Your feet hit the pavement repetitively.
Their souls crying out in pain as you press forward.
Your side aches, begging you to stop and never move again.
The air, sharp, icy and yet to be warmed by the morning sun, hits your lungs.
You press forward until you reach the steps in front of your door. You are eager to sit down and drink the cold water that you know awaits you.
However, what I am about to unveil to you isn’t exactly like that morning run.
There are other variables, another human being with it’s own emotions and hang ups.
Now, no matter where you end up on this journey to get your ex back, you are eventually, at some point, going to ask yourself an inevitable question.
You may be driving down the road, windows down, radio up, when suddenly you realize that you’ve been singing along to a Taylor Swift song like you’re the final contestant on one of those “Some Place, Somewhere’s Got Talent” game show and Simon’s holding a lighter up and cheering you on when you ask yourself,
“How in the world did I get here?”
Now, if you’re like me, you sing in this manner regularly and give concerts to the people next to you in traffic jams.
But what I’m getting at is that at some point after the break up you will have that moment of clarity when you’re doing something so completely out of character that you sit back and you go,
“What the hell am I doing?”
Hmm… but before I expand I should probably introduce myself first
Who I Am (And Why You Should Listen To Me)
I am the newest member of Chris’ “Ex Recovery Team.”
He hired me to help him create content for you and has dubbed me as “The Head of Content Development.”
Nice to meet you!
(Oh, here’s a picture of Harley Quinn to show off my drawing skills 😉 .)
I spend a lot of time on our website reading the comments and emails that you leave. Regardless of where you’re at in your breakup journey I almost always find that we get asked one simple question,
“Should I just give up?”
Seriously, almost everyone asks a member of “The Ex Recovery Team” this.
Because this entire process of getting an ex back takes time. There are rarely instantaneous results. And most people get impatient.
I can hear Yoda in the background going,
“Mmm… Patience my young Padawan.”
And in most cases my reaction is,
“Do you still want him back?
Then heck no you shouldn’t give up. Just keep fighting for what you want, lady!”
I’d say that is how it goes about 93 percent of the time.
But in some cases, I have to say,
“You know what, yes. It’s time to put this puppy to bed.”
“Why haven’t you been humane enough to have put it down sooner?!”
I feel like I’m going against everything we work for here. I mean, we’re here to help you get your ex back, right?! It’s even in the site’s name!
We see so many different scenarios. Literally no relationship or breakup is the same.
But there are moments we see repetitively for which I truly CANNOT conscientiously advise someone to pursue this journey any further.
So if you’re asking yourself,
“Should I give up?”
You have come to the right place!
Tough Love Time
I hope you’re ready for some tough love, because you’re about to read some things you probably don’t want to hear.
Some relationships should just be laid to rest.
Some relationships shouldn’t be revived.
And sometimes it’s hard to admit that you don’t know something. So I am proud of you for at least asking the question.
It’s even more difficult to admit that you’ve let something go on too long.
So I hope that you’re still “braced,” because we’re about to take an unpleasant trip.
I’m that person that doesn’t like to leave things unfinished.
A friend of mind posted this last week….
… and it bothered me more than you can imagine.
I’m on the edge of my seat and I’m helpless to the “unfinished-ness.”
So, I definitely understand wanting to finish something you started ESPECIALLY if you’ve invested a lot of time into the relationship.
However, like with the video above, sometimes there is nothing you can do. There are some things you just can’t control. To keep trying is even more of a waste of time.
Let me give you an example.
I was watching my friend’s little sister, Melissa last fall.
She’s a smarty pants.
She’s only seven, but she can worm her way around any rule.
Seriously, ANY rule!
This kid is more conniving than all the Disney Villains put together.
AND THAT’S SAYING SOMETHING!
There is one instance that I will probably tell at her graduation one day or when she gets married, because lord knows that, that man has a lot to look forward to.
Her mom made her muffins for breakfast before I got there.
There was a list of rules on the counter for the day. The last line said, “Ya’ll are welcome to eat the rest of the muffins.” and had a little smiley face out to the side! (I’m from Texas, we say ya’ll.)
She was always leaving healthy stuff for us to snack on when I came to watch Melissa. Later that day, her daughter went into the kitchen and returned with what looked like a muffin and sat down to finish her homework.
Upon seeing this I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything since I had arrived. So I picked up a stray piece of scratch paper that needed to be thrown away and went into the kitchen to get one of the muffins. When I opened the lid to throw away the paper, that’s when I saw it… a PILE of icing scraped into the trash, a countermeasure no doubt.
