What Are Your Chances of Getting Your ExBoyfriend Back

Understanding Your Breakup With Imago Therapy

To say Evie Shafner knows her stuff would be an understatement.

She’s been in practice for well over 30 years counseling individuals and couples with problems in their relationships and when I was told that she had agreed to come on to my show I was ecstatic.

Now, if you don’t know my interviewing process it’s relatively straightforward and can be broken down into three steps.

Step One: The person agrees to the interview

Step Two: I research the person so I know what questions to ask them

Step Three: I conduct the interview.

See, simple!

Now, I have been doing this a long time so it is rare for me to come across something I have never heard before and that is exactly what happened when I started researching Evie!

You see, she specializes in something called Imago Therapy.

Now, I am not quite sure I can do it justice as I am not an expert on the topic so I am betting you’d rather learn about it from Evie herself in our interview,

Important Links Mentioned In This Episode

Interview Transcript

  • Ok, you know before I started recording this, I really should have asked you how you say your last name. I’m give it my best shot. Evie Shafner?

  • It’s close. Evie 00:13 Everybody messes that up. So, don’t worry.

  • Ok you can strike me as in that messed up category. But you’re actually pretty special. I don’t think we ever have anyone on the podcast that I’ve interviewed who’ve been doing what you’ve been doing as long as you’ve been doing it. You’ve been in practice for 35 years. You’re an individual and couples counseling psychotherapist and you’re going to talk to us about imago therapy and also break ups. We’re just going to try to find a way to tie that in but let me throw it to you. Imago therapy, I’ve never heard of this. Can you like explain it to me? Almost like you’re explaining to  a child, I’m a little bit slow.

  • Absolutely. So, many people haven’t heard of it, even though it’s in 37 countries now and it’s a funny word. It’s actually the latin word for image and it means that we all carry inside of us a picture of the positive and negative experiences of our caretakers, our parents and our experiences growing up. The imago is both a theory and a very specific communication technique that is designed right away to bring softening, empathy, healing, non-harming communication to the spot that we understand now that almost every couple gets into and to just go back to what I was saying, the theory is that we are unconsciously attracted to someone who is a 01:55 of positive and negative characteristics of our caretakers, our parents. And we are really looking in a way to heal old wounds and we want it from  a reasonable facsimile that we had growing up. Though we’re not in the romantic which is they in imago, 02:15 working two hours to two hours, we just feel like, “Oh, I found the person I can talk to and feel safe with and loved by.” Only to find at some point down the line, the struggle starts to bubble up. And what we know now about the committed relationship or marriage is that struggle is meant to happen . 02:37 at happening, if follows the romantic phase like night follows day and this will tie into your question about why people break up.

     

    It seems to be that we are only attracted to someone who’s going to trigger us in some very specific and concrete ways like nobody else can which maybe you even notice sometimes in your relationship because we all notice it. Not only that, just to give it even it more of a rub, the very things that attracted us are the things that make us most nuts later on but hidden in that Chris is all the possibility for growing up and healing. That we’re all adults but we may not be grown ups at certain moments in our relationship only get reactive. And we cannot put somebody who cannot tolerate the way we respond when we’re dissapointed, triggered, upset and we can’t tolerate their way. So, for example, some of us when we’re triggered by our partner, we follow them from room to room, we text them all day long. We cannot let it rest until connection is restored. Some of us withdraw, we get icy.

  • Raising my hand there. That would be me. I want it resolved immediately especially when there’s a fight and everything. Sometimes, I’ve had to learn this the hard way. Sometimes it’s important just to let some time go by you know before addressing it immediately. So, yep, definitely can sympathize with that.

  • Yes, it’s so good to know that I’m the same as you. The anxiety starts and I want to get that connection restored but my partner needs a little time sometimes before he’s available but hidden in that, we each need a little of what the other has. Our partner is really holding up a mirror for us, to show us, how we talk and act when we’re upset, dissapointed, hurt and we’re holding up a mirror for them. So, in a way, we can wrap our minds around that. That the very places that cause us the most pain are the true deeper purpose of the relationship. It changes how we embrace those moments and the second part of imago which teaches beautiful communication techniques, teach us a different way to navigate those moments when they come up. So, that we’re not acting out of how we’re feeling. I’ll be happy to describe the process.

