The relationship ended. Your partner ended it because they felt that they could no longer continue on in the same bad communication dynamics. Every conversation devolved into the same old fights. But now you’ve realized that it’s not over for you and you won’t go down without a fight.
Your current plan is to try to get your partner’s attention by engaging in the same patterns that drove the two of you apart in the first place. You try and get their attention by bombarding them with contact or sending them texts to get them to take responsibility for their actions. It’s no wonder that all these attempts fail.
Here at Relationup, we offer a better solution. Getting back together with your ex is actually about taking stock in how you contributed to the bad dynamics in the relationship, making a repair and seeing if your ex will accept it and give you a second go. But the repair is complex; it involves you developing your capacity for self-reflection, your ability to take responsibility, and your ability to develop new coping skills so you don’t engage in familiar patterns. Here are 5 steps to assist you in making the best repair possible.
1. The most important question that you need to answer is: how did your behavior contribute to the ending? You need to stop thinking about what your partner did wrong and start reflecting on your own actions. Being able to identify your own shortcomings will enable you to take responsibility and avoid repeating the same problems in the future with whomever you are in a relationship.
2. Make a connection and take responsibility for your side of the road. Maybe you have remained in contact or maybe you have taken a break but, regardless, let a little time pass without contact, either meet them in person, send a email or write them a note that clearly takes responsibility. It doesn’t defend or justify your behavior, but simply states that you understand where you slipped up and how it negatively impacted the relationship, how you really don’t want to be this type of person and how you are going to work on yourself to not repeat these patterns. The purpose of this letter is to show your partner that you understand how you contributed to the problems and want to be different if there was a second time around.
3. Have zero expectations and give your ex some space. You will have to sit with the uncertainty of not know where things are headed and what will happen next. Don’t make the mistake of demanding a response or reaching out if you haven’t heard anything. Give your ex their time and space to digest all of this. You may hear back. You may not. Your job is learn from this and not to control the outcome.
4. Develop the skills to change your behavior patterns. Become mindful and notice the ways that you engage in your old predictable and problematic behaviors with others. Observe yourself repeating them and learn how to stop and change these behaviors. You’ll need to understand your patterns, develop new coping tools and practice substituting them with others.
5. Work on yourself. You don’t know what will happen with this relationship and you can’t sit around in paralysis, not moving forward with your life. Take this time to work on yourself, physically, emotionally and spiritually and to grow and change as a person.
In order to give your yourself a fighting chance to reunite with your ex, you can’t offer up the same, familiar, problematic relationship. You have to learn a new way to be in the relationship that will be more rewarding for your partner and ultimately, more beneficial for you. Even if you don’t get a second chance with your ex, your self-reflection will help you grow and change for the better and become a better partner for your next relationship.
Written by Rhonda Milrad, LCSW
Founder and Chief Relationship Advisor