While there are no scientifically proven methods of reconciliation that have stood the test of time, there are definitely ways in which we can improve our chances without burying what’s left of our dignity.

To the point then, here’s what I won’t be using to make my case:

  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): While NLP can have some advantages with regards to self-growth, the entire field has been largely discredited over the years, and wielding it certainly won’t allow you to project any long-term authority over your romantic life, and especially over someone else’s romantic life.
  • Reverse Psychology: A risky technique that can, and often does, backfire. In any case, successful reconciliation will require long-term emotional stability, not manufacturing short-term insecurity (more on this later on in the article).
  • Spells/Mantras: I wouldn’t have mentioned this at all, but if my website inbox is anything to go by this is a remarkably tenacious business. At best this is all a short-term placebo, at worst a criminally damaging lead-you-on.

So, what are we left with? A sprinkling of logic and common sense (which I’ll grant you isn’t all that common in a post-breakup scenario when our wits are almost entirely scrambled).

Prefer Dignity Over Compassion

Attraction and sympathy are clearly not symbiotic. Granted, long-term relationships usually see the focus ebb and flow from attraction to attachment, but bear in mind that at this stage of a breakup romantic attachment (as opposed to a more generalized and platonic sense of attachment which may still thrive) will have dwindled considerably, and thus attempting to appeal to it will usually end-up with even more distance.

This doesn’t mean pretending everything is hunky-dory, and it certainly doesn’t mean attempting to manipulate our exs by pretending that grief is no big deal. Preferring dignity over compassion simply means being transparent regarding our intentions, and making an effort to respect their decisions as they stand.

Other than cementing our own self-esteem in the long run, taking a dignified stance during the breakup can also help chances of reconciliation because we are demonstrating strength and a healthy dose of altruistic respect. At the end of the day, how we chose to act in the face of adversity will factor greatly with regards to how we are remembered.

Refuse The Mind Games

If we are the one’s who were dumped, it is clear that the current romantic imbalance is not slated in our favor. Most mind-games aim to manipulate indecision, guilt or insecurity so that this imbalance is corrected.

These games of psychological charades prey on temporary and transient states of insecurity (even if, on the huge off-chance they seem to be working), however, once the emotional waters have had time to stabilize, as they indubitably will, despite our best attempts at muddying them, the only thing that left for us to do will be to burn the house of cards that has collapsed all around us.

The erection of mind games are nothing other than impulsive short-term solutions that aim to quell an immediate, deep-seated needs within us, but since when is real, tangible and successful reconciliation anything other than a long-term goal?

This is the curse that breakups often infect us all with, the evaporation of our sense of objectivity. Pain is immediate, as are longing, grief and solitude, and thus our subjective mind want solace — and it wants it now. But negotiating reconciliation is anything but immediate, and attempting to catalyze existing insecurity so as to level the playing field will only ever yield short-term results that do not satisfy long-term goals (in addition to royally aggravating our exs once they come to realize they were manipulated).

Erect Strong Boundaries

Continuing to allow our exs or the breakup itself to define our lives is highly damaging, both with regards to our chances of reconciliation and towards the process of healing.

The fear of putting our needs first is understandably that it might lead to bridge-burning, but let’s take a closer look at this notion:

  • If your relationship with your ex is only acceptable under the roof of romance (and you’re fundamentally not interested in a platonic friendship) then, as things currently stand, the bridges have been burned anyway.
  • By breaking up with you, your ex demonstrated enough drive and discipline to put their needs first, this logically enables you to respond in kind. Not arbitrarily out of spite, but because you have a life to live and cannot depend on anything less than absolutes.
  • Erecting communicative and behavioral boundaries also help protect you from mind-games and triggers from your ex that might delay your own healing. If you know you will scour every new Facebook highlight for evidence of a new flame, then absolutely do not put yourself in that position, and do not worry about how removing yourself from that scenario (for instance, a Facebook block) will make you look.

Erecting strong breakup boundaries also help your reconciliation chances because they are actions that genuinely (and not merely as the manifestation of a mind game) stem from strength and discipline, which will project value. But most importantly they allow you to dissociate from dependency and set a personalized stage where you can efficiently heal on your terms, and not theirs. Win-win, no matter the outcome.

