article you’ve read after getting dumped. You’re probably pretty sick and tired of trying to figure out how to get your ex back.

I get it.

A lot of “advice” out there claims that you can get your ex back by waiting a few days, sending a couple of scripted texts, learning and embodying a handful of attractive behaviors, faking a bit of confidence and indifference, and BAM. Your ex is back in your arms, loving and lusting and drooling all over you.

These are what I call performance behaviors. And while they can help you get your ex back, they’ll never help you cultivate a healthy and lasting relationship with them.

Think about it: If you got your ex back solely through lines, tactics, and manipulation, without ever investing in yourself and changing for the better, you’d just break up again. After all, the things that brought your relationship to its end the first time would still be there — never uncovered, never addressed, never resolved, or properly managed.

So rather than agonizing over performance, re-attract your ex through developing a stronger identity, nurturing greater self-respect, and investing in your own well-being.

For it’s not what you say, how you look, or even what you do that matters. It’s who you become that matters — what you stand for, what you represent, what you embody. What you say, how you look, and what you do should only be an extension of what you embody. In and of themselves, the words and actions mean nothing.

It’s not about acting attractive that gets your ex back; it’s about actually becoming attractive that gets them back.

Now, becoming attractive may sound vague and abstract, but it’s actually quite simple. It boils down to implementing a few key principles. Key principles that I’ll explain in detail below.

1. Tell Your Ex That You Want Them Back

Whether it’s through a text message, social media, a call, or in real life… Whether it’s been one week since your breakup or ten years… Whether your ex told you they never want to see you again or left with stark indifference… Whether they dumped you or you dumped them… if you want your ex back and haven’t yet made it clear, just tell them that you want them back.

It’s that simple.

Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t make it a big deal. Don’t lose your center and become spineless, nor act overly confident and turn into an overcompensating dipshit. Just be authentic and bold and say what’s in your heart.

Here’s something you could say if your ex dumped you and you want them back:

Hey there, XYZ. This is kind of random… Forgive me for being honest, but I need to get this off my chest. I love you, I miss you, and I truly want to make things work between us. If you’re ever feeling the same way, reach out, let me know, and we can try again. My door is open for you. Just please don’t contact me anymore if you want friendship. I want to see you again romantically. In any case, thanks for everything.

And here’s something you could say if you dumped your ex but now want them back:

Hey there, XYZ. This is kind of random… Forgive me for being honest, but I need to get this off my chest. I love you, I miss you, and I truly want to make things work between us. If you’re ever feeling the same way, reach out, let me know, and we can try again. My door is open for you. Just please don’t contact me anymore if you want friendship. I want to see you again romantically. In any case, thanks for everything.

If you cheated, lied, or did something devious to your ex, add a genuine apology to the statement of interest, acknowledging all the ways you’ve perhaps hurt them and what you’ve learned from the incident. Then promise not to repeat your mistake and keep that promise. Don’t be dramatic when apologizing, and do it only once.

A couple of notes:

1. Communicate you do not want to be friends. You must communicate that you want to continue seeing your ex romantically. If they are unwilling to continue seeing you or give you another chance, you tell them to get in touch with you if they ever change their mind. You must let them go forever and never contact them again for any reason. You must never, under any circumstances, agree to being friends only. It’s romance, or you’re simply not interested.

2. If your ex tries to befriend you, decline. I know what you’re thinking. No. You can’t use friendship as a backdoor to a romantic relationship. This rarely, if ever, works out. Let the friendship happen organically — without you forcing it to happen. As a rule of thumb: only think about being friends with an ex when there’s absolutely no shards of emotional baggage or the desire of wanting to get back together present on either side.

3. If your ex is receptive, invite them out on a date. If your ex is showing signs of wanting you back and is enthusiastic right off the bat, invite them out on a date. However, if they’re unreceptive and cold or if they blocked, rejected, ghosted, or ignored you, end the conversation and move on with your life.

