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Over the years, I’ve consulted 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 people break up again shortly after getting back together, and others keep their relationship intact and thriving permanently?
Well, after talking with enough people who were dead set on getting their ex back, 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 authentic personal growth.
The Performance Approach
A person who opts for a performance-based approach to getting back with their ex largely relies on tricks, tactics, techniques, and fake behaviors. They play hard to get, use reverse psychology, rely on reusable texting templates and jealousy tactics, and fake their confidence. They memorize the right things to say, how to handle each situation, all the body language cues, all possible contingencies of their ex’s reactions, and then they respond accordingly. Overall, they see re-attraction as a skill set full of pieces that need to be memorized and acted on, similar to a chess game.
When such a person arrives at a problem — for example, their ex calls them out for their controlling behavior — they usually get hyper-analytical afterward. They curse the material they’re studying and buy another dodgy ex-back product, where they focus on learning and memorizing even more tricks, tactics, techniques, and fake behaviors. Maybe these will work, they muse.
You’d be surprised, but the vast majority of ex-back advice is performance based. Why? Because it sells better. A product dunking you in a murky void of performance makes an average person feel as though they’re making way more progress than if they’d started consuming healthy self-improvement advice.
Also, most people just don’t want to hear that they have emotional problems that they’d need to address and resolve. Fuck no! They want to hear how learning games and gimmicks and “one-two-three” formulas is enough to mend their relationship.
The funny thing about performance is that it’s a way for people to cope with their underlying emotional and self-esteem issues. For example, a person doesn’t know how to get their ex to like them, so they read a book telling them that one way of accomplishing that is by saying some pre-prepared set of phrases. Let’s call them “lines,” for short. So this person then uses a line outlined in their book, gets their ex to respond positively, and, as a result, becomes convinced it’s the line that’s working, not them.
But here’s the kicker: their line, whatever it is, is a placebo — like all performance behaviors. While the person was scared of engaging in a conversation with their ex before, being given the line and being told that it will make their ex like them more gives them the false confidence to engage in a conversion. With this same confidence, this same person could successfully engage in a good conversation with just about any line. Funny how this stuff works…
At its core, a performance-based approach to re-attraction shows your ex a false representation of you. In a way, it’s the equivalent of emotional manipulation. Worse, it’s self-objectification. Because in the eyes of performance, you’re nothing but a robot putting in the correct inputs and getting out the correct outputs.
The Authentic-Growth Approach
A person who chooses an authentic-growth-based approach to getting back with their ex tackles the whole thing not through trying to perfect what they say or do but through working on and perfecting themselves.
Not for their ex, of course, but for themselves — because they genuinely want to improve. They also let the possibility of their ex returning be nothing more than an added benefit to their already fun and meaningful life. In fact, they consider it an unneeded, yet welcome, side-effect of leading such a life.
I’m not making an argument about how this sort of person doesn’t care about their ex. They do; they want them back and, like anyone, shed tears if they don’t return.
I’m simply saying that their world won’t suddenly collapse if their ex decides not to give them another chance. Because they know their ex isn’t special. And they realize that labeling them as such is an insult to literally millions of other people that they’d find attractive, and who, unlike their ex, are able and ready and willing to create a future with them.
When an authentic-growth-oriented person comes across a problem (e.g., their ex doesn’t return their call), they don’t begin to overthink, they 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 and try better next time. And if there is no next time, there’s not much fussing since they understand that they don’t need their ex (even if it sometimes feels like it); they have themselves and are quite happy with that catch.
Paradoxically, it’s these people who most often get back with their ex and actually cultivate a healthy and lasting relationship with them.
Don’t get me wrong, though.
It’s not like the performance-based approach doesn’t work. It does. You can memorize all the right things to say. You can master all the gimmicks, tricks, and power plays. You can develop an unerring sense of when to pull back and when to push forward. You can do all of this because performance is a skill you can improve at, not much different from learning how to get better at writing or cooking.
All I’m saying here is that compared to authentic-growth, the performance approach never works out long term. Typically, the people who have success with it, while they do sometimes get their ex back, almost always fail to keep them.
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