Free Communication From Raw Emotion

One day you may want to dial their number and tell them how much you love them, the next, if they haven’t answered, you may want to dial again to tell them how much you hate them. So, what’s the real emotion here? Who’s the real you? Are either of these emotions accurate representations of how you feel overall?

I would argue that you should distrust all these oscillations equally, or, perhaps more realistically, allow neither to set the tone of the breakup.

Any injection of raw, unfiltered emotion will lead to a communicative tug of war that will frustrate all involved, in addition to fueling an already heightened pattern of over-analysis. Reconciliation is largely about processing hard facts, and throwing emotions such as anger or guilt in the mix can prejudge an outcome before it’s had a chance to even emerge.

As always, this doesn’t mean being indignantly distant and aloof (this is also the product of raw emotion, if not to you, then your ex will judge it as such), but it does mean limiting discussion to the root causes of your stance regarding reconciliation, and disregarding as much emotional volatility as possible.

Good communication is directly correlated with good chances at reconciliation. Abusing a communicative channel in an effort to stem the tide of our own personal pain (as opposed to mutual, relationship issues) will jam it, and what was once an avenue for getting back together will close permanently to prevent further emotional flooding.

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11 Comments

  • Myrna
    Posted Apr 27, 2015 at 8:24 am 0Likes

    Very well put James.
    As I posted in response to another article you wrote, I was so in the “self preservation” mode that the flood of emotions disabled me from taking a few steps back to simply give myself some space rather than making a raw declaration to my boyfriend who was not a great communicator to begin with, thereby effectively shutting down the communication altogether.
    It was a very tenuous relationship at times, other times joyous. Too bad, so sad.
    Anyway, the present moment is what is at hand.
    I appreciate your very thoughtful writing.

    • James Nelmondo
      Posted Apr 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm 0Likes

      You’re very welcome, and I appreciate the honest and detailed feedback, this is what this entire website is all about (other readers in similar stories/situations will gain from relating with you), thank you!

  • Neil
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:36 am 0Likes

    Hi James
    I’ve been following your website for a while now and I’m happy you are posting new articles. This is another excellent post that is objective, intelligent and common sense advice. I am currently going through a breakup and hoping to reconcile and your posts have and continue to help me use an approach that I believe will give me the best chance to achieve my goal. Without your sound advice I have no doubt that I would have messed up any chance of getting back with my ex girlfriend. As things stand we’ve been split for 8 months but I really think I have a chance to reconcile in the future. You have helped me to stay confident and positive and have helped me to improve as a person. Please keep up the good work and thank you.

    • James Nelmondo
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:09 am 0Likes

      Neil, you’re absolutely welcome, and I’m glad I’ve been of use! Mostly, I appreciate the fact that my opinion has helped you solidify your own personal path forward. That’s all it should ever be in the end, food for thought.

      Thanks again and best of luck!

  • Lauren
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 8:02 am 0Likes

    Hello James,

    Your blog is so much more helpful than most blogs out there. You give genuine advice and avoid manipulation. Even at the roughest times of my breakup, I could not bring myself to use manipulation to get my ex back.
    It’s been 9 months. I still want my ex back, although not under any circumstances. I want to start a new, improved relationship. One where trust and love will prevail.
    However, my ex has been seeing someone for about 8 months. Someone who was my friend. I don’t know why, but I feel like there still could be something between us.
    We’ve chatted a bit since then, but it was mostly small talk, about a month ago.

    I need your advice on this. I want to respect my ex’s new relationship and do not want to be too upfront. But I also feel like the lines of communication should be open. Do I still engage in small talk, knowing that I could annoy him? I mean I know I should know what to do at this point, but a little bit of guidance could help.

    Thank you very much.

    • James Nelmondo
      Posted May 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm 0Likes

      Hey Lauren, thanks for the kind words!

      The problem with small talk, as I see it, is that it breeds exactly the kind of environment you don’t seem to want, one of confusion rather than clarity. Especially if you both suspect that the chit chat is a smokescreen for something else (which, between exs, is usually the case).

      Additionally, the longer the fluff goes on, the harder and riskier is will become to open up (riskier because if your ex realizes that you masqueraded for months under the flag of conditional friendship they might feel a little betrayed/shocked or confused). Ultimately it depends on what the nature of the communication is, if they are sending the same kind of signals (even if it’s just your gut telling you this) you are, and they don’t seem to shy away from subjects which tie you both together, I’d say it’s a cue for you to open up.