  • Yeah, as you describing it, I noticed a lot of times, people I work with, they have underlying issues with the relationship specifically when it comes to talking about disagreements perhaps, and I’m always telling them, a lot of times, it’s tone–the tone you use can set someone off but I’m interested to hear from you because I’m not obviously a licensed therapist like you are. What is your perspective on what is working like you said, like this different strategies on communication? What really, really works? What can imago teach us?

  • That’s a good question. You might not be  a therapist but that doesn’t mean you don’t have wisdom.

  • Oh, it’s ok.

  • You’re right about the tone. It’s very important. So, what happens Chris is that when the emotional safety goes out of our communication, then some of that joyful liveness that we felt in the romantic phase goes out the window. Restoring safety in the beginning of our relationship, we’re all reactively nice and when the power struggles starts to hit, we’re reactively nasty. And that can be withdrawing, pursuing, saying mean things, getting loud, all those things. So, it is so important to maintain that sense of kindness and talk in a way that doesn’t harm our partner. Just briefly the imago dialogue itself, is a concrete structure that we both agree to use in those moments that will carry us to safety. So, in the dialogue, one person speaks at a time, the other person is gently repeating back conversationally what you heard your partner say and doing their best to be a neutral mirror and not respond and just be the space for their partner to share their world. We call it going over the bridge and visiting your partner’s country. I won’t maybe go into the whole thing but after your partner is finished speaking then you give them a summary which is not the gist in your own words and check it out. Was it a good summary? And then you give them validation, which is a gift you give them which is to say, “You know what, I did listen to you. I can get it from your side. You do make sense. What you say has value to me.” Instead of some of the usual things we might say which is you’re crazy. You’re full of it. That’s not the way that went down  and things that we say in those moments.

     

    And then you switch, and that’s the other person’s turn on the same topic. So, couples dialogue is when we take one topic and both people getting to share and we use the dialogue whenever there’s something bothering us, that we’ve been down that road before and it hasn’t gone well. So, instead of 08:21 we asked for appointment, for a dialogue so, we’re alerting our partners brain that we’re both agreeing to go into conscious intentional communication instead of unconscious reactive and the other part is that,–and this is the instruction I give my couples, if you suddenly find yourself in a triggered spot that’s escalating, you do not talk until you can go into dialogue. This starts to take all the activity out of our relationship. It can’t escalate because we have to listen, and we have to mirror, and again the dialogue is based on the idea that you might be feeling very upset, misunderstood, hurt but you can still make a decision to use a technique that will carry you to safety.

  • To me, it just seems like you’re a creating  a framework and  a safe environment to talk and essentially like your partner saying something, you’re saying it back giving that, you said summary and just basically acknowledging that you’re hurt and that you understand it and then you have a turn to kind of to say but I’m curious, what happens if you do this technique and no matter what, one party just still sticks to their guns and there’s no resolution. What do you do in that case?

  • Well, to tell you the truth when you’re in the dialogue that doesn’t usually happen.

  • So, you found it to be that effective to work just literally your partner’s side of things is enough for them just to sort of accept it and move on which I can actually say, I do something–not like in the framework in my own relationship but I do something very similar to this and that has been my experience.

  • I’m so glad it has and you know if couples come in for a little coaching, it’s helpful to understand, of course the sender has a responsibility. If you’re sending and you’re saying you’re a jerk and I rue the day you were born.

  • Obviously it’s not within the framework. It’s not very helpful if you’re just like putting the person down.

  • Exactly but also, it’s a muscle we grow to be able to compassionately hear our partner and their side. We do start to grow because we see that they’re hurting, that they’re suffering. We want to give them the gift of knowing that we get them and that’s how it was for them. Even though in our world, we can hardly believe that’s how they thought about it, that’s how they saw, that’s how they felt. But the more we’re able to give them that compassionate attention so to speak, the more they calm down and vice versa.