To be crystal clear: once you tell your ex how you feel, but they’re unwilling or able to get back with you, you need to move on with your life. You need to walk away. The only time you’ll give your ex a shot at rekindling things is when — and only when — they contact you first.

2. Move On With Your Life (Indefinite No Contact)

Moving on with your life — or also called Indefinite No Contact — is arguably the strenuous part of re-attraction for most people because of the overwhelming anxiety and insecurity it ignites in them. Yet, counterintuitively, moving on, despite being difficult, is the most attractive thing one can do after telling their ex they want them back and being met with an unreciprocated response or rejection.

You see, moving on rebalances the entire relational dynamic and enables you and your ex to heal faster and better understand why your relationship didn’t work so you can later improve upon it if you end up getting back together.

At its core, moving on with your life means exactly what you think it does: you let your ex go, and never contact them again for any reason. Or more specifically, as I wrote in my article on no contact:

“From now on… You don’t call, message, or engage with their social media anymore (in fact, quietly unfriend and unfollow them and go on a social media detox). You don’t go to places where you’d have an “accidental” encounter with them. You don’t wish them happy Birthday/Valentine’s day/Easter/Christmas/Thanksgiving, etc. You don’t even express your condolences if they lose a family member or a dear friend. You hide every reminder of them that’s within your control. You avoid going to places that elicit (or can potentially elicit) painful memories. You throw away or return everything your ex gave you (or at least lend those things/gifts to a friend until you’ve moved on).”

If you live with your ex, move out or move them out. If you have mutual friends, cut them loose or distance yourself from them until you’re healed. If you work together or have a kid together, only talk about those subjects. Keep your conversations business-like, to the point, and end them as soon as you make a mutually beneficial agreement or decision.

Don’t make a big deal out of the whole thing, and don’t tell anyone. If anyone brings up why you’ve cut your ex out of your life, just admit you’re in pain. There’s no shame in pain. Just know that you don’t owe anyone an explanation or justification for your actions.

And whenever you find yourself obsessing over your ex, gently remind yourself to think of something else. In other words, distract yourself. But not to the point where you risk numbing yourself and/or turning to escapism.

Generally speaking, the more physical and emotional distance you put between your ex and yourself, the faster you’ll heal and the likelier it is that you’ll raise their attraction, get them to miss you, and get back together.

Conversely, the less distance there is between you, the less likely it is that you’ll raise their attraction, get them to miss you, and get back together. You’ll even prolong your healing by staying in constant contact with your ex.

That being said, never move on with the aim of getting your ex back. Hate to break it to you, but that’s not really moving on with your life. That’s just waiting for your ex to contact you, and it’s not something a person who loves and respects themselves would ever do. So stop focusing on getting your ex back and start focusing on personal growth.

You don’t move on to win your ex back. You move on to win yourself back.

(Optional) Other variations of no contact

While working in the breakup advice space, I came across a peculiar sight. There are actually variations of no contact out there. Some people advise you to wait 21 days and then (this is where it gets weird) contact your ex. Some say you should wait 30 days before you contact them. Some insist on 45. Some on 60. And others preach how you should wait 90 days before reaching out.

This never made sense to me.

For starters, doing time-limited no contact incentivizes people to cut contact with their ex only to wait for the X-day mark when they are “allowed” to reach out. Meaning your intentions are no longer set on your healing and growth but on solely getting your ex back. And that never works out; it’s needy and unattractive, and your ex will notice what you’re trying to do and be repulsed by it.

And if that’s not bad enough, think about this: why would your ex even consider getting back together with you if you keep nagging and chasing after them. They left you because they wanted less of you. So how is giving them more of you going to turn things around?

Spoiler alert: It won’t.

Plus, it’s really unattractive knowing that if I reject someone, they’ll just reach out again after X days. It’s annoying. It’s predictable. It implies that that person sees himself as lesser (sees me on a pedestal). It communicates that the other person has no self-respect as is willing to go out of their way to please me. And it shows that the other person clearly has nothing better going on in their life.

