We are never ever, ever, ever getting back together
I never thought I’d begin an article for ExBoyfriend Recovery by quoting a Taylor Swift song, but here we are. I thought it was appropriate for the topic of this article, because we are going to be talking about how to make stubborn exboyfriends who are adamant about breaking up come running back, begging to be yours again.
Yesterday, someone posted in our private Facebook group asking if anyone had their ex say one of the following:
“I just don’t think we’re compatible.”
“I don’t feel the same for you anymore.”
“I don’t see a future with you.”
“I think we’re better off as friends.”
“This isn’t working.”
The answer is yes. Absolutely. All the girls who responded heard one or more of these lines, or something similar. It is very common for a man to feel very secure in his decision to end it, and to use one of these to end the conversation, for fear of the woman trying to “talk him out of it.”
Using any of these lines helps to make the break feel more permanent, and right now, he is set on ending it.
The thing is, it is often these guys who are so adamant about the relationship being over who end up coming back some time down the road.
Take my ex for instance: We were together for a number of years, and I anticipated we would be together for a good deal more. But then he ended it, using the first of the lines mentioned above, as well as a slew of others.
I didn’t beg or plead, though. I knew deep down that he would be back.
And he is.
And you’ll be surprised to know what happened to make this stubborn guy change his tune.
Newsflash… it wasn’t begging.
It is no secret that men and women process things differently. You’ve seen this picture online posted on various social media, right?
The timing may be off, but the overall concept is true.
After a breakup, the woman tends to begin processing emotions immediately. That is why so many man refer to their ex’s as “crazy.” After a breakup, they are hurt, so they tend to throw all logic out the window and react emotionally, trying to salvage the relationship. The guy’s immediate reaction is to go out with friends, and even begin dating again. He may be sad, but because of societal standards, he doesn’t show it, and instead acts out, as though he doesn’t care. My ex was absolutely guilty of this after our breakup, and it was extremely painful to observe.
But then, a few weeks to months later (depending on the length of your relationship), the woman will start to feel a bit better. She’ll start going out with friends, taking up new hobbies, going to the gym, and she may even begin to hesitantly start dating again. This is the point where the reality of the breakup actually begins to set in for the guy. Going out isn’t as fun as it was, none of the hot girls he’s dating seem to stack up to how wonderful his ex girlfriend was, and his life begins to feel monotonous and boring.
Fast forward to 6 months to a year later (again, depending on the people involved and the length of the relationship). The woman is embracing life as a single woman, she’s being asked out by eligible bachelors constantly. She is nurturing her relationships with her friends and family, and she is taking steps towards her goals.
Women tend to lose themselves in relationships more than men do. We tend to prize our relationships and emotional connections above all else, whereas men tend to prize work and public accomplishments. A good girlfriend can add so much to a man’s life, but he might not realize how much until she’s gone. But when a woman begins to find herself again after a breakup (and that is at base what the ExBoyfriend Recovery program is all about), she gets to put herself and her needs first, when before, she put her partner’s needs and desires above even her own.
My point here is that men and women process things very differently. A recent study by Binghamton University and University College London found that though women hurt more as they result of a breakup, they also tend to deal with breakups in a more healthy way – grieving, and then doing a lot of self improvement work to feel better about themselves. This means that when they get back out there on the dating scene, they are more confident and attractive than ever. And they really have done the healing work and are over their ex fully, ready to embark on the next relationship healthily.
The same study found that men tend to react way differently. They distract themselves and don’t actually work to get over or recover from the relationship.
Instead, they do what I mentioned above – go out with friends, fill the void with other women, etc. But then, after a certain amount of time, the reality of the breakup begins to set in. They realize that A) They actually do want a life partner and they have to get back out and compete on the dating scene again; or B) What they had was absolutely irreplaceable, he let her go, and now she has moved on.
This is the dynamic that is at play when Chris says “They always come back after you’ve moved on.” I know this to be true. My ex came back – he said he had been processing his feelings in his alone time and realized a lot of things about our relationship, and himself. I told him, “but you were so sure” and he said that it had just taken time.
Moving on Without Moving On
If your exboyfriend was stubborn and adamant about the breakup, please keep the above in mind. There are academic studies that support the theory that men think less about the repercussions of ending a relationship, and others like the above that support the idea that they don’t recover as fully. I think this makes these stubborn men likely to return, but you have to play it the right way. After all, my ex is stupid stubborn, and he made a return.
