By Chris Seiter

Updated on May 4th, 2021

Hey, what’s up and welcome to another episode of the Ex Boyfriend Recovery Podcast.

Today we’re going to be talking about if your ex has the grass is greener syndrome and won’t commit.

So we’re going to be taking a listener question from a woman named Fran, who has one of the more unique situations that I’ve encountered over the years.

But first, before we take her question, if you’re listening to this podcast, or even watching this podcast episode on YouTube, because I know everyone has different ways that they like to consume the content here.

My best recommendation for everyone listening, if you’re considering getting back with your ex or even if you are just sort of on the fence about it, is to hop over to my website, and on the homepage you’ll find many different prompts to take our ex recovery chances quiz.

It’s a simple two minute quiz designed to tell you what kind of chance you have of getting your ex back.

So if you’re listening to this on the podcast, all you have to do is simply go to our website. Just type in ex boyfriend recovery in Google, or if you’re watching this on YouTube, simply look in the description link below and click on the link you see there.

All right, now that the “pitch” is out of the way.

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The Listener Question

Let’s hear from Fran.

Hi, I’m reaching out regarding my ex boyfriend situation. It’s a bit of a soap opera. We’ve known each other for about 10 years. He had asked me to marry him and I had said no, because I just wasn’t feeling him 100% there with me.

Six months later he ended up marrying someone else. She was three months pregnant by the time they were married. So we both went our separate ways.

He kept in touch every now and then, just small talk, asking how I was and things like that, but nothing ever further than that within these ten years.

About a year ago, he ended up getting divorced, and we started talking again two months ago. He keeps saying how he’s in love with me and how I was the love of his life and he’s never stopped loving me and how he wants to be with me and how I’d make him happy.

But yet when it comes to doing something about it, it just seems like he’s not willing to go that extra mile. I live in the US. He lives in Mexico. I think when you love someone, you do everything in your hands to be with them.

But for him it’s just more like, you know, it’s just … I feel like he’s never been willing to fight for me, and I don’t know if he just wants to keep his candle lit, or keep his options open with me or if he really does feel this for me, if he really does love me, and I just don’t know what it is.

It’s been ten years, and I’m kind of ready to either go all the way with him or move on.

Why He Is Not Committing?

All right, Fran. So I think probably the best way to start off is by summarizing your situation as I see it and giving you some of my thoughts on what is going through his mind.

Why he is “not committing” and maybe giving you a quick action plan for how to get him to commit.

So for anyone listening to this, if you’re sitting here and thinking,

“Well you know, my situation is to completely different than Fran’s,”

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I would actually kind of pump the brakes a little bit because one thing that I noticed throughout my seven and a half to eight years of doing this is that everyone always thinks they have a unique situation.

I can’t tell you how often I get a email from someone or someone in our private Facebook group says, “You know, Chris, you’ve never heard of my situation before.”

And nine times out of ten I have. So usually the situations aren’t as unique as you think, but they are unique to you, and there are certain aspects that are not going to be easily replicated for other people.

But if you’re sitting here thinking, “Well, you know, I don’t know, Fran’s situation seems so different than mine.” Don’t sit there and look at it that way.

Look at it on how you can take some of the more common things that are happening to her.

Her ex won’t commit to her. He’s kind of hot and cold.

And let’s look at what we can do to peel back the layers so that you fully understand what’s going on through this particular ex boyfriend’s mind, and also how you can get a man to commit.

So if those things interest you, hot and cold behavior, the grass is greener syndrome, and getting a man to commit, this is the right podcast episode for you to listen to or watch, if you’re watching this on YouTube.

All right, so here’s a quick rundown of Fran’s situation. She’s unique in the fact that not many times do we deal with clients that have actually turned their ex down, right?

So he proposed to her at one point and she wasn’t ready for marriage. Eventually a couple months later, he gets married to someone else and gets that girl pregnant.

A few years go by, he gets divorced and gets back in touch with Fran, even though he’s sort of been off and on in touch with her throughout the entire marriage, and I guess divorce process.

He says he’s in love with her, that she was the love of his life, yet he won’t commit.

Now there are long distance considerations. She seems to be based in the United States. He seems to be based in Mexico.

