No one can tell us how to get your ex back when he has moved on better than the characters in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Clementine and Joel go to extreme lengths of moving on, removing each other from their memories. Yet they fall in love again. They decide to make the relationship work once they realize what they had done and what issues they had faced in the relationship.
This begets the question of how and when exes decide to get back together. One would think that love would be sufficient to pull him in. But in the real world, it often takes more than that to bring a guy back when he breaks up with you.
Can Exes Get Back Together After Moving On?
Yes, exes can get back together after moving on. But only if they want to and have worked on the issues that led to their breakup earlier. Otherwise, it’s just a loop of breakups and getting back together, like with a karmic soulmate. The important thing is to process everything you’re feeling, move on, and work toward being a better version of yourself.
How To Be Sure You Want Your Ex Back?
Isn’t being in love enough? Well, not always. Because we live in the real world. And the real world tends to be complicated. Ask yourself why you’re still hung up on your ex. Do you still love him but can’t be with him because of certain reasons? Do those reasons still hold? If you two got together again, will it be better than before? Here’s how you can answer these questions before you decide to embark on the mission to win back an ex who is with someone else or is still single:
1. You still have strong feelings for him
You still think about him a lot. This is normal to experience after a breakup as dopamine, a feel-good hormone associated with love, is not being released anymore in the nervous system. To be sure that you have feelings for him, and not just because of the dopamine deficiency, you need to get better. Try to process your emotions healthily, wait for the dopamine rush to leave the system. Once you’ve gone through this process, ask yourself if you still want to fix the relationship.
2. You have trouble moving on
In Fleabag, the titular character had trouble moving on from her boyfriend because she needed to have someone in her life so she wouldn’t be lonely. When the two of them were together, though, she rarely valued him. So you need to have clarity on your obsession, habit, love, or lust for him. Do some introspection, or maybe even visit a therapist, and find out why you can’t move on. Make sure that the reason is valid enough for you to go after him again. Then you can slowly win your ex back.
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3. Both of you have changed
It is difficult to change. This is one of the reasons that a lot of people choose to stay in bad relationships. Consider whether you’re trying to get him back only because you don’t want to go through the motions of change. Or, ask yourself: Have the two of you really changed and left behind the versions of yourselves that didn’t work in the relationship? If yes, then this is a sign that you do want to slowly win your ex back.
However, if your dynamic is anything like the following scenarios, it’s not a good idea to move forward with this plan:
- He has moved on and hates you. The breakup was extremely bad. It was violent, abusive, and one of you probably hurt the other so much that redemption is impossible
- One of you has moved on to a point where you have the life you envisioned. You’ve made a life with someone else and you’re happy in it
- One of you doesn’t want to make any productive changes to their life. You’re still the same person from the relationship that didn’t work
Understanding Your Ex’s New Relationship To Get Him Back
It is very possible that your ex is going out with someone to fill the hole in his heart that you left after the breakup. But it’s also possible that his feelings for his new partner are more intense than they were for you. If you’re trying to get an ex back who lost feelings for you after falling in love with someone else, then your efforts will be in vain. So, before you do anything, let’s try to decode his new relationship.
1. Does he genuinely like this new person or is it a rebound?
You need to look for signs your ex is in a rebound relationship. Rebound relationships have very little emotional involvement. If you two broke up only a few weeks ago and he found someone to hold hands with in that time, then it’s probably a rebound. You can’t call it a rebound if he met this person six months after your split.
2. Does he know them better than you?
Psychologists say familiarity is an important variable when it comes to falling in love. The more we know about someone, the more likely we are to form an attachment to them. If their relationship is longer than yours, it is likely that he is more attached to this new person than he is to you.
3. Does he have a better time with them rather than with you?
Do they have a lot in common? People often look for similar interests in a potential partner. Psychologists call this similarity. If the new person is not into the same things as he is, but you are, then it will be easier for you to get back into your ex’s life.
4. Is your ex still in touch with you?
If your ex is still in touch with you and likes meeting you once in a while, then there’s a very good chance that he still loves you after the breakup. Check how often you meet. Does he like to meet with you when you call him over? Does he prioritize you over his partner? If yes, then these are favorable signs to win back an ex who is with someone else.
