You broke up with someone, thinking it was the right thing to do at the time, but now, looking back with wonderful twenty-twenty hindsight, you see it was a big, big mistake. What should you do?
First, don’t panic. You aren’t the first person to make this kind of mistake, and you won’t be the last.
Depending on how long it has been since the breakup, I suggest a decent period of no contact with your ex. That means no texts, no emails, no phone calls, no flowers, no chocolate, no letters, no cards, nothing at all. This gives you a chance to get your act together and figure out what you really want. A good length of time for this silent period is a month.
During this month, you can start working on my ABCD system. It’s meant to help couples stay together through tough times, but it can easily be adapted to this situation.
A stands for Accept the Situation
This may not be easy for you, but it is vital. You broke up with your ex. If you don’t accept that, you won’t get anywhere. Take responsibility for what you did. Accept that you may not be able to get back together with your ex, no matter how hard you try. I’ll give you the tools so you have the best chance of reuniting with your ex, but there are no guarantees in life.
Acceptance means admitting your fault in the breakup, while letting go of any blame towards your ex. When you two do start communicating again, you need to fully and humbly accept responsibility for the breakup, while never mentioning anything your partner might have done that contributed to it. Blaming your ex for the breakup is going to drive them away, not bring them back.
B is for Build Resilience
You’ve just been through a traumatic experience, and now you’re feeling terrible, like you made perhaps the biggest mistake of your life. Getting back together with your ex is going to be like running a marathon, not a sprint. So you need to build up your strength and train for it. That means taking care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Start by getting enough sleep. Eat well and get some exercise, whether it’s walking every day or going to the gym for something harder. I have friends in their late sixties who walk eight miles every day, and that keeps them in good shape. Find someone to walk and talk with to make the experience more pleasant. You don’t have to walk eight miles, but get out there for forty-five minutes at least.
Walking can also be a fine form of meditation, which is important to boost your spiritual health. Find some time each day, even just a few minutes, to sit quietly and calm your mind.
Don’t blame yourself and beat yourself up. Yes, it’s important to accept that you caused this situation. But there’s a difference between accepting what you did and punishing yourself for it. Don’t give in to self-punishment. Humility is good, but humiliation isn’t. If you need to beat something up, punch your pillow, or put on your gloves and go hit the heavy bag at the gym. Those are healthy ways to express your rage. Thirty minutes on the heavy bag will change your perspective on nearly any problem.
C is for Commit to Change
Promise yourself that you will become a happier, more positive person. Happy, lively people are much more attractive to everyone. So, whether you successfully reconnect with your ex, or find a new partner somewhere down the road, being a happier person will help tremendously.
How do you become happier? There are several ways. One is to enrich your life with fun and interesting activities. Join a club or sports team, perhaps a bowling league. Take some classes at your local community college or recreation center. Learn to cook or paint or brew beer or identify birds or sail or study carpentry or beekeeping or whatever. Anything to get you out of the house and mixing with other people, using your mind and learning new things.
Associating with happy, positive people is also a big boost. When you meet fun, lively, positive people, stay connected to them. Human beings are social creatures, and we need friendships and social activities to keep us healthy and happy.
Promise yourself that you will work hard to win your ex back, but that you’ll keep everything positive and that you will be OK if they eventually say no.
D is for Dedicate Yourself to the Task
Like I said, you’re training for a marathon. Take it slow, one step at a time, without going too fast or letting yourself be discouraged. If you spend this month of no contact getting yourself in a good, positive state of mind, you’ll then be ready to begin reconnecting with your ex and trying to win them back. But in this case, D might also stand for “Don’t Play Games.” Because there are no tricks or games that will magically make your ex come back to you, particularly after you’ve dumped them.
The best way to win your ex back is to simply be honest. Arrange a meeting with them and tell them what you want. Accept your mistake honestly and humbly, but don’t go on and on about it. Be clear that you made a mistake and that you truly regret it. Tell them you want to build a new relationship with them, but don’t beg or plead. Demeaning yourself is not attractive. Stand up on both feet. Look them in the eye and speak from your heart.
Once you’ve told them, you need to let them decide what they want. Give them as much time as they need. Do not keep pestering them or asking them what their decision is. You have said your piece, and now you have to let go of it. If they’re at all interested in coming back, your honest and heartfelt talk gives you the best possible chance. But remember, it’s just that – a chance. If they say no, accept their decision with dignity. Your preparation via the ABCD system will help you do this. And the work you’ve done on getting out there, living and enjoying your life, will position you well for the future.
Stay connected for the launch of my book. In the meantime, you can always sign up for my coaching program so I can personally take a look at your situation and guide you on a regular basis.