By Chris Seiter

Published on May 28th, 2023

Let’s talk about why your ex needs time to think about getting back together.

And, the more I started outlining this article, the more I realized that three main things needed to be covered.

  1. We need to talk about the major reasons why they’d say they need time
  2. We need to talk about what this means for you (and what you should be doing.)
  3. How you know they are serious about getting back together

Let’s dive right in!

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There Are Five Major Reasons For Why An Ex Will Say They Need Time To Think About Getting Back Together

And those five reasons are as follows,

  1. The Nostalgic Reverie Pullback:
  2. They feel like they need to be in a better spot financially.
  3. They are just being too friendly and afraid of hurting you
  4. The grass is greener syndrome
  5. The Sphere Of Influence

Let’s dive into them.

Reason #1: The Nostalgic Reverie Pullback

We will go deep here into attachment styles for a little bit.

So we’ve run multiple polls throughout the history of ex-boyfriend recovery, and we found that our average client tends to have an anxious attachment style,

Real poll proving that most of our clients have anxious attachment styles.

While our average client’s ex tends to have an avoidant attachment style.

Now avoidant attachment styles have always fascinated me because I’m looking at how to get back with an avoidant nine times out of ten. That’s what people are often hiring me and my coaching team for.

And what’s interesting about the avoidant attachment style is really their operating core wound is one of independence.

Thus, if you give an avoidant enough space, they eventually begin to give themselves permission to miss you.

I actually talk a lot about that concept in this video,


And this is the thing that most people, when I explain it to them, it blows them away.

So if you give an avoidant enough space, they start to have what’s something called a nostalgic reverie.

They start remembering all of their past experiences, akin to the peak-end rule.

The peak-end rule argues that humans remember experiences based on peak points and endpoints.

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And at the end of a relationship, all your ex is thinking about are the worst moments, what it was like at the end.

There’s just nothing but negativity.

But with enough time, an avoidant specifically will have a nostalgic reverie.

They start to remember the peak moments of the relationship, the times that you were together and did all of these inspiring things and the times they were incredibly happy.

And that creates nostalgia.

And that nostalgia creates an action of potentially talking to you about getting back together.

But here’s the thing.

If you’ll remember, the operating core wound of an avoidant is a need for independence.

This means that anything that potentially threatens that independence could cause their fight or flight systems to trigger.

And so what tends to happen is that if you don’t play the push-pull game with them and give them space when they need space, they’ll scare themselves off.

  • They have nostalgic reverie.
  • They relive some of that nostalgia by going on dates with you or even talking about potentially getting back together with you.
  • And then it becomes real.
  • And then it becomes scary.
  • And then their flight system gets triggered, and they pull back.

Often, the number one quote they’re going to say is, you know what,

“I need some time to think about getting back together.”

And that leads us to the second reason they would say this.

Reason #2: They Are Just Being Nice And Don’t Want To Hurt You

Believe it or not, this is actually a part of codependency.

Codependents are often afraid to hurt others and have fragile boundaries. They’re terrified of people getting upset with them. My wife and I wrote extensively about this in an article we recently did. Still, it also ties into that nostalgic reverie pullback I just talked about.

You know, an avoidant does not like confrontation. A fearful avoidant can deal with confrontation. An anxious person can deal with conflict.

In fact, in some ways, conflict can be euphoric for them. It’s a way of getting it out.

An avoidant holds things in.

And as the name suggests, when times get hard, they avoid.

And so they’ve devised intriguing coping mechanisms to help them avoid things. One of those coping mechanisms is saying,

“Hey, I need time to think about getting back together.”

It’s the whole crack-in-the-door approach.

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You know, like, I don’t want to slam the door shut on us entirely, so I’m just going to leave it open to give you some hope.

And it’s not that it’s a false hope because I have seen hundreds of couples get back together. It’s that at that moment, that’s what the avoidant needs so that they feel like you’re not going to think poorly of them.

They don’t want to hurt you.

Reason #3: They Feel Like They Need To Be In A Better Spot Financially

So pulling off the avoidant talk, let’s say that your ex just got laid off or fired or they don’t have a job.

And that may make them actually feel like they aren’t good enough for you.

They may want time to get back on their feet before being in a relationship again.

I am attaching some screenshots of someone in our community that literally talks about this,

This individual is facing a situation where their ex, who lives three hours away, has lost his job. The ex has been very kind to them, and they have opened up to the individual. However, notice the exes apology contains a variation of “I’m not sure I’m ready to commit, “yet.””

Look, I can only speak from personal experience.

I think a lot about financial stuff all the time. And I’ve been trying to pinpoint why I think it is such a hot-button topic.

