Making the most of our chances is often an enlightening path that leads to self-improvement and better prepares us to confront the future, regardless of how our ex responds. So why not give it a good old college try?
If you’re ready to embrace what might be an ugly truth over a beautiful lie, you’re ready to give reconciliation a shot.
1. Emotions Drive Relationships
If we’re going to make any headway into understanding post-breakup behavior, bear in mind that reason and logic are poor tools with which to influence an ex. There’s no way you’re going to argue someone back in love with you, and there’s no chance that being objectively right will mean a resurgence of romance.
Emotions, not logic, as cruel as it is, are the driving factors in relationships. It’s how you make them feel that counts.
So, if you made a mistake that led to the corrosion of trust and attraction (counter-intuitively, these often go hand in hand), focus not on verbally attempting to prove how you’ve changed, but try instead to instill trust. Trust should be felt at an emotional level. If you are trying to establish it exists, a little like a lawyer in a court attempting to sway a jury, it means your ex is not receiving that trust through your connection.
So how do we do it?
Your ex’s ability trust your intentions is the foundation upon which we will build our road to reconciliation. Being trusted means bypassing boundaries and emotional walls that would otherwise keep you from dealing with core issues.
- Don’t play mind games. You are more transparent than you think, and getting it wrong means throwing it all away for good.
- Don’t play with their self-esteem. You might think that catering to their insecurity will level the playing field in your favor. It might, albeit temporarily. But once the haze passes, and their self-worth cements itself, and it will, you’ll have worn out your welcome.
- Be direct. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Lead by example, and there’s every chance you won’t live in a grey area because they will respond in kind. Act in a way that you’d like to see them act. If nothing else, even if they refuse to engage cleanly, this is beneficial to you because it is a character-forming exercise.
- Listen carefully. Again, emotions drive relationships. If what they are saying makes no objective sense to you, don’t ignore it. These irrationalities and quirks are what makes or breaks a connection.
Getting these points right can be a scary prospect because this kind of directness means risking facing a truth we are unprepared to digest. But think of it this way, would you rather hang onto false hope for months and then have to confront reality? Or would you rather skip the long-term anxiety and take a clean hit now? The faster you can deal with absolutes rather than mixed messages, the quicker you can move on with your life: Reconciliation or not.
None of the above-mentioned tips mean anything unless you employ them consistently. I guarantee that an ex that suspects you want to reconcile will be on the lookout for grand, but ultimately empty, promises. Only consistency will prove that you are serious and that your actions are not just one last desperate insecurity induced hurrah.
- Be predictable. Predictability can be a bummer in relationships, but the calming effort it has in a breakup scenario is something that will aid communicating clearly.
- Follow your words with actions. No exceptions. Now more than ever, if you make a promise, no matter how small, be prepared to keep it.
2. Establishing Value
Tough breakups are always host to a battle of self-esteem and status. The reason why is straightforward: Stable relationships attribute a sense of value to partners while they are in it. We identify with our partner and the framework of the relationship. After a breakup, this is all stripped away from us before we can craft a new routine. Which means that for a specified period of time we have no reference points, and will feel lost and confused.
This newfound confusion can lead to dips in self-worth. Which is why manipulative behavior is so typical after a breakup, even in those who are traditionally honest. Because part of it is about reconciling, but part of it is also about artificially inflating our self-esteem. To grant ourselves the illusion of value, where value was stripped away.
Stand Up For Yourself
It is essential that we remind ourselves what our core needs are once our reference points have been stripped away. Know what you need, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- You will sound desperate. It seems crass and superficial, but your ex will probably have a better idea than you about what you are prepared to offer at this present time. You may feel like selling the house and moving with them to their dream cottage in Scotland, but once you recoup your value and senses, you will probably be miserable.
- You risk codependence. Unless you learn to function as an individual, and not just part of a whole, long-term fulfillment will escape you.
Be An Individual
One understandable, but grave mistake during breakups is our tendency to seek validation and a sense of worth from our exes. The problem with this is that we have no control over the process, and may well suffer for it if the feedback we get is negative.
One solution is to rekindle our sense of individualism and to rediscover what makes us tick independently of any other person or variable. Not only is this a way to reduce anxiety and salvage our self-esteem, it is also a way to indirectly improve our chances at reconciliation because we are injecting new life into our connection. In short, our ability to focus on our well being makes us more attractive.
On top of all this, given the uncertainty involved in any relationship, putting our needs first is the only sane thing to do in any case.
I was very ambitious. It all started because my first boyfriend dumped me when I was 14. I’d always wanted to be a model and thought, ‘Right, he’s going to see me everywhere.’ I was relentless in my pursuit of modeling. It was revenge.
– Jane March
Being an individual means not having to rely on others as a source of self-value. We generate our own meaning and well being. While this may be practically impossible due to grief, and the need for closure (doesn’t exist), it is nevertheless something to aim for. Sooner or later our actions will tame our subconscious mind’s nostalgia, and pave a new routine, free of painful triggers and remorse. All we have to do is keep at it.
3. The Art Of Communicating
Learning how to communicate is every bit as important as what is actually said during a breakup.
The good news is that there is much we can do to make our own lives easier when it comes to reaching out. If we are scared of our emotions getting the better of us and complicating things, or we are unsure how our ex will react to hearing from us, there are steps we can take.
Start From The Impersonal
If there are a lot of unknowns, or the idea of reaching out makes you jittery, then start from the most impersonal medium possible. Sending am Email rather than organizing a face-to-face will mean that you will have a far easier time remaining objective. And being crystal clear at this stage of the game is imperative. You are also breaking the silence respectfully because reading or responding to an Email is something your ex can do when they are comfortable doing so.
The idea here is to escalate contact once a particular medium becomes comfortable.
If you are shooting Emails back and forth, it is a safe bet that sending a text message won’t shake the leaves of their emotional tree. Likewise, if you are texting back and forth, upping the ante with a phone call is the next logical step. But before escalating contact make sure that:
- You are comfortable with increased intimacy. By this I don’t mean that you want to reconcile or not, I mean that escalating the means of contact should be something that isn’t going to rattle to the point where you become impulsive or emotional (the jitters are unavoidable, of course).
- They are comfortable with increased intimacy. If your levels of engagement are close to matching, fire away. If it’s you doing all the pushing, relax.
- There are no false pretexts. Make sure you aren’t operating under a false assumption, such as a mutual desire to rekindle “friendship.” You don’t need to beat the idea that you want to reconcile relentlessly at every serviceable occasion, but the reason why you are chatting (reconciling) should be apparent to you both. If it isn’t, find a way to communicate your intent.
Small steps forward is the name of the game. Reconciliation means building a new relationship from scratch, not unpausing an old one.
Done correctly, breakups are a fantastic tool to transform a broken connection into something new, something that is now ready to thrive.
There’s a reason why even the most solid of relationships are marred by a pitstop or two, and that is because it allows couples to rebuild the foundations of the relationship. This is only natural because no matter who you are, you and your partner will have changed as individuals, and will have probably grown apart. Rebuilding the foundations means finding new rules and routines that better serve you both. Without this flexibility almost every relationship would be doomed to fail.