How To Get Him Back After A Break Up

When it comes to getting your ex boyfriend back, you will almost always be your worst enemy. Chances are before having read this article you will committed a few foul-ups borne of trauma and panic which can lead to a further distancing on his behalf. There are two distinct scenarios which will require different strategies, we’ll deal with the murkier one first.

He Broke Up With You.

How long he mulled the break up over mentally is a very telling indicator of how much he means it.

Most men are notoriously impulsive — but not all — or at least, not every-time. When a relationship matures it can be difficult to pick up on warning signs that he has begun to reconsider the relationship due to the fact that complacency steps in.

Think back to the last few months of the relationship and try and pin-point a moment where things subtly took a turn for the worse. Usually, as we become more objective and less panicky in a post-breakup scenario, we realize that the turning point was a lot further back than we initially tough.

Some subtle indicators of loss of interest can include (for instance):

  1. Appearing less and less their best (unkempt, poor choice of clothes, worsening hygiene e.t.c).
  2. Less confrontational (ironically, a heated discussion involves caring deeply. A man who no longer fights to offer his opinions might simply have stopped caring whether you understood them).
  3. More inclined to seek personal sanctuary (more time with their friends, alone, or on their hobbies).

Getting him back after a break up involves behind honest with yourself. I’ll throw this out here, and don’t hate me for it: If he’s been a trooper and weathered the decline for many months (and occasionally years) before letting go, your chances aren’t very good. Conversely, if it truly seemed to come out of nowhere, even if you suspect it’s because someone else is involved, you stand a fairly good chance at reconciliation. I’ll outline my opinion on the best course of action after the next section.

You Broke Up With Him

Even if things were pretty horrid, and despite the fact that you feel you made a mistake you know it was on some level a “warranted decision”, grief and rejection will swiftly take their toll on him. That is to say, if he’s stopped dragging his emotional carcass across the floor in your direction — chances are he’s become quite resentful (again, even if he knows it was the right decision). Reconciling will involve patience and diligence on your part. If you attempt to approach him after a period of silence, don’t talk directly about the relationship, and don’t assume you still know him. At best you’ll confuse him (he might not trust you anymore), at worst he may ignore you entirely.

You’ll want to drag this one out over time. Start by pulsing a message here and there sporadically (keep them unpredictable, and keep them sparse), and gauge your progress. If he caves in, or shouts at you, don’t immediately take them as terminal, there will be a lot of pent-up anger. Having said that, he may genuinely have moved on, be with someone else or simply not be interested anymore. It will be up to you to decide whether or not his coldness is a smokescreen or the real thing. But bear this in mind: Any emotion whatsoever — including rage and hurt — are signs of caring.

 The Only Viable Strategy

I’ve often talked about the no contact method as a way for dumpees to discipline themselves as well as improve the changes for reconciliation. In this case, if you were the one who was dumped, please consider the value of limiting your availability and your need to find closure by way of communication. Now how on earth is creating distance a rewarding strategy?

  • Familiarity breeds contempt. The higher the supply, the lower the demand. And on, ad nauseam (I could literally spew out another dozen weathered clich├ęs off by heart). Simply put, increasing the rate of contact will never, ever, improve your chances. Only when you drop off the map entirely will he have the chance to miss you. Is there a limit to this? Yes, of course. Sometimes particularly prideful people will walk on regardless, and running the other way will be the nail in the coffin. But bear in mind that if this comes to pass, it probably wasn’t worth saving!
  • It gives you the chance to heal and shine as an individual. You may come to realize you are better off alone.
  • It allows you to regain a modicum of power over the relationship (yes, you can make decisions too. Even if they’re small ones they will help your self-esteem) and set-up an objective and healthy pedestal for reconciliation (taking a step back mentally as well as physically will have given you volumes of understanding).

There is a catch here. If you’re withdrawing affection to starve him out and make him come back out of guilt or trauma — you’re going to lose. Because the reasons that led him back will be temporary, and within a few weeks/months you’ll be back in the land of singledom. In order to do it right, you’ll have to risk losing him.

So, what should you do?

  • Improve your life without him. Focus on work, fitness or creating a new social network. Whatever you like! If he does catch-on to your rampant new beginning, it will renew his interest in you. But these changes have to be real, these new attractive qualities must be sincere.
  • Be dignified (limit contact, no begging, be honest) but be wary of pride (know when to concede, and do take an honest look at your own mistakes — admit them freely).
  • Be strong and keep a very close eye on your self-esteem. If you find yourself eating breakfast with someone you know isn’t “at your level”, it may be time for you to seek sanctuary. Likewise, by all means glory in socialization (it will help beat the more punitive aspects of rejection and stress) but if you find you are somber and uncomfortable alone, it may be worth your while to fight it off by forcing yourself to be alone for a while.