Ultimately it comes back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

If you recall from your psychology class (for those who paid attention), Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places physiological needs—such as air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, and reproduction—at the base of the pyramid.

Losing your job and experiencing financial hardships directly impact your ability to fulfill these needs.

For instance, you may struggle to provide food and shelter for yourself, which in turn can disrupt your sleep.

The inability to afford clothing can also become a concern.

Moreover, some people fear that a job loss will make them less attractive to potential partners, including exes.

This can deal a significant blow to their self-esteem.

Reason #4: The Grass Is Greener Syndrome

I’ve written a lot about this in the past.

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Exes often break up with you because they think the grass is greener on the other side.

But it also comes back to why they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

So they’ll say, “Hey, I’m not ready to commit right now, or I still need some time to think about getting back together. But they just want to go out and date other people because they believe they can do better than you.

And it’s essential not to take this personally because if you understand why human beings commit to one another, we’re always looking for the best deal possible for us.

I will hold off on the commitment speech for now because I’ll cover it in-depth a little later in this guide.

And there are a lot of things that go into making that a “good deal.”

And it gets very complicated when you consider that every time you enter into a new relationship, you are naturally euphoric because of the honeymoon period.

And so, as you compare a relationship with a new person to your past partner at the very beginning, that new person will always beat out the past partner.

So for them, it’s always going to feel like the grass is greener, but what matters is the long-term prospects of the person.

What matters is really when the honeymoon period wears off. What’s the comparison, then?

Reason #4: The Sphere Of Influence

I’ve talked a lot about the sphere of influence throughout this website.

The sphere of influence is a collection of individuals whose opinions your ex cares about more than anyone else.

Often these will be very close friends, very close family members. Sometimes the sphere of influence can be a great asset to you, but sometimes it can be an incredible obstacle.

If you do not get along with their friends or their family, then for them to say,

“Hey, I need time to think about getting back together.”

It could be code for,

“Hey, my friends and family hate you. And I don’t, but I’m not sure how it will affect my relationship with them if I get back together with you.”

In other words, they’re scared of what other people think.

They’re scared because they’re reliant on this sphere of influence, the opinions of those family or friends, and sometimes the opinions of their coworkers; those all make up part of their identity, and, like it or not, sometimes the fear of influence forces their hand. It’s a “you or them” mentality.

From their perspective, they may have to choose between maintaining their sphere of influence or being with you.

They perceive it as a zero-sum game, even though it doesn’t necessarily have to be. As they weigh these options, you aren’t faring well in their mental calculus.

What This Means For You (And What You Should Do Going Forward)

Well, at the risk of sounding redundant, there are also five things you need to get into the habit of doing, no matter if you find any of the reasons above true.

  1. Be patient but don’t put your life on hold
  2. Date other people (unless you cheated)
  3. Take a break from social media
  4. Spend time with friends
  5. Get into a routine

Let’s talk briefly about these.

Thing #1: Be Patient And Don’t Put Your Life On Hold

I think the first thing is to be patient and not put your life on hold. The huge mistake I see people making in ex-boyfriend recovery is the codependent issue.

Their entire life revolves around getting this one person back, and if that doesn’t fall into place, their whole life is out of place in general.

This isn’t good:

This is good:

They put every other aspect of their life on hold.

It hampers their personal growth, their career growth, and their physical growth, all because they are too obsessed with this one person.

It’s essential, and as cliche as this sounds, to live for more than just an ex.

I don’t know about you, but when I am on my deathbed thinking back on my life, I don’t want to sit there and think,

“Man, I really wish I had gotten together with that person. My whole life has culminated with that relationship right there.”

I don’t want to think that. And as romantic as that may sound for some people, for 99% of the population, that’s not romantic in real life.

What is romantic in real life is if you look back on your life and think,

“Look at all the things I accomplished. That was a life well lived.”

Thing #2: Date Other People (Unless You Cheated)

Okay, so I’m going to link to a video.


The woman featured in this video may become your personal spirit animal.

She basically gives the whole argument I’m about to give you, which is the importance of dating other people after a breakup, except she’ll do it way more justice than I can.

So, if you have 40 minutes to spare, I recommend listening to my interview with her.

Here’s something I will add, though.

Psychologically, there are six things that you need to make someone commit to you.

  • Satisfaction, how satisfied they are in their relationship
  • Alternatives, is there a better alternative out there?
  • Investment: the investment of time, energy, money, energies, resources, things like that.
  • Scarcity, are you a scarce resource?
  • Urgency, is there an urgent reason to commit to you?
  • Fear of loss.

It’s really that last thing, fear of loss, that I want to talk about. Dating other people, even if you’re not serious about getting into a relationship with those people, helps you create fear of loss, which actually plays into the avoidant mindset.

