Maybe it sounds like the start of a 'what not to do' on the back of all self-care books in the 90s in the Gender and Ideology aisle, but I don't care.
Your man has started ignoring you, and it's driving you absolutely up the wall this past couple of months. I get that.
Wanting to get back with your ex is one of those impulsive – yes, slightly indulgent – desires that we all have. It's like our body's equivalent of a guilty pleasure.
But what else are we meant to do the following days after a big fight? Wallow? Lament previous relationships?
Fight tweens in the comment section of old Taylor Swift videos? Check, check, and check.
Maybe it's time to try contacting your ex
I know that all the good romcoms dissuade us from talking to our ex-boyfriend, but why? Isn't that better than getting your heart broken in a rebound relationship without having learned anything?
It's completely natural though! Any kind of breakup – even with platonic friends – you miss out on a person you talk to every day. Someone who knows everything about you, even things you don't know about yourself.
That person, trustworthy for so long, holding a piece of your heart in theirs, is gone. That's a lot to take.
Time apart heals and we owe it to ourselves to witness that.
I'm just going to say it: you are allowed to miss your ex! Bold, I know! But you are allowed to talk to your ex too – how else would you get closure?
Ben and Jerry's is powerful, but it's not the powerful
Much as we all want to think we can quit cold turkey overnight, that's not how our mind works. We are all essentially complex plants with feelings; we need to feel things.
Indeed, we can't change our emotions through sheer force of will or by ignoring them. You have to sit with them; acknowledge the ruins and the mistakes you made to get there.
Know also that wherever you are isn't 'backward' or behind now that you're single. You are great on your own, and breakups aren't about recovering who you used to be before the relationship.
While it can be fun to take up a self-improvement fad diet and cut your hair, changing all the aspects of your life you associate with your ex might reveal the problem at hand. If they're so much a part of your life, it's worth giving it another try.
In lots of ways that you won't even realize, you have changed and matured. The relationship isn't all that you are, so when it ends, you need to view and figure yourself as part of a world that isn't defined concerning another person.
That said, I was talking about getting that ex back
It may not work out, but you have to try new ways to make yourself happy, whatever form that takes.
Avoid thinking of it as backsliding. Isn't it a fact of life that people change? After lockdown, you've been focusing on yourself; we're all feeling more connected with our emotions.
I certainly do, and I should hope so too! No one wants to be 17 forever, except maybe Bella Swan. We all want to grow – but don't take that as a desire to grow out of all you currently are.
Personalities and hobbies and ways of behaving serve you for a given moment in time. No matter how cringy or embarrassing it is to look back at the pictures, you had fun at the moment. You weren't overthinking it then; in fact – worryingly but amusingly – you thought you looked good.
You were happy! Don't regret the emotions in your relationship. Breakups happen! People who tell you to stop contact with the person you love clearly haven't been in love with themselves.
They don't understand how breakups give everyone a hard time trusting people. They also don't know how impossible it is to stay friends.
Good emotions aren't wasted on bad people; they still served their purpose and helped you grow.
We don't have to have perfect, immaculate relationships
If you never fought with your partner, one of you clearly wasn't speaking your mind. Silence can be a huge mistake in a relationship, so you may as well reach out.
Guys love that for their ego.
Therefore, I think it's actually sort of healthy to reengage with your ex. Well, maybe not just in terms of a drunk dial or one-night stand, but soberly assessing the relationship.
Think to yourself: if you don't want a relationship with anyone else, how can you get your ex back? That's always an easier question than people think because they know their ex better than anyone else.
A previously unhealthy relationship can become a healthy relationship with hard work. That's not a controversial statement; that's how all relationships work, isn't it?
You get closer – better at knowing each other
That's literally the goal.
Even if you learn skills to improve your future when you start seeing someone else, avoid saying that your ex is dead.
It may be that he's just waiting for you to make the first move.
He may have been the one who decided to leave, but who knows? Things change. Either he's moved on or he's still thinking about you at 2 am listening to Harry Styles.
You might as well check!
Thus, when trying to get your partner's attention again, send a quick text or – if you see them in the street – say hi. The more you lean into alienating them, the more you create fear and anxiety around them for yourself.
If you approach life with one eye shut, fearing what you might see, you will fall over every day. Accept that you will look back on things with regret no matter what you do, and take a shot. There was a reason you guys broke up, yes but wasn't there also a reason why you were together in the first place.
There is a time and a place for second chances
No dating advice ever concluded that people who played hard to get actually acquired a healthy relationship. Just say what you mean and be honest. Guys love it.
Allow people to change and to demonstrate how you've changed. When you meet them, change up your hair or makeup. Take a risk with your outfit.
Both of you can show how you are more flexible, more interesting, more aware of your emotions and how to express them.
If you don't trust yourself to get your ex alone, mention it to a friend or bring people along for a group date. Beggars can't be choosers, and sometimes it's best to avoid the transparent awkwardness of an evening meal together too soon.
Wounds might still be raw and that's okay
Initiating contact with a text or call can be the difference between a relationship with a ticking timebomb and a future. You owe it to yourself to check.
Nonetheless, if you are serious about getting back together with your ex, or at least opening up the discussion, this is the time to pull out all the stops.
Think about their favorite things; what makes them comfortable. Make a small grand gesture – one that shows them you care but without being too public and self-serving about it.
Guys always say that they want a girl to play hard to get. But that's all talk. Guys want to know where they stand too.
Sometimes they need a little distance, don't we all. But that doesn't mean a girl can't communicate her boundaries or ideas for the relationship. It's 2020, girls – we can't leave it all up to the guys to make a move.
We'd never get anything done!
It's in your best mental and emotional interests to clear the air, so I suggest just talking. Guys don't want to be pressured or overwhelmed into a scary discussion about the future straight away.
Equally, make sure you assert how official or casual you want to be. The toxic relationship might have mended itself if you are still comfortable with each other.
Don't rush into anything
Guys need space and time just like we do.
Stop talking to your pessimistic friends and acknowledge that negative emotions surrounding the breakup don't mean that your ex can't still play a role in your life.
The truth is that guys want to be told what to do as much as we do. We all want a little authority in our lives, proof that someone is willing to put it all on the line for us.
To demand our attention without having to act needy or feel like a burden.
More guys are ready for a serious relationship than you think; ask! They won't be able to resist.