So as you’re going to find a little bit later that will come up, and that is an important thing to consider here, and she ends by asking, “What the heck is he thinking? I don’t know what to do. Should I be moving on? Should I be hung up on him?”

The Grass Is Greener Syndrome

So let’s first tackle your ex boyfriend’s mindset, Fran.

So this is kind of a really common type of behavior that I have seen for years now. And that’s the grass is greener syndrome. It’s sort of when you move on to someone else, you tend to romanticize the past, if you will.

So I talk a lot about this grass is greener syndrome, and I talk a lot about these sort of bars that get set.

So if you will imagine every single person has a a scale in which they rate their relationship experience, right? So just to be real crude here, maybe let’s say that he’s rating his relationship experience on a scale of one to ten, one being awful, 10 being amazing, right?

When he breaks up with you or when you break up with him, the scale tends to be extremely low, but as time goes on, you have a tendency to romanticize the past.

That’s mostly due to the fact that we remember experiences based on two distinct points, the peak, which is the more exciting parts of the experience, and the end of the experience.

So right after a breakup, when a man is going through a breakup, they’re going to only typically remember the end of the relationship, which for most people is pretty rotten.

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But the more time goes on, you have a tendency to romanticize the past, because you’re remembering the peaks, the more exciting aspects of the relationship, and you could actually just do this with your own memory.

Think back on some of your favorite movies. Do you remember every single little detail of the movie? Probably not.

You probably remember the more exciting parts of the movie, whether that was at the beginning or in the middle, but the more exciting parts and also the ending, right?

That’s why everyone kind of hated Game of Thrones. That’s why a lot of people right now say, “Game of Thrones sucked. It ended awful,” and I was among one of those people that thought the finale could’ve been better of course, but the important thing is I think as time goes on, what you’re going to see happen is people will start to romanticize Game of Thrones.

It will be looked at a little bit more fondly and that’s mostly due to the peak end rule. We’re just having that gut check reaction right now in the moment because guess what? The end was just so near. Well, that’s kind of going on with him.

When he’s thinking back on his relationship with you, he’s not necessarily remembering the bad parts or the the crushing parts. He’s remembering the really exciting and happy parts, right, and as a result he’s painted you as the one that got away.

That’s why he’s saying he’s in love with you, or that you were the love of his life because he feels that in the moment, but the interesting thing is he still hasn’t committed.

You say that he’s saying all these nice things to you yet he won’t commit.

He won’t take that next step to solidify a relationship, and that’s where this gets interesting because when you look at commitment, there are a lot of factors that come into play here.

Number one, I think in your particular circumstance because one thing you’re going to learn about me is that when I take on clients, I’m very big into taking their situation and just looking at their situation.

Sure. Most of the time their situation is not as unique as they think it is, but there are certain caveats and your particular situation. The difference here is that you are in the United States and he is in Mexico.

That has to be playing a factor on why he’s not committing to you, but there’s also another X factor that you have to keep in mind here, and that’s something I like to call the interdependence theory.

The Interdependence Theory

Now I learned about the interdependence theory maybe two or three years ago.

I learned about it or reading about it on some psychology website like Psychology Today or or something like that, and basically it posits that human beings, when they are looking at making commitment decisions, they kind of do a pro and con chart, right?

And generally speaking, if they determine that it benefits them, if there’s more benefits than there are costs, they’re going to enter into that relationship.

And when psychologists were looking at how people made or came to these decisions, they looked actually at three main factors:

How satisfied they were in the relationship?

If there were better alternatives out there?

Or, how much they’ve invested into the relationship?

To me, when I heard about this, it was mind blowing. I thought,

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“Yes, yes, this. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to talk to my clients about,”

but over the time I’ve actually refined it, and added a few more aspects that I think the psychologists didn’t quite consider.

So in my opinion, I believe there are five aspects that you need to consider if you want someone to commit to you, and this doesn’t just apply to ex boyfriends, this applies to any man in general.

If you’re having … you’re talking to a guy, you’re really vibing with him, but you’re funny, he’s kind of hot and cold and he’s not committing.

You can actually plug these five things, chart them out and figure out where you’re going wrong.

The Five Factors

All right, so let’s talk a little bit about what these five things are.

I’ve already told you three, but I’m going to go back and kind of explain a little bit more in depth what these three things entail.