Only then did I realize that there was a tray of cupcakes sitting on the other counter with a note that said,
“Not until after dinner!”
I’d been duped!
“Melissa! Is that a cupcake?!”
She looked at me slyly.
“Ashley, isn’t a cupcake just a fancy muffin?”
Of course she got in trouble, and feigned complete shock when I informed her that that was NOT how that worked.
I’ve written about it before, but I will say it again here.
People are absolutely amazing. Seriously, we are incredible!
I’m not just talking about the leaps and bounds we’ve made in science and technology. We have incredible power over our own brain that we don’t even realize we have!
We can even manipulate ourselves to believe things we know to be untrue. Conversely, we can create HUGE blind spots when we don’t want to believe something.
I tell you this because, it will be tempting to look at the information that you’re about to read and go,
“Well that one tiny part doesn’t apply to me, so therefore none of this applies to me.”
That’s a technicality!
You’re an adult, don’t fall for the tricks that your mind plays on you. Moving on is sometimes one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Preparing for The Ugly Truth
When I was 19, I was seeing this guy who also happened to be my best friend. I hadn’t really done a lot of dating before that point, and I was still living at home with my parents.
So, when he asked me to go on a trip to the beach with him, my parents forbid it.
Like in a,
“If you do this, you better find a new place to live.”
kind of way.
I was so sheltered and from a small town where NOTHING ever happened. I was starving for a little adventure.
I had never defied them at this level. I was so torn trying to decide if rebelling against my parents was something I could actually do.
I spent hours in tears trying to decide between going on an adventure with the boy I was head over heels for or sitting at home, grounded for even considering it.
Completely blinded by love, I decided to take my chances and got in the car.
It was the best mistake of my life.
It’s a six-hour drive to the beach from our town. We’d been in the car for about an hour when my guy, who fancied himself a writer at the time and always spoke like he was delivering lines directly into a camera in a rom-com.
“Okay, now’s the moment. Either we turn back now or we keep going. Either way, the choice is yours to make, but after this point, there’s no turning back.”
It’s a moment that is permanently engrained in my memory.
It changed my life.
And no, my parents didn’t kick me out when I returned.
I saw them differently for not backing up their threats. However, after that, I could talk with them more freely about what I wanted out of life and how I felt about decisions they made that affected me.
So, that being said, I ask you now, are you ready for the truth?
Knowing the truth changes the way you see things.
Just like I can’t change the way I saw my parent’s after that, there’s no turning back once you pass this point.
It’s all or nothing.
Still with me?
Okay let’s dive in.
Situations In Which You Should ABSOLUTELY Give Up…
…or to phrase it more appropriately you should let go, run even!
It’s important that I ask you at this point.
Have you ever seen the movie,
(If not, the short version is… boy gets dog, despite his brother, the man of the house, hating it. He’s yellow, hence the name. Go figure. The dog saves their lives from a bear, then saves the entire family from a pack of wolves later on getting bit by a wolf with rabies in the process. The older brother then realizes that he must kill the dog that he has come to love in order to keep him from spreading the infection.)
You’ll understand why that’s pertinent in a moment.
The situations you should absolutely give up on are those that are:
1. Physically Abusive
If he has EVER laid a hand on you in an aggressive manner, EVER, then walking away should be a no-brainer. However, this is one of those moments where we convince ourselves of things we shouldn’t.
We tell ourselves lies.
“He did it because he loved me.”
“I deserved it.”
“He would never lay a hand on our children.”
According to Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School who was consulted by TIME on the Ray Rice Indecent, the responsibility to create a sense of emotional and physical safety in a relationship falls to both people in a relationship. Once sense of safety that is broken, the fault falls ONLY to the person that broke it.
If he has ever raised a hand to you, then it is HIS FAULT alone. There is ALWAYS a better way to handle a problem. He created a volatile situation.
The only way to regain that sense of safety, is to LEAVE the situation. So many of these circumstances end with the abused party in a grave.
Take back control of the situation you’re in and WALK AWAY! More importantly, REPORT IT! If he did it to you, he’ll do it to someone else.
2. Mentally Abusive
Mentally abusive relationships are harder to recognize than physically abusive ones, especially from the inside. The bruises remain hidden on the inside. Most mental abusers are incredibly adept at convincing their partner that they deserve whatever abuse they’ve received.
I’ve seen mental abusers even turn “I love you,” into an abusive phrase simply by adding the word “but”.