So, what is the best way to play the chess game with a stubborn exboyfriend? It depends on what stage you’re at (as always No Contact is first and foremost).
Think about the study above and the implications. Women take longer to recover, but recover more fully/healthily. Men seemingly bounce back right away, but it is all a facade. We know that men tend to return back to relationships as soon as their ex girlfriend has moved on. Therefore, I have come up with an equation:
Self Improvement + Fear of Loss = Moving On Without Moving On
Let’s tackle Self Improvement First.
My ex mentioned on more than one occasion how blown away he was by all of the things I accomplishing after our separation. I took a lot of things that he considered negative qualities about me and turned them around. I worked on my confidence. I worked to become a better person. I did it for myself, though, not for him. And that was the key. I killed the No Contact Rule. I tackled the Holy Trinity of health, wealth, and relationships.
WORK ON YOURSELF. FOR YOURSELF.
This is a key concept of moving on without moving on. You may not actively be moving on to new people, but you are moving forward in your life and attacking personal goals. And that’s sexy as hell. To re-attract your ex back you can’t just focus on your interactions and how he’s responding to your texts. You have to re-attract him by becoming more attractive to him again (and I’m not just talking physically), and make him question his reasons for breaking up with such a badass lady. The best thing you can do is focus on self improvement. And if you do that, it will assist with getting closer to getting your ex back, but it will also make you happier with yourself and your life. Embrace No Contact. Embrace Yourself.
Alright, on to Fear of Loss.
I don’t know if you’ve ever broken up with someone. I have, a couple of times. And each time I did, I felt secure in the knowledge that if I ever wanted them back, they’d come running (for the record, I’ve never wanted any of them back – women tend to take their time deciding to end things, remember?)
But I digress.
My point is, your ex may feel secure, thinking that if he wants you back, you’ll be there with just a snap of his fingers. You can’t let him feel this security. He has to be scared that he is going to lose you, that you could move on.
So what do you do to strike that fear in his heart? I’d say there are two options here. First, there is jealousy. Obviously, a new person entering the picture is going to make even the most stubborn of ex’s a bit nervous if he has any residual feelings. Post that you’re going out with a guy friend. Casually mention a male co-worker’s name in a story to your ex, post a picture of a great dinner you’re having, and make the male hand around the beer stein slightly obvious, but not too obvious.
The other way to achieve this is scarcity. Just be a little less available to him. Don’t pick up his call, and instead send him to voicemail. Let a few texts go unanswered. Indulge in some push/pull to make him worry that he is losing you and your life has become too busy for him, whether or not there is another man in it.
If you can utilize both of these tools, it will help to make your ex start to wonder if you really are over him. And no one likes being unwanted, even if they broke up with the person.
Just remember, most guys tend to come back to their ex girlfriends as soon as they have started moving on. So if you can create the illusion that you are moving on and moving forward, it may cause him to return to you sooner. But keep in mind that is he thinks he has you, he’s not going to be afraid of losing you.
The Bottom Line
If a guy tells you any of the above things I mentioned at the top of this article, or anything in that same vein, I urge you to instead take it with a grain of salt.
People change all the time, and so do their feelings.
While writing this article, I kept thinking about Buffy and Spike. Spike becomes head over heels for Buffy in season 5, but she is less than interested:
Spike: “You can’t tell me that there isn’t anything there between you and me. I know you feel something.”
Buffy: “It’s called revulsion. And whatever you think you’re feeling it’s not love. You can’t love without a soul.”
Drusilla: “Oh, we can, you know. We can love quite well… if not wisely.”
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Crush”
However, in the last episode of the series, she tells him she loves him, and I even hear that they get together in the comics (which are considered cannon). What did Spike do to get Buffy to love him? He changed? He also utilized jealousy tactics (bringing a date to Xander’s wedding in “Hell’s Bells”). It worked. Buffy is the epitome of stubborn, but she couldn’t’ deny that there were feelings between them (much to my chagrin – I’m a Buffy/Angel shipper all the way).
Stubbornness is nothing when feelings are concerned. If you do the work and start moving on without moving on, I would say you have a nice chance of having your ex show up to your door and telling you he misses you and wants you back. Your power comes from appearing to move on. So embrace that, and all the positive changes that come along with it.
(Written by Rachel)