How To Get Your Ex Back When He Has Moved On
People don’t go back to their ex-lovers when they’ve moved on to a better life. Social media has us thinking that a revenge body, dressing up sexier, or showing up with new people will make our ex crazy about us. But in reality, people are less shallow. If you want a real connection with your ex, you need to work on yourself, instead of trying whatever Hollywood movies tell us
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1. Don’t wait for him to come back
You’d probably think that moving on with your life would reduce the chances of him coming back to you. But it’s not true.
- If your ex has moved on, it’s because he wants to discover new things in life. If you don’t move on and keep waiting for him, and if you make it obvious, then he’ll keep associating you to the part of his life he wants to leave behind
- Even if he contacts you after your breakup, it’s only because he’s feeling lonely and you’re available, and not because he wants you back. He’ll be out of your bedroom first thing in the morning. If you want a real connection, you must not wait for him or at least not make your longing obvious
- Only once you’ve spent considerable time doing things you like, having new experiences, and spent time introspecting about your relationship, must you decide if you really want him back
2. Stay on the no-contact route
Habits of a lifetime can’t be changed in a few days and take a lot of practice. There is no rule on how long the no-contact period should be, but it has to be as long as it takes you to deal with your negative emotions in a healthy way.
- No-contact rule works well after a breakup, especially if he has moved on, or is in a rebound, since it shows that you are not needy
- If your ex initiates communication with you during the no-contact period, see how it affects you. Do you feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, anxious, or basically any emotion that doesn’t feel good to you? If yes, then perhaps you should draw some boundaries and tell him you’re not ready to be in contact with him
- If you experience positive feelings about him contacting you, like validation, appreciation, being cared for, then ask yourself if you want the relationship to go back to where it was. You can continue your recovery journey at the same time. But if it’s what you want, then you can unpause the relationship
- Heard of the tale of a boiling frog? A major reason no-contact rule works is because it allows you to grab his full attention. Gradual changes are rarely noticeable while a sudden change makes one sit and take notice. Work on yourself during this time, go to a retreat, exercise, go camping, do something you always wanted to do. Trust me, when he sees you the next time and takes in all the good changes in you, it’s going to flounder him
3. Identify the reasons for your breakup
You’ll have some idea as to what made him feel distant from you. For example, if he constantly complained that you have a codependent relationship with a family member, it’s definitely something you should work to resolve.
- Highlight your issues in a sentence, and find out what you can do to fix them. For example, if you get jealous easily, you can highlight the issue as insecurity, fear of abandonment, and need of approval from an external party
- If the reason is something that has nothing to do with your emotional growth but is something that he feels entitled enough to have in his girlfriend, like hyper-feminine personality, then it’s not your mistake. He needs to work on it. And if he can’t, he’s not worth it
- It’s possible that you may not be completely objective while drawing up this list, or that you may not be able to come up with all the reasons. So take help from a close but objective friend
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4. Change your bias from the previous relationship
It’s not a bad idea to explore why you’re looking to go back to your previous relationship. It helps in gaining perspective on the situation. Prospect theory in decision-making suggests that a person who is choosing between different alternatives will make the choice based on inherent biases and judgements. So people choose to avoid losses than to get gains when risk is involved.
- Try to identify what you look for in a partner and how well your ex fits into that role. Do you want him back because it’s a more familiar choice? Do you perceive being with him as less risky as compared to being alone or dating someone completely new?
- A major reason that breakups are hard is because of the change in status quo. If majority of your friends are getting married, while you’ve recently had a breakup, it might affect you more than any other time. It may be a nice change to be around those friends who are single. This will help you soften your bias, if any, against your own singlehood
- Examining your own biases will help you on the path to get back your ex with more clarity. When the time comes to express how you feel, you’ll be able to lay down your cards before him with a calm conviction instead of a ‘heart wants what the heart wants’ approach
5. Fix what was broken earlier
Once you have an objective understanding of the issues due to which your previous relationship didn’t work, you can move ahead and work on them. According to a study, more than 69% of the couples who got back together after a breakup said self-improvement helped them rekindle the relationship and made it better.