17 Comments How To Get Him Back After A Break Up

  1. Nassima

    Thank you for this great article , My boyfriend brok up with me for no reason for almost one month and now he’s sending me messages to my fb after deleting me calling me names , i don’t know why ! i miss him alot but whene i think of what he did to me i feel so much btter than i was with his ;) thnx

  2. Angela

    Really well written article, probably the best I’ve read on this subject.

    Also, believe it or not, but there are certain text messages that can have him thinking about you.

  3. Alicia

    Thank you for this great website, it really helps me through these days.

    I have a question though. My boyfriend broke up with me 2 months ago, we had one big problem and it was the reason he broke up. Afterwards he told me that he still have feelings for me and maybe we can figure it out in the future, but for now he needs to be alone. Im trying to respect his choice and trying not to take it personally, but I’ve been writing a couple of times since, I know I shouldnt have done it, and I know he’s getting tired of me when we both agreed to take this period with NC.
    Today its two weeks since my last attempt to contact him, but Im missing him every minute and when I wake up in the morning my first thought is that I want him to know.
    What should I do? And when (do you think) is the right time to contact him again? When we talked about a possible reconciliation he meant after the summer as Im moving near him for studies. I know the right thing to do is to let him live his life, but the thought about him being with another girls kills me! And then Im also afraid that he’ll forget me..

  4. James NelmondoJames Nelmondo

    Hello Alicia, and thanks for stopping by.

    Unfortunately, and understandably, its a very difficult situation to find yourself in. I wish I could be a harbringer of hope, but as you undoubtedly know already — it’s not something you can cling on to.

    My only observations are as follows (since you are already aware of the risks of contacting):

    1) If a little space (2 weeks no contact is not very long) is all it takes for him to fall for someone else and “forget you” how much were you worth to him in the first place? My point being is that if it does come to pass, his commitment and feelings were already shallow.

    2) Asking for space is an integral part of most long-term relationships. It is often needed in order to clarify, purify and detox — so that we can begin to realize what it is that our partner truly means to us, Due to the fact that you are due to move closer to him, it’s naturally crunch time for him. While it is entirely natural for him to want some breathing room, in order to become more objective about the relationship, what irks me is his patent lack of communication. The very fact that you are left blind-sided and confused is a red flag. If he was equally worried about you taking this time to weigh your own options, he might also be a little wary of strengthening no contact because it might entail losing you.

    The situation is filled with painful irony. The separation breeds insecurity, but the urge to contact is weighed with guilt because if you do so, you feel you are not respecting their desire for space. However, if I were you, I would go ahead and ask your questions concisely. If he cares about the pain the space is causing you he will bite the bullet and answer you honestly. Put yourself first.

    1. Alicia

      Thank you for the answer.
      I decided to give it some time to see how I felt after a week or two. But yesterday I felt a need to hear “our” song which actually is a song about loving someone whos not loving them back. Such a stupid choice because of course I got really sad. I wrote him a textmessage with the song and “I’ll never forget you”. He wrote me back that it still was a lovely song, and that he wont forget me either and that he hoped it would be better soon.
      Maybe I shouldn’t have answered on that one, but I have a stupid need to have him know Im not feeling well. I wrote him back, that it was difficult to know that he felt better after the break up when I still couldnt live without him. And that one he choose not to answer.. (……)
      Arghhhh.. I feel so stupid now!! But it tells me go on with my life.

    2. James NelmondoJames Nelmondo

      Hi again Alicia.

      Agreed. While I wouldn’t burn my bridges over this, investing further into “what if” territory is an exercise in emotional self-mutilation. There’s no way around accepting that it may well be over. There is no cure-all. The closest thing to it is to — as you are doing — place our own lives first. Should he rear his head and ask for a chat down the line, you’ll be in a position to weigh your options, and not just sacrifice what little you have left.

      Good luck!

  5. Tyecce

    I think this article has given me some clarity.

    My situation is about a week ago my boyfriend said “I can’t do this anymore”, I asked what do you mean and he said “be in this relationship”. Of course, I felt my heart fall into my stomach and it was the end of the world as I knew it. I gave him my heart and always told him and let him know that. He harbors the fact that he thinks I cheated on him because of a compromising situation he caught me in (which I actually DID NOT sleep with the guy). He brought it up again after not speaking on it for several months and I have told him I can’t just tell him an answer that is not truthful just to make him feel more comfortable with himself. He said I lie to him about things but I don’t. I have caught him in several lies but just choose not to bring them up. Anyway, the night he broke up with me I removed all of my items from his home and he texted me later that night saying Goodnight I love you. Now within the last week he has had me come over spend the night with him and sadly enough we have had sex. Now I must say the sex has been 1000% better since the break up. Is it a possibility he just has a lot on his plate with his kids and him moving at the end of this month into another home and he wanted to take a break from the relationship? do you think we can ever be back in a monogamous relationship?