Here are a few signs to look for if you think you your relationship may have been mentally abusive:
- He was unreasonably jealous
- Making everything out to be your fault
- Constantly guilt tripping you
- Constantly putting you down
- Provocative behavior with other women even to the point of cheating and then returning
- Excluding you
- Refusing to communicate
- Threatening to hurt themselves if you ever leave them
They may even convince you, somehow, that the reason they treat you this way is “for your best interest.”
If you find that the relationship you were in is one of these or even SLIGHTLY SIMILAR to either of these, it’s time to put that dog down!
I want you to Old Yeller that Situation, because the toxicity of that relationship will spread to the rest of your life.
PUT IT DOWN and WALK AWAY!
I can’t suggest strongly enough that you talk to someone professionally as well.
It’s hard enough to love yourself in this crazy world. These kinds of relationships make it difficult to remember who you were in the first place. Talking to someone can help momentously and can even help you learn to recognize and accept the correct kind of love from someone new, so you don’t repeat the cycle over and over again.
Please, please, please, don’t pursue this kind of relationship any further. No one deserves that. And I’m here to tell you that YOU deserve better.
Situations In Which You Have To THINK Before You Give Up
I have a confession to make…
Chris and I had to put our heads together for this article. You see, when it comes to the content that is produced for this website Chris is… how can I put this.
A bit of a control freak (and he wouldn’t even mind me telling you that.)
And at this point I think he has deserved that right. I mean, look at what he created.
So, he was adamant about the fact that a lot of times people find themselves in really difficult situations where they have to do a lot of thinking before they give up.
This section is full of situations just like that.
Situations where you really need to sit down and sort out your priorities.
Sometimes you do…
And sometimes you don’t…
Let’s explore a situation just like that,
3. The Timesuck
This one takes a little more consideration. While leaving an abusive relationship is like walking away from a home that is already engulfed in flames, realizing you’re dealing with a “timesuck” isn’t as apparently dangerous.
Let me lay it out for you.
Your alarm goes off. You sit up in bed. Your first thought is getting him back.
You brush your teeth. The whole time you think about getting him back.
You go to work. Instead of focusing on your job, you spend the entire work day thinking up ways to get him back.
You get off work. You go to the gym. You spend the entire time at the gym thinking about how he’ll beg you to come back once you get in shape.
You go home and cook dinner. You try out a new recipe. He’ll want you so bad once he sees how well you’ve learned to cook since you two split up.
You get ready for bed. You think about getting him back.
You lay in bed thinking about what you will say if you see him tomorrow as you drift off to sleep.
See the problem?
If this is the way things are progressing, you need to re-evaluate.
I mean yeah. You’re in the gym and learning new things, which SHOULD be part of making yourself into a better version of yourself.
But if you only do these things to get a reaction out of him. You’ll quit as soon as you get a reaction from him, making the changes temporary and negating them entirely.
You are literally wasting your time and energy.
If your quest to get your ex back has completely taken over your life, then maybe you should take a step back.
You don’t want to wake up one day, whether you get him back or not, and realize that your life is no longer your own.
4. You have different goals
What are your goals?
Do you want to go to vet school and pursue a career?
Do you see yourself settling down, having 3 kids, and living in the country with a white picket fence?
What are his goals?
Do they line up with yours?
Does he back you in your endeavors?
If you are trying to get back with an ex who doesn’t want kids and you do, or an ex who wants to travel the world and you want to settle down, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
You should definitely talk about these things while you are dating someone, but if neither one of you are willing to budge, then, honestly, where can things go?
I mean here you are and you’ve already split up. If you are trying to get back with someone who won’t meet you half way, you are most likely just wasting your time trying to get back with him. In fact, the only way this works out is if you fold and compromise on your end. Then you’ll wind up resenting him and the relationship later on.
You’re probably better off focusing on your life and keeping your options open to find someone who shares the same values as you.
5. No Trust
If you feel that you can no longer trust your ex or you feel that they can no longer trust you. Perhaps because one of you cheated on the other or lied.
For whatever reason, the trust is broken.
It is up to you at this point to decide whether or not it is broken beyond repair.
6. Moment of Clarity
When you realize you are a better and happier version of yourself without him.
It was about two weeks after my last break up that I found myself sliding across my kitchen floor in socks Tom Cruise-style singing along to Adele’s “Send My Love” when I realized I was undoubtedly happier in this moment than I ever was when he and I were together.
I felt a pang of guilt knowing that I should probably still be pining over my lost relationship and this guy who was perfect for me… on paper.
But the joy of belting along to a song that made me feel powerful and dancing around in my pajamas left me feeling like he didn’t even exist anymore.
Not that he and I didn’t have fun together, it was just in that moment of clarity that I realized that I had held myself back during the time I was with him.
