A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah who is one of the success stories with the Ex Recovery Program. As many of you may have noticed lately I’ve been on this kick where I’ve been interviewing as many success stories as possible.

The goal here is simple,

I’m on a quest to understand what the successes are doing that is so different from everyone else who fails.

The interview here with Sarah was incredibly helpful because I learned that sometimes you need to learn to adapt on the fly.

But more on that later.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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How Sarah Got Her Ex Back

Chris:
Perfect. Okay, today we’re going to be talking to Sarah, who is a success story who’s gone through our program. I don’t know much about her situation, so I’m going to be following along with the people listening here. How are you, Sarah?

Sarah:
I’m doing well. Thanks for asking.

Chris:
Why don’t I just hand the mic to you, and you tell me a bit about your situation, and I’ll just start asking questions based on the first things that popped into my head?

Sarah:
Sure. Okay. I guess I should start by recapping what happened initially. I had been dating my boyfriend for about eight months, and honestly, it was probably the best relationship I’ve been in. Not that I’ve been in a lot, I only had one serious boyfriend before him. But from the get go, we knew that we were in a weird spot because we were both living in Montreal, but we knew that by the end of the year, I would probably be relocating to the UK for grad school because I was applying to Oxford, and UCL, and a bunch of schools there, and I wanted to move on with my studies. The relationship went very well, our senses of humor really match, and our personalities too, we had a lot of the same hobbies, and we got along great with each other’s friends. So all good signs, except I could see that the idea of me eventually leaving-

Chris:
Going to UK?

Sarah:
Yeah, he was a bit uncomfortable with that. And then when the breakup happened, he initiated it in October, I think. It took me by surprise a bit because of a variety of reasons. For one, he did it when I was sick, actually.

Chris:
So you had the flu or something?

Sarah:
Yeah, this was before the whole coronavirus thing.

Chris:
It could have been the coronavirus though.

Sarah:
Well, it was in October in Montreal, so I really don’t think it was. But it was like I don’t get sick very often, and it was one of the worst flus that I’ve had for a while. I told him the last night before I did like, “Oh, I feel bad.” He was like, “Oh, can I come over?” And I was like, “No, because I feel gross.” And he insisted to come over next day, and I was like, “Oh, cool. He wants to take care of me.” And no, not at all.

Chris:
What was the breakup talk like? What did he say exactly?

Sarah:
Well, he did it in a very kind way. As kind as you can be in that type of situation, of course. He said that he just didn’t feel comfortable anymore be in a relationship where he saw no future because he knew that I was getting my papers ready to move to the UK, and everything was feeling a lot more real all of a sudden. Plus it didn’t seem we had similar plans for the future. He was sure he didn’t want to have kids. And I thought I want to have kids, but I wasn’t sure. And he said, “Yeah, basically, I’m not comfortable being in a relationship where I don’t see any future anymore.” I tried to take it well, I remember the first thing I said after that was, “Of course, okay.” And then I started crying.

Chris:
Did you do that in front of him, or after he had left?

Sarah:
Oh, I totally did cry in front of him.

Chris:
Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah, I’m not proud to say that, but also, I mean, I was sick. I had a fever. I was not in full control.

Chris:
Did at any point during the break up, did you think, “I must be dreaming, I’m having a fever dream or something. This can’t be real?”

Sarah:
I didn’t fully believe that. But I did say to his face… The whole relationship was very honest, and the whole breakup was very honest too. It felt we were just throwing our feelings at each other, but not in an aggressive way. We were just expressing them right on the go. And I said at some point like, “Oh my God, this feels like a nightmare.” And he kept apologizing. He apologized a lot. And I could see that… he’s not a crier. He doesn’t cry a lot. But he was not-

Chris:
Welling up. Getting emotional.

Sarah:
Yeah. He was upset. He was not in a good place. And at some point, I asked for a hug. And he said, “Yeah, of course.” And he just hugged me for a while, and I was like, “Please, can we talk about this? If you’re going to break up with me, can you at least stick around to hear what I have to say for a while?” He was like, “Yeah, of course. I’ll stay as long as you want.” And while we were talking at some point, he said also, “You’re allowed to get mad at me, I completely understand if you get mad at me.” I remember I kept asking him… I don’t know if I apologized, but I kept asking him, “Did I make you happy? I just need to know, did I make you happy at least, did I succeed in doing that?” And he kept saying, “Yes, I’m not going to forget you.” And stuff that.

Chris:
Do you think he initiated a breakup mostly because he knew you’re going to be going away to the UK?

Sarah:
I think that’s it. Yeah. I mean, people have said to me, there’s always another reason and I’ve wondered myself. I must have done something, maybe I let myself go, maybe I wasn’t dressing up as much as I used to when we first started dating, or stuff that. But I think the main thing he decided was that, and when I told my family about it, because I’m very close with my family, and I immediately write to them afterwards. They said it does sound exactly like he knows that you’re going to be leaving, and he’s afraid that you’re going to break up first, so he did.

Chris:
He’s protecting himself.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
Like a premature attack to-

Sarah:
Like a preemptive strike.

Chris:
Right. Yeah, exactly. That’s the word I was looking for, not attack. Obviously, this breakup is devastating even more so because you have the flu, but what happens next, because eventually you get him back. What happens next to make that happen?

Sarah:
Well, let’s just say at first I didn’t find your website until at least two or three weeks later after that.

Chris:
Okay. In those two or three weeks, what had you done that was not okay, or okay? Because it’s like-

Sarah:
According to your rules?

Chris:
Yeah, according to the rules.

Sarah:
Well, one thing that I perhaps… I don’t regret doing it, I think it was actually the right thing to do because immediately after the break up happened, I told my family about it, told my sister, told my best friends about it, and had a lot of people come over because I was like, “I can’t be alone right now.” Just not a good idea. And most of them asked me, “You should probably talk to him because it sounds he’s scared shitless but that he doesn’t really want to do this himself.”

Chris:
Right. The preemptive strike type thing.

Sarah:
Yeah. And that also, he sprung this on you, like he literally came to your house with all of your stuff in the box, and just left it on your doorstep, kind of, while you had the flu.

Chris:
Yeah, it was planning it out like, “I don’t want to get hurt, maybe, so I’m going to do this.

Sarah:
Kind of. Yeah. And I just felt like I didn’t have-

Chris:
Closure.

Sarah:
… my turn to speak. Yeah. And I wanted to tell him everything I thought, almost give him rational arguments for why you’re making a mistake right now. He broke up with me on a Monday, I think, and I asked him to come over to my house on the Friday to talk. Basically, I sent him a text. I was like, “I think that I deserved my turn to speak, and I would to talk with you a bit more, ask you some stuff to make sure I have an understanding of what’s going on, and what are your reasons. Do you mind coming to my house to talk about this sometime this week? And if you don’t want to, I completely understand, and just forget I said anything.” He said, “Yeah, of course, would you rather I come to your house or not? Or somewhere a bit more neutral, maybe.” And I said, “My house is better.”

