When a relationship ends, the first question a lot of women have is: how can I get him back? (Or, how can I get back at him if he was a huge jerk!) Women are fixers, most of us can’t just let something go, we need to know we tried out best, that we saw it through, and only when we realize that nothing more can be done will we release control a bit. Men aren’t usually like this and see things in more concrete terms when it comes to relationships. If it didn’t work, it probably won’t work so there’s no use in going back and trying again.
Sometimes you realize right away that you want him back. Other times, those feelings of longing creep in months after the relationship ended. You try to get over the breakup, to move on to greener pastures, but you just can’t. Something seems to be holding you back and the only thoughts that enter your mind are those of getting him back.
Before we go there and look at strategies that actually work, I want you make sure this really is a relationship you want to be in. If you were in a toxic relationship or if he was emotionally unavailable or just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give you the commitment you want, then forget it and move on. (And be sure to read this article on the real reasons to you can’t get over him, the truth isn’t always what you think!)
Okay, so here we go. These are the top three ways to get your guy back, whether you’ve officially broken up or are just taking a break:
1. Do Not Call Him!
Under no circumstances should you reach out to him first, period. I don’t care if something really funny happened that only he would find amusing, or if you finally remembered the name of that book you were telling him about and really thought he would enjoy, or if you heard that song that always reminds you of him. No contact means no contact.
Give him the time and space to miss you. This will only happen in your absence, not in your presence.
By reaching out, you risk falling into a post-relationship relationship. Meaning, you talk on occasion, you hang out from time to time, but your relationship stays in a state of no mans land.
Let him wonder about you, let him fret over how many guys have been pursuing you now that you’re on the market, let him miss you and all your little quirks.
I say the no contact rule should be fully in effect without exception for at least three weeks. If after that you feel you absolutely must reach out, then throw something casual out there and see how he responds. It is always best to let him be the first to reach out, though.
2. Move On
I know it’s counter-intuitive, especially since this is an article about how to get him back, but your focus during this time should be on how you’re going to move on, not how you’re going to get him back.
There is a very real chance that he won’t want to get back together, or that he feels the relationship is beyond repair. If you hold on to hope that he’ll come back and you’ll live happily ever after, you set yourself up for even more pain in the event that it doesn’t pan out this way.
Hope can really be your enemy in this situation. Don’t fuel yourself with the hope that he’ll come back, focus instead on how you’ll move on and what lies ahead for you.
3. Stay Busy
This is absolutely essential. We’re women, we can’t help but obsess and analyze and over think. When a relationship dies, all we’re left with is memories of happier times and endless rumination of where it all went wrong and what we would have done differently.
This is a brutal trap to fall into. The more you idealize him, the worse it will be if he decides to go on without you. And the stakes are even higher at this point because you’ve built him up to this Supreme Being that no other man can compare to.
You have to make a solid effort to keep your mind away from any thoughts that relate to him. This means spending more time with your friends, doing things you enjoy, catching up on books you’ve been wanting to read and movies you’ve been wanting to see. As soon as there’s an empty crack, he will seep right in so the best offense is a good defense in this case.
The more you can enjoy your life without him, the better off you’ll be, whether he comes back or not.
Having a full, fulfilling life is always a prerequisite to having an amazing relationship.
No guy wants to feel like you need him and can’t survive without him
If he pops into your mind, just pluck him out like a pesky weed.
The only chance you have to truly get him back, is to learn to live and love your life without him. It’s a win-win for you, really. Either he’ll come crawling back, or you’ll move on and find someone new.
You can get your ex back and it can work this time around, but you need to make sure that you have successfully dealt with whatever issues caused the breakup with begin with. These could be internal (like emotional issues) or external like you live in different states of countries and the distance is too much. Whatever problems existed when you were together will still be there, so you need to be ready to deal with them (and deal with them differently) this time around.
And to end on a high note, I ended up marrying my high-school ex-boyfriend. We didn’t get back together until 11 years after the fact (even though I pined for him for many years following our breakup!), but it took a while for both of us to be in the right place, physically and emotionally, to make it work. So you really never know where life will take you!
Also, be sure to take our “Can I Get My Ex Back?” quiz to find out if you have a shot of making it work this time around…or if you should just forget it.
About the Author
Sabrina Alexis is the cofounder and editorial director of anewmode.com and author of the bestselling book “10 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Men.” Sabrina graduated from Boston University in 2007 with degrees in English and Psychology and has been writing about fashion, beauty, relationships, and wellness ever since. She launched A New Mode in 2009 with relationship expert Eric Charles, and the site quickly attracted a large following due to its unique and insightful relationship content, which gets to the heart of why men act the way they do, and what it takes to have a truly fulfilling, healthy, happy relationship.