  • So, just by engaging in this practice, it kind of serves as this little quick reset button to kind of kick people back to their senses and maybe even understand a side of an argument that they weren’t even taking into account.

  • Yes, very true. Sometimes a partner will look at me in the middle of the dialogue and they’ll say, I can’t mirror this. This is not the way it went down. I will help them breathe and go back into their partner’s country and I say you know if you stay there, you’ll always get a gift  and they do. They’ll suddenly be like, Oh, this is what hurt you. This is what relates to in your part. There’s something that starts to soften

  • So, do you ever find when working with couples and specifically doing this dialogue, that some couples, and this has actually been my experience with working with people and talking to them about hard times in their life. Break ups are often very painful experiences. They don’t always give me all the information. Do you ever find that that’s the case where someone withholds the information during the dialogue and doesn’t give their partner when they’re mirroring back or what have you, like the full story of what they were thinking because they’re afraid of hurting their partner?

  • Well, that of course can certainly happen. I’m coaching them. So, I’m actually pulling for stuff. That’s how. There was me and then it feels like safe space. So, I think when they experience their partners, a safe person to share it with, then that also changes things.

  • I imagine it connects them as well. Like going through this dialogue in front of someone else. Maybe it’s a little awkward at first, if you’re maybe in this environment where you’re willing to open up, maybe it connects the two closer. Like you share this experience, you share this bond. Have you seen that happen?

  • There are so many times–Harville Hendrix is the guy who started the marvel and wrote the books. I have couples who come in here who have been so raptured and so broken and in one session, they fall into each other’s arms. It’s like sacred space that happens and I bless Harville every time for creating this because in traditional couple’s therapy–and I’m not knocking. I’m not saying every traditional couple’s therapist–not imago isn’t good but in traditional couple’s therapy, often the couple is speaking to the therapist and complaining and looking for the therapist to be the referee and it usually enhances the power struggle. It makes things worse. And so, in the imago process it’s so different but you’re right, it is totally connecting.

  • Before we actually started the interview, I had done some research on you and I actually stumbled across a Youtube video where you were just kind of talking about your practice and everything but you said something I found really, really fascinating. You said in that all the 35 years you’ve been doing this, Imago has been the thing that has worked the best that you have seen. Could you maybe elaborate a little bit about that? Because I know you kind of touched on how traditional couple’s therapy and you’re not pointing any fingers on anyone but just maybe from what you’ve seen in your experience. It almost hurts or aggravates the problems a little bit more.

  • Yes, it does aggravate more. I can’t tell you the amount of couples that have come in and said we left the sessions feeling worse and at the same we were holding on by a thread to our next one but we didn’t know what else to do.

  • Yeah, it reminds me of a study. I read this article a couple of weeks ago where the scientist did the study about break ups specifically. So, that’s obviously why I read it but they did this test where they took people who had just gone through a break up and had them journal and write their feelings down. And what they found is a lot of relationship experts are –especially in my area, they’re always talking about, hey you need to journal. You need to talk things out. Like write your feelings down but what they found was actually, it made people feel worse. So, instead they recommended, try writing in a redemptive narrative where you’re a story about how this break up has been the best thing that ever happened to you. And they found that by doing and engaging in this practice, it actually made people feel better but writing specifically their feelings down made people worse. I wonder if there’s something there with the traditional couple’s counseling that almost aggravates that. Just food for thought perhaps.

  • That’s a good story. It does make sense. It’s so true. Our brain, all this stuff about relationships these days is about brain research and how our brain affects our relationships. They call it the science of interpersonal neurobiology. I trigger your brain, you trigger mine or I make you feel safe in my presence, you make me feel safe in yours and my brain calms down and I’m not in the fight or flight. It’s the fight or flight part of the brain that takes over and why those moments gets so hard and why people break up and why people suddenly feel like the person that was their friend is now their enemy but what’s so true with what you’re saying, with changing the narrative because if you’re constantly throwing up in your partner and constantly complaining because you’re desperate–in Imago we say, complaining is the crying baby in the adult body.

    Somebody please hear me. I am desperate because we’re big people, we have big words and so we can say very mean and hurtful things. That is a parallel with your saying when you go into traditional couple’s therapy, each of you is throwing up on the other. To the therapist it’s that journaling that didn’t go well.