Sarah:
I gave him basically all my reasons as rationally as possible. And he still wasn’t really having it. But he said, “Thank you for telling me this. And I think it’s very brave of you to ask me to come over, and tell me all this.” And he said he thought that I was a lot braver than him and I was like, “Yeah, I agree.” At the end of this, we were still broken up, unfortunately. All of this happened with some tears, some crying, hugging, again. And at the end of it, I just told him basically, “No matter what happens between us, and no matter if we can be friends, or date again in the future, I just want you to know that you deserve to end up with someone who makes you happy, and you deserve a good person to be with you.”

Sarah:
And I mostly said that because I knew that the relationship he had before me was not very healthy, basically, and had made him very unhappy at some points. I guess I was also afraid that by breaking up with me he would feel guilty and that would make him think that he didn’t deserve to be happy or something. I told him to see, “You’re a good person, and you deserve to be happy.” We hugged it out, kiss for a last time, and then he left my house. Then immediately after that, two days later, I went to France where my family lives, because I needed to be home basically, I needed to see my parents, my sister.

Chris:
So you left?

Sarah:
I left the country. Yeah.

Chris:
You left the country, that’s a true no contact rule right there.

Sarah:
I guess it is. Yeah. I don’t think I immediately unfollowed him, but I spent a lot of time off social media. Just before getting on the plane, I sent him one last message. It was like, “A gift from Futurama.” I don’t know if the show.

Chris:
Oh, yeah, I know Futurama.

Sarah:
Yeah, the time when Leela says to Fry, “Fry, the time we had together was short, but it was the best time of our life.” And it’s cheesy as fuck, I know, but I sent it out-

Chris:
No. Is that a normal aspect of your relationship where you send memes or gifs back and forth? Like Pop Culture type stuff?

Sarah:
Yeah. 100%.

Chris:
Okay, so that’s just normal. That’s just normal for you.

Sarah:
Well, yeah. It was still-

Chris:
I mean, the context is little… Yeah, I get where you’re coming from though.

Sarah:
Yeah. But it was kind of a send and go, because I sent this right before getting on the plane and there was no connection. The last two weeks I was at by parents, I’d never heard of the no contact rule before, but I was already thinking, “Anna, you can’t be desperate, just don’t text him. Don’t anything him.” I talked to his friends a bit, to one of his friends especially who was still rooting very hard for us, and was like, “You might get back together in the future.”

Chris:
Was it a girl friend or a guy friend?

Sarah:
I think right now they identify as non binary, but at that time they identified as a woman.

Chris:
Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah, and I was pretty close to them. It was maybe the closest friend in his circle that I knew. That makes sense.

Chris:
So this person was cheering for both?

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
For you guys to get back together?

Sarah:
Yeah, they were saying basically, “I don’t understand why exactly he did this. I don’t think he was in the best state of mind.” They actually mentioned that he might be depressed and suicidal too, which got me just the two first weeks after the breakup was hell for me, because-

Chris:
Yeah, it’s pretty tough.

Sarah:
… because I was miserable. And I was also thinking he’s maybe in a weird state of mind, he might be really miserable, too. He might not be exactly there, and I want to make sure that he’s not isolating, he’s not doing something bad to himself. But in the third week that I was at my parents, I found your website, I don’t remember what… I think it was through Google, a google search.

Chris:
So you just wound up in an article there started reading and just maybe got engrossed in the content?

Sarah:
Yeah, I think the first article I found wasn’t especially about getting your partner back, but it was more about surviving the breakup, dealing with it. That was really what I was looking for. And then I got on your website, and I found out what the website was for, among other things, and I discovered the ERP thing.

Chris:
So you got into the Facebook group eventually?

Sarah:
Yeah, I got into the Facebook group, but I never bought any of your books, actually.

Chris:
Okay, so you got into the Facebook group, and what happens next?

Sarah:
Well, I think is first I had to deal with a lot of self consciousness and awkwardness because, I don’t want to offend you or anyone else who’s in the group, but it was just something that was very unlike me to do. I never imagined in my life, I’d be doing this. And I’ve always prided myself on being independent, and very individualistic. I don’t even the concept of relationships so much. I’ve had people in my life, friends, family members who were very dependent on romantic relationships, and I’ve seen how much damage that can do. So I was always like, “That’s never going to be me. I’m never going to be desperate. I’m never going to chase.” And to be honest, signing up for that Facebook group and following the advice from that kind of website did feel a little bit like chasing and being desperate sometimes. So I had to deal with a lot of that.

Chris:
In what way did you feel it felt like chasing? Because that’s interesting to me.

Sarah:
Yeah, I know that you frame a lot of your advice to be exactly the opposite of chasing.

Chris:
Right. The chasing, is it reaching out first in text messages, or the type of text messages sent that didn’t just jive with you?

Sarah:
Oh no.

Chris:
Well, so what aspect was it?

Sarah:
Well, at that time, I was still in the no contact period. And I liked the no contact period because it was 30 days where you just do nothing. Where you think before acting, where you basically, whatever you do, don’t be impulsive. Give yourself time to think. And that really vibed with me for some reason, but I guess what felt chasing me a little bit, was how organized and planned it felt.

Chris:
Okay. So it didn’t seem natural.

Sarah:
Yeah, exactly.

Chris:
It didn’t seem organic in a way, it was like, “Okay, you have to follow the texting phase, then the phone call phase, then the dating phase.”

Sarah:
Yeah. And then the to reach out with the text and the hooks, that felt kind of contrived.

Chris:
Okay. I’ve heard varying things about it. I’ve heard your perspective. I have also people’s perspective of like, “Oh, yeah, you should do it. You should try it.” Ultimately, I’m really curious to hear how you approached the situation, because I’m interviewing you trying to understand what you did that worked. So in your opinion, you felt like, “Okay, it looks a little contrived. It looks too organized, too unnatural.” So to speak. So what did you do? Did you follow it that unnatural way, or did you put your own spin on it?

Sarah:
No, actually, I took a look at the first retail text, and I was like, “Yeah, no, that’s not going to be natural coming from me.” The first thing I did was of course, stick to topics that we were both interested in because, I don’t want to talk about something that I’m not interested in. Same for everyone. And then we had this habit of just not necessarily asking each other questions, or having this really very long text conversations, but we just send each other things we found funny, like memes, for example.

Chris:
Right, like the Futurama gif, as an example.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
That sounds so much funny, but along those same lines.

Sarah:
Yeah, along those same lines, basically. That kind of went against the advice you gave on your website, because they weren’t open ended questions, and you said that that was [crosstalk 00:17:19]-

Chris:
But it was normal for your relationship, right?

Sarah:
Exactly. And I think that’s a very-

Chris:
So it just fit in the context of everything.

Sarah:
Yeah. And I think like for me, the to reach out phase definitely wasn’t as important actually as the no contact phase.

Chris:
So for you the no contact phase is where you did all that internal work, and maybe even just thinking?

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
I’m looking for patterns in success stories, and this is a pattern that I’ve noticed. Did you feel like the no contact rule was an essential aspect to getting your ex back because you built confidence during it? Like you rebuilt yourself up a little bit, or was there some Another aspect that I’m missing?

Sarah:
Well, I think part of it was about rebuilding confidence. But, let’s be honest, I don’t think that 30 days or even 45 days is enough to-

Chris:
Sufficient to making the most confident in the world. Right?

Sarah:
Exactly. It’s not going to turn you into a different person, and you shouldn’t rely on it for that.