Again, all of these things are a massive turn-off. That’s why I never understood the reasoning behind X-day no contact rule. My theory is that it’s just another marketing ploy.

People who get dumped and want their ex back don’t want to hear that they have emotional issues or that they shouldn’t try to get their ex back — even though that’s the case most of the time.

No, they want to hear about fancy systems that will get their ex back in just 30 days or less, even if they’re not interested anymore and hate your guts! Guaranteed.

For this reason, savvy and often unethical marketers simply give the people what they want: a fancy system built around the no contact rule: contact your ex in X days. Use this script/pre-prepared text. If they answer with A, respond with B. If they do C, respond with D. If they do E, launch process 1-4, page 86. And on and on it goes.

If you can’t discern how unattractive this kind of thinking is, there’s really not much help for you.

3. Invest in your relationship with yourself

The more you invest in yourself, the happier, healthier, emotionally secure, confident, and attractive you’ll become. And while this is difficult to pull off when you just got dumped and are missing your ex like crazy, it’s paramount that you take a stab at it.

Below are just a few guidelines to get you to a place where you can manage your emotional, mental and spiritual health more confidently if you’re struggling with self-improvement right now.

Rebuild Your Life’s Foundation

Rebuilding your life’s foundation essentially refers to rebuilding those core areas like sleep, exercise, diet, well-being, and hygiene.

If you feel you’re under-slept, well, take a nap. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. That will surely help. Buy yourself some blackout curtains. Do some evening mediation. Limit screen time before bed. All of these things will help you sleep better, making you more energized in the morning.

If you’re out of shape, throw yourself into the gym. Take up jogging. Maybe sign up for hiking classes. Do what resonates with you. The point is to start moving your body, for movement will help you get out of your head — where your ex probably keeps floating around — and into your body, into the present moment.

If you have a crappy diet and you’ve let yourself go, reclaim your health. Rather than basing your entire lunch on McNuggets and coke, try switching out the meal with a healthy salad. Then, when you’re ready, try even switching out an unhealthy dinner for a healthier one.

If you don’t have a job and still live with your parents; get one and move out. If you don’t have any hobbies that you’ve neglected due to being preoccupied with your relationship, now’s the perfect time to jump in again. And if you feel overworked, nervous, and on the brink of burning out in your professional life, take some time off to relax and unwind. Preferably somewhere in nature since it immensely benefits your mental and physical well-being. (1)

And if you’re haven’t washed for six days in a row and smell like a caveman, well… you’ll figure it out.

Tame Your Emotions

A breakup will inevitably spike your emotions. You’ll be feeling like a train wreck when you start, so calming yourself down and taming your emotions during turbulent times is vital. If you fail to do it, you risk sabotaging all your re-attraction attempts. And while there’s a lot of ways you can do this, here’s what works best for most:

Another perk of the above techniques is that they help you develop a high level of detachment to whether or not you are met with a temporary rejection or fail to get your ex back completely.

They force you to constantly observe and be aware of yourself, your emotions, impulses, and intentions. When you do them, you come to realize how often you’re on auto-pilot and out of control. They help you to reign yourself in and calmly choose what you let affect you and what you don’t let affect you.

As you’d expect, this ability makes you very attractive and improves your well-being. However, becoming good at it takes a massive amount of practice and constant self-awareness. But it’s worth it.

Eventually, you’ll start noticing subtle changes in your behavior not just with your ex but all over your life — and you’ll have a much better shot at creating the love life you enjoy because of it.

Find New Sources Of Meaning

Losing a relationship leads to losing a deeply engrained part of yourself which pushes many people into an existential or identity crisis. Chances are, you have a sort of a crisis you’re trying to surmount going on as we speak.

Here’s how to tackle the bitch efficiently: find something worth living and suffering for, be that some cause, another relationship or a life purpose. This something has to be so important and meaningful that it makes getting your ex back of little-to-no importance.

Now, the way you find this something is simple, but it does take time and effort. However, if you block out 30 minutes of your day each day to think about what you want to do with the time left on this planet, you’ll be amazed at what you can come up with.