  • Right, essentially just talking about all the bad things and it almost aggravates it and makes it feel worse but I feel like Imago just creates a really positive framework to communicate properly and maybe even actually do something productive where you’re understanding your partner’s side of things perhaps where you wouldn’t necessarily take it into account before.

  • Exactly, and when you find out that maybe –you know, they’re not connecting with you because they’re scared of being rejected or you know, there are some empathy that starts to come in when we start with the softening and the empathy and by the way, that piece of empathy is so important in terms of knowing who you get involved with. I always say to people if you don’t have empathy, you don’t have anything. If you are with a person who can’t be empathic, eyes open.

  • So, ladies if you’re listening to this and you’re dating an ex boyfriend or want an exboyfriend back who’s not very empathetic, maybe a red flag.

  • Maybe a red flag,exactly right.

  • So, let’s switch gears and talk a little bit about break ups specifically. Obviously I think it goes with the territory if you’re a couple’s counselor or even in individual counseling, you’re dealing with people who are going through break ups a lot too correct?

  • Yes, absolutely.

  • So, let me get your general sense of let’s attack this from what helps them heal the fastest? Because I think instead of looking–because a lot of people here are always like, I want him back. He’s what’s going to be the thing that makes me feel better. I found actually the opposite is true. If you become kind of ok with yourself and heal yourself, you find either you didn’t want him back or you just wanted the pain to end. So, what has been your experience with helping people go through this hard time?

  • It’s a good question and you eluded to the answer. So, I do think that of course, first of all, it is so difficult to be disconnected from. I think as humans, our greatest anxiety is the terror of being disconnected from. We know as babies, even though we don’t know consciously, we’ll die. And so, human connection is the life force. So, right away that visceral sensation is so difficult and we would do anything to get our partner back however, the way we feel about ourselves has such a big part of that because if we feel more empty, if we are looking to that person for approval.

    If all of our good feelings about ourselves rest in if you love me, then that is a place to really pay attention to and maybe for the term mindfulness practice but when we can observe–stay with ourselves, become our own soother, our own healer and give ourselves the approval that we are looking for from the outside. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to grieve, or feel lost. We have to welcome that. That’s part of it.

    We can’t just say oh screw him. We want to do that but that doesn’t last long. Yes, there’s loss, there’s hard feelings but we can get through that and have a vote for ourselves. There’s this spiritual writer, her name is Byron Katie. It sounds like it should be Katie Byron but it’s Byron Katie. She said if I had one prayer for people, it would be not needing approval from anyone else.

  • That would save a lot of heartache from a lot of people I think.

  • that would save a lot of heartache and you know the more we–not too sound too airy fairy here, but we live in a vibrational universe and like attracts like. The more we our in a place of self love for ourselves, the more we bring that in.

  • I agree with that completely. I had someone on who is like an expert in the law of attraction right? And this is kind of in that realm where–like you said, not to get too airy fairy. I’m not a huge believer in you just think something and then it happens. I don’t think it always works out that way but I do agree that if you’re thinking something and you’re positively projecting it in your mind and you’re putting the good vibes out in the universe tends to attract good things to you but I have always found–it’s really interesting with break ups specifically, a lot of the women who come to me and men are going through a really tough time and they’re so dead set on getting their ex back and often times this really heart breaking stories where I’ll think probably you shouldn’t get back with him but no matter what I say, nothing works. And even when I explain what you’re just talking about, like the mindfulness and trying to kind of look inwards and sort of not seek approval from your partner, no matter what I tell them relating to that , they just don’t seem to connect it. Have you experienced any of that with anyone who you’ve worked with before and if so what have you done–I’m just asking for more help for me now. What have you done to get them to kind of wake up and smell the roses so to speak?