Chris:
More likely in order for that to happen, it’s a lifelong pursuit to do that.

Sarah:
Yeah, and what it-

Chris:
But… go ahead, sorry.

Sarah:
Yeah, what it did do was I’d say, I was already pretty confidence, I know what person I am. I know what I’m good at and what I can do before that, and when the breakup happened, it just threw everything in the air. And the NC period was about remembering all that, basically.

Chris:
So getting back to the version you felt before, because I mean, you got broken up with during, arguably, the worst time, you’re sick, you’re no good, you got a fever. And then he drops this on you, so the emotions get involved in that, and maybe in that it just shell shocked you enough to where you’re just, “I don’t remember that person I was before all of this happened.”

Sarah:
Yeah. Well, the NC period I’d say actually the first half of it was trying to get better from my cold, because it was a pretty bad cold.

Chris:
Which we still don’t know if that was the coronavirus or not, for the record.

Sarah:
Yeah, we don’t know. For the record, maybe I’m immune to it now. I don’t know. But yeah, the first two weeks maybe was just me feeling shitty emotionally, and then getting distracted by how shitty I was feeling physically, and then getting distracted by how bad I was feeling emotionally and vice versa. And after that, it was a lot of just watching Netflix on autopilots, watching a lot of Friends.

Chris:
Friends.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
That’s like the number one Netflix show which is funny.

Sarah:
It’s just like it’s not a high quality show by today’s standards, I guess.

Chris:
I think it’s pretty darn high quality. It makes me laugh still to this day, but I grew up when it was still on the air. I remember watching its finale.

Sarah:
Well, finale was in 2000 or something, I don’t remember.

Chris:
Yeah, it’s pretty early, but I remember the Ross and the plane thing because I saw it live.

Sarah:
Yeah, I didn’t see it live, but I really very much did grow up with it. So it was a comfort show.

Chris:
I feel the same way about Seinfeld.

Sarah:
I’ve never watched Seinfeld, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

Chris:
It’s so funny. But yeah, that’s the story. I didn’t grow up with it, but I saw it on reruns. But anyways, we’re getting off topic.

Sarah:
Sorry. Yeah.

Chris:
No. You’re talking about the no contact rule and the last half, the last 15 days.

Sarah:
The last 15 days of the no contact rule. Well, during that time I was spending a lot of time with family, because I was living with them again. And it was nice because it was just to watch movies with them, share meals with them. Like when I told my mom is like, “Please just take me out, bring me to stuff.”

Chris:
Distract me.

Sarah:
Yeah, exactly. So we did all the super touristic things you do in Paris, which like-

Chris:
Have you ever been to Paris before?

Sarah:
Oh, yeah. I was born there actually. My family lives there-

Chris:
Oh, okay. I’ve only been one time, and my wife got sick the first day, and so I wanted to go out and do all touristy things, and we could barely do any of it. We saw the Eiffel Tower, and we had one really good day where she wasn’t sick. She’s allergic to egg, and we don’t speak French, and so it’s hard to explain that so we think she got food poisoning.

Sarah:
Yeah, she probably.

Chris:
Yeah, so we won’t be visiting Paris again anytime soon.

Sarah:
Sorry to hear that. I mean, French cooking is great, but there’s not as much that they do without eggs.

Chris:
It is. That’s the problem. So anyways, you’re getting distracted throughout this period. And obviously you’re looking at some of the program, deciding about how you’re going to reach out. You look at it, you decide, “Well, it’s not really me.” I’m assuming the no contact rule finishes and you reach out first, or does he reach out first?

Sarah:
Oh, no… wait, I definitely reach out first, I can remember. Yeah, I think the first one I reached out with something about politics, because it was a really interesting subject, which I thought was a good idea to distract us, as you said, not immediately start with a memory text or something that’s too close to the relationship.

Chris:
Right. Just something that’s going to make them respond. And for whatever reason, you thought the political type of text would work, and it seems it did, I’m assuming?

Sarah:
Yeah, it did. Because he’s very much into the politics of where he comes from, and I’m low-key into the politics of different countries because I come from China, and France, and also I was living in Montreal. So how to keep up with all three, that was something we talked about a lot too. So it was a familiar subject.

Chris:
What happens next?

Sarah:
What happens next? I think he took half a day to respond, or something, because of timezone differences, probably. And it was funny because he was like… I think he asked me how I was doing, the way he texted definitely seemed like he was happy to hear news from me, and maybe relieved that I didn’t hate him.

Chris:
Yeah. Also, I mean, you’d spent 30 days if ignoring him.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
Did he reach out at all during those 30 days?

Sarah:
No.

Chris:
No. Which I ran a poll and found out that around 65% of men will not reach out to you during no contact.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
Which is interesting.

Sarah:
Well, I think I kind of expected it. Of course, I was hoping, most days, to receive something from him. But I think also this guy broke up with you, right? And if he’s still sticking to his decision, he’s going to be like, “Okay, I don’t need to talk to her, we’re not together anymore.” But if he’s feeling that he made a mistake, and that he feels guilty, there might be an even higher chance that he won’t reach out to you because he’s going to be like, “Oh my god, I hurt her so much. She probably hates me right now. She probably doesn’t want to hear from me at all. I can’t do that.” And I think that’s where he was. Probably.

Chris:
Well, it’s interesting. So you guys get into conversation, when do things really start to turn up, so to speak? Was it a pretty fast process or because of the timezone differences it took a little while to get things going?

Sarah:
Probably the timezone difference played a bit in that, and I think I tried to use that to my advantage because I knew that there was a timezone difference and that even if he was replying to my messages straight away, he wasn’t able to because he’d probably be sleeping. So that actually helped me just be chill, and not obsessively check my messages for a response because logically I knew that it was impossible. I also used that to my advantage in that… I think one of your advice is don’t jump into a normal conversation too soon. You got to be just give him some crumbs and give and take for a while. So for about two more weeks, maybe more than that, I think we didn’t actually have a real conversation as a more than [inaudible 00:25:51] text exchange.

Chris:
Just sort of back and forth, just feeling each other out, and then what sparks the normal conversation?

Sarah:
I think it was once we had a little bit more time, I think it was about three weeks after I sent out that first text that we started having slightly longer conversations.

Chris:
Okay, so you have longer conversations. And at some point, I’m assuming you come back to your home and you don’t have the time difference. Was that played into the conversations? I guess you’re texting back and forth, but eventually do you guys get on the phone, or you see each other in person? What does it take to make that happen?

Sarah:
Okay, here’s the thing. We both hate phone calls. I think it’s part of our generation thing. You’ll see a lot of memes about hating phone calls.

Chris:
Yeah, it’s funny. I love phone calls. I’m not great at texting. I’m kind of on the cusp of the millennial and the generation before that, so I’m on this weird area so I kind of straddle both.

Sarah:
Well, I guess we’re both in the… I’m 22 and he’s 23.

Chris:
Okay, so you definitely in the millennial age, so texting is the thing.

Sarah:
Yeah, phone calls is like no, there’s no way we’re doing that.

Chris:
That’s old, that’s like pagers to you guys.

Sarah:
Kind of, yeah. I guess. It makes us both very uncomfortable. I knew that wasn’t going to be a part of it.