There’s nothing an avoidant likes more than seeing you move on because that gives them permission to feel like it’s okay to miss you, even if they’re with someone else, which is this wild, warped way of thinking, but that’s avoidance for you.

Thing #3: Take A Break From Social Media

The third thing I think you should do is probably take a break from social media, specifically social media that will keep your cortisol in an elevated state.

So if you don’t understand what happens to a person when they go through a breakup, it’s fascinating.

At the beginning:

In the middle:

At the end:

Your brain releases all sorts of neurochemicals when you go through a breakup, but none more so than cortisol.

Cortisol is also commonly referred to as the stress hormone.

But how does that have anything to do with social media?

Well, your cortisol, on average, should stay elevated for about three to four hours before reaching a moderate level.

But if you do things that continue to propagate your cortisol or do something that continues to stress you out, your cortisol stays elevated for a long time.

And if that happens, it can take six months for that to come down.

This means that your cortisol stays elevated every time you open up your social media account and spy on your ex or you look and see what they’re doing and who they’re talking to.

Your stress becomes higher, and cortisol is a link to depression.

Therefore, you are more likely to become depressed.

So taking a break from social media or at least finding a way to avoid elevating your cortisol with social media is a must.

Thing #4: Spend Time With Friends

We often talk in Ex Boyfriend Recovery about the Holy Trinity,

Dividing your life up into,

  1. Health
  2. Wealth
  3. Relationships

And working on making sure that you elevate every category.

The problem is people are so codependent on their exes that their entire relationships category of the Holy Trinity is wrapped up entirely in their ex.

When discussing the Holy Trinity, I’m not talking about your ex. I’m discussing your relationships with friends, families, coworkers, and pets.

So getting in the habit of making new friends, spending time with those friends, and working on relationships that are not related to your ex is a brilliant way to approach or use your time.

Thing #5: Get Into A Routine

If you can consistently maintain a routine, you’ll start to hit your stride. The grind is the most challenging part.

See, anyone can do something one time.

Anyone can read an article like this, feel inspired, and say,

‘You know what, I’m going to take a break from social media.’

Doing it once is easy.

Doing it twice is also easy.

Heck, even seven times is easy.

But you know what’s not easy?

Sixty-six times.

On average, it takes sixty-six repetitions to form or break a habit.

The only method I’ve found effective to reach this point is to stick to a consistent routine.

One of my favorite movies is Gattaca.

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s set in the future and tells the story of a man whose dream is to become an astronaut. But in this future, everything is genetically tested, and you can’t become an astronaut without a certain level of DNA.

So, he illegally uses someone else’s DNA to convince the space agency that he’s genetically superior. He’s an intelligent man, but physically, he doesn’t meet the criteria.

(Spoiler Alert)

What struck me about this movie is a scene near the end where he’s discovered and has to admit to his girlfriend that he’s been deceiving her. He’s on the beach, obsessively scratching his arms to remove his arm hair, which contains DNA.

He had gotten so used to this routine of doing it every single morning that it became a habit for him.

While I’m not sure this example perfectly illustrates my point, it shows how adamant you must be about not breaking the routine.

Believe me when I say most of our clients need structure.

They know what they must do but often require someone to hold them accountable and keep them in their routine. Because, with consistency, great things can happen if you do a little bit every day. But it only happens if you maintain a habit.

How Do You Know Your Ex Is Serious About Getting Back Together?

Let’s say you’re doing all this stuff. You’re playing your cards right. How do you know if your ex is genuinely considering getting back together?

Well, there are four things to watch out for.

  1. The dream scenario unfolds
  2. They beg for you back
  3. Pry into your own sphere of influence
  4. Actions Vs. Words

The Dream Scenario Unfolds

They’ll engage in a deep conversation with you about why they left and how they plan to repair the relationship to prevent another breakup.

This is the dream scenario, right?

And yes, it does happen. It may take some time, but it’s possible. So, they express their desire to get back together, discuss the reasons for the breakup, and show sincerity in their actions.

We’ll delve into that a bit more in a moment.

They Beg For You Back

Second, they might outright beg for you back. Not much more to dissect there.

They Pry Into Your Sphere Of Influence

Third, they start interacting with your SOI – your parents, your best friend. They start showing interest in your life and well-being.

Words Vs. Actions

Lastly, you notice that their words align with their actions. They don’t say one thing and do another. There’s consistency. They say it, and then it happens. A pattern of integrity emerges. That’s how you know someone is telling the truth.

Carl Jung once said, ‘If you cannot understand why someone does something, look at the consequences and infer the motivation.’

If your ex says one thing but does something different, they didn’t mean what they said. But if they say something and follow through, that’s authenticity.

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