  • Yes, that’s a very good question. The number one thing I think is that we’re on the run from ourselves and our pain and we would do anything to get away from that feeling and that outside thing–now, that’s nature of any addiction, that outside thing is going to heal me, restore me, take away this pain and so it becomes a very addictive pattern, obsessive–

  • I’m really glad that you said that. They’ve done studies on the brain and you probably know this already but if you don’t, you’ll find it interesting. They’ve done studies on the brain with people who have gone through break ups and they have found that the part of the brain that becomes active when you’re thinking about your ex after a break up is the same part of the brain, the same exact part that becomes active when a coccaine addict is going through withdrawal and needs that fix. So, it is truly from a scientific or physiological–I’m not good with science stuff but it’s truly like you’re going through a withdrawal. It’s like an addiction and often times engaging in the addiction doesn’t even help you even if you want him back. So, I’m really glad that you said that. Just a fun fact.

  • That’s very interesting. It totally make sense. 23:59 Just seems like of course–I study this beautiful buddhist 24:09 or other teachers and you know the beautiful messages that we can endure a lot of pain and angst in order to have the life we want to have. That all living creatures, including animals and insects, we want to get away from pain and get back to the good place but as 24:36 a much better way to live life is to be able to sit with ourselves and know how to make friends with that place. Just smile at fear. I always say it’s an inside job. It feels like it’s an outside job and look we’re human. We’re going to obsess, we’re going to want that person back, we make room for all the human parts of us. We don’t judge that. We understand and then we go back to our work which is understanding that this is an inside job to stay with ourselves and there’s so much help in learning how to do that. We don’t have to do it alone but that is the answer to that question. How do we not be addicted to that as the source of our goodness and our okayness in the world.

  • It’s really, really interesting because I’ve kind of asked a pretty similar question to a lot of different experts in different fields and that’s one of the most–I can jive with that answer the most of everyone I feel because I’m one of those people who thinks, ok, you can always fix it yourself. You can look inwards. You can do the work yourself and I always liked I guess having that amount of control over the situation as opposed to looking outwards and trying to fix the person who you’re trying to get back or you’re trying to get over. So, I guess I can say I jive with that answer totally.

  • I’m glad you jive with that. Some of it’s head but it’s more heart. We meet ourselves with compassion. We meet ourselves with a basic sense of friendliness. We make room for our humanness and there’s a tendency to want to logically –and this can part of it. This can be helpful where you say well, listen he was a schmuch, he was of this, he was of that. You don’t need him. You’d have a good life.

  • I feel that all the women who are going through this, their friends are family are exactly the people who tell them that. Oh, there’s more fish in the sea, shmuck, you know. I’m sure they know what you’re talking about for sure.

  • Yeah, and our family and friends love us. It could be true that he was that way. They’re really trying to give you a perspective. In addition to that, we have to be able to stay with ourselves in order to heal and a good news is we can. And not to get overly analytical but in this thing called attachement theory, not everybody grow up feeling secure and attached. So, this is how we give it ourselves. They call earn secure attachment. We become the source for ourselves that we did not have because the less we have secure attachment growing up, the more we tend to cling to people and the more we end up picking people who do not want that from us because we sort of keep seeking out that same place to validate it. So, if you’re a person who keeps getting in this situations with a lot of drama and you’re anxious all the time and you never feel safe and you’re always hungry for your partner, then you maybe repeating history and you maybe validating that which you experienced. So, instead the invitation is to become that for yourself and in that way, the way the universe works, something different will come in.

  • So, it’s interesting that you brought up attachment theory. I’m not a super great expert on attachment theory. So, I do know sort of the general gist behind it but how many different attachments are there. Do you think you can like give us a quick rundown of them all and like how to spot if what you’re attachment is, what your partner’s attachment is?

  • I’m not expert either but yes, the secure attachment, this are the relationship styles we learned early in life patterns that we take with us into a relationship.

  • So, a lot of times, your caretakers are the ones who model that. You’re modeling their behavior. It’s what I understand. Like what you grew up seeing  a lot, you’re very impressionable during those ages, that’s when you start developing your attachment?

  • Yes, and it’s what you experienced. If your caretakers reliable and something was wrong, they came it. They were a source of safety and if as you are growing up you said, you know I want to be a garbage truck driver when I grow up and they say, you want to be garbage truck driver, that’s awesome! Let’s practice.

