If you don’t know who I am then allow me to introduce myself. I’m Chris Seiter and I help all kinds of couples going through breakups. Now, most of the time I notice that the men and women who stumble across my little slice of heaven here at Ex Boyfriend Recovery have one goal in mind.
The want to get their exes back.
Of course, over the years I’ve researched exactly what works and doesn’t work with regards to that.
Nevertheless, I’m always getting questions like: “what kind of chance do I have of getting my ex back,” or “tell me exactly what to do,” yet the question they really should be asking is:
Can I create a new and better relationship IF I get my ex back?
After all, what’s the point of getting your ex back if you just keep repeating the same breakup cycle?
So today, we’re going to be exploring if breaking up can actually be good for your relationship if you get your ex back and what you should be doing to create that new and better relationship.
Can Breaking Up Actually Be A Good Strategy To Get An Ex Back?
Now I’m not going to beat around the bush here – breaking up with your ex CAN actually be good for your relationship.
I don’t think there’s any doubt in that, so the more interesting question to me is how often do exes who get back together actually stay together?
One of the things I’m most proud of about my program, website, podcast, or Youtube channel is that we actually have so many different success stories willing to be interviewed and share their experiences.
I can pick apart their situations and figure out exactly what works (and what doesn’t!).
What’s also really interesting is that when we have this amount of success stories (people who get their exes back) who stay in contact with us, we can actually see if they stay together for the long term.
Our research has consistently shown that about half of couples who get back together will break up again within the first three months.
Why are couples breaking up again so often, and so quickly?
The first and most obvious reason is that the issues from the first breakup haven’t resolved themselves.
In other words, history continues to repeat itself, and then you enter this on-again-off-again situation.
The question is no longer if you can get your ex back but if you can keep that relationship going.
I set out to find the key differences between relationships that last in these situations that don’t, and these are the key findings of how to keep relationships going:
Finding # 1: It Takes Two To Tango
The goal of getting back with your ex is to create a new and better relationship than your first time around.
Naturally, it takes two people to actually be engaged and willing to make the changes necessary for that new relationship to survive.
Now my clients are almost always ready to implement changes in themselves or their relationships, but their exes are a whole other story. Getting your ex on board is essential to keeping a relationship strong, but how exactly do you do that?
Prime your ex before you get back together.
This means that before you actually agree to get back together, you must first talk about the fact that you don’t want history to repeat itself. You need to set realistic expectations and explain that you’re ready to put in the work, but they need to be willing to put the work in as well.
Taking help from a trusted outside source who can nudge your ex to put in more effort
More often than not, when you are told something by someone you love but are around all the time, you tend to kind of tune their advice out. On the other hand, when an outside source that you trust but don’t spend as much time with tells you the exact same thing, you pay more attention. You put more thought into what they say and might realize, “maybe I do need to put in more effort into this relationship.”
So, if talking to your ex directly doesn’t fix the situation, don’t be afraid to engage a mutual friend for help.
Finding # 2: Create New Firsts Together
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
You and your ex were together for three years; you think you know everything there is to know about each other.
You’ve had so many first experiences together that eventually, it becomes difficult to add any spontaneity or adventure into your relationship.
This is when your relationship just seems robotic because you’re doing the same thing over and over again. Some people might be okay with this, but most are not. This brings me to one of my favorite concepts to talk about:
The ratio of stability and mystery in a relationship and how we need to balance both to have a relationship.
It’s a paradox, though, isn’t it? You can’t be stable and mysterious at the same time.
That’s why its best to look at this in percentages.
Some people prefer 60% stability in relationships and 40% adventure while some people might like 60% adventure and 40% stability.
The point is that if you haven’t created new firsts together or changed things up a bit, that can be a contributing problem to cause another breakup.
I’ve long been on record saying that shared first experiences with a partner bonds people closer together than anything.
An analogy I like to use is when you watch a great movie for the first time, everything is going to be more potent when you experience the emotions the movie is trying to evoke.
Now, if you really love the movie, you might rewatch it.
You’ll know what’s about to happen, but it’ll still be fun… until one time it just isn’t the same as it used to be.
Shared first experiences with your ex/partner feel the same way. If you have had that experience with them already, it’s possible to want that experience again. Still, it won’t carry the same level of emotional vulnerability and excitement as finding something new that you can experience together for the very first time.
Finding # 3: Hit The Gratitude Ratio
Psychologists consistently use one word to describe the quality that keeps stable relationships alive and standing: Gratitude.
Showing gratitude towards someone you’re with allows them to appreciate the relationship that they’re in.
So what is the gratitude ratio that I just mentioned?
It’s something we came up with to describe the ratio of kind acts versus unkind acts that you need to strive for in your relationship.
The ideal gratitude ratio is – for every 5 kind acts, you are allowed 1 unkind act.
Think of it as a bank – when you have a bank account, you want to put money into the bank account so you can save as much money as possible, but every time you’re tempted to buy something, it takes money out of the bank account.
Well, gratitude acts or kind acts kind of work in this way.
It’s like adding money into your relationship value.
Every time you get into a fight, argument, or disagreement, you’re taking money out of your shared relationship account.
What you’re always striving to do is for every five kind things you do for your ex, or for every five acts of gratitude, you are allowed to have one argument, disappointment, or unkind act.
I know this sounds easy in theory, but it’s actually much harder to keep track of acts of gratitude or kindness in your daily life. That’s why I recommend that if my clients get their exes back, they make a game out of this, so both them and their ex keep a tally of the kind acts they do for each other. That way, they have something to look back at together at the end of the day. This encourages reciprocity for kind acts and also makes them realize your value more.
Finding #4: Identify The Hidden Thoughts They Are Too Afraid To Say
Now this ultimately boils down to listening.
Listening allows you to get your ex to open up more than you would even realize.
But how do you let your ex know that you’re truly listening to them and are open to understanding their point of view?
Well the best way to do this is to label their hidden emotions.
Let’s say that you think you know what your ex is thinking. Perhaps he’s upset about an argument you had. Most people never really address arguments and just kind of sweep them under the rug.
You need to make sure that if you get back with your ex, you get in the habit of pointing out and labeling what you believe they’re thinking so they can clarify whether that’s actually going on in their mind.
As a more targeted example, let’s say you and your ex fight (in your new and hopefully better relationship) because your ex was insecure about how many men are hitting on you.
Of course, it isn’t your fault that men are hitting on you, but your ex’s feelings are still valid, and you need to let him know that.
The best way to do it is to label exactly what he’s thinking and how you can empathize with him.
Simple words like “Look, I know you feel anxious about the fact that all these guys are hitting on me, but I want to let you know that you’re the only one for me. I only have eyes for you” can make a world of difference.
I know it sounds too simple and good to be true, but sometimes that’s really all it takes for your ex to open up to you. He needs to feel heard and reassured because that will make him stay more involved in keeping your relationship strong.
A breakup can be good for a relationship if you can ensure the following in your new (and improved) relationship:
- Get him on the same page as you when it comes to making efforts to keep the relationship strong
- Create new firsts together
- Hit the perfect 5 – 1 gratitude ratio
- Identify their hidden thoughts and validate them