Sometimes questions relating to purpose and meaning are intimidating. But that’s because we rarely ponder on them. After you do it a couple of times, things get much easier, and you get way more clarity, and that clarity helps keep your stay centered and calm no matter what your breakup throws at you.

Socialize More

Do yourself a favor, and don’t suffer alone. Create a strong network of relationships to help you get through your breakup. We’re wired for social connection, after all. Without it, our system begins to deteriorate. (2)

And don’t seek out just any relationship. Find the kinds where you feel safe to open up, that are full of empathic and caring people willing to listen to you, and where you’ll be encouraged to reflect on your situation, learn important life lessons, and ultimately, find some sort of fulfillment and meaning.

So call up your family members, your tightest friends, maybe even solidify the relationship with the few who are not so close to you. They will help you fend off loneliness and stay in check so you don’t contact your ex and screw your chances of getting them back.

Engage Your Pain

Pain is a constant in life. You can’t remove it like you would remove chalk from a chalkboard with a wet sponge, nor can you control it. You have no other choice but to engage the pain. This engagement boils down to two elements: feeling your pain and ascribing it with an empowering meaning.

  1. When you feel pain, whether it be grief, longing, sorrow, or frustration, go somewhere you won’t be disturbed, like a car or a bedroom, and let yourself cry and wail. Keep at it as long as you need to. That’s how you feel the depth of your pain. You’ll feel better afterward.
  2. It’s the meaning you give to your pain that determines whether you suffer or not. If you decide that your breakup means you’re a loser and unworthy of love, then you will suffer. If you decide that your breakup means you’ve just made a few mistakes you can learn from, you’ll feel better.

Ultimately, you can choose to avoid your pain or choose to engage your pain. When you avoid your pain, you suffer. When you engage your pain, you grow.

Raise Your Self worth

Most people develop something called an inferiority gap when they get dumped. Basically, they begin to see their ex as above them in terms of worthiness and/or themselves as below them.

And because they see themselves as less worthy than their ex, they often resort to performance behaviors when attempting to get them back. You know the drill: using reverse psychology, scripted lines, acting indifferent, not texting back for X days, only talking about “safe” topics, and so forth.

Because of the consistent engagement with performance behaviors, the people doing them only end up feeling more unworthy as a result. In other words, performance behaviors only reinforce the belief of, “I’m not good enough for my ex.” Thus, getting into a healthy relationship with them becomes impossible.

Most people develop something called an inferiority gap when they get dumped. Basically, they begin to see their ex as above them in terms of worthiness and themselves as below them. And because they see themselves as less worthy than their ex, they often resort to performance behaviors when attempting to get them back. You know the drill: using reverse psychology, scripted lines, acting indifferent, not texting back for days, only talking about certain “safe” topics, and so forth.

And because of the consistent engagement with performance behaviors, the people doing them only end up feeling more unworthy as a result. In other words, performance behaviors only reinforce the belief of, “I’m not good enough for my ex.” Thus, getting into a healthy relationship with anyone becomes next to impossible.

The way you close this inferiority gap is by developing solid personal boundaries, building character, and perhaps most importantly, cultivating vulnerability.

For example, instead of waiting three days before you text your ex, text them back right away. Instead of telling your ex how you don’t want them back even though you really do, just state your interest unapologetically and without holding anything back. Or, instead of waiting for your ex to bring up the topic of getting back together, bring it up yourself and be brave enough to risk rejection.

Reveal your true intentions and stay unattached to whatever response comes back. And most importantly, always be willing to walk away from your ex if they can’t give you what you want. The more you engage in this sort of authentic living, the faster you’ll close the inferiority gap and the more attractive and less needy you’ll become. Hence, the better your chances of getting your ex back get.

Overcome Neediness

Neediness means being more invested in the perception your ex has of you than your perception of yourself. It’s when you put their the beliefs, views, and thoughts above your own. It’s when you alter your words or behaviors to fit your ex’s desires and needs rather than your own. It’s whenever you do something to impress them rather than to fulfill yourself.

