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Dear Nicola...

How can I get my ex to come back to me?

Written by . Published on March 23rd 2011.


Dear Nicola...





Nicola Mostyn

Friday 18 March 2011

How can I get my ex to come back to me?

Dear Nicola

My boyfriend of a year has just ended our relationship. I am in my late twenties, he’s in his mid-thirties and we both have kids to previous partners.

Things were great between us; we laugh a lot, have good chemistry and get on with each other’s children, but we also had some terrible rows, a lot of which came about from me being insecure.

In the last few months of seeing each other I was trying to find out where the relationship was heading. I wanted us to talk about moving in together, but he started to back off, saying it was too soon to think about that because our situations were complicated and our relationship was not secure enough, but that he loved me and wanted to be with me.

Then, a few weeks ago, he finished it, saying he needed to be on his own to sort his head out.

He’s been in touch, saying he misses me, so I know he still cares. I feel like I messed things up by being too pushy. How can I get him to come back to me?

Nicola replies:

The short, obvious and painful answer is that you can’t make your ex do anything. Relationships seem so complex from the inside, with so many moments that could have changed their fate from bad to good, but in many cases it’s much simpler. To quote from a popular self help book, It’s called a break-up because it’s broken.

It’s hard to face, but the best way to get your head around this is to reverse the situation. You want to be with this man. Your situation is equally complicated. And you feel insecure in this new relationship, which is causing problems. But you would still rather be with him than not. Sadly, for his own reasons, he doesn’t feel the same.

You might have been ‘pushy’, but, it’s not as though you gave him an ultimatum. Is it being pushy to ask for what you want? He’s perfectly within his rights to take all the time he needs, you’re right to express your needs too. While you can’t expect your ex to do everything you ask, on your timescale, it would help if he was at least prepared to work something out so you both feel like you are moving forward.

Instead, he has opted out.

So, what if you could persuade him back? If the only way to be with him is to hold back your true feelings, then that sense of insecurity you mentioned is only going to increase.

Clearly you get along, and relationships are as much about timing as they are about compatibility. Who knows what might happen in the future? But spending your time thinking of ways to persuade him of your relationship’s good points isn’t going to get you closer to what you want – and nor is keeping in contact as friends.

It won’t help you move on, and it won’t encourage your ex to ‘sort his head out’ in the way that a spell of alone time, without your support and company, might well do. If he thinks there’s a chance you’re moving on, it might be the motivation he needs to get where he’s going a little faster.

And if it doesn’t? Then he doesn’t want to be with you enough – and that’s not something anyone should settle for. There are no perfect relationships, but there are those where both partners want it enough to work out the difficult stuff.

Of course, you don’t want to lose him. That’s utterly normal. The funny thing about break-ups is, unlike most other activities in life, they don’t get easier the more you experience them. Actually, because you’ve invested so much time into someone, on the back of a longer, failed relationship, you’re more likely to want to make this one work simply because the previous relationship didn’t.

But if you try to hold on to him now, not only will you not feel great about yourself, but you’ll be putting off the chance of having a happy, rewarding relationship in the future.

It feels like my advice often boils down to just one phrase: you can’t control anyone but yourself. But it’s true. So, grit your teeth, cut contact – kindly, but firmly - and get back out there. Your ex knows where you are if he changes his mind.

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Nicola Mostyn
Manchester Confidential
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