- If the issues were on your end, for example, your controlling nature or any other insecurities, you have to actively work on them. If possible, see a counselor and find out what you can do about it in the short term. If you want to go to the root of the issue, then seeing a therapist will be a better idea
- If the issues were on his end, then you need to ensure that he has been working on those aspects. If he hasn’t changed, then you need to rethink the whole idea of getting back with him
- If the reasons were external, like incompatibility in faith or job profiles, then there is little you can do except develop an open attitude. He needs to have the same attitude toward this issue as well. Otherwise, it will only result in a very skewed relationship dynamic
Related Reading: 15 Warning Signs Your Partner Is Losing Interest In The Relationship
6. Get in touch with him
Hollywood will advise doing all sorts of borderline stalker activities so it’ll appear to him that it’s just a happy coincidence that you met. But life’s not a movie; things can go horribly wrong. And if they do, it makes you look creepy, and that’s just a point against you.
The best way is to approach him directly. How to make your ex want you back without talking to him if you are nervous? Simple. Get help from mutual friends. Here’s how to get your ex back when he has moved on:
- Text him that you’re in town, or just throw a random Instagram reel at him about his favorite spot. Anything nostalgic also works. Keeping it light and humorous is the best way to go. Avoid anything confrontational
- If he’s dating someone, do not pretend like he doesn’t have a partner. Ask about them conversationally. Even if you have the urge to do so, do not ask him anything intrusive. Remember, boundaries
- Be chill about the whole thing. Do not drop the “I want you back” bomb at the first talk after a breakup. Patience is the key
7. How to make your ex want you back without talking to him – Use your social media
However, if you ended up on really bad terms with your ex and can’t call him without getting an earful, it won’t hurt to look at other options. Your ex will want you back only if you ignite a powerful feeling of nostalgia within him and, at the same time, show personal growth.
- If you’ve struggled with something, and have finally beaten it, a post on social media identifying your demons and journey will be a great way to show yourself in a positive light
- You can also use your social media to make him nostalgic. Anna Grace, a photographer from Salem, told us about a project she did on the history of her hometown that eventually got her to meet her ex. “It was not intentional, but I did think a lot about Jared when I was shooting these pictures because he loved the history of the place. It reflected in the pictures. And when the opening night came, there he was, standing in the crowd.”
- Think about what sort of aesthetic or topics your boyfriend loves, and sprinkle those on your social media. Sooner or later, he’ll find you
- Try to create a scenario to create proximity where you can spend long periods of time with him. For example, if he’s getting his own business setup, and you’re great at website development, you can help him. If you’re really in a fix, it’s not a bad idea to have a mutual friend “invite” you two to help on a project
8. Set up a date/no date
Once you’ve set up a meeting, it’s important to make him feel comfortable. But at the same time, there must be sexual tension. He should be in a fix if this meeting is a date or not. If the meeting is too comfortable and platonic, he won’t think of you as a potential mate. But if your intentions are apparent from the start, it may scare him off, especially if he’s trying to move on from you. Balance is the key.
- Use flirting to create sexual tension, but steer away if things are going too fast. The purpose is to get him hooked, so he can look forward to your next meeting
- Do not go into the “Let’s get back together” mood too soon. Test the waters first. Learn if he is serious about the new woman, or if he’s planning anything big that may not sit well with your plans
- Use subtle male or female body language signs of attraction to suggest your interest. No sexual innuendos. Point your toes toward him, look him in the eye while talking, laugh freely. Dress casually but smartly. Look put together
9. Figure out his interest in the new relationship
Maya, a small business owner from Iowa, swears by this step. “When I reconnected with Ryan, I thought he too wanted to get back with me. He was seeing this nurse and said it wasn’t serious with her. Imagine my surprise when she landed on my doorstep with a warning, saying they were engaged. Do a Sherlock before you go for it; that’s what I suggest.”
- Look at his body language when you mention his partner. Does he ignore any mention of them? Does he lie to them in your presence? Avoiding mention of a partner is suggestive of his interest in you, but it could also be because he’s lying to them
- On the other hand, if he’s serious about his partner, he’ll let you know. You can still try to get him back, but the odds are not in your favor. It may lead to more heartbreak. Plus, you might end up getting into something extremely complicated
- If he’s interested in you but also dating someone else, then the best thing is to ask him directly what he wants. Ask him to make a decision. Tell him that you’ll not be a standby lover. You can also try the next steps if direct confrontation is not your style
10. Show him that both of you are better versions of your past selves
Once you’re comfortable with each other, try to bring up the things that created issues earlier. The main thing to do here is to use language that suggests growth instead of confrontation. For example, don’t send him on a guilt trip by saying, “Wow, you’re actually listening to me today.” Instead, say, “You’re making me feel really heard and validated. I’m so glad we decided to meet.”