Neediness, at it’s core, stems from low self-esteem or self-worth and limiting beliefs and always leads to unattractive behaviors like:

As, I wrote in my article on neediness: the less needy you are, the more attractive your ex will find you on average. The more needy you are, the less attractive your ex will find you on average. And the way you manage and minimize neediness is by closing the inferiority gap we talked about earlier.

A solid measuring stick for figuring out whether you’ve overcome your neediness would be following how many criteria from Dr. Vaillant’s study: Criteria For Mature Adaptations you’ve fulfilled.

These include altruism, humor, anticipation (looking ahead and planning for future discomfort), suppression (conscious decision to postpone attention to an impulse or conflict, to be addressed in good time), and sublimation (finding outlets for feelings, like putting aggression into sport). (3)

If these developments cannot be coached and developed on your own, you should seek the assistance of a psychologist. No shame in this. You rush to the doctor after you broke your arm, so why not rush to the psychologist when your thoughts aren’t helping you to be a healthy person?

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4. Ponder If Getting Back With Your Ex Is Even A Good Idea

Hate to say it, but most people shouldn’t try to get their ex back. The only exception are those who a) are unattached to the outcome, b) are in a peaceful and content state (happy with themselves), and c) know that if they get back together, they could form a healthy relationship with their ex.

To help you determine whether or not you’re the exception, here’s a couple of key questions you should ask yourself:

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you shouldn’t try to get your ex back. You’re clearly not in the right headspace yet, hence, not ready. I would instead focus on recovery and becoming content with being by yourself for now.

But, if you answered “no” to the above questions, and you’re sure that despite wanting your ex back, you’re happy with yourself and unattached to whether you get back together or not, continue answering four more vital questions.

  1. Are you and your ex compatible? Meaning, do you share similar worldviews, beliefs, and values? (If in doubt, read this article.)
  2. Are you and your ex mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy — do you possess any red flags or toxic tendencies that might sabotage or damage your relationship at some point? (If in doubt, read this article.)
  3. Do you and your ex know how to love unconditionally and in a mature way? (If in doubt, read this article)
  4. Do you know why you broke up and are prepared to work on those flaws to avoid a second breakup? (If in doubt, read this article and this one.)

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, you might actually be qualified to pursue reconciliation. Congrats! However, if you answered any of them with a “no,” then, please, consider moving on completely.

And before you swamp my emails asking, “what if I’m only 69.11% sure that my ex is compatible/healthy/mature, etc.,” let me put forward the “Fuck Yes Or No” rule. The idea is that if something is not a 100% FUCK yes, it’s a fuck no.

If you’re not 100% sure your ex is compatible, it’s a fuck no for getting back together. If you’re not 100% sure they’re a healthy and mature individual, guess what? It’s a fuck no. And if you have no idea why you broke up in the first place and therefore can’t even realistically determine what to “fix” to get back together, then — you’ve guessed it — it’s a fuck no.

(Optional) Understanding The “Fuck Yes Or No” Rule

The law of “Fuck Yes Or No” was, to my knowledge, first expressed by Derek Sivers and then popularised by countless other bloggers, most notably, Mark Manson. Being a Manson fanboy, I immediately jumped the “Fuck Yes Or No” bandwagon and started living by the rule and, of course, teaching it to others.

Here’s how it pans out when you’re trying to get your ex back: both parties must be a “fuck yes” about each other, or you stop trying to get them back. Why? Because attractive, non-needy, high self-worth people don’t have time for exes who they are not excited to be with and who are not excited to be with them.

If you think about it, the “Fuck Yes Or No” rule is a byproduct of everything we covered till now. When you improve yourself to the point where you become a non-needy, high-value person who takes care of themselves for themselves, you won’t put up with your ex’s bullshit anymore.