So factor number one, satisfaction. This revolves around how satisfied your ex or your partner is with the conversations or experience that they’re having with you, right?

So generally speaking, if they’re looking back on your time together fondly, that’s good for you.

Pretty self-explanatory there. But what most of the time happens is when a lot of my clients try to reconnect with their exes, they make kind of a big mistake and that’s that they’re kind of boring, and the conversations are not very satisfying to them and as a result they grow bored, right.

So that’s sort of satisfaction in a nutshell.

Alternatives also kind of plays into mind here, with your situation, Fran. So alternatives is basically when your partner is looking at other alternatives, he’s looking at other women and he’s kind of comparing them to you.

This is a direct connection to the grass is greener syndrome, which is that sort of romanticizing the past.

So what I think is happening in your particular instance, and it’s working pretty well for you, and that’s maybe one of the sole reasons why he’s saying that he’s in love with you or that you’re the love of his life, Fran, is because he’s looking at alternatives.

He’s already had experience with his ex wife and he’s comparing that experience, the experience with you, and you kind of trumped the ex wife.

So if you’re with a guy and you start to notice him wavering a little bit, start to look at things from his perspective, he may actually be looking or thinking about an ex and how things felt with them.

And I always like to try to quantify this by telling my clients to imagine a bar, right?

So a one through ten scale, everyone gets a grade and it kind of creates, it sets the bar so to speak. So let’s say that you’re in a relationship with a man and he deems that the relationship with you is an eight out of ten.

It’s really … His entire experience with you is an eight out of ten. that’s probably the best way that I can put it, but he’s romanticizing the past and as a result, he’s looking at his ex, and that relationship was a nine out of ten.

All of a sudden he’s going to be more drawn to that alternative.

So ideally what you’re trying to do, and there’s maybe a little bit of synergy that goes in to these first three factors, but you’re trying to make sure that your ex is as satisfied as possible.

As a result, if he’s satisfied, and when I say satisfied, I’m not talking about sexual aspects.

I’m talking about conversational aspects. Make sure you make that distinction, but the more satisfied he is in conversations and experiences with you, the less likely he is to look at an alternative.

But there’s also investment to take a look at, right?

So what is investment?

Well, a lot of people when they think of investment, they think of investment in monetary terms. They think, “Okay, how much money is my ex spending on me?” Well that’s one form of investment.

But in my opinion, the more important investment to take accounting of here is time.

How much time is your partners spending with you?

So Fran, this is, if you’re looking at these three aspects, I think you maybe have one and two covered.

Your ex seem satisfied when he’s talking to you, and he probably doesn’t think there’s a better alternative out there, even though he could go on dates and everything like that, but where you’re struggling is with investment.

Maybe you’re talking a lot, but you’re not talking a lot in person.

So not all time is created equally. I know that’s kind of a weird statement, because time sort of should be equal to everyone, but there’s a difference between talking through text, talking on the phone, and talking in person.

Each one becomes more powerful because it really leads itself and lends itself to the satisfaction aspect. But when I’m looking at investment as a whole, I’m not looking at just money.

How much money is this person spending on you, or investing into the relationship? I’m also looking at time, how much time has this person spent investing into you?

And what we found is that the more time and money invested into the relationship, the less likely they are to leave that relationship. So what do I mean by that?

Well, they can be extremely unsatisfied with the relationship. They can think, “Man, I could do way better than her,” but if they’ve invested a lot of time and energy and money into the relationship, it makes them think twice about throwing the relationship away.

So those are the first three aspects of the interdependence theory.

The fourth aspect is scarcity

So scarcity is kind of showing that you’re one of a kind, and often I’ll refer to this as the fear of loss.

There always needs to be embedded scarcity in the overall strategy that you’re going to employ, because there’s the difference between tactics and strategy when you’re trying to get an ex back, right?

Tactics are ideas like the no contact rule. That’s a tactic, but the overall strategy is the overall combination of tactics that will get you to obtain your goal.

That’s the overall strategy.

You need to always sprinkle in fear of loss, or always needs to be some type of way that your ex is feeling like he could lose you forever. Whether that’s not talking to him, whether that is something as simple as going on a date with someone else, employing small jealousy ploys.

