What makes your ex want to come back to you after they broke up with you?
Like anything else in life, it all comes down to a person’s motivation for self interest.
I’m not referring to selfishness, someone being self centered or feeling entitled.
Usually those traits involve someone being willing to harm another to get what they want or to take from another to get what they want.
So I am not suggesting you try to build your strategy based on appealing to immaturity, entitlement, or narcissism (you’re likely not a politician after all – even though I’ve had clients who are).
In those cases, though you still feel a strong sense of loss and emotional trauma, it’s in your best interest to move on and consider the breakup to be a blessing in disguise.
That being said, we all act in our own self interest and you should realize that in terms of your ex.
We all want good things for ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that.
Your ex broke up with you because they considered themselves better off without you.
I know that is difficult to hear.
Their motivation is that they want to be with the man or woman of their dreams or at least someone they are extremely attracted to and think might could be.
“Your ex is NOT going to be motivated to get back into the relationship just so that YOU can have the man or woman of your dreams.
They will be motivated to get back into the relationship so that THEY can have the man or woman of their dreams.”
So often people believe that if they can just convince their ex of how badly they love and want them that their ex will want to come back.
That is extremely far from reality.
What matters to your ex is what they want, not what you want.
It is about how they feel that causes them to want to come back to you or to stay gone.
If they feel attracted to you and that you are a prize worthy of being sought after, then they will seek you.
If they don’t feel you are worth seeking, they won’t.
It doesn’t matter to them if you feel that they are the prize and seek them. They must seek you.
That is true even in cases of a stubborn ex or if your ex has ever said to you that they don’t ever chase (that’s simply not true if the motivation is enough).
We all chase if we want it badly enough.
How To Make Your Ex Want To Come Back To You
When people ask how to get an ex back, there are many reasons that using the no contact rule gives you the best chance of doing that.
I talk about several of those reasons, but the strongest is because it motivates your ex boyfriend, ex girlfriend, or spouse.
How does it motivate them? Through the fear of loss.
When you don’t contact your ex, it shows them that you can:
- Stay away and be your own person – your ability to do this shows independence rather than interdependence (not co-dependence). While you were in the relationship, interdependence was healthy, but now you need show that you accept the breakup and are operating without influence from or need for your ex. This will prevent your ex from feeling pursued which will keep them from moving further into an emotional position of defending the breakup (because you won’t be seen as the aggressor).
- (You can) move on – though not necessarily right away since that can be a turn off to your ex who could assume that they meant little to you even during the relationship. No contact demonstrates to your ex that you have the emotional ability to move on. If they believe that you can move on, your ex has the right kind of pressure to reconsider his/her decision of breaking up with you. Believing you can move on also allows your ex to be concerned or fear losing you. It’s important that they don’t believe that they have fully lost you, but instead to feel that they could be in the process of losing you. A little mystery combined with suspicion goes a long way!
- You are accepting their decision and the breakup. This is important! When you object and try to fight the breakup, the reaction of your ex is to go on defense. This causes your ex to reinforce and be reminded of the reasons they wanted to breakup in the first place. Why? Because they are having to make the case for the breakup to you repeatedly. So by fighting the breakup, the odds are you will only ingrain and solidify the basis or desire for your ex to stick with the breakup! That’s why you must stay away if your initial objection to the breakup is rejected.
In order for your ex to want to come back, the desire must originate within them.
If you talk your ex into getting back together, it originated, mostly, with you. You would be the driving force.
That is not solid ground moving forward and rarely works even temporarily.
Just as you can’t force someone to better themselves by working, saving some of their money, and being productive, you can’t force your ex to get back with you.
It has no staying power unless it is their own, personal desire.
And that is the key. If you are not in danger of being lost, your ex has no desire to “get you back.”
If there is no problem, your ex will not need to seek a solution.
If you are demonstrating to your ex that you will remain safely in backup-plan mode, then your ex can smoothly and easily move on from you emotionally.
How Not To Be A Backup Plan For Your Ex
If your ex believes that you are a backup plan for them, your odds for getting them back tank.
The reason for this is because there’s no pressure put on your ex to take action to get you back.
Your ex believes that if they change their mind and want you back that you will be there for them, waiting patiently.
That enables your ex to date anyone they want, take their time, and explore life without you without any fear of losing your or any urgency to get you back.
Over a small amount of time, this allows your ex to experience a fake breakup without much emotional difficulty other than, possibly, feeling guilty for your pain which will only cause them to resent you.
Your ex will easily move on because you will actually be helping them to do so since they will have no fear of losing you and won’t be given the opportunity to miss you.
In short, they will have no motivation to get you back.
If you are convinced that you don’t want to be a backup plan for your ex, make sure you don’t send him or her that message.
You show your ex that you are in backup-plan mode for them by doing things that show him or her that you:
- want to get back together
- are struggling with the breakup
- attempting to manipulate them into wanting you back (trying to make him/her jealous, being obvious about playing games with them, trying to convince mutual friends or family to influence your ex to take you back, posting things on social media acting as though you are suddenly loving life, constantly reaching out to your ex)
- would take them back easily as though nothing happened (if you do this, the relationship is likely doomed – I talk about how to do this correctly in my Emergency Breakup Kit)
- are more invested in them than they are in you (this imbalance reduces emotional attraction)
So you don’t want your ex to believe those things about you.
The Two Sides of Motivation Your Ex Must Have To Come Back To You
In life, we are motivated to gain or to prevent loss (protect what we have).
If your ex doesn’t feel the need to “gain” you because they know that you are in backup-plan mode, you remove that side of motivation for your ex.
If your ex feels that he or she can’t lose you no matter how long they take or what they do to you, you remove the other side.
I am, of course, speaking in terms of a breakup, but it is true that even in a relationship your partner must appreciate you by wanting to grow in intimacy with you (gain) and, to some degree, fear losing you (it’s more of an appreciation for you and your role in their life).
If you want your ex back, an understanding of how motivation works is as crucial as your own self-discipline to reject that voice in your head that tells you how good it would feel to do things that only destroy your ex’s potential motivation of getting back together with you.
My Emergency Breakup Kit expands on this and provides more sophisticated strategies that work to get your ex back. After you access the kit, you’ll be surprised at how much someone can learn about getting an ex back after two decades in the relationship-recovery service.