  • Take out the garbage everyday. It’s so easy. I’m trying that with my daughter when she gets older. Oh you want to be a garbage man? I know how to practice.

  • Yes, and we don’t have that secure attachment where we just feel a reliable sense that we’re safe or loved or nurtured–the baby’s that don’t have any attachment like the ones in Romania, the cribs where nobody holds them they have what’s called reactive attachment, which after a while they don’t want the love and people adopt them and love them and they can’t take it in but most of us, fortunately are not there. But we can have instead of secure attachment. fearful attachment which means we did some basic attachment but there’s a lot of fear attached to will our caretaker come back, will they be available, are we going to ice this out, sometimes they’re available, sometimes they’re not and I think they can also call fearful anxious attachment and then there’s avoidance attachment which is there was some sense of attachment but basically, this people althoug–initiatlly everybody wants to hook up with somebody or have a partner but then once they do, they do not want very much contact.

  • I wonder if it’s because they’re–you know maybe they’ve seen their parents break up constantly or maybe that’s what they’ve taken in or how they’ve–who knows. I’m interested in why because I feel like a lot of people who are trying to get their exes or are going through break ups, their partners are like that. They avoid an attachment. So, I wonder what is behind creating that? I wonder what shapes that attachment?

  • Well, yes. if you were either smothered by a caretaker, let’s say they parentified you and you were the parent and they were the kid, or it was shaming or humiliating or they just weren’t there or there was neglect, then you learn that connection is painful and you’re very ambivalent about it. We are wired for connection, if we don’t get it we die as babies. But at the same time, once we have it, that other part comes up and we start resisting. So, it’s basically, and again there’s wonderful or experts who can maybe say better than I’m saying it —

  • You’re saying it pretty good. I’m learning. I’m sitting here being really  fascinated. You should have said that, I would have been like totally on board. It’s like wow, she is so smart. She knows all of the attachments!

  • Yeah, it is for people who a connection became painful and then there’s one called, ambivalent avoidant, where they want it and they don’t and there’s a lot of drama and they come towards you and they they leave.

  • That sounds like a lot of people I work with, probably that one too. I feel like that is really fascinating, especially what shapes it because I think at those early years, it just makes me think of my daughter. Hopefully the secure attachments is what she wants. That’s what you’re shooting for. Hopefully we’re doing a good job on that.

  • Just by meeting you this hour, I know she is. So, I’m sure.

  • Oh, you haven’t my wife. If you think I’m good, she’s like 10 times better than me.

  • That’s great. Your daughter is a lucky one. Again, the good news is we can learn to give ourselves that which we did not get. Some people who are avoidance, they may be less likely to go for that kind of help but there’s a beautiful book called leaving loneliness and he talks about–same as 33:40 he talks about using mindfulness practice to heal ourselves of those attachment pains and that we can do it. But for the women who are involved with men like this, if that’s part of what you’re saying, or people who are involved with people like this. Let’s make the gender neutral. Then, the addiction starts. and so, you’re going towards them and they keep backing away and it becomes very addictive, this is something to recognize that you need to be in recovery from because it is an addictive process like coccaine, like whatever. And so as a person who’s involved with a distancer, I’m not saying all distancers can’t be in relationship. Don’t get me wrong but if you’re with somebody who is truly not available for intimacy most of the time you need to go and give yourself that healing, so, that you can choose somebody who is.

  • Very, very interesting. So, I think we’re kind of coming up on the time here. I don’t want to hold you up too much but I want to give you a platform because I think everyone listening should just go right to our right away, pay her lots of money, work with her, not- but tell us a little bit about your practice, where people can find you. I know I talked a little bit about skype sessions for those of you who are interested in individual counseling or even couple’s counseling if you’re in a relationship. The floor is yours.

  • Thank you that was so sweet. Yes, first of all I even work with skype with couples who live here in LA because sometimes getting across town in LA at night–

  • I imagine. LA, that’s a very busy place.

  • It’s a very busy place and I’m amazed too. Yes, it’s wondeful to have people here in my presence but how well the skype works anywhere. I just did a couple in London and he was in one city, she was in another.