- Do you still show signs of having the same arguments in the relationship or have you grown and can show empathy to each other? Are you able to talk about difficult issues and disagree with each other?
- If yes, then tell him how happy these changes are making you feel. Notice and appreciate his journey
- Show yourself in a positive light too. Tell him how you’ve conquered your demons and have achieved personal growth
11. Arouse his interest in you
“Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive,” Clementine tells Joel in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Women are often portrayed as the manic pixie dream girl stereotype in contemporary media. This leads to the misconception that, in order to be attractive or interesting, a woman must be vivacious or the life of the party. But what you have to do is to be true to yourself.
- Learn new things, do things you never did before. Make yourself happy. When you love yourself, you become a new person everyone wants to be around – including your ex
- Do not pretend to be someone you’re not. It’s exhausting. And it will get out sooner or later. Moreover, its dishonest and unfair to him
- You could start taking interest in things that he likes. Try to see what fascinates him about his hobbies
- Treat him with kindness but don’t get carried away
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12. Show him that you value him
When I ran into my ex after five years at an airport layover, both of us had moved on with our lives. Yet we spent six hours talking to each other. When I asked him jokingly if he regretted the breakup, he replied, “Sometimes, but then I think of the times I was unemployed and you were wearing the pants, and I don’t.” I tried to explain that I never thought of him as a burden or a less-valued one in the relationship, but I guess I never tried to show as much.
- If you’re friends with your ex and trying to get him back, appreciate him whenever you can. Compliment him sincerely, not just while you’re alone but in public too
- Congratulate him on any achievements. Remember dates that matter to him
- How to get your ex back when he has moved on? Notice his type of love language and reciprocate accordingly
- Focus on the small things. Think what your ex is passionate about. Do something to show your appreciation in those areas
13. Make friends with his family and friends
Being on good terms with your ex’s family and friends can make the whole enterprise easier. Psychologists suggest that friends often have more say in one’s relationship than is apparent. Validation from family and friends is important in a relationship, especially when there is a positive interaction with them.
- It’s possible that your breakup may have distanced you or even maligned your image among your ex’s friends and family. If possible, try to work on that
- Try to spend some time with them. If you have similar interests, create scenarios where you can connect with each other
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14. Highlight what is wrong with his new relationship
Word of advice: do it subtly. Don’t go painting the town red by saying mean things about his new partner. Try to do it in a way that suggests the relationship is not compatible enough, instead of calling another person names.
- Find out if there are any conflicts in their relationship. Try to remind him of it. For example, if none of them have enough time to spend with each other, ask him out for a movie night with friends saying he doesn’t have anything to do anyway
- It’s possible that he might say a few things about his relationship behind his partner’s back. He shouldn’t go overboard/unreasonable with the criticism. But if he’s confiding in you, this is a great step forward
- Get your mutual friends to help you get back with your ex. Ask them if there are any disagreements between him and his partner. Next time when you meet him, start a discussion about another couple who is facing a similar situation. Make him see his relationship problems through an objective eye
15. How to get your ex back when he has moved on – Get the timing right
While you’re trying to make space for yourself in your ex’s heart, you must remember that you can only make him see you in a new light; you can’t make him fall in love with you. That must come from him.
- Timing has to be right. Do not suggest getting back together either during his high or low moments. Even if he agrees, it will be owing to external circumstances, and not his free will
- Respect his consent. Do not try to take any advantage of him during his weak moments
- If he insists he has moved on when you suggest getting back together, there is not much you can do except grieve and move on
- If, during a vulnerable time, he insists that he wants you back, tell him to take a couple of days before coming to any decision
- Either way, work on your personal growth first. Because then, you will not be dependent on anyone for emotional support
- You can get an ex back who lost feelings for you and have a better relationship than before, if both of you work on your individual selves and focus on emotional growth
- You need to be sure why you want to get back together with your ex. Introspect on your relationship before going ahead
- If your ex is in a rebound or a casual relationship, it betters your chances of reconnecting with him
- Show him your growth instead of trying cheap tricks to get him hooked
- Respect his wish if he has moved on and doesn’t want to get back together
Hollywood often likes to go La Vie En Rose when it comes to romance. But love is complicated. People don’t get back into the same relationship just because of love. They do it either to avoid getting better or because they have gotten better. The only difference is that in the former scenario, it’s likely to be toxic, while in the latter scenario, personal growth will be organic.