You won’t put up with games, major incompatibles, emotional outbursts, drama, or wishy-washy excuses; you’ll just have too much self-respect to care about that stuff. You’ll also be able to express yourself unapologetically and without shame. And most importantly, you’ll develop the ability and the willingness to walk away from your ex, or anyone for that matter. Counterintuitively, that’s probably the most attractive thing a person can do.

5. Set A Date When Your Ex Reaches Out And Meetup with Them

If your ex reached out at some point, they probably still have feelings for you. Even if their message was totally vague or unrelated to the breakup, the fact that they reached out is a huge indicator of attraction. At this point all you have to do is engage in a conversation and, preferably somewhere at the start of it, invite them out on a date.

Say something like, “Nice hearing from you, tell you what, why don’t we get together again. I’d love to see you. What time are you free next week?” Now let your ex answer. By this point, you’ll get one of three responses:

1. Your ex commits to a date

Great job! Now all you have to do is agree upon a set date and time for your date, show up, and have fun. For the first date or two I recommend you meet up with your ex on neutral ground. You want the both of you to feel as comfortable as possible. After the date unfolds, and if it unfolds in such a way where you end up kissing, making out and being all over each other, invite them to your place for a romantic dinner. And, of course, in the end, have sex.

However, if your ex is highly flirtatious right off the get-go, consider skipping the neutral place and just go straight for the invite to your place. But be cautious: your ex is just as uncertain as you are, and they don’t have all the answers you may be expecting them to have concerning getting back together.

2. Your ex doesn’t commit to a date

Fuck it. That’s life – sometimes it throws you some bait, and just as you catch it, it pushes your legs apart and fucks you in the ass. If your ex doesn’t commit to a date, don’t force them. Just end the conversation and return to no contact.

If they reach out again in the future, invite them out one more time. And if you get turned down even then, stop inviting them, even if they reach out first. At that point they’ll either bring up the topic of a date themselves or they’ll stop contacting you altogether.

3. Your ex gives a wishy-washy answer

I have to check my schedule…Maybe next week…Let’s just hang out as friends… I have some errands to take care off… I may be late… Don’t mistake these answers for signs that your ex wants you back. A “maybe” is always a form of a “no.” So, back to no contact it is.

You don’t want to waste time with people who are half-interested — “half-yes” — in seeing you. Dates with those kinds of people usually lead nowhere. You want your ex to be 100% willing, able, and ready to rekindle things. That being said, sometimes your ex is genuinely busy. However, in those cases they will usually put forward a rain check. If they don’t, you know where you stand.

Generally speaking, the more resistance you encounter when trying to set a date with your ex, the higher the likelihood that they will turn you down, cancel, be a no-show, or ignore/ghost you at some point.

A couple of extra dating tips for getting your ex back:

1. Have dates in multiple locations. Instead of going to a fancy restaurant or driving to the bar, do both. Then, in the end, add a romantic late-night walk on the beach or through the city. Let the whole thing be an experience. Take your ex to at least three different places sprinkled throughout one date.

2. Always be prepared for the worst. What if it rains? What if it snows? What if there’s a global pandemic rearing its ugly head outside? What will you do then? Where will you go? Always have a plan B.

3. Let your ex discover your plan in real-time. Let your plans unfold right then and there in front of your ex’s eyes. Don’t tell them what you’ll be doing or where you’ll be going. People love mystery. Mystery is attractive. Leverage the psychological quirk!

4. Make grand gestures. Preparing an extravagant dinner date on a yacht with expensive vine, fireworks, and a singing sailor band next to you only works in movies. In real life, you’ll just be labeled as a creep, a try-hard, a spineless pleaser. As a result, you’ll quickly get rejected. Save your cheezy gestures for an actual partner if you must, not exes.

5. Go somewhere new. If you know your ex is interested in museums and you never went there, surprise them with a trip to one instead of having a pizza-movie night for the 69th time. Or, instead of stopping at a cafe to eat while on a road trip for the god-damn 36th time, buy some snacks at a local gas station and have a picnic in a nearby field.

