Most of my career and livelihood is based on helping people get their exes back so a lot of people think that I always recommend getting back together with an ex as a solution to a breakup.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even though most people come to us to win their exes back, I want to stress that not all situations warrant trying to patch things up.
Sometimes, getting your ex back is actually worse than the breakup itself.
Hence the topic of todays article. I want to give you a clear understanding of the nine big red flags you should be keeping an eye out for if you are in a situation where you SHOULD NOT get an ex back.
Nine Red Flags On When NOT To Get Your Ex Back
I’m a big believer that the devil always seems to be in the details and that logic certainly seems to be the case with these nine red flags.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what we’re going to be talking about in this article,
- Explosive Anger
- Hiding in Addiction
Now let’s get into the details.
Red Flag #1: Intensity
Intensity is basically over-the-top behavior that feels like it’s too much too soon and your ex will have a history of doing this.
Think back to the start of your relationship and try to catch if your ex might have tried to move things way too fast.
I’m talking about going ring shopping, planning a wedding, and talking about baby names within a month of dating or less.
This is a red flag because it shows an insecure individual who wants to “claim” you as their own.
Someone desperate like this will often also be unhinged when a breakup occurs.
Red Flag #2: Controlling
This is where your ex tried to dictate every aspect of your life like what you wear, who you talk to, where you go, etc.
I usually see this type of behavior in two groups of exes: those who are in their first relationship or those who are older.
People in their first relationship don’t really know how to handle relationships yet. They feel like it’s their right to control you because you were their first everything.
Some of our older clients also have such restrictive and controlling exes because they basically spent their whole lives with this narrative of men having control over women in relationships.
Having an ex who is controlling is extremely off-putting and the worst part is that the person being controlled will always find a way to blame themselves. I see clients all the time who were in a clearly controlling relationship but they’d make excuses for their ex’s behavior by taking the blame. They’d rationalize their ex’s behavior by saying that action from them prompted him to act that way.
Here’s a crucial reminder: There is absolutely no excuse for someone who is overly controlling and tries to micromanage all your personal freedoms and choices.
If your ex was the kind to tell you what to do all the time and get mad when you didn’t obey them, it’s a good sign that you should not be trying to get them back.
Red Flag # 3: Extreme Jealousy
This is when an ex becomes irrational anytime you talk to a member of the sex you’re attracted to. They may even accuse you of untrue things by gaslighting you and creating exaggerated scenarios of cheating.
Now, I’m no stranger to getting jealous. It happens to the best of us, but there’s a huge difference between health jealousy and unhealthy jealousy:
- Healthy jealousy – when you’re in a strong committed relationship and you can calmly discuss if your partner’s interactions with someone made you feel uncomfortable. You can both talk it out like adults and address those feelings.
- Unhealthy jealousy – The obsessive kind of jealousy where your ex will gaslight you and accuse you of things that never happened. Imagine an ex who meets your workplace acquaintance and thinks you’re sleeping with them or an ex who stalks your every single social media post and makes a big deal if someone compliments you.
Exes that exhibit extreme unhealthy amounts of jealousy are definitely not worth getting back because you’ll always have to walk on eggshells when interacting with others around them.
Red Flag #4: Isolation
This is where your ex intentionally monopolizes your time and insists that you only spend time with them and no one else. The goal here is to make you dependent on them.
I want you to notice a theme in all the red flags covered so far (and those to come) – they always involve your ex controlling you in one way or another because they’re projecting their own insecurities on you.
So if they’re jealous they’ll gaslight you and make you feel like you’re wrong for talking to someone else even when it’s completely innocent. They might even try to regulate what you wear and who you talk to so they’re the center of your universe.
The most direct way to control you is by completely monopolizing your time. After all, they can’t get too jealous or insecure if you only pay attention to them, right?
This kind of behavior really becomes apparent if you’re trying to talk to family or friends and your ex keeps you away from them. They’ll try to prolong conversations and be clingy to an extreme level so you don’t have time or energy left to talk to anyone else.
Now we’ve all had relationships where we’ve been on the phone and we just can’t seem to hang up the other person, but this is different. We’re not talking about a lovey-dovey “can’t get enough of each other” type conversation between two people, we’re talking about a concerted effort on your ex’s part to keep you away from others and make you completely reliant on them for all your needs.
They might even try to fix all of your problems so you don’t go to anyone else (even yourself!) when you need to. If your ex succeeds at making themselves your “one-stop-shop” for all your problems, it’s not a stretch to imagine that they’d want you to cut everyone else off because you don’t need anyone else when you have them.
Red Flag #5: Sabotage
This is basically where your ex makes you choose them over your own dreams. Typical behavior in people like this includes faking illnesses, threatening to end a relationship or hiding keys.