      I know the feeling of hesitation that this chit-chat breeds, because there is the risk that should you reveal your cards the lines of communication could collapse, but realistically, they are only really open for that reason anyway, and thus you haven’t really lost anything other than a sense of hope.

      P.S: Also, I would also add that with regards to wanting to respect his new relationship, nobody can fault you for feeling the way you feel and communicating it. However, waiting in the wings and masquerading as an old, ailing friend would be, at least to me, a little more disrespectful (and might lead to resentment).

  • Lauren
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm 0Likes

    Thank very much for the answer, James!

    Yes, you definitely have a point. Confusion is annoying. The problem is my mind is probably not that clear yet, even after so long, which probably does not play in my favour.
    I was doing the chit chat thing in order to keep the lines of communication open while I make up my mind (should I pursue him or not), but it is making matters worse and now I don’t know what I want at all. I know I love him still, but I am just too scared of this not working out as he was my first love and he is with someone else. Plus, tbh, I would not want to go back to the relationship we had, so if history repeats itself and we just end up fighting like we used to…i’ll pass.
    Most of the time letting go seems like the better option, but the thing is it’s been 9 months and still love him even after the messy breakup we had.

    My gut tells me that he still misses me and loves me. But it also tells me he is not ready to make the effort to make this relationship work, and he is still trying actively to move on.
    Sorry, this is as confusing as my mind at the moment haha!

    Thank you again :)

    • James Nelmondo
      Posted May 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm 0Likes

      No worries, you seem fairly level-headed about the situation to me. People tend to propagate the myth that feelings die out in a matter of months whereas, at least in my experience (and those I talk to through the website), they tend to endure for a great deal of time, even if the desire to reconcile just isn’t there. I suppose there is no off switch, you just learn to compartmentalize and get on with things regardless of the occasional pangs and what ifs.

      Best of luck!

    • Lauren
      Posted May 14, 2015 at 3:48 pm 0Likes

      Ha, James, you have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to yell at people who pretend it takes half the time of the relationship to get over it… I honestly feel like I will love him forever and right now I am at peace with this, whatever happens. Thank you for your blog. I am thinking of getting “Every curse is a blessing in disguise” tattooed haha. Hope there will be new entries :). All the best to you!

  • ballaz69
    Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 2:36 am 0Likes

    Hey James, I’m at a crossroads my ex girlfriend of 6 years dumped me officially this past February, and I say officially because we would break up in the past and keep acting like a couple. Not this time it is real, she is also talking to someone else I think she lined him up before breaking up with me. After the break up we have met up 3 times and had sex ounce, she never initiates contact but always responds and everything we meet I she lets me kiss her and kisses back…my dilema is the following I don’t know if to keep persuit or stop.. She never mention’s new guy, but I know about then and recently I called her and she seemed happy to hear from me even said she was going to send me a happy emoji but that she was about to go out with her girls for a drink and will call me sometime this week I told her to save the emoji and just hit me back when she gets a chance we did talked for about 30min…I have only contacted her to set up “dates ” except this time because she was on her way out and she has not turned me down ounce, I guess I’m getting impatient because I know she is dating this one guy, so any advice? Keep persuit or what?

    • James Nelmondo
      Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 7:44 am 0Likes

      I don’t doubt you’re feeling impatient, but from an outsider’s opinion, it sounds like she’s getting everything she wants — so why would she change the scenario? She is comforted by your continued attention, and at the same time gets to keep all her options open.

      If you can keep pursuing without incurring too much pain, go for it. But chances are having to analyze every crumb, and watching her potentially move on will probably lead to resentment. I can only say what I would do, which is redefine the scenario in a way that doesn’t leech my self-esteem and hope away. In short, accept the breakup as is, but hang a lifeline out if she wants to talk.

      It seems pretty clear to me that despite the dates, respect and sex (you have enjoyed an intimate relationship for years, so it’s only natural for your presence to be comforting), she has clearly embraces a new romantic life, and — without sounding too bleak — I think it’s a cue for you to do the same. At the very least it will allow her to objectively weigh what she’s walking from, and to (which is hard for her to do when she can take you continued affection for granted).

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