6. End the phone-ship. Phones suck. Use them only to set dates with your ex. Don’t shit chat for hours on there. Phones rob you of conversation topics you could be having on your date. Phones facilitate dull and awkward interaction. Phones make bonding impossible. Phones sabotage attraction. Phones bring our worst anxieties to life. And texting? …Ever tried using jokes, wit or sarcasm through text? It doesn’t work, does it? No, it only leads to misunderstandings at best and conflict at worst. Fuck texting.

7. Avoid friend vibes. Avoid dates like grabbing lunch or coffee or doing just about anything midday. That’s what friends do. You want to see your ex romantically so act like it. Have your dates in the evenings and go to places like parks, bowling alleys, dive bars, arcades, night-life restaurants, road trips, and so forth.

8. Flirt, tease and show sexual interest. These are all ways of expressing your sexuality to your ex in a way that makes them feel secure expressing their sexuality back towards you. A lot of people cringe at this idea. Needy people hate it because they think it will make them creepy. Narcissists hate it because they believe they’re giving their power away. But in reality, it’s one of the most powerful and practical things you can say to spark sexual tension and build emotional connections.

6. Get Back Together (And Stay Together)

Once you’ve gone on a couple of dates with your ex and can sense things are getting more serious — more sex, intimacy, personal; conversations, and verbal exchanges of love — then comes the most critical part of getting your ex back: re-commitment.

Most people worry about this transition way too much, and most other “how to get your ex back” experts try to be way too smart and anal about it. It’s actually pretty simple.

If your ex brings up the topic of getting back together, have the talk, and come to a mutually beneficial decision. And if they haven’t brought it up yet and you can sense you’re already acting like a couple (i.e., you’re spending a lot of time together, kissing, making out, having sex, etc.) bring up the topic yourself. Literally put forward the idea of getting back together. Then let your ex respond.

Maybe they’ll try again, maybe they won’t, and they’ll give an excuse instead. If that happens, respect their decision. At that point, how you move forward really comes down to your values and boundaries.

If casually dating your ex is something that’s okay with you, keep doing it. But if it’s not, clearly communicate that and part ways. And if you’re feeling really ballsy, consider options like an open relationship or a friends-with-benefits-relationship. As long as you’re congruent with what you want, you’ll be fine, emotionally speaking.

Just whatever you do, always be willing to walk away.

I know you may be shocked to hear this, but I really mean it. Always be willing to end your relationship.

Romantic sacrifice is over-idealized in our culture. If you look at any romance movie or novel, there’s always a needy and desperate character taking center stage. One who does everything in their power — even if it means twisting themselves into a pretzel — to please whoever they love.

Truth is, that mentality is fucked up. Your relationship is not a failure if it ends. Nor is it a success if it stands the test of time. A lot of people don’t know this, and it really irks me the wrong way.

Sometimes it’s healthier for two partners to part ways rather than trying to work it out by treating each other like shit, suppressing their needs, altering their identity, and becoming miserable in the process.

Shoot myself to love you; if I loved myself I’d be shooting you. — Marilyn Manson

Now, if you got back together with your ex, things can work out. But that’s only if the both of you changed. For relationships don’t end because two people did something wrong to each other. Relationships end because two people are something wrong for each other. (4)

And when I say you and your ex must’ve changed, I’m referring to a couple of things: you have to learn from the breakup, acknowledge your mistakes, reach acceptance, alter the behaviors that made you part initially, redefine your values, learn how to accept your partner’s flaws, and, most importantly, repair the fundamental components any healthy relationship: mutual trust, respect, and affection.

I wrote more about these components in my article on how to keep your ex once you get them back, but here’s the crux of the matter:

To rebuild these components, time and consistent proof of growth and change from both sides are key. You see, people fall out of love slowly over time, impairing mutual trust, respect, and affection. In the same way, they also fall back in love slowly over time, rebuilding that mutual trust, respect and affection.

Problems in rebuilding any of these components could mean that you or your ex have an insecure attachment style, or it could mean that your relationship is flawed in some other fundamental way. If that’s the case, fix the underlying issues before re-committing.