Chris:
What about FaceTime, or Skype, or Zoom, or things of that nature? Is that out of the realm, or is it basically just texting to in-person for you guys?

Sarah:
Well, I think we’d be okay with Skype, or Zoom now, but the thing is, we had never skyped before so that’s just-

Chris:
That’s weird then. You don’t spring that on someone.

Sarah:
Yeah, I didn’t want to bring that in.

Chris:
Got it.

Sarah:
Yeah, exactly.

Chris:
So it was just basically you’re using text messaging to basically work towards seeing him in person.

Sarah:
Yeah. I did have fun getting him confused when we first started texting, because, ignore him for 30 days and then come out with a text about French politics. And he was like, “French politics… wait, did you move back to France or something?” And I didn’t really answer that right away.

Chris:
Had you been posting on social media at all during this time that you were in France?

Sarah:
Yeah. I posted some pictures of me in front of the Paris City Hall with my family. And some pictures of me at-

Chris:
Was he still following you on social media, on Instagram, and Facebook?

Sarah:
He’s just not very big on social media, and especially Facebook. So I think he was seeing the post, but he wasn’t interacting-

Chris:
He wasn’t going to comment or something. Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah. No.

Chris:
Seeing is just as important, especially if you’re texting him about French politics.

Sarah:
I guess. And I think he saw that because one of the posts I made about getting a new gig and WatchMojo, actually, he saw it, and he liked it. And then that was one of our texting and he sent me, “Hey, congratulations, I’m really happy for you because I knew that you were looking for work for a while.” And I was like, “Yeah, thanks.”

Chris:
Okay, so he actually reached out to you to tell you congratulations on the job?

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay, that’s pretty good.

Sarah:
Yeah, it was. And then when I was about to come back home, I gave him some hints, but I didn’t say exactly which date or what time. And then he learned that through a Snapchat, I posted on my snap story.

Chris:
So he’s definitely paying attention to social media. He’s just not interacting with it.

Sarah:
Yeah, except, when I did post that to my snap story, he sent me a snap saying, “Hey, welcome back home,” and stuff.

Chris:
Okay.

Sarah:
When I hadn’t notified him specifically about that.

Chris:
So you eventually come home, I’m assuming, and how fast did things pick up when you get home?

Sarah:
Well, I think for the first week or so, I made it a priority to reconnect with friends, basically. Just spend a lot of time with my old friends, and having fun with them. And we kept the texting pretty much the same as it was before. Except we replied a bit faster. And I think I noticed at one point that we were texting in the morning, when I was already up and doing stuff. And he said at some point, ” Oh I probably have to go, I’m going to have to get out of bed.” And I was like, “Oh, it’s cool, he’s texting me when he’s not out of bed yet.” That’s a good sign.

Chris:
Yeah.

Sarah:
Yeah. And then at some point, I think that I said that I still had one of his shirts, and that I wanted to give it back to him.

Chris:
That’s how you secured the in-person interaction there.

Sarah:
Yes. It is.

Chris:
Basically you have that instant date. Was that a conscious decision on you to not bring up the shirt until that point, or was it just happenstance, like you just got lucky?

Sarah:
I think it was happenstance because I didn’t actually know that I still had that shirt. I was living at my parents, and then I come back, and I looked at my clothes, Spring fitting and like, “Oh, wow, this shirt is mine. It’s probably his.”

Chris:
Okay.

Sarah:
That was pretty natural, actually, I just sent him a picture and I was like, “Is that your shirt?” And he was like, “Yep, that’s one of my favorite CJ shirts.”

Chris:
So beautiful. All right, that’s great. So that’s what would cause you to see him in person then.

Sarah:
Yeah, at first he said, “You can keep it if you want to.” And I was like, “No, that’s weird. What do you mean?” I was like, “Actually, it’d be nice if I could give you back your shirt, want to meet up for coffee at some place? So I can give you back your shirt, basically?” And he said, “Yeah, sure.”

Chris:
How quick did it take him to respond to that text?

Sarah:
I don’t remember the exact time difference, but I think it was like 20 minutes or something.

Chris:
Okay, so it’s pretty instant, because sometimes you do that, you don’t hear from them.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
There was none of that?

Sarah:
Not really. No. I did do the thing, like I sent the text and just turned off my phone for the rest of the day, because I tend to do that normally, anyways. But that really took the pressure off.

Chris:
Okay, so you turn off the phone, you turn it back on and you see the text from him.

Sarah:
Exactly. Yeah.

Chris:
How do you prepare for this meetup?

Sarah:
I don’t remember if I did a lot of mentally calming myself down. I think I did some reading exercises probably before going. And I made sure to wear one of the outfits that he used to compliment me a lot on.

Chris:
Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah. Dress myself up, basically. And I also brought my computer, so I could be like-

Chris:
Did you show up early to the coffee house?

Sarah:
Yeah, actually, I showed up maybe an hour early because I also wanted to get some work done on strips I was writing.

Chris:
Two birds, one stone, right?

Sarah:
Yeah. So that way I could be there early, and could be like, “Oh, I wasn’t specifically waiting for you, this is the coffee shop where I work. I’m just meeting you here.”

Chris:
So you played it really good. Did you ever seek the advice of the Facebook group at all?

Sarah:
I think I did at some point. Yeah. I don’t-

Chris:
Did they give you any suggestions about the coffee meetup that you took?

Sarah:
I don’t think they give me… sorry. It’s hard to remember right now.

Chris:
Oh, no, it’s okay. It’s all right. I’m just curious.

Sarah:
I think some of the admins, by the way, the admins are amazing. They’re so on top of posts and everything. They give me general advice on just calm down. Try to be chill. Don’t be too intense on the first time. And I was like, “Cool.” Yeah, I know exactly that I’m supposed to do that. Let’s just hope that I can-

Chris:
Do it.

Sarah:
… put it in practice.

Chris:
Right. So he shows up eventually, I’m guessing.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
How does it go?

Sarah:
Well, he shows up, right on time, if I remember right. And, of course, for the first 15 minutes before he’s supposed to show up, I feel I’m about to throw up from distress, but I don’t.

Chris:
Heart’s beating real bad.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
You’re nervous.

Sarah:
Yeah, but I don’t throw up, which is a good thing. And then he shows up and he gets a coffee, and he’s like, “Hey.” I think we hug to say hello first. And he just sits down, and first thing he does is ask me, “So what you’re working on.” And I show him my computer, I tell him a little bit about what my gig at WatchMojo is like, and he’s like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And plus, I think I was working on top 10 badass LGBTQ plus [inaudible 00:34:32] heroes, which was a topic that we were both interested in. So he was like, “Yeah, I can give you some suggestions if you want.” And then, for some reason, out of nowhere, he just takes my hot chocolate and takes a sip out of it, and I’m a bit weirded out by that because it’s-

Chris:
Yeah, that’s an odd behavior. Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah. It’s like a very familiar gesture. Right?

Chris:
Right.

Sarah:
I don’t when people do that to me normally.

Chris:
It’s like taking food off your plate.

Sarah:
Yeah, let alone when it’s someone who broke up with me three months ago.