This red flag also takes us back to the idea of control and trying to monopolize your time. The best way for them to monopolize your time is to sabotage any act of self-reliance you have.
Need to drive to work? Your ex would hide your keys so they have to drive you.
Going for a night out with friends? Your ex will mysteriously come down with a fever, forcing you to stay and take care of them.
The fake illness aspect is especially common when an ex will fake a long term illness like cancer or just deep mental health issues so they can guilt trip you into staying with them.
Think of statements like “I’ll have a panic attack if you leave me”, or “my heart can’t take it if you leave.”
You definitely want to stay as far away as possible from an ex who has consistently sabotaged your personal freedoms and other relationships.
Red flag #6: Explosive Anger
This is where your ex will overreact to small inconveniences in extreme ways by losing emotional control or having gigantic violent outbursts that cause you to fear them.
Now I want to make one thing clear: fights happen in all relationships.
Everyone defines a “fight” differently, eg. my wife sees a minor disagreement as a fight while I just view it as a discussion. Regardless of how it’s defined, there will always be some friction in a relationship.
But I’m not talking about the normal fighting here, I’m talking about loud and messy arguments that might even devolve into your ex physically harming you or throwing things at you. If fights with your ex create a sense of fear in you, you probably shouldn’t be dealing with his anger anymore.
A great indication of this red flag is if you feel apprehensive before bringing up a topic in conversation that your ex doesn’t like. You know they won’t respond positively so you skip the conversation altogether to avoid facing their violent anger.
This is a huge problem because your ex should be able to handle themselves and have enough emotional control not to scream or physically harm you just because they don’t like a certain conversation. If your ex’s anger scares you this much that you can’t even talk to them without fearing for your safety, we recommend cutting them out of your life completely and moving on.
Red Flag #7: Hiding In Addiction
This is where someone will use an addiction as an excuse to be overly emotional – either they make you feel sorry for them or they’ll make you fear them and then blame you for their altered state.
This is something that we’ve unfortunately seen a lot of ever since COVID happened as people turn to alcohol and drugs after losing their jobs or loved ones. All these extremely addictive substances are harmful to the addict and others around them.
The worst part about a partner/ex who has an addiction isn’t the substance itself, it’s the fact that they blame you for it and take out all the negative side effects on you.
I recently interviewed a success story who had got their ex back but their ex had started drinking a bit too much alcohol since COVID started. Luckily, she had gone through our program and found her self worth so she ended up leaving her ex after getting them back.
I think this is super important because it’s kind of a sneak peek into the future if your ex already had an addiction. The addiction will not go away until your ex consciously makes that happen.
There’s really nothing you can do about it so you deserve better than being blamed for their addiction.
We do not recommend trying to get an ex back if they have an addiction because you’re not in a relationship to be their knight in shining armor or emotional punching bag – you’re there to have an equal partner.
Red Flag #8: Criticism
This is where an ex will intentionally make statements that make you feel unworthy and less than enough.
Now oftentimes you’ll actually see this coupled with explosive anger.
Your ex is so mad at you that they want to drag you down with them and “win” the fight.
In an attempt to control you and assert their dominance, your ex might say things like “I never found you attractive” or “I never loved you.”
If those words sound familiar then you know how much they can hurt. And that’s exactly why your ex said them.
They deliberately wanted to hurt your feelings by emotionally controlling you and making you doubt your self-worth.
So, if your ex constantly criticizes you and makes you feel like you’re less than enough or they’re doing you a favor by being with you, it’s time to let them go and stop trying to get them back.
Red Flag #9: Blaming
This is where your ex intentionally makes you feel guilty and they never take ownership over anything, making you believe everything’s always your fault.
Now I saved the best for last because this is the most obvious red flag if you look at the last statement – they never take ownership, and everything is always your fault.
I’m big on self-reliance and I think one of the biggest flaws about the human race is our inability to take ownership of our problems.
It’s obviously easier to blame someone else than realize and own up to your faults. This is especially true for both parties in breakups because there’s a lot of emotional finger-pointing going on there.
One of the best exercises I can ask you to do at this point is to sit down and think about what parts of the failed relationship were your fault and how you can improve on those. But while you think of those parts, I also want you to think of the parts that your ex said were your fault.
I can bet that your ex tried to put a lot more blame on you than you deserved.
You need to take the time to fully assess what went wrong after the initial emotions of your breakup have calmed down. Your ex needs to do the same but if they don’t and keep insisting that everything was your fault, you shouldn’t be trying to get them back.
All the major red flags for not getting an ex back revolve around the idea of control in a relationship so you’ll probably have a few of these stacked together when looking back.
Here are the 9 flags to look for when deciding if your ex is worth getting back:
- Extreme Jealousy
- Explosive Anger
- Hiding an addiction