In the time that I had spent without him, I had been going to the gym much more so I was feeling pretty great about my appearance. While we were together I had only been going when he was busy. Now I was going about 5 times a week and I could see the difference in the mirror. I was much more energetic too.
I had also gotten much more into cycling while we were seeing each other, but without him to go home with afterwards I was suddenly making friends in my cycling group and actually going out to dinner with them after our rides.
Some of them are truly interesting people.
I was missing out before.
I also found a place here with the Ex Boyfriend Recovery Team and started working with them.
I never would have found them had I not suddenly found myself single.
I got a promotion at my day job, since I was no longer focused on what he was doing while I was at work.
All-in-all I realized that he was mostly a distraction and that distraction was holding me back from reaching my full potential.
It’s so tempting to fall into that pattern of curling up in a blanket burrito and wallowing in self-pity when you are first dealing with a break-up.
But, honestly, who in the world does that help, whether you’re fighting to recover a relationship or not?
So I focused on the things I had let slip and realized that I didn’t have a reason to wallow past not having someone to sleep next to.
If you find yourself coming to this realization, then yes, you’re probably better off focusing on moving forward than on getting him back.
The great part about this moment of clarity is that it’s the first step in getting over him and it can be an extremely empowering feeling.
7. When you’re over it
I have this one friend who continuously pursued her ex simply because she was embarrassed that she spent so much time and effort on the relationship and was worried what people would say.
Even worse, she was convinced that, if she didn’t make it work, that it proved that she was an complete idiot for not realizing that it would end this way.
In her mind missing the supposedly obvious cues made her worthless.
I told her exactly what I am going to tell you now.
Every single relationship will end in one of two ways.
- You stay together
- You don’t
There is no halfway.
When you’re running, you are more likely to do well in a race if you envision yourself crossing the finish line.
How do you think you would do if you imagined tripping over every little thing that crossed your path?
I remember reading about a sports team in one of my business books (I can’t remember which one) that hadn’t won in years!
They got a new coach and he started making them celebrate as if they had won a huge game after every practice. At first, the guys were skeptical, but eventually they were all in, screaming, high fiving, and jumping around like crazy.
When it came time to play the big game, winning didn’t seem like such a huge hurdle. I mean they had done it at every practice that season, so there wasn’t a much pressure to play perfectly. So, they were more fluid. They’d played better as a team.
At the end of that season after they had won the championship game, people were wondering if they were even the same team.
We are taught positive thinking at a young age mostly. Dwelling on a negative outcome would most certainly sour the actual relationship.
If you can no longer visualize a positive outcome, it’s probably time to stop chasing it.
So missing those “signs” that things are going south does NOT make you an idiot. It just means that you are like the rest of the world made up of optimists.
However, if you find yourself faced with the moment when you are pretty much ONLY fighting to save a relationship to save face, let it go. You will look more foolish if you hold on long after than if you held on till the end.
Don’t talk yourself out of it. Follow your gut. Your gut picks up on things that your conscious mind isn’t aware of. And, usually, it’s right and will save you a lot of time if you listen to it.
How to Let it Go
(Please get this reference…)
So you can see that most of these situations are ones in which pursuing the relationship with your ex leaves you in a bad situation or at a standstill with your own life. You have to realize that the situation you are currently in does not benefit you at all!
This is where you are faced with a decision.
Give up or keep on trying.
If your ex is not receptive towards your efforts, you need to accept that.
Just because you decide to let it go does not always mean you also have to give up.
Let go of trying to change their mind and the idea that you’ll be able to MAKE them take you back.
Letting go affords you the opportunity to make the changes you need to make to do what’s best for YOU.
Also, I’ve found from my own experience, that taking this step back can truly provide you with the chance to see the relationship with fresh eyes. Often times I’ve found that this clarity leaves me wondering why I was ever with him in the first place.
Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.
When You’re Fed Up and Ready to Move Forward with Your Life
Right now, I know that even considering this as an option is probably hitting you pretty hard. In fact, it is probably eliciting some pretty serious emotions. Just like when you first broke up, even thinking about going your separate ways is probably making your chest ache in that area where your heart is supposed to be. It feels like it’s actually somewhere lying on a floor and people are walking all over it.
Luckily all extreme emotions become subdued over time.
They may resurface from time to time. Just know that. Go ahead and create a safety net. Choose a friend that you can talk to that’ll be understanding. Get a journal you can write in. Or be like me and make a playlist that makes you happy no matter what and dance around your home.
These sudden emotional outbursts will become scarcer and scarcer over time. Eventually you won’t be able to remember the last time you had one.