The Ex Boyfriend Recovery Program is a marathon, not a sprint. I know that it’s hard to be patient. When someone you love is no longer in your life, your brain tends to mimic the same symptoms that a drug addict experiences when going through withdrawal. The process takes a lot of time and patience.
Trying to get an ex back isn’t just frustrating because of the time and patience it takes. It can also be an extremely stressful process. On the Private ExRecovery Facebook Group, a good chunk of the questions asked have to do with analyzing our exes’ behavior.
It’s normal to want to pick apart their words, actions, and social media posts, and even their lack of communications, trying to find some meaning. Sometimes, it is relatively easy to pick apart your ex’s actions. But other times, it can be a bit more difficult.
You know that cliché that when a woman says she’s “fine” you better watch out because she’s anything but fine?
It’s true that there is usually a lot going on under the surface of what we say, and it doesn’t always match up with what we are thinking or feeling. Whereas guys always act like we’re the crazy ones – I’ve heard so many guys say
“I say what I mean.”
But is that true?
Yes…on some level. If a guy says he wants a hot dog, he probably wants a hot dog. But typically, men shy away from big emotions, and some will do whatever they can to avoid them, even fib here and there.
Frequently, when breakups occur, lines are used
“It’s not you, it’s me”
“I hope we can still be friends”
“I’m not ready for a relationship with anyone, I just want to be single.”
These are all said to lighten the blow of the breakup so that they guy can avoid hurting you, and therefore, avoid a big emotional meltdown.
So, when you’re in the Ex Boyfriend Recovery process, things can get a little murky when you try to read between the lines to figure out where your ex’s head is, and what his intentions are.
The one time it is painfully easy to see where your ex stands is if the interactions between you are more negative than positive.
If your first contact message is met with unkind words or some other negative response, your ex is making it pretty clear that they have no interest in speaking to you.
The first step is to understand why that is.
Did you cheat?
Did you say hurtful things in the heat of the moment while breaking up?
Were you the one to dump them?
My guess is if you are getting negative responses, you’ll know why. If you need to apologize for something, do so, but then go back into NO CONTACT for two weeks minimum.
A negative interaction could also be your ex bringing up the past in a negative way, even during a seemingly positive interaction. This includes saying why the relationship didn’t work, bringing up past disagreements, and focusing on your negative qualities.
The point of No Contact is to reset the relationship between you and your ex. It gives him time to miss you and for all of the negative memories to start to ade. If your interactions with your ex are negative, or he keeps bringing up the problems with the relationship, it is a sign that he has not had enough time for the negative memories to go away. Go back into No Contact, and try again in a couple weeks.
“I hope we can still be friends.”
Ahhhh, the dreaded words.
A lot of times, it’s a line used when a guy doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, but occasionally it could actually be that your ex actually values your friendship. That was one of the hardest things about the end of my relationship. I was losing my best friend in addition to my boyfriend.
If you and your ex had a deep friendship that went beyond romance and sex, he may want to try to continue the friendship.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to be friends with your ex and think that if you stay in his life, he’ll realize how great you are and will come to your door on his hands and knees begging you to come back.
Nope. That doesn’t work.
If your ex is attempting to put you in the friendzone, there are some very specific steps that you need to take to combat that.
So how do you know if your ex is trying to put you in the friendzone? Well, typically, they will use some variation of the line above. When you communicate they may say things like
“I really value our friendship”
“you’re such a good friend.”
Avoid the “F” word like the plague.
Okay, so let’s say your ex has used the BS line above when breaking up with you. What’s first?
You guessed it! No Contact.
Cut off contact and make him feel what it is like to not only lose you as his girlfriend but also as his friend. Sometimes, this can be enough. If you feel like attraction was lacking towards the end of the relationship, focus on that area during your No Contact period.
When you and your ex are texting and meeting up, throw him little things here and there that will force him to view you in a sexual/romantic way. Wear slightly suggestive clothing, drop sexual innuendos, use body language to flirt.
The key is to force your ex to see you in more than a “friend” way so that they are forced to face that they still have an attraction to you after all, and being “just friends” will never be enough.
Look at Buffy and Angel.
They dated, the world almost ended, and as a result, they have to be apart. They can never have a normal relationship, normal intimacy, and so that try to kid themselves that they are just friends. But Spike seeing through it.