Chris:
Okay, so he takes a sip of coffee, and-

Sarah:
I look at him and I’m like, “You’re welcome.” And he’s like, “Oh, well, you invited me for a cup of coffee. I’m having your coffee.” And I’m like, “Okay.” And it’s a bit awkward, but it’s also very familiar and very casual.

Chris:
He must have been nervous though, to me, that seems he was nervous and trying to like… I don’t know.

Sarah:
I think he looked very much he was nervous and trying to hide it, maybe as natural as possible. Almost like nothing happened, and we’re just buddies.

Chris:
How long does this coffee interaction last?

Sarah:
I think it could have lasted for a while, but I think it only lasted an hour and a half at that time before I cut it short, and I was like, “Okay, so it’s 8:00 PM now, it’s nice talking to you, but I should probably go home and make dinner now.” And he got up and was like, “Yeah, I should probably go home and get to work on my project as well. It was nice seeing you.” The thing is we always had a very, complicit, almost best friends vibe when we were dating.

Chris:
Okay, so it’s real natural talking back and forth.

Sarah:
Yeah, it felt we were going back to that friends vibe without the romantic stuff, if that makes sense.

Chris:
Yeah, I get it.

Sarah:
Yeah. And he was just goofing off, being his usual self, eating snow off the ground, and me scolding him for that, because that was something he used to do. And then he walked me back to my house, and hugged me. He initiated the hug, and I was like, “Okay, let’s go with it.” And then when he left, he said, “See you soon.” I was like, ” Okay, sure. See you soon then.” That’s new information to me. See you soon. Then I went home and felt very proud of myself for how I handled it.

Chris:
Yeah. Seems it went really great. I mean, he took a sip of your coffee. In pre school or kindergarten, that means you’re dating. He’s half way got back already.

Sarah:
I guess. Yeah.

Chris:
After the coffee date, who reaches out to who first? Because that’s always a point of contention in the group. You get these women they go on the date, it goes well, and then they don’t hear from their ex.

Sarah:
Oh, well, I think I actually sent a message right away as a follow up… No, not as a, “Hey, when are we meeting up again soon?” I just sent him a quick text saying, “Hey, it was nice to speak with you again and catch up.”

Chris:
Sort of like the thank you for the interaction type text message.

Sarah:
Yeah, kind of. Like when you send a thank you note after an interview that went well.

Chris:
So is thank you text, or call.

Sarah:
Yeah, basically. And I think that helped me because it takes the pressure off, again, “Who’s going to text who first after the meet up?” And at the same time, it’s not a text that says, “Wants to meet up soon.” Doesn’t sound desperate. It’s more like it closes off to interaction.

Chris:
Yeah.

Sarah:
And I liked that I was the one to do that because it felt I was in control of the situation.

Chris:
He’s also probably feeling pressure about if he should text you first.

Sarah:
Probably, too, and just takes the pressure off everybody.

Chris:
Yeah. What happens next, I guess, because that’s a big interaction, but eventually, the momentum is going to pick up here in a big way.

Sarah:
After that is what we started texting more often, I think, if I remember well, our conversations got longer too, still, all of this is completely over text. And at that time he was working on… He’s an engineer, and he was working on a video game project at an office building that was actually right next to my apartment building.

Chris:
Lucky.

Sarah:
Lucky, I guess. At some point, I remember he took a picture of my building from the office building where he was, he was like, “Guess where I am?” And I was like, “That’s fucking creepy dude.”

Chris:
Yeah, right, you’re spying on me.

Sarah:
Yeah, I was like-

Chris:
Making sure you’re not dating anyone else. He’s got the camera thing making sure.

Sarah:
It never felt like that. It never felt like he was pressuring me. No.

Chris:
No, I just think it’s a happy coincidence, right?

Sarah:
Yeah, that it felt weird too, and that made me think the chances were probably on my side. For a long time after that I was just like, “Okay, this is possible.” And also like, I have no idea what this man is thinking, or what’s going on through his head, or what he’s trying to do. But soon after that… I’m sorry, just a lot of things were happening at that time. And I had gotten back in touch with a guy I met on Tinder a year ago, basically. I met this-

Chris:
You were in this limbo, where you’re like, “Well, things aren’t progressing to the dating with my ex. So maybe I should start moving on.” Was that the thing?

Sarah:
Not really. This Tinder guy, I actually got back in touch with him as soon as I went back home to France, because I was like, you know what? I’m single. I’m heartbroken. I feel shit. But at least…

Chris:
So basically the guy’s a distraction from-

Sarah:
Yeah, it’s a distraction.

Chris:
Got it. Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah. And I was like, you know what? Yeah, might as well get something out of it. I got back in touch with him. And I was like, “Hey, you want to meet up again? You want to meet up for the first time, actually, one time?” And he was like, “Yeah.” So we basically scheduled a date for when I’d be coming back to Montreal. And I went on a date with him, but it was a very weird coincidence that I ended up scheduling my second meetup with my ex on the same day. As my first date with that Tinder guy.

Chris:
Wow.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
That is an interesting coincidence.

Sarah:
It wasn’t supposed to play out that time at first, but the Tinder guy had a cancellation. So we had to reschedule. And basically, what I’d heard about from my friends is that… we’ve heard about this board game bar that was fun. And we said, we all wanted to go together. And I let two subjects slip into a conversation with my ex and was like, “Yeah, that sounds a fun place. Have you ever been?” And he told me, “Yeah, I’ve been once actually. And it was pretty fun. I’d to go again.” And I was like, “Oh, you know what, you could join all of us.” Because we were all friends before. My friends liked him a lot, too. So I was like, “Yeah, you could join us then we could spend an afternoon there and just play games.” And he was like, “Yeah, sure.” And then it turned out that the evening of that day was my date with the guy.

Chris:
Okay, so do you go to this place to meetup with your ex, and then have to leave to go with the other guy?

Sarah:
Kind of, yeah.

Chris:
Wow, that might have actually played pretty well for you.

Sarah:
Yeah, it was a situation where I went to the board games bar, and my ex was the first person who was there too, so there was a time, where we were just alone, the two of us trying to talk. And I let it slip that, “Oh, unfortunately, I can’t stay too late today, because I have a thing tonight.” And he was like, “Oh, what thing?” And I thought, I could just say a date, but for some reason I didn’t. I was like, “Oh, just a meetup with someone from work that we got to do a project together.” And he was like, “Oh.” But then my friends came and my friends all knew that I had a date that night. So my friends didn’t ask questions about that. And while we were playing board games, I sometimes checked my phone to see if there were any messages from the Tinder date that night. And at some point, I could very obviously see him checking out my phone, and checking out my conversation.

Chris:
This all plays out too perfectly.

Sarah:
Yeah. At first I thought I was imagining things, but then we all went home, and my friend said, “Yeah, what was his problem? Why was he checking out the phone?” And I was like, “Oh, did you see that too? Was it obvious?” And he was like, “Yeah, it was obvious. That was very obvious.” And I think at some point, while we were playing board games, he pieced together that I actually had a date tonight, because then we all walked back home to my apartment with my friends, and that’s when he started having this weird conversation with me. We were talking about his old friends, just like we were dating again. And then he said, “Do you have any free time somewhere around February 14th, so we could maybe get a coffee?”

Chris:
Valentine’s Day?

Sarah:
Yeah. And also another thing because Valentine’s Day is actually the day of our first date.

