Today we are going to talk about how to treat an ex boyfriend who dumped you.
And if you stick around until the end of this article you’re going to learn,
- The importance of titles after a breakup
- The importance of following the steps of a value ladder
- And how to merge the two depending on where you are in the value ladder.
Four Titles to Define Your Relationship with Your Ex
Talking to an ex after a breakup can often feel like walking over landmines – you don’t know what to say, when to say it, and what you both are to each other.
The most significant point to consider when treating an ex after a breakup is the title – what are you?
Our society is obsessed with titles and labels so we feel the need to put a title on every relationship. That can be hard when you’re talking to an ex after a breakup since there’s no actual rulebook or proper relationship in place.
Our clients often find it hard to get their exes to fully define the relationship because they’re not ready for an official title. Today’s article will make that much easier for you because we not only define the titles for you and your ex after a breakup, but we also go through the different stages of the ex recovery process and what title to expect at each stage.
- Friendly acquaintance – Someone you know a little more than a casual acquaintance, but you wouldn’t consider them a friend yet.
- Friends – Someone you know well, enjoy talking to and have a mutual bond of affection with.
- More than friends – Someone you actively flirt with more than a friend, but you’re not exclusive.
- Romantic partner – Someone exclusively in a relationship.
Now knowing these titles isn’t enough on their own; you need to understand how they relate to our concept of a value ladder.
Anyone who asks me about how to treat their ex is met with the exact same tried-and-tested concepts: the no contact rule and the value ladder.
Value Ladder – The Steps And Titles At Each Step
A value ladder is the process of building value over incremental modes of communication, getting more personal and romantically involved in each step.
So let’s look at the 5 rungs of a value ladder:
Step 1: No Contact Rule
Relationship title: friendly acquaintance.
The no contact rule is ALWAYS the foundation of a value ladder, regardless of whether you want your ex back or want to get over them.
The no contact rule is where you have a complete understanding that you and your ex are no longer an item, you’re no longer romantic partners, and you’re no longer friends. Often, people who want their exes back believe or delude themselves into believing that if they’re just friends with her ex, they can crawl their way back into the picture. While we do advise being friends with your ex in situations where they’ve moved on – the “being there” method – we never advise that as the first step.
The no contact rule is the primer for the next steps, so you have to understand that you cannot talk to your ex, and they are nothing more to you than a friendly acquaintance.
You don’t spend too much time thinking about a friendly acquaintance, so your ex should just be an afterthought during the no contact rule.
Instead of obsessing over your ex, the no contact rule is supposed to be all about focusing on YOU. It’s about understanding the Ungettable mindset, which is basically where you look at all the elements of your life and try to optimize them to be the best possible version of yourself.
When you focus on yourself, you’ll experience a mindset shift where you stop caring about your ex too much, and that will give you the confidence you need to have amazing conversations with your ex in the following steps.
Your ex will also have a much more positive response to you if they see you as a different person.
Step 2: Texting Phase
Relationship title: Friends
The text message phase is often defined by subtle flirting and building the foundation for a friendship.
The key here is building rapport because you’re trying to turn someone from a friendly acquaintance to an actual friend.
Being friends is essential to this phase, so you cannot rush the texting phase. Instead, take your time and have engaging text conversations till you and your ex both see each other as friends… but just friends!
Step 3: Phone call/ Video call phase
Relationship title: More than Friends
This step basically involves all virtual methods of communication where your ex can hear your voice, and you can talk back and forth.
So just like the text message phase was transitionary between friendly acquaintances to actual friends, the phone call phase is where you’re transitioning from being friends to more than friends.
This is actually one of the more difficult transitions that will happen because your ex creates this narrative of “hey, we’re just friends, right?” and they get stuck in this every time you talk. However, when you start subtly flirting with them over text (and hopefully, they respond in the same way), you’re opening their mind to the possibility of more.
You can build on that shred of doubt (or hope) when you start to call them.