  • Lots of movement but hey it worked out it looks like.

  • It worked. It’s so funny. I have this one couple that they have to get out of the house with a baby sitter and they do it in their SUV. They’re sitting in their SUV and we’re facetiming and I said it feels like carpool karaoke.Yes, I have full time practice. Almost all in my LA office and one day we’ve been in another called 36:21 and I work with individuals and couples. My website is my name evieshafner.com

  • Which I’ll link to for you.

  • There’s also the imago workshops that I do which is linked to my website, so people could know about that and all my information is there. I’d just like people to know that no matter what happens to you or what clouds are sitting on your sun, you’re still the sun. I think that my feeling is we can all reconnect to who we really are.

  • So, make sure that you go–your website is your name. So, it’s evieshafner.com correct? If you’re just not wanting to type in or you’re lazy or what have you. I’ll make sure that in the show notes of this episode, I’m going to have a link to a lot of the stuff that we were talking about, especially maybe if you are close on attachment theory, imago therapy. I’ll also link to one of your Youtube videos because I watched that and thoroughly enjoyed it and found it fascinating. So, if you’re interested in working with just email or give you a call. I think I saw your number plastered everywhere. If you get like 5000 phone calls, don’t blame me. You’re going to come back and like, Ah!

  • Text me, email me. Oh, thank you Chris! It was really lovely connecting with you.

  • You too.

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Written by EBR Teamate

Chris Seiter

6 thoughts on “Understanding Your Breakup With Imago Therapy”

  1. Milly

    October 16, 2017 at 3:19 am

    After my no-contact period ended, I became terrified of sending that first message (and still haven’t). It’s been 6 weeks since the breakup. He broke up with me after 7 months saying he didn’t feel as “in love” as he should feel, and didn’t understand why he was feeling (or not) this way, since he had pursued me for well over a year before we started dating. (I kept saying no because he is 7 years younger – I’m 38, he’s 31).

    Aside from being afraid of his response (or lack thereof), what do I do with the anger I feel? I’m very upset at the fact that he pursued me for so long, did everything possible for me to fall in love with him, then just drops me like that after so long.
    I feel hypocritical sending a “light, funny message” when really, I just wanna tell him off!

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm

      Hi milly,

      Most of the time anger is a mask for hurt.. If that was really the reason, be thankful he was honest that he fell out of love instead of letting you believe of some other lie.. It would be better not to initiate if you’re angry..

  2. Hayley

    October 10, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    My boyfriend has become very depressed and everything has got too much, he has been thinking about things so deeply and has got himself into a massive panic and broke up with me. He started saying things weren’t right in the relationship, but I think this is the depression and his overthinking. He has a history of depression and has said he is going to speak to a counsellor.
    How would you handle depression and a breakup? I’ve tried no contact but he gets very upset with me, and I feel guilty that he’s in a bad way.

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Hayley,

      Talk to him sincerely that being friends is not workable for you now because you’ve already broken up..and then start nc even if he gets angry…

  3. Jess

    August 25, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Hello Chris,
    Um… where do I begin…
    I have been listening to your podcasts and reading your articles. I would buy the book but I literally cannot afford that right now (I am having financial hardships).
    My story is probably one you’ve heard a million times.
    He ended it saying “I want to just stay friends but I want to keep talking to you as frequently as we have been. You’re an amazing woman and I want to keep you in my life. But, I only see you as a friend.” Then stopped talking to me immediately after he broke up with me. I wrote him the “goodbye letter” that I read on a different site. He then immediately contacted me and tried to be all buddy buddy. (Like he hasn’t ignored me for a week). I ignored the buddy buddy and just told him I wanted my stuff back.
    Throughout the whole no contact (which is still occurring) I’ve been using my social media, posting pictures of me having fun, about me getting an interview for a job(like I said I’ve been having financial hardships), and even of a date. He will like all those posts except the one of me going out on dates. He also won’t contact me still.
    I just don’t know what to do. I feel like I’ve been improving myself but I honestly don’t know at the same time.
    Thanks for your time. I enjoy reading your articles. 🙂
    -Jess

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      August 26, 2017 at 12:49 pm

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