  6. James NelmondoJames Nelmondo

    Hi Tyecce! Yes, it really does sound like a possibility. Perhaps he was a bit swamped and wasn’t able to deal with a surplus of stress. Wishing you a nice night and telling you he loved you was a nice touch, however you undoubtedly can guess his underlying motives better than I.

    Personally, it sounds like he really does care. But it may also be a case of wanting to keep all his options open as he moves on.

  7. AshleyLH

    Hi, I have been with my boyfriend for 7+ months. Before the,other night we were had an argument about how we wanted to raise our future children in regards to religion. I eventually ended the conversation by saying that we would both compromise and allow our non-existent kids to choose for them self. I thought this was the end of the problem and we would move on. Again, we never had a single problem until them, heck we were talking about future kids for Christ sake! Then two days later, he told me with TEARS in his eyes (yes he was practically crying) that we couldn’t be together because he didn’t ever think he would be in love with me. I was completely shocked, I felt like I had been hit by a brick. None of it made sense at all, we truly were the perfect couple. Anyway, I cried, I wished him luck in his job, and then I left his apartment with my stuff. I have gone alittle over 1.5 weeks without talking/texting him and it’s killing me. Do you really think he didn’t love me, or he got scared when things got real. I miss him and I want him back but I don’t know how. I thought for sure he would have called me by now, yet he hasn’t (again it’s only been 1.5 weeks). Will he ever call? Do you think he will come back to me? Everyone was surprised by the breakup…even his own friends…we were a happy couple without a care in the world…and then bam, he suddenly doesn’t feel he will ever love me? What do I do, this is killing me. I have never been this hurt before..and I don’t understand any of it. Please provide some insight or clarification.

    1. James NelmondoJames Nelmondo

      The fact that he told you it was over with tears in his eyes is very much suspect. If the prospect of separation was enough to rattle him that much, he quite obviously has emotions invested in you.

      Perhaps the answer to the riddle lies in what his subjective definition of “being in love” means.

      That he cares enough to breakdown denotes caring. Perhaps he wasn’t quite as romantically attached as he would have liked to be, or he felt that he wouldn’t attain fulfillment in the long term. Ultimately, impulsive breakups such as these, especially when their partner (you) choose the path of least resistance and let them go, tend to end messily, and I would be shocked if contact didn’t resurface in the next few weeks.

      Again, I don’t think this a question of “love”, more than it is a clash between the subjective and objective. The battle isn’t played out yet, and I applaud you for having unconditionally set him free despite the pain it is causing you. It will work in your favor no matter what happens.

  8. AshleyLH

    Thank you so very much for your prompt reply, it is always helpful to get a man’s perspective on the situation. I hope my ex partner wakes up and calls me tonight, professing his need to be with me, but I think we both know that type of wishful thinking isn’t helpful. Therefore, I’ll continue to leave him alone, no texts or phone calls. If he doesn’t open his eyes then hopefully I will at least have started the healing process and be back on my way to finding the right person. In the meantime, if you do find those magic words that I can say to get him back please let me know because I would do anything to have him back in my arms and be happy again. I’ll let you know if anything changes in our relationship, but as of now, no progress has been made and he still hasn’t contacted me…my fingers are crossed that you are right, and he reaches out soon. -again, thank you

    1. James NelmondoJames Nelmondo

      Silence and space, are, I believe, the closest thing to a magic bullet possible. It will force him to confront what a life without you will really mean. It will also whitewash any traces of having taken you for granted. I still think (and of course I could be wrong) that your approach is the best way to both promote healing (irrespective of his intent) and promote reconciliation — should the opportunity arise.

      Fingers crossed Ashley!

  9. AshleyLH

    Well I wish I had great news to report, but sadly I do not. I couldn’t go on with the silence, so I sent him a text asking when the most convenient time would be for me to grab my things, mind you, it had been almost 3 weeks since we broke up or talked. I badly wanted to see him. Anyway, we agreed for me to swing by his place a couple days later (he had more stuff of mine) . When I got there, he had most of my stuff placed in a bag. I held my head high, and we talked for 20 mins about what was going on in our lives. Again, I acted like the girl that he was used to, the happy Ashley that he loved to be with. There may have been one second where my weakness of missing him showed through, but no more than that second. He on the other hand was much more quiet. He asked about my job, my family, etc. but he still didn’t seem like his typical self. He was nervous, almost shy. He then walked with me through the apartment asking if I wanted certain items that we bought together back. I didn’t think I would be in there for more than five minutes. I then said that I should go and I did just that. It has been 3 days since that exchange and I haven’t heard from him. I thought there was potential for him to change his mind, deep down I still hope he will. I know I should move on, but part of me can’t help but feel like deep down he must know he made a mistake. I wish I could get him to act on those feelings and be with me again. I don’t know what to do. My next step should be on moving forward, but there has to be an alternative route. Tell me James, how do I get him back? How do I get him to realize that he wants me? He means so much to me and he made me so happy. I want to kiss him again. I just wish I knew what he was thinking and I wish I knew what to do. Please help. If you were the guy in this situation, what would make you change your mind. There must be something there is always something.