Chris:
Okay, so it’s an anniversary of sorts.

Sarah:
It would have been our first anniversary. Yeah. He was like, “Do you have some free time so we can get together and have a cup of coffee? Maybe at that coffee shop where we first met?” And I was like, “Yeah, I guess I would have free time around that time. Why, is there something you want to talk about?” And he just looked at me without saying anything. Like I should know what he was talking about, and I should be able to guess, but I was like, “Ha ha ha, if you want me to guess I’m not going to do the hard work for you.”

Chris:
Right, you’re the one who broke up with me.

Sarah:
Exactly. So I just told him, “If there’s something you need to talk about, can’t you just tell me right now?” And he was like, “No, not really.” And I was like, okay, it’s time to put him out of his misery. So I just told him, “Look, if you want to talk with me sometime, send me a call, or a text. Let’s set up a date. And then you can tell me what you have to tell me. Sound good?” He was like, “Yeah, sound good.” And then when he walked me to my place, he hugged me, again, for a pretty long time, and then there was this awkward moment where he turned to my friends because all of them were still there, and he was like, “Yeah, well, since I hugged her, I got to hug all of you now otherwise, it’s weird.”

Chris:
He’s feeling self conscious about it.

Sarah:
Yeah. So they all hugged, and then he left. And my friends and I hung out my apartment for a while. And then it was time for my date with that Tinder guy.

Chris:
Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
So you go on the date with the Tinder guy. And I’m assuming, obviously, it doesn’t really lead to anywhere because you get back with your ex.

Sarah:
Well, you would think so, right? Because, well, to be honest, I didn’t want to have anything serious with that Tinder guy, of course. To be honest, when I first met up with him, I was like, it’s probably just going to be sex, because he’s cute. And, yeah-

Chris:
So he’s like the ultimate distraction for you?

Sarah:
Kind of, yeah. And also he’s cute, but he doesn’t seem too much of a jackass. And he probably isn’t going to murder me. So it’s perfect. Except that after my ex tells me, “I want to talk to you on our first anniversary, at the coffee shop where we met.” I’m in this-

Chris:
You decide not to sleep with him.

Sarah:
Well, I’m in this very confused space where I’m like, “I probably shouldn’t sleep with him.” So what I do is I go to the Facebook group, and I’m like, “Guys, this very weird thing happened, but it’s probably a good thing. It probably means chances are good, but I don’t want to get too hopeful.” Because part of me was like maybe he’s just going to meet up with me again to say, “I thought we could be friends. But it’s too hard. I want to break up with you as a friend.”

Chris:
Man, it’s funny how the mind runs to these places because the signs don’t look that at all.

Sarah:
The signs don’t look at that, but [crosstalk 00:46:50]-

Chris:
It’s hard logically when you’re fighting your emotions, and everything, and your fears.

Sarah:
Yeah, because there were no signs before the breakup. Right?

Chris:
Right.

Sarah:
And so What a lot of admins and women from the group told me was that, “You don’t have to feel guilty, just go on your date because it was scheduled and enjoy yourself, but probably don’t do anything more than just talk with him since you’re feeling confused right now.” And I was like, “Yeah, okay, I’m going to be good. I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to talk.” And then I got on the date, and he was very cute, and very good at talking. And there was wine, so we ended up sleeping together.

Chris:
Okay.

Sarah:
Yeah. And I ended up feeling a bit guilty about that. But, again, the Facebook group told me, technically you did nothing wrong.

Chris:
Technically, you did nothing wrong. You’re broken up, you owe him nothing. He broke up with you.

Sarah:
Yeah, exactly.

Chris:
You’re allowed to do whatever you want.

Sarah:
And he gave you nothing more than a few vague hints or something.

Chris:
Right. If he wanted you he should have stepped up at the moment when he was doing the weird hug thing with you and his friends. He should have just said, “Hey, let’s go for a date right now.”

Sarah:
Yeah, or just anytime before that. But basically it did give me an extra boost of confidence, and of calm, because I was like, “Even if this doesn’t work out, I’ve proven to myself that it’s possible for me to have fun with other people and to feel okay without him.” So I feel all that culminated to me not feeling so nervous for nerves when our third meetup came up.

Chris:
So your third meetup comes up, which is on Valentine’s Day?

Sarah:
Actually, no, because… sorry, there’s just a lot to unpack. Before our third meetup was scheduled, basically, he sent me a text saying, “I suggested Valentine’s Day because I thought it would be symbolic or whatever. But that was a dumb ass idea. So to have any time sooner, like this week?”

Chris:
So he’s feeling the pressure then. He really wants to see you.

Sarah:
I think he was. Yeah, I think he had a sense of urgency. And I said, “Yeah, sometime this week works for me. And yeah, I figured you were going for the symbolism.” Just to let him know that-

Chris:
So you lead on that, “I know what this is about.”

Sarah:
I know that you’re not being very subtle right now, basically.

Chris:
Right. Yeah.

Sarah:
Yeah, he said after that, “Yeah, this week would be great. I was going to suggest today because I’m close to your apartment right now.” And I was like, “Today, there’s no way. I got stuff to do, this is too short of a notice.” And he said, “Yeah, I figured it would be short notice, but this Saturday works.” So I go to my work meeting that day, and then I receive another message from them after my work meeting, which is just a long text block, where he shows his cards, finally. Where he’s basically-

Chris:
The long text block, what does it say?

Sarah:
It says…

Chris:
You can just give me the broad strokes. We don’t need a word for word.

Sarah:
I don’t know if my phone is actually dead, but it would be great… Anyway, he said that… Basically he started by saying that he was in the middle of a panic attack or something, and that he was sorry if it sounded a bit like he was rambling, but he just needed to get this out. He said that he wanted to meet up, and asked me to give him a chance to win the back, basically. He said that he had been spending the last three months not really trying to meet anyone else just doing his own thing, like thinking about life and what he wanted out of it. And what he wanted out of the partner.

Sarah:
That yeah, he knew it was cheesy, but it was a truth, and that he basically realized he made a mistake, and that he’d given a lot of thought to what I’d said about me leaving for grad school. About us trying long distance, and that he absolutely did see things looking out. That he wanted me to give him a chance again. Basically. He also said that it’s been three months, and he knows that I might have found someone else, or I might have changed my mind. And that, if it was the case, that was completely okay, and just pretend he didn’t say anything, and it would change anything on his part. That we could still be friends, no hard feelings, basically. But that if I decided that, “Yeah, I wanted to give him a second chance. He’d do his utmost to show me that it was worth it.”

Chris:
Okay, that’s pretty good text.

Sarah:
That’s pretty much exactly what you want to hear, right?

Chris:
Not pretty much. That is exactly what you want to hear.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
So what do you do with it? Do you just see him on that day, or do you wait until Saturday, or even respond?

Sarah:
Oh, no. Yeah. I responded like I think 20 minutes later because it sparked a panic attack in me. So I had to take some time, and then I told him In a pretty cold way, maybe, that like, “I just got out of the work meeting, and this is one hell of a message to come back to. And I’m actually at a friend’s house right now, do you mind if I get back to you tomorrow about this?” And he was like, “Yeah, sure, take all the time you need. I know, it’s a lot to sprint up on you right now. There’s no rush.” So the next day, I think, I answered him, and I told him basically, this is a lot to unpack right now. And let’s discuss this more when we meet up, basically. And then the meetup happened. All of that led to the third meetup.

