How many times have you heard this old saying?
If you love something, let it go
If it returns, it’s yours
If it doesn’t, it wasn’t
If you love someone, set them free
If they come back, they’re yours
If they don’t, they never were
This quote is literally the plot point for most romantic movies and novels, but how true is it in real life?
Today I’m going to unpack this for you and share if letting your ex go actually works to get them back.
We are going to look at real-life data from my clients to see if this actually works. I have had hundreds of clients over this past decade, and I can test the validity of this quote through all of their experiences.
The Quick Answer
So, does letting someone go equal, getting them back?
Yes, it does… to a point.
In 2015, I created the ex-boyfriend recovery podcast where every week, I would take a listener’s question about a situation regarding their ex and answer it.
Initially, I had my doubts about how successful the podcast would be because I wasn’t sure if people would be open to sharing their problems on such a vast medium.
However, I was immediately surprised at how willing people were to share the most intimate details of their lives and relationships in the hopes of getting their ex back or just getting clarity about their situation.
This taught me a lot about the people I was helping, but more than anything, it taught me something new about what’s working right now.
I will never forget the second question that came up in my podcast.
It was from a woman who had been a long time reader of my website, and she had been trying to get her ex back for an entire year. Eventually, about halfway through the year, she gave up and decided she couldn’t keep trying anymore.
She decided to give it a break and actually ended up starting a hugely successful business.
She even got back into the dating scene and tried to move on romantically from the pain and heartbreak of the first breakup.
Everything sounds great, right?
Well, this is when she calls into my show and asks me,
“Hey, this really weird thing has been happening. I’ve completely moved on from my ex, and we’ve been broken up for about a year and a half, but now he’s trying to get back with me all of a sudden. I tried to get back with him at first, but he wasn’t interested back then. Now that I’ve moved on and become successful, he wants me back. Why?”
This question is so interesting because it became the first of many patterns that I started noticing on a long term scale.
We’ll go back to answer the “why” later in the article.
Sometimes, as you probably know, it can be almost impossible to get an ex back no matter how hard you try. So, when my clients who seemed to be doing everything right kept failing to get their ex’s attention, I suggested moving on entirely and waiting to see what happens.
Guess what happens in most cases? After they moved on from their ex, their ex would start showing interest in them again.
Is this a manifestation of the whole if you love them let them go and they’ll come back phenomenon? Maybe, but that’s not the only thing.
Well, what else is there? Having seen so many examples of this, I’ve termed this as “moving on without moving on.”
Moving along isn’t a guarantee of getting your ex back, and I’ve identified four other crucial things that must happen in conjunction with you moving on if you want to maximize the chances of getting your ex back.
Thing #1: Sometimes Your Ex Will Need A Little Bit Of A “Push.”
I’m a huge believer in cause and effect. I don’t think that just letting go of your ex and moving on alone is enough to make them come back.
There need to be other slight nudges, such as actually seeing you be successful.
Frank Sinatra once said that the best revenge in life is massive success.
Let’s tie this back to the person who called in on my second podcast.
She specifically mentioned that her ex reached out to her after she became massively successful.
So sometimes there needs to be a major change in your life that actually makes them notice you!
Thing #2: Change Must Occur
This one is definitely connected with point 1 because your ex will only want to come back if something changes.
Albert Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time.
If none of the variables in the equation of your relationship change, your ex will still see you as the same person they wanted to break up with. Where’s the incentive of coming back if it’ll just be the same relationship?
Something I always ask my clients is to get in their ex’s head and try to understand what state of mind they’re in when they break up with you.
Sometimes it’s because of some preconceived or misunderstood notions of your personality.
The only way to get over that is to challenge their notions head-on and prove that you’re not who they think you are.
If you can challenge someone’s preconceived notion about you, you make it easier for them to see you in a new, more favorable light.
Thing#3: Don’t Base Your Whole Life Around Your Ex
This one is all about priorities. Guess what happens when you make your ex priority number 1?
YOU become priority number 2, and that’s not how it should be. Men don’t like being obsessively chased either and would rather prefer a woman who cares for herself.
I always tell my clients that you’ve got to be willing to lose the guy to get the guy.
The biggest mistake people make after a breakup is wasting every waking moment thinking about their ex. Love is only a small section of your whole life, and you shouldn’t give anyone the power to shake your whole life.
I talk a lot about the concept of the holy trinity of life – health, wealth, and relationships. There is so much more to life than relationships. In fact, even within relationships, there are so many other beautiful relationships that are not romantic.
Give yourself and others you love proper time and attention after your breakup instead of sulking over your ex and trying to get him back.
Thing#4: Looking For An Ex To Make You Feel Good Is Not The Way To Go
There have been a lot of recent studies about the effect of praise on young children. The main finding is that both overpraising and underpraising a child can be harmful to them.
What is overpraising?
Well, it’s when the praise isn’t realistic anymore. If a child always gets praised for going to the bathroom, they’re going to have an inflated sense of self. But if you don’t praise them at all, they won’t feel like going at all.
I know it’s a weird analogy, but here’s how it relates to YOU. I feel like so often a lot of you guys look to your romantic relationship to be the end all be all solution to your problems.
That is extremely problematic because it makes your happiness completely reliant on that one relationship.
Ultimately, you’re going to get a rude awakening when that person no longer makes you happy because no one owes you unconditional love or happiness except yourself.
Don’t look for other people to make you happy, make yourself happy first!
So, what’s my verdict, does letting your ex go work to get them back? Yes, if combined with the right factors. These four things should happen along with moving on if you want your ex to come back to you:
- Your ex might need a nudge in the right direction.
- There must be some change.
- You need to stop letting your life revolve around your ex.
- Don’t rely on your ex to make you feel happy.
If you’ve achieved all four of these and he still doesn’t come back, at least you found yourself and know how to be happy without him now!