10 tips on how to rekindle a relationship with your ex girlfriend
Let’s say you’re drunk on margaritas on a Wednesday night and decide to send a “DO NOT TEXT” message at 2am. Sure, it seemed like a smart idea…until you realize the next morning that in your drunken stupor, you sent a picture of the cold mozzarella stick you just ate. (Sorry, let me rephrase that: You sent a blurry picture of a cold mozzarella stick.)
…It happens. But you may not be surprised that you were left reading. So, since you’ve landed on an article exactly designed to help you slip back into your ex’s life (and not completely ruin the chance with a picture of a mozzarella stick), I’m going to tell you to put down the phone – and maybe the wine, too.
Let an expert tell you how to win your ex back over without hitting her up with a drunk text in the middle of the week. After all, according to our Cosmo survey, 95 percent of you aren’t entirely opposed to getting back together with an ex. So if you’re willing to be patient and really work at it, here are 10 tips that can help you on your way.
- Really give your partner space.
This will probably be harder if you were the one who was broken up with, but trust me, it’s important. If you can’t respect your ex-partner’s basic desires that they need some space, you’re not off to a good start in getting them to want to get back together with you.
If you’re trying to get back together with him, of course you’ll want to reach out eventually – but there’s no concrete waiting period, says psychologist Mariana Bockarova, PhD, who teaches relationship psychology at the University of Toronto. A good rule of thumb: Break the silence when you have more clarity about the relationship.
That means if you were broken up and blamed yourself for the breakup, don’t resume contact until you no longer feel that way. If you caused the breakup, only write when you are sure you are missing your ex for the right reasons, and not out of boredom or guilt.
- Don’t think of it as a competition.
“I would avoid the mindset of ‘winning over someone,'” Bockarova says. In a world that views dating culture as a “challenge” anyway, it’s pretty unhealthy to try to win your ex back over by thinking of it like a soccer game – where there’s a clear winner and loser. Thinking of reconciliation as anything other than a combination of mutual growth and effort is a pretty unhealthy approach, Bockarova confirms, and it probably means you shouldn’t get back together in the first place.
- Hold off on the badmouthing.
Obviously, breakups feel like crap. It’s only natural (and necessary) to talk it out with your closest friends.
However, you can be hurt without being resentful – especially if your ex is someone you think you’d want to get back together with. “Put yourself in your ex’s shoes,” Bockarova says. “Would you welcome someone you care about speaking badly about you to all your friends, sending [you] an avalanche of angry messages or revealing secrets you told them in a vulnerable state?”
If you ever want to open the door to dating again, spreading weird rumors or sending mean-spirited texts won’t do you any favors. Plus, it’s just good practice for all breakups, regardless of your future dating intentions. It’s never good to spread super-personal gossip about your ex – and it won’t help you feel better either.
- Change your life before you see if your ex fits in.
In the time you’ve been apart, you may feel a little lonelier than you used to, especially when making weekend plans or finding activities to fill a rainy Tuesday night.
But learning to like yourself just as much when you’re alone is arguably the most important part of this process. Bockarova recommends investing in new friendships and hobbies, and filling your life with as much joy as possible, even if you’re still sad about the breakup.
Once you’ve faced your fear of being partnerless, then, and only then, can you know if you really want your relationship back. “If you only miss your ex when you’re feeling lonely, or if you compare your life to that of friends in relationships, but not in moments when you feel happy and confident, that’s not going to lead to a very fulfilling relationship,” Bockarova says.
- Evaluate whether your problems are actually solvable.
Okay, you’re sure you miss your ex a lot and want him back. But there’s more to it than that: were your reasons for breaking up actually fixable?
“Problems that are tangible are easy to fix,” Bockarova says. “If you broke up because a job took the partner to a new city and the long distance was difficult, then the problem can be fixed if one or both partners are willing to make a sacrifice.”
But if you’ve had major disagreements about your values or plans for the future (like whether you want to have children or where you ultimately want to live), then you’ll most likely be just as incompatible when it comes to the future. And as sorry as I am, you may find yourselves in the same position as before.
6, Don’t think too much about how to approach her.
Once you’ve decided that getting back together feels right, and you’re pretty sure she’s not seeing anyone else, it’s time to open up the conversation. It will probably feel a little awkward, but the main thing is that you’re doing what feels right for the relationship.
For long-term partnerships, Bockarova suggests being more open and honest and saying that you miss the person and hope to meet them. For shorter relationships or blown dates, she recommends keeping it simple and just asking if they have time to meet.
- Keep the meeting place casual.
Even if your old local pub with dim candlelight and velvet chairs feels very familiar and romantic, it’s probably not the best choice for this situation. Bockarova suggests an afternoon coffee instead, so “there aren’t high expectations for the date and your partner doesn’t feel pressured to stay too long if they’re uncomfortable.” Also, an open, sober meeting during the day allows you to keep a clear head and talk honestly about how you’re feeling without any pressure.
- Address the elephant(s) in the room first.
You may be tempted to ingratiate yourself to your ex to warm them up, but unless they’re completely clueless, they already know what’s going on. Ingratiating yourself with them comes across as disingenuous, even if it’s not your intention.
“If there are any issues that need to be cleared up or that you want to apologize to your partner for, do it early,” Bockarova says. “Clarify your issues so your partner realizes you’ve thought about it and it’s not a spur-of-the-moment decision to get back into a relationship.”
- End things with some great memories.
Okay, so you’ve sufficiently covered everything you thought about during your breakup. You’ve laid out your case for getting back together, and your ex has given their verdict. Maybe they’re enthusiastic about it – or maybe they’re flat out against it. Either way, you should look at the best parts of your relationship.
“You always want to end this conversation on a positive note – a memory you’ll always cherish, or maybe why you’re glad your partner came into your life,” Bockarova says. If you love your ex enough to want to get back together with him, you should try to look back on your past without regrets, regardless of the final outcome.
10, If you do get back together with him, you should make a real effort.
This goes back to the “not winning them over” thing. If you decide to try again, realize that it won’t happen overnight.
“Although it takes some work to rebuild trust, this is your chance to build an even deeper bond,” Bockarova says. “But you can only do that if you talk to your partner about what you like and don’t like, when you feel hurt and when you feel happy, and how you want to be treated.” She also recommends therapy to sort out recurring issues.
The point is, as fateful and passionate as it may feel to get back together, there are still reasons why you broke up, and now is the time to address them. But hey, if you’re with the person you want to be with, you already know you’re ready to try again.