By Chris Seiter

Published on July 6th, 2022

A recent study conducted by Ex Boyfriend Recovery has found,

That on average it takes 5.2 months for an ex to come back after a breakup.

Today, we’re going to look at why it tends to take so long for an ex to come back around after a breakup.

We believe it has something to do with these concepts,

  1. Avoidants on average take longer reconnect with
  2. Time dilation factors
  3. Anxious behavior from our clients can extend the waiting period
  4. Situational considerations

Let’s dig in!

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Avoidants On Average Take Longer To Reconnect With

Yep, it’s old faithful, the avoidant attachment style.

There’s a lot to talk about here but I think the best place to start is by giving you a broad blanket definition that we can apply to avoidant individuals.

The Avoidant Attachment Style: A person who protects themselves at all cost by valuing their independence over dependence. Generally when they enter into a relationship they are looking for an excuse to leave the moment that other person is perceived as threatening their independence.

Again, not the super complicated version of avoidants that you were probably expecting.

Here are a few truths about avoidant individuals you may not know,

  • In general they take longer to “get back” because they only really “fawn” after an ex when they feel safe.
  • And they only feel safe if they have moved on to someone else, you have moved on to someone else or a lot of time has gone by
  • Also, avoidants are typically very susceptible to a concept called the phantom ex syndrome where they basically fawn after an ex they broke up with a long time ago

Now, the reason I’m digging in so hard on avoidants is because a recent poll in our private facebook support group found that most of our clients exes are avoidant,

So, a lot of times when new clients come to us we actually have to undo their expectations on how long the process will take. Unfortunately, we often aren’t the first stop people have during their breakup journey. They’ll usually go to one of our competitors and get seduced by all of these “quick” success stories.

“I got my ex back in 30 days…”

“He came back during the no contact rule…”

“It was easy…”

These, while maybe true for our competitors aren’t indicative of what we’ve actually seen in the field. Since we really try to ensure that every piece of advice we give is based on some type of internal or external research we are careful never to overpromise a timeline to someone.

Realistically, if you do everything right it’s going to take somewhere between 3-8 months for the process to work. Why not sooner?

Time Dilation Factors

This isn’t exactly a new concept but I figured I’d dig in a bit here since it’s very relevant to our discussion.

A sort of time dilation exists with attachment styles. In other words, the way each attachment style perceives time is different. Let’s look at each core style and use a time frame of 30 days to illustrate this point.

  1. For a secure attachment style 30 days will feel like 30 days
  2. For someone with an anxious attachment style 30 days will feel like 45 days
  3. For someone with an avoidant attachment style 30 days will feel like 15 days
  4. For someone with a fearful attachment style 30 days will feel like 15 days and then 45 days and then 15 days.

This is a relevant practice to perform because really there are two factors making it “seem” so long for an ex to come back.

Firstly your ex is probably avoidant so their perception of time is such that it’s going to take longer for them to get to that place emotionally where they feel comfortable “fawning” over you from afar.

Additionally our research has indicated that most of our clients have an anxious attachment style (more on this in a second) so that probably means that not only are you dealing with an avoidant ex but your sense of time is probably altered so that 30 days is feeling longer than it actually is.

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Combine these two sets of opposing time dilations together and you have a situation that feels a lot longer than it actually is.

Let’s talk a bit more about the anxious attachment style.

Anxious Behaviors From Our Clients Usually Makes The Process Take Longer

The average coupling we see in our coaching practice is,

anxious (client) + avoidant (ex)

Usually this is the trajectory of their relationship,

But in particular we’re interested in this part of the cycle right here,

Assuming that your ex is indeed avoidant and you are indeed anxious then those worrying things are usually some type of “threat to your exes independence” brought on by an anxious’ need for reassurance. It starts off small and insignificant but an avoidant is subconsciously looking for a way out and using any excuse they can get.

As such they are usually caught up in this cycle with an anxious,

I’m not trying to shame anyone here or even say that the anxious person did anything wrong. Many times they are just reacting to an avoidant and trying to keep the relationship alive out of desperation. All I’m saying is that each time they try to get close an avoidant reads it as a threat to their independence and then ultimately runs away.

The more this cycle plays out the more trauma and bad experiences build within the avoidant so that by the time an actual breakup occurs the avoidant has filed away all these anxious associations about their exes and they will hold that against them.

What’s even worse is that after a breakup is usually when an anxious person gets triggered because usually their worst fear has just come true. They’ve been abandoned and so they react to try to stop the way they are feeling which in turn just pushes the avoidant away and creates more trauma thus extending the time frame.

The absolute best thing you can do after a breakup with an avoidant is to simply leave them alone. It’s not what you want to hear but it’s what works.

Of course, there is one other interesting thing we need to talk about.

Situational Considerations

I started Ex Boyfriend Recovery back in 2012 and essentially half of my time was spent answering broken hearted individuals. After months of doing this you start to notice certain patterns. For example, one of the things everyone almost always says is that their situation is unique.

Most of the time people are wrong. Their situation isn’t unique. It’s just situational.

What do I mean by that?

Put simply, they aren’t sure how to handle their specific situation. To make matters worse some situations will just naturally take longer than others to see success with. There’s just a naturally longer timeline. This is also one of the reasons that it can take months for an ex to come back into the picture.

But what are those situations?

  • Any type of long distance relationship
  • A situation where your ex has a new boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Your ex has been deployed
  • You have cheated on your ex (takes time to rebuild trust)

Are you seeing a common theme here?