Chris:
That is a lot to unpack, but with the context of the third meetup, how does that go?

Sarah:
We met up at the same coffee shop that I had chosen, and in retrospect, I don’t think he came very well prepared because, the first two times, my text to him, like the time when I asked him to come back after the breakup, all of those were very… I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do, what I wanted to get out of that, and what I was going to say. I don’t think he did that preparation for the third meetup. Not really.

Chris:
So he just came in, he’s like, “I’m going to wing it.”

Sarah:
Kind of, but I want to give him some credit, because he definitely did seem very nervous. And we spent most of the first meetup just dancing around the subject, talking about memes, and friends and jokes as if nothing else was going on. And then I brought the subject on the table, again. And he went into what he had done the past three months, and what he was thinking about, and how he felt that basically he made a mistake. He told me about the two only dates he’d been on in those three months, and it made me laugh because he said on one of these only two dates had been on, the girl’s dog actually bit on the ankle. And I was like-

Chris:
Not a great sign.

Sarah:
I was like, “That’s amazing.” I laughed like 10 minutes straight, I think.

Chris:
Dogs can be pretty protective if you approach their owner the wrong way.

Sarah:
I guess so. He wasn’t hurt that bad, so it was okay to laugh about it. But still, I was like, “That’s amazing. I love that dog. I owe that dog a big one. Good dog.”

Chris:
Good dog. This third meetup, because he sends you a text basically asking for you back, and I’m assuming a third meetup it was more talking through things. So was it just this natural unfolding of taking each other back, or did he have to ask again, or did you just have to accept on that third date?

Sarah:
No. I made it thoroughly clear that it wasn’t going to be a thing where like, “Oh, yeah, we’re back together now.” I told him I think some of the-

Chris:
He was going to work for it then.

Sarah:
Basically, yeah. I feel I was pretty good at giving him all the signs that he was going to work for it. When he kept dropping those hints, and being like, “I think you know what I’m talking about.” I was like, “No, I might know, but I’m going to make him spit it out.”

Chris:
Yeah, it’s the right thing to do.

Sarah:
If you can break up with me face-to-face, you can ask for me back face-to-face too, I’m not going to do the work for you. And I think he got the message across, and I told him that we were going to start with a trial period, because after we talked at the coffee shop, it naturally progressed into a date where we went to get dinner at a restaurant nearby. And after a while, I told him, “You probably already know that I still have feelings for you, because I don’t think I’ve been hiding that.” And he was like, “Yeah, and you probably know that I still love you. But I feel you’re having trouble trusting me again.”

Sarah:
And I was like, “I’m going to have trouble trusting you again for a long time. I’m going to ask to start with a trial period first. And I don’t know how long it’s going to be because I have no idea how long it’s going to take, for me to feel I can trust you again. I honestly can’t give you a timeline on that. I can tell you how long it’s going to be until I feel safe with you again.” And he was like, “Yeah, I understand that. Of course, that’s okay with me.” And I basically spent a long time giving him reasons not to do this, basically, telling him all the conditions about, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to take a long time. You’re going to have to be patient.

Chris:
Give me an example of conditions you would give him?

Sarah:
I told him, for example, “You know that I have a history of mental health, that this probably didn’t make it better. That I might go through phases where I’m angry at you, where I hate you, where I might not want to answer your messages. And you just might have to deal with that. And it’s going to be hard. Are you okay with that? Are you sure you’re ready to go through that to get me back, basically?” And he was like, “Yes. I’ve thought about this. And the answer is yes.” And stuff like I might not want to have sex with you for a long time because I might not feel ready to do that with you again for a long time. Are you okay with that? He was like, “Yes, I’m okay with that.”

Sarah:
And I brought up also the reason why he had broken up in the first place. I told him, “You know that I’m still going to go to grad school, because it’s my dream, I’m still going to go study. I’m still going to move away, I’m still going to want to try long distance with all the hardships that it entails. And you have to deal with the possibility that, yeah, we might still break up. Because we’re both young, and our lives are ahead of us, and there’s no guarantee that we’re not going to grow apart. Are you okay with that? Are you willing to deal with that uncertainty? Which before you weren’t able to deal with since you broke up with me?” And he said, “Yes, I’ve thought about it. And yes.” I wanted to leave no stone unturned, basically.

Chris:
Here’s a stone that I’m just curious about, so your trial period, which is an interesting idea to me, what are the conditions of it? Doesn’t mean both of you aren’t allowed to date other people? Do you just continue as is until you’re ready to take them back? Or is it like, “Hey, we’re going to be in a committed relationship, but in order for me to feel comfortable, you have to hit all these milestones.” But both of you you’re not allowed to date other people?

Sarah:
Yeah. I’m not sure if I ever made clear during that time, but none of us were dating other people during that time. It wasn’t open thing or stuff because also one of the things that he mentioned during our first meetup at the coffee shop is that he was like, “I’m really not for open relationships. It’s really not my thing.” And I was like, “Cool. We’re on the same page then. None of that.” Probably.

Chris:
Right.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
So it was almost assumed in the trial period. So you didn’t have to make it clear to him?

Sarah:
Yeah. And I actually told him very soon also about the other guy that I’d slept with because-

Chris:
How did he react to that news? I wouldn’t react well to that news if I was in his shoes.

Sarah:
I was very wary about that. Because I was like that was the very day that you started dropping hints, and I felt like you were trying to cock block me, except that didn’t work. And I told him basically, “Are you okay with knowing that?” And he told me, “We weren’t together, we were broken up, you were single. You had every right to do whatever you wanted, and you have no reason at all to feel guilty for this. No reason at all. This is something I cannot at all hold against you.” So I added on, but that I might still think about that guy from time to time because we did have some chemistry, and the trial period includes that-

Chris:
You really left no stone unturned.

Sarah:
I didn’t want to.

Chris:
Pretty impressive, also a little scary. I’d be scared to do that, if I was in your shoes, so you have some courage that not a lot of people would have.

Sarah:
Thanks. Well, it was just the possibility of starting a new relationship with a lot of blind spots, and a lot of problems that we don’t talk about. That was 1000 times scarier to me. Because that feel like getting your foot snapped up by a bear trap and then putting it back in the same spot again.

Chris:
Yeah, that’s a great analogy.

Sarah:
I’m not going to do that.

Chris:
You’re going to make every effort to make sure that bear trap doesn’t snap up, again.

Sarah:
Yeah, or just put my foot in a different place.

Chris:
So in all it took you about three months from start to finish to get them back or a little bit longer?

Sarah:
Three months, I’d say, because by the time what would have been our first anniversary, came around, we were already sort of back together.

Chris:
Okay. I mean, I think the moment he… that third meetup is technically the official, you got him back type thing, because it seems that that trial period is central for you. But going to ask you and just be as honest as possible. What do you think was the number one most effective thing that you did to make this come about?

Sarah:
I’m going to stick with the NC period, probably.

Chris:
So no contact.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
Specifically, what about no contact, how you should be using your time for you, in your opinion, how should you use your time during no contact?