    1. James NelmondoJames Nelmondo

      As a guy, I can tell you that personally (ironically, despite my own bravado and tendency to act like everything is just fine), I would have felt a little taken aback by the happy-go-lucky attitude.

      It’s tricky. One the one side plowing forward can mean giving too much and being taken for granted. But conversely, hiding behind a social shield might reinforce any existing fears of guilt or rejection he has. It’s a thin red line.

      Most of the time I would advocate doing exactly as you have already done. But it isn’t for everybody, and every couple has their story, history and definition. If the uncertainty is unsustainable, it might pay to get some real answers, by asking real questions. If things don’t pan out at the very least he will know what your intentions are, and how you really feel, and if the phone does ring down the line, you will know exactly why he’s calling you.

      By demisting the smoke screen you risk a burst of further isolation and grief, but it is clean. Right now it sounds as if the uncertainty, and sense of needless waste of due to a potential misunderstanding (be it pride, guilt…) are leading to long-term torture.

      There is no real closure, ever, but you can bandage a wound with clarity and live in a world of black and whites instead of a draining grey area.

      But ultimately, there’s no way of reasoning with romance, it is not logical, and is only ever party conscious. The only thing you can do is make sure that you are approachable, and that any semblance of fear or guilt that might be holding him back (now, or down the line) are burned away.

  10. Katrine

    Hello and thanks for an amazing article
    Hope you will see this and reply!
    I live in Denmark where i just celebrated my 6 months aniversary with my boyfriend. Both of us had been single for 6 years, indicating that we take commitment serious and are not willing to settle for bad relationships. I truly felt like this was going somewhere and even though all relationships have bumps in the road i felt like we communicated well and i learned from my mistakes and as did he. Well yesterday he broke up, for me it was out of the blue, as i was happy – i had felt a weird distance though for the last 24 hours. So he broke up and we had a talk that wasnt that bad but also not good as i threw him out.
    He has been living here, not because we want to, but because he was homeless. He could stay other places, which i told him he should do, and not stay at mine because he felt he was forced to. He kept saying he wanted to live there but i was nervous from the get to a month back. I assumed that as adults, if problems arose we would deal with them.

    Today he came for the last of his things and we had the same talk, just calmly. About why he did this. His reasons were varied but a lot about arguing too much and a bad vibe, which honestly i AM SURE is because we moved in prematurely. I didnt even feel it was bad as i learned from each dispute and quickly moved on. He is sensitive and kept remembering each little thing. So bickering for a month surely does build up.

    So now: i love him. I know he doent love me right now, but i feel like this is because the everyday issues are clouding this. We were a good couple and i am NOT imagining it. I was so happy and felt blessed i found him. I thought he was happy too, but seems like he was good at hiding his issues for a few weeks. He says he wanted the feelings to go back like he felt before, but when they didnt, he decided to not hold on for longer. Today i asked hijm to reconcider because i was and am sure that all the problems could be solved by simply not living together.

    As I read these responses I have to ask how much time I should give him. The situation is compliated by the fact that he’s moving abroad in 14 days. This would ofcourse mean not living together but i feel like i NEED TO KNOW if the door is closed or open before he leaves. Today at the chat he said he had thought about taking a break versus breakup, but felt like this was a potential for hurting me more badly later. I feel like i would chance it, cause this guy is so special and sweet. He is just also confused and expects too much of relationships, like for them to be all play.

    Last thing: u mention the point where things go sour. I thought it was a month ago when he moved in, but 3 days prior i was so drunk i was nasty to him. i thought we had moved on as i apologized severly and he said ok, but now he confesses that this episode also still is seared in his memory.

    How do I make him see that all of this is SO fixable? We hugged and kissed goodbye and he didnt want to end the kiss, so i did (other than that he was not looking for sex etc).

    I feel like my advantages are the quick decision over a few weeks (he says) – made final by attending a weekendwedding which pushed him over the edge!! so lame! – that could be a flaw and also that i feel like he wont meet someone like me for years. His family loves me and they are very close. They know he has a history of dating girls and dumping them after 2 months, so i feel like these 6 months just maybe freaked him out?

    How do I play this?

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