“You’re not friends. You’ll never be friends. You’ll be in love till it kills you both. You’ll fight, and you’ll shag, and you’ll hate each other till it makes you quiver, but you’ll never be friends. Love isn’t brains, children, it’s blood…blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.”
Spike, as he so frequently does, hits the nail on the head. Strive for this.
Friends with Benefits
Why is it that so many men try to enter into friends with benefits situations with their ex’s? You’d think they’d understand that it’s an insult to us, and a clear demotion, but still, some of them try it.
A guy who has dumped his girlfriend and tries to enter into a Friends with Benefits situation with her when he knows she still has feelings for him is taking advantage of her pain and desire for intimacy with him. It sucks, and men should know better, but they don’t.
Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is probably the darkest season of all, and in it, Buffy and Spike begin a sexual relationship. He’s desperately in love with her, but she readily admits that she is using him:
Buffy: I know that. I do want you. Being with you… makes things… simpler. For a little while.
Spike: I don’t call five hours straight a little while.
Buffy: I’m using you. I can’t love you. I’m just… being weak, and selfish…
Spike: Really not complaining here.
It’s rather heartbreaking. He is so desperate to be close to her that he’ll take this arrangement, even though he wants more from her. More than she is able to give. Luckily, Buffy knows this can’t go on and ends it because she knows it isn’t fair to either of them.
You can’t expect your ex to be as noble.
If your ex straight up approaches you about a Friends with Benefits arrangement, draw a very clear line and say no, you’re not interested, and then go right back into an immediate No Contact. Do not reward his bad behavior by entertaining the idea or continuing to talk to him.
Sometimes, it’s not explicitly said, it just happens. I’ve written an article, that can be read HERE, about what to do if you find yourself hooking up with your ex, and what you can do to secure a commitment. I’ll give you a hint, it starts with No Contact.
Now, a stickier situation. Let’s use me as an example.
I’ve been meeting up with my ex for a couple months now. Our interactions are overwhelmingly positive, and he does 99% of the initiating. I’m straddling the line between the friend-zone and Friends with Benefits.
Now, as we’ve developed our rapport, things have become more intimate, both emotionally and physically. I know he’d love for me to sleep with him, but I think he also gets on some level that I won’t do so without a commitment. And even if he’s not ready to give me that commitment, he respects that. So I’m in this strange place where we make out for hours, but I will not sleep with him. It takes willpower!
Developing intimacy is a natural part of this Ex Boyfriend Recovery process. But you absolutely have to avoid sleeping with your ex until after a commitment is secured. Do NOT allow yourself to fall into a Friends with Benefits arrangement!
“I am tired of defensiveness and-and weird mixed signals – You know what? I have Faith for that. Let’s just get to the truth, here, okay?” – Buffy
Ah yes! The lovely land of mixed signals. I hate to say it, but this is kind of just part of the process. Your ex is on a tightrope, teetering. You want them to fall on the side of “committed relationship” rather than “friend-zone” or “Friends with Benefits” or whatever is on that other side.
All you can do is use Ex Boyfriend Recovery tactics to lightly blow him towards the side of commitment.
Try to zone in on what his doubts are and do and say things that will ease his mind.
He isn’t sure you will be able to fight less than you did before? Change your behavior and show him how things will be different this time.
He didn’t think you spent enough time together? Make him more of a priority.
Make a list of what you know his doubts and concerns were about the relationship and start subtly addressing them one by one via social media, texts, and in-person meet-ups.
Don’t tell him why things will be different this time. Show him.
He’s Still Interested!?
I think the signs will be pretty clear if your ex is interesting in pursuing a second chance with you.
Remember the three things it takes for a guy to want to commit: satisfaction, your value, and investment. To learn more about these three points, listen to the podcast episode here.
So if your ex is seemingly enjoying spending time with you and investing a lot in you and you don’t sense he’s interested in anyone else…you may be steps away from being a success story on Ex Boyfriend Recovery!
You don’t want to spook him. You don’t want to give him an ultimatum to force his hand. Remember, this process is a marathon, not a sprint, and that goes for the last steps of the process as well.
What you want to do is at the high point of a date together, casually bring it up
“So what’s this thing we’re doing?”
Keep your cool. Don’t get emotional. You’ve come too far now. It is imperative that you remain the Ungettable Girl, especially in this moment.
If you’ve played your cards right, and interpreted his actions correctly, you’ll have your boyfriend back.
Angel: You still my girl?
(Written by Rachel)