This phase is particularly hard because it often happens simultaneously with texting – I mean, it’s to be expected that if you’re calling someone, you’re probably texting them too, right? This becomes difficult to grasp for people like me who prefer linear steps in everything…
No contact rule for 30 – 45 days? Check!
Building value over text for 30ish days? Check!
On to phone calls now… but does that mean we’re done with the texting? No.
This is where you get the benefit of using video chat or phone call functions in tandem with texting to hopefully create a situation where you and your ex both start to feel like you’re more than friends.
We actually find that it’s not hard once you get the momentum going to create that “more than friends feeling” because you’ve already been more than friends. You’ve already dated each other, so you know how to get back in that groove.
But people who rush this process overestimate their ability to cross over into the “more than friends” title. They usually enter the meetup phase while still in a limbo between friends and more than friends, and that’s a recipe for disaster. So you need to make sure to spend the appropriate amount of time in the texting and phone call phase
Step 4: In-person meetups
Relationship title: More than Friends / Romantic Partners
So we actually used to tell people to go right into dates after the phone call phase, but we found that those first few “dates” were just awkward, and both parties were confused about what’s going on.
So we phased that out and started recommending a few casual meetups to get over any initial awkwardness before climbing on to the next step of the ladder.
So these meetups are basically a weird sort of pseudo-date situation where your ex is almost certain that you’re on a date but can’t quite claim that you’re on a date because they haven’t committed to being exclusive with you. Usually, nothing romantic is happening, but you’re sowing the seeds for your ex to see you as an exclusive romantic partner before you move on to romantic dates.
We usually recommend going on three of these pseudo-date meetups, and by then, your ex should start showing an inclination for romance. If they don’t, you should nudge them by asking the fundamental question – “what are we?” If you’ve built enough value over the value ladder’s last rungs, this conversation should smoothly transition you to going on romantic dates.
Now the catch here is that you don’t want to take the lead here as a woman. Men have a bigger advantage here because they can take the lead and initiate, while women usually take a more reactionary role. You want to let those gender dynamics work as they do because you don’t want your ex to feel like they’re losing power. However, you can put yourself in romantic situations just to test what your ex is going to do.
This is why I actually highly recommend you watch the recent interview I did with coach Anna, our head coach in the ex recovery team. We talked for like an hour and a half about flirting – what flirting is, how to do it properly, what’s ok to say, and what’s not ok to say. That interview will help you turn your ex’s focus from being more than friends to romantic partners.
Step 5: Romantic Dates
Relationship title: Romantic Partners
This is what you’ve been waiting for.
Usually, by the third meetup, your ex has expressed strong desires to be exclusive romantic partners. Now, of course, it doesn’t always work out that way, and sometimes you’ll get to the romantic dates phase, and your ex is still not ready to commit. You’re probably acting like romantic partners, but you don’t have the security and validation of a label. So how do you get that?
There are a lot of different ways to go about this, but here’s the biggest actionable piece of advice when planning dates:
Location! Location! Location!
What date would you rather be on? A quick trip to McDonald’s or a ride on a hot air balloon/walk along the sandy beaches of Hawaii?
Obviously, your ex will have much more romantic feelings in romantic locations, so it’s a great “hack” to nudge them in the right direction towards becoming exclusive romantic partners.
The other part of the equation is the kind of conversations you’ve been having. You want to talk about things that interest your ex and not just yourself, so they feel engaged in the conversation. You can also try teaching your ex something new on a date as a way to rekindle romantic feelings!
So, the romantic date phase is the last phase where you can go all out and make the switch from “more than friends” to “romantic partners,” as long as you took your time on the previous rungs of the value ladder.
How you treat your ex has a lot to do with what title you give to your relationship.
Here at ex-boyfriend recovery, we like to use 4 titles for your relationship with your ex after a breakup:
- Friendly acquaintances
- More than friends
- Romantic partners
These titles go hand in hand with our value ladder – which is the incremental methods of communication you use to build value after a no contact rule.