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There’s usually some obstacle whether it be person or distance that prevents a clean pathway back to you. It’s not that these situations are impossible or we’ve seen no success with them. Believe it or not we do really well with long distance relationships and situations where your ex has moved on to someone new.

It’s just that you need to temper your expectations. Go in thinking it’s going to take a long time to see results as opposed to being seduced by the “get rich quick” schemes.

Get Rich Quick Scheme in this instance is falling for the “get your ex back in 20 days” claims by some of my peers.

If you want to do this right then it’s going to take time, discipline and maybe even a bit of luck.

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19 thoughts on “Why Does It Take Months For An Ex To Come Back?”

  1. Susan

    December 5, 2022 at 12:50 am

    Small update guys……have managed to meet and go on a few dates with an amazing guy….
    He’s is the polar opposite to my ex!

  2. Susan

    October 24, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Hi I tried my third reach out and got a very terse reply telling me to move on and leave him alone. That he never wanted me. I replied defending myself, haven’t received a reply but have been blocked on social media despite us not being friends. I’m guessing now no contact is my only option and it’s looking pretty disasterout. I know we’ve been here before and it eventually worked for a time. I’m feeling he definitely has avoidant if not a narcissist also.
    Any guidance would be appreciated

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      November 13, 2022 at 1:29 pm

      Hi Susan, yes, it’s back to NC for at least 45 days if not longer, Work on yourself and try to move past the breakup and when you feel ready start dating. If he is a narcissist, then you would be best to move on from this as it is not going to be a happy and healthy relationship.

  3. Susan

    October 21, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    Hi so I completed 45 days, have reached out to my ex twice (6days apart) with the recommended text messages. No reply puzzled now as to how to proceed as I’m clearly being ghosted. Do I begin another no contact period? Or reach out for the third time?

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      October 23, 2022 at 11:55 am

      Hi Susan, attempt a third message in a few days if you are ignored again then yes its a 45 day NC

  4. Susan

    September 18, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Shaunna. Is there a specific type of text you recommend to use after the end of no contact period? Should I mention the current situation and the wierdness or just ignore?

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      September 22, 2022 at 7:07 pm

      You do not mention any situation or weirdness, Chris has videos and articles about the styles of texts that you should send and reach out with

  5. Susan

    September 8, 2022 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you Shaunna, I’ve entered into nc, planning on at least 45 – 60 days. Going to spend this time working on some self improvement and becoming ungettable

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      September 12, 2022 at 6:55 pm

      That sounds like a great plan Susan! Keep in mind we have extra products for support including one to one coaching and the ungettable girl book to help you through this stage!

  6. Susan

    September 6, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    Things have turned a little bit bad. Texting as normal, noticing replies have essentially ceased. Ask is something wrong, get the reply that he thinks I’m wanting more, which he can’t give so he doesn’t want to be friends. I have reassured him this isn’t true, but that I’ll step back. Help

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      September 8, 2022 at 8:27 pm

      Hey Susan, so from this interaction you do need to pull back as he is telling you that right now he cannot give you more. NC again for some time and I would suggest that you read some more materials to help you through the barrier. I often tell me coaching clients, when you stop thinking, focusing and wanting your ex back, this is when you feel the change in energy and so do they. This involves some self reflection work and plenty of reading.

  7. Susan

    August 15, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    Further development he has told me he is seeing someone else and it’s serious. I’m tryin to adopt the being there method and replied back being cool, happy for him ans explained I was also dating. He replied back wishing me good luck. Help how do I progress now? Any help would be appreciated

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      August 28, 2022 at 9:32 pm

      Hi Susan, essentially you follow the being there method and texting phase – understand that it is possible it will take longer to get your ex back.

  8. Julia

    August 5, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Hi please help…
    Bf left with his new gf back in Feb after our 6 year relstionship. I initiated a NCR during which he blew hot and cold.
    After no contact we both agreed to be friends and met once. I was always reaching out first. He usually messages back then drops out which was frustrating.
    He says he no longer thinks of our house as home and that our relationship is over. Ive decided to stop messaging and move on without moving on.

    Do you think it’s completely over? Do i reach out or wait for him?

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      August 5, 2022 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Julia, it is difficult as he is currently under the impression that he is “happy” with his new relationship. I would suggest that for now your focus is going to be MOWMO and just read follow the ungettable girl articles that Chris provides. This will help you change your focus on yourself and what is going to make you happy in your life.

  9. Susan

    July 25, 2022 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks for your reply Shaunna – he has gone a bit wierd with me recently not replying to some messages, short curt replies to others. We had a really good meet up prior to this. Would I be best entering another period of no contact with him?

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      August 5, 2022 at 5:34 pm

      Hi Susan, no do not go back into a no contact, you need to reward his behaviour if he gives you short replies – leave him on read, when he invests more into his messages then you do too. Always be sure that you are dropping out of your conversations first.

  10. Susan

    July 7, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    Hi, help needed…..
    I dated a guy about 4 years ago for a few months, stayed in contact as friends then ended up as fwb during Covid. He dumped me jan 2021, I pleaded ended up being blocked in June 2021. Got back in touch August 2021 when he was going through a tuff time. Been good friends since but I still want more. He’s recently started dating again but I feel he’s trying to make me jealous and still flirts with me when we meet up.
    Heeeeeelllllllllllllllllppppppppppppppp cos I don’t know what to do or where to go next

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      July 24, 2022 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Susan, so you would need to be dating guys too so that he can see you have options not just him.