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The first thing you need to ask yourself before you begin this step is whether you still want your ex back. Some women reach this point and discover that their ex isn’t really for them any more. They gained their confidence back and assessed the relationship through an honest lense and just don’t want him back.
That’s fine. This is your decision and nobody else’s. If you don’t want him back, I encourage you to visit my other website, WhoHoldsTheCardsNow.com, which contains your next steps toward finding and keeping a great guy, plus tons of stuff on understanding men!
If you do still want your ex back, great! Let’s keep working.
He Needs to Overcome His Negative Feelings
Your ex broke up with you, in part, because he has negative feelings toward you and your relationship. Right or wrong, these are his feelings and I can guarantee you they existed. Now that some time has passed, however, we can begin to work on replacing those negtives with positives. The best way to do this is by reminding him of the good times you shared together.
You already did this once in Step One when you wrote the letter and mailed it to him. We did that step early on because it’s most impactful closer to your breakup. Depending on how much time it has taken you to move through the first three steps, several weeks could have passed since that time. That’s okay. In fact, it’s great because even though you gave him that early kick in the butt, he probably still held onto negative feelings for a while after.
But now that a few weeks have gone by, and he’s probably seen, if not heard about how you’ve been changing and dating, he’s ready to begin shifting from negative feelings to positive.
Almost everything from here on is designed to do just that.
Time to Tweak His Good Memories of Your Relationship
When I say it’s time to tweak his good memories, what I mean is that it’s time to help him remember the great times you shared together. This is why your relationship should be at least a few months old – so you have memories to tweak him with. If you only dated for three or four weeks, you don’t have much in the way of positive memories to work with.
If you dig in and discover that there really aren’t any good memories to use, you will have a tough time winning him back and it may be time to consider letting this relationship go. For some couples, even though they’ve been together for years, when they sit down and evaluate their relationship, they discover many more bad memories than good. This is not a relationship worth reviving.
But, I’m assuming that if you got this far, you already know you need those good memories and now it’s time to dig them out.
The Slip-In/Slip-Out Method
Many other websites will tell you to go no contact for thirty days, period. The problem with this is that not every relationship is the same and for some, thirty days isn’t enough while for others, it’s not necessary to go that long. I do strongly urge you to go no contact, with the exception of the letter, for at least two weeks, then, once you’re through the first three steps, you can try this tactic – slip in/slip out.
Slip in/slip out works best through a text. Your goal is to slip into his life with a statement or question that confirms it’s over, then slip back out again and return to no contact. Here are some examples to illustrate what you might say:
- Hey, can you pull together those t-shirts I left there for running and set them on your porch?
- Quick question…what was the name of that pizza place that served that awesome garlic bread?
- We’re off to Maui next week. What was the name of that cute little coctail bar on the beach?
When he reads these, he thinks:
- Wow it must really be over if she wants the rest of her stuff
- I wonder who she’s going to the pizza joint with…that waiter really had a thing for her
- Maui? Who is she going there with? We just broke up!!!!
This is exactly what you want him to be thinking. He thinks he has all the time in the world to come back to you, but now he’s getting the feeling that you’re moving on and his plan is failing. Let him squirm.
He is now questioning everything. He’s wondering if he’s waited too long to come back. He may worry that he’s lost you forever. This is bad news for most men who think they can simply take a hiatus and come back whenever they want.
The most important thing to remember with this tactic and the others you’ll learn here is to use them sparingly. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase too much of a good thing. Things can be overdone easily and then you send him in the opposite direction.
Also, be sure to follow through. Go pick up your stuff. Go to the pizza place and take a trip to Maui.
Are you bluffing? Yes, to some extent, but you have nothing to lose right now. You’re broken up. He’s already gone, so all you can do is gain. These actions confuse him. He broke up with you, but now, it seems as if you’re breaking up with him. He thought he could dump you, go off and play for a while and come back and you’d be so grateful to have him back that everything he did would be forgiven without a second thought.
Now, he’s. not so sure! In fact, being single isn’t nearly as much fun as it was a few days ago. His Plan B, aka You, is suddenly fading from view and he needs to act fast if