Sarah:
It’s going to sound very cliche, but self care is just-

Chris:
Self care.

Sarah:
… number one priority because, for a long time, you’re going to feel you’re in a dark room, a huge, dark, messy room where you can’t see anything. And you’re just going to try whatever to make yourself feel better. And I think that’s the right state of mind to be in. You just have to get to a really primal state where you’re like, “This hurts. What can I do to make myself feel better?” And try not to think that getting back together with him is the only thing that can make you feel better, because it’s not.

Chris:
It’s interesting you say that. And I’ve been asking this to all the success stories that I’m interviewing, because one of the patterns I’m picking up on is it seems a lot of them get to this point where, yes, they want their exes back, but they understand innately that they kind of don’t care if they get them back anymore. So it’s like, “If I don’t get him back, I’ll be okay.”

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
Do you feel a take… because when you go through a breakup initially, that’s not even possible to feel that way, because you want them back so badly, especially if it was unplanned and it came out of left field like yours did. Do you feel that was an essential thing for you to work on to gain that mentality throughout this process? Do you feel that was a central aspect of your success?

Sarah:
Definitely. Is that probably you have to like… I don’t think you can ever be in a relationship with someone where you feel you need the other person, or you can’t do without.

Chris:
You can’t survive without them.

Sarah:
Exactly. And it’s okay to want them back. It’s very okay. But if you’re feeling like you can’t live without them, you probably have a lot of work to do before you can be back in a relationship with them. If it makes sense.

Chris:
No, that totally makes sense. And that’s the thing I’m trying to get across anyone listening, is that a lot of it is counterintuitive because I feel sometimes people come to the website or they come to the group and they expect me, or someone else to give them a magic bullet, say this one phrase, and he’ll be on his knees begging, but quite frankly, the magic bullet is that mentality. Because it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s that mentality, I’m noticing it’s a pattern in almost every single success story because I talk to you about this stuff, and I’ll bring it up after I let you have a say and talk about what you felt worked, and it’s always something around that line of thinking. Where it’s like, “I worked on getting to this mentality where I was like, “Look, I want him back, but if I don’t get him back, I’ll be okay.””

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
And I feel that’s a hard thing for a lot of women to go through because it’s not the straight arrow type thing. It’s not like, “Hey, do the no contact rule, then do a texting phase, and then a phone call phase.” It’s the thing that you never stop working on and getting. And the thing I’m been asking the success stories is, is it something that you feel you can manufacture? Can you fake it at all, or do you actually have to feel it?

Sarah:
That’s a tricky question. But I feel like there’s always a period where you have to fake it before you make it, or you’re going to have to… because some of the key things to feeling better is doing stuff. Like going out with friends, spending time with family, exercising, going to museum exhibits, anything that. And in order to do those things, you’re going to have to, in some measure, pretend that you’re okay, because it’s not socially acceptable to break up crying in front of the Mona Lisa.

Chris:
Well, I mean, I don’t know, you could play it off as the beauty of the Mona Lisa brought you to tears.

Sarah:
True. You could do that. Yeah. There is a component of projecting an outward air of like she’s got her shit together. Like she’s calm, she’s controlled, this girl does stuff, like go rock climbing three times a week, spend time with her sisters, spend time painting, spend time making sculptures out of clay, or stuff that I did. And it’s kind of like if you look at yourself on the outside, you’re like, “Oh, well, a person who feels completely heartbroken couldn’t do this. So obviously, I must be stronger than I think. Obviously, I must have some kind of shit together.” And then you convince yourself.

Chris:
So the best analogy I’ve heard was from a different success story. It’s you can fake it at the beginning, but eventually, it’s only to build momentum until you actually start believing it.

Sarah:
Yeah. Exactly.

Chris:
And you felt something a similar experience.

Sarah:
Yeah. And I’d say at the same time as I was doing that, I also let myself have my own time, have my own moments where I didn’t pretend that I was feeling better than I did. Where I just curled up on the couch and watch How I Met Your Mother episodes on autopilots.

Chris:
Love that show. I love that show. But the funny thing about that show is it’s a carbon copy of Friends. You’ve got the obsessed… What is it, the guy obsessed with girls, you got Barney. Who is it on Friends? Joey, right?

Sarah:
Yeah. Barney and Joey. Ted, Ross.

Chris:
And then you’ve got the Ted and Robin, versus Ross and Rachel.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Chris:
It’s funny.

Sarah:
And then you got the-

Chris:
And then you got the married couple, Marshall and Lily.

Sarah:
Yeah, the couple that gets together with minimal drama.

Chris:
Right. It’s like How I Met Your Mother was like, “Oh, Friends, that formula works really well, let’s just make it.” But out of the two shows, I watch How I Met Your Mother way more than Friends.

Sarah:
Really?

Chris:
I don’t know why, but I love both a lot.

Sarah:
Okay, I’m not proud of it, but I think also something that helped me with How I Met Your Mother specifically, is that the guy has to go through… Ted, has to go through all this trouble of falling in love with Robin, and being obsessed with her, and sabotaging all his relationships because of her for years, until he finally learns to let her go. And then eventually she comes back in his life at the end, which a lot of people were mad about.

Chris:
What’s interesting about the finale of that show, is that they wrote the finale when they didn’t know that it was going to get picked up for a second season. So it was like the whole arc of the first season was supposed to be like if they got canceled, that was supposed to be the ending and they just stuck with it. I don’t know if that’s totally true, but that’s what I’ve heard. I always liked Barney, and Robin together. So I was disappointed when they broke up because they were just hilarious to me. But yeah, anyways, this is totally off topic. But I wanted to take a minute and just thank you for coming on and sharing your story, seriously.

Sarah:
Oh, sure, no problem.

Chris:
You were so detailed. And specifically, a lot of what you said, you were even not afraid to sit there and hurt my feelings. Say, “I didn’t agree with everything that you were teaching.” And that’s why I’m actually doing these interviews because every time I do an interview, I learn something more about how I can improve, to advise people. And the pattern I’m picking up on is that self care type thing you’re talking about, that devil may care attitude, where you’re just like, “I don’t care if I don’t get my ex anymore.” And the more and more I interview people, the more I actually start to realize that may be the key that we need to start pushing more and more, to our clients. So thank you so much for coming on.

Sarah:
Pleasure all mine.

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2 thoughts on “Her Ex Broke Up With Her Out Of The Blue And She Got Him Back”

  1. Avatar

    anonymous

    August 11, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    hi! 3 days ago, i impulsively dumped my boyfriend. after that, i impulsively called him a few hours later and didn’t get a reply. the next day, i sent him a lengthy text apologizing and saying sorry, that i love him and my reason for breaking up wasnt worth it and i’ll make it up to him. he was still super angry and told me that i fucked him up, that this isnt the first time i do that, that he doesnt think he can go back and that he really hopes the best in life for me. after i tried a little bit with him i said that it was understandable and i hope the best in life for him too. he hasn’t blocked me on any social media or reached out in any way. i am now unsure of how to move forward. i was thinking of implementing 2 weeks of no contact then texting him to come get his stuff that way we can somehow make up? is this a good plan? i need some insight

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 15, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Hey there, no this is not a good plan. You need to read the materials and follow the information if you want the program to work.