Denial, as Mark Twain famously put it, isn’t just a river in Egypt, it’s our hardwired reaction to trauma, marking the beginning of the five stages of grief. Making the most of your chances at reconciliation will necessitate an immense amount (at least initially) of willpower and discipline. Chances are you have already taken a self-esteem hit and begged, grovelled or attempted to bargain with promises you are unlikely to keep in the long-run. Understanding that reacting insecurely out of fear will only deepen the trench that separates you and your significant other is a crucial first step on the road to successful reconciliation. So where does that leave us?
Regain control of your emotions
The single biggest mistake in the post-breakup wasteland is the assumption that if you are not omnipresent your ex will simply drift away and forget about you. This is not to say that disappearing entirely or cutting them forcefully out of your life is a better strategy (more on this later), it simply means that you are manifesting the quintessentially negative traits of dependency. Do not surrender dignity for sympathy, it will demolish what little attraction there may be left.
Regaining control of your emotions serves two primarily purposes. Firstly, it shows your significant other that you are strong, independent and are able to put yourself first. Secondly, being objective accelerates a painful but swift healing process which will allow you to make better decisions regarding the relationship in the future.
There may be no way to reason your way out of the pain, realize that there is a chemical component to breakup pain, which is identical to addiction, and that your thoughts may not be an accurate reflection of what you really are. Give yourself the time to detox and the emotional quagmire you are stuck in today will be greatly relativized. Regaining independence and strength is also your best bet at reconciliation.
Keep the lines of communication open
Most of the relationship literature I read nowadays seems to be contact-centric. Meaning that strategies are erected, such as the no contact rule, which deal with emotionally blackmailing your ex in order to make them feel guilty or starved enough to contact you. I disagree with this in principle. In my mind successful reconciliation happens when a couple have shed insecurity and transform needing the other person, into wanting the other person, not simply reconciling out of our innate fear of abandonment. Only then can a healthy relationship begin anew.
If you do want them back, make sure the lines of communication are open, and that they can contact you without fear of reprisal. Do not abuse your ability to contact them, or you run the risk of shutting them down permanently. Be sparse, honest and transparent with your messages and expect the same from them. If you are receiving mixed messages, and find yourself constantly over-analyzing or misreading their intentions, it will set your healing back and give you false hope. Insist that communication remain translucent, the act of erecting a boundary in this way will also begin to help you rebuild self-esteem because you are regaining control of your life.
The channels of communication that remain open, from the personal telephone call to the impersonal email, will depend on how comfortable you are with it. If you dread seeing pictures of their happy new life on Facebook, do not hesitate to unfriend them. Do not feel guilty about doing this, they will understand. And even if they don’t, remember that if you were forced to respect their decision to break up, they can respect your desire to limit your pain.
I Want My Girlfriend Back
Do not equate the passing of time as an enemy to reconciliation. Familiarity breeds contempt! Have faith that time will begin to ease your pain passively, because it will. If your bond was genuine, time also has a tendency to erase the negative aspects of a relationship that led to the breakup in the first place. The foundations of love; caring, respect and symbiosis are not subject to the wear and tear of time.
Ironically then, the only real strategy to getting her back is that of demonstrating strength, independence and the ability to move forward — with or without her. Focusing on these attractive qualities will not only impress her, they will also improve you. You may even realize that the breakup was for the best! Successful reconciliation demands healing, and healing requires time. In my opinion, the single most constructive thing you can do with this in mind is to become strong and attractive once more. If a window opens, and you are able to talk and meet each other once you have had time to weather the trauma, your new-found strength will speak far louder than any strategy ever will.