I’m not, at the top of my brain here, coming up with great examples of this, but there are plenty of examples of how you can create scarcity and fear of loss. But what you’re going to find happens is as a result of your scarcity and fear of loss, it’s going to create urgency, right?

So urgency is really what is needed to make a man commit to you, right? So think of it like this. Satisfaction, alternatives and investment are all kind of interchangeable.

As a result, there’s kind of a … not interchangeable, that’s not a good way of saying it, but there’s a synergy between each three. They all kind of bleed into the other.

So the more satisfied he is with you, for example, the least likely he is to look at alternatives.

And the more satisfied he is and the more he thinks he can’t do better than you, the more he’s going to invest time into the relationship. And the more of those three things that you can get can get to synergize, it’s going to help when you do your scarcity plays, right?

So when you try some jealousy, the jealousy is going to be extremely effective, and as a result, he’ll feel this urgent need to commit to you.

Now, women who do this interdependence theory idea, do these five aspects, tend to get men to commit to them. Every once in a while they have to play the whole, you know, bat the eyelashes, what are we, card. But more often than not, that’s not the case.

And so what I’m thinking is happening here, Fran, in your specific situation is you’ve done probably a good job with satisfaction and alternatives, but what you’re struggling with is investment, and not investment of a texting form.

I’m talking about an investing, getting him to invest his time through phone calls, getting him to fly out to see you.

The more you can kind of work on that, the more you’ll start to also be able to sprinkle in some scarcity plays, maybe try some small jealousy tactics when you’ve got satisfaction, alternatives, and investment shored up. Then as a result, you’ll start to create the urgency that’s needed to get him to commit to you.

So that’s where I think you’re maybe going wrong, but more often than not, I’m a big believer in only focusing on the aspects of your life that you can control, and one of the aspects that you cannot control is him, right?

But what we can control, everything I’ve told you today, the interdependence theory, satisfaction, alternatives, investment, scarcity, and urgency, all of those things you have some measure of control over. And ideally, if you do a really good job, you can get the result that you’re wanting to get.

So in a nutshell, that’s why I think your ex has the grass is greener syndrome. He’s romanticized the relationship he had with you, but you probably need to do some more work on investment, scarcity and urgency.

And there’s always more work to be done on satisfaction. Alternatives, weirdly enough, kind of gets taken care of if you get him to invest a lot, and get him extremely satisfied in conversations and experiences with you.

One Final Tip

The other one final tip I would give you is if you do see him in person, try to do something together for the first time.

There’s nothing like bonding you together with another person than having a first experience together. Let’s say he’s never been on, and this is just coming to mind, a hot air balloon ride.

Well, maybe you guys go and experience that together. It’s the first time you’ve been on a hot air balloon and the first time he’s been on a hot air balloon and it’s exciting and will form a bond that can create another one of those peaks that we were talking about with the peak end rule.

So in a nutshell, Fran, that’s what I think you should be doing.

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2 thoughts on “My Ex Has The Grass Is Greener Syndrome And Won’t Commit”

  1. Randi

    February 15, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    But how can you get them to invest….if they are now seeing someone else? If you ask them to go out and do something but they wont.
    But they are ok with talking through text. :/
    I want him back it was a dumb breakup. I broke it off and didn’t mean to…. but then I messed up and was cold and distant and mean basically not showing him he was worthy. I’ve really worked on myself and learned what I’ve done but now hes seeing someone. We were together 3 years. I told him I was done for now January 3rd and he told me hes been dating her for 1 month now but it’s not Serious and we have been in contact almost daily. But I did go into crazy mode begging crying being emotional and telling him we can rebuild a better relationship etc right after I said those words I didnt mean. 🙁
    He has since said I honestly didn’t think you would change or that you even liked me or were ever happy. 🙁 I dont know if there is any hope of this working out now? I do love him and thought we would be married but I handle things WRONG I had a lot of stuff going on outside our relationship and I wasnt focused on our relationship so I just blew up and said things I didn’t mean. What do you think?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 15, 2020 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Randi, if they are talking to you through text make sure that your conversations become more invested, moving form general conversation, sharing opinions, telling your ex things that you dont tell anyone else and hope that he reciprocates. Talk to him about things that you know would trigger memories about your relationship without actually directly reminding him of those times. If he is willing to talk through text and have deeper conversations this is investment