(Optional) Figuring out why your relationship failed

Reflection starts by engaging in thoughtful self-talk and inquiry about the reasons for your breakup. The goal of the practice is to find out why things didn’t work out, for knowing this makes it way more clear where to focus your self-improvement efforts.

Below are two examples of reflection in action. Try to mimic them in your spare time. It will be painful at first, but it gets easier.

Maybe I did put too much emphasis on the amount of time I’ve spent with my ex. Maybe I was too clingy, controlling, and jealous… Why was I like that? I was scared that my ex might leave me if I didn’t chase after them and fight for their love. Ok, but where did those tendencies and beliefs come from? My neglecting father and over-controlling mother. Hell, no wonder I never felt good enough to be loved unconditionally. I do have an unhealthy desire to hold on to others way too tightly due to my irrational fear of losing them.

Realization: I have worthiness issues due to my childhood that sabotage my relationships by making me needy. The only time I may get a shot at getting my ex back is when I deal with my lack of self-worth.

Maybe I wasn’t such a good boyfriend/girlfriend, after all. Maybe I was scared to open up to my ex. Maybe I did hold too many secrets from them. Maybe I was afraid of intimacy. Why was I like that? Why am I still like that? Possibly because none of my family members communicated and opened up but just shunned each other and closed down.

Realization: I have problems with intimacy and vulnerability. The only time I may get a shot at getting my ex back is when I learn how to open up emotionally more consistently.

What No One Tells You About Getting Back With Your Ex

Below are three simple yet harsh truths about getting an ex back that no one tells you about. For the most part, this is because they don’t sell.

Everyone will buy “how to get your ex back” products from the person who tells them how they should get their ex back and how easy it is (especially with their “system” or whatever). Rarely will anyone buy from the person who tells them the opposite.

Well, fuck you. I’m the latter person.

1. The odds of getting your ex back are shit

The odds of getting your ex back are low, and staying together even lower on average. I mean, if there was a tried-and-true way to get an ex back, we as a society would have a) figured it out a long time ago, and b) breakups would be wiped out. The world would be flooded with happily committed and married couples. And I’d probably be out of the job.

Yet, don’t lose hope prematurely.

There are still examples of couples out there who just needed some time apart to gain perspective on their relationship and learn how to make it work.

However, if you find yourself locked in a cycle of breaking up and getting back together — a.k.a., being trapped in a toxic on/off relationship — where you’re either in bliss or hell, depending on the month, then you probably should end things for good.

2. You Don’t Really need your ex

Most people are terrified of letting their ex go. And so they cling onto them and try to get them back because they make them feel important and worthy and loved. This, unknowingly, makes them slaves to their exes.

Much of our lives is guided by this sense of scarcity. We mistake the ex that provides — or once provided — for our emotional needs as the needs themselves.

But the truth is, you don’t really need your ex to appreciate, validate and love you again. What you need is to make yourself feel appreciated, validated, and loved.

What you need is you.

There are a bazillion ways you can meet your own needs. And all that is required is an ability to do so and the courage to believe that it is possible.

3. Getting your ex back is a win-win game

Always think of getting your ex back as a win-win scenario. If they reach out and you get back together, great. Try again. Hopefully it works out this time.

But if your ex never reaches out nor gives you any indicator of interest, then also great. You’re now open to meeting someone better in the future.

And, believe it or not, you can find that someone. Your ex is not special. And labeling them as such is an insult to literally millions of other people that you would find attractive and intelligent and who, unlike your ex, are able and ready and willing to create a future with you…

… A future from which you’ll be able to look back at this period and chuckle, knowing how everything you’re feeling and thinking is so unimportant in the grand scheme of life.

5 Big Ideas That Will Help You Reunite With Your Ex... And Stay Together For Good

Receive what I like to think as the definitive "cheat codes" to getting back with your ex. Spoiler alert: they have nothing to do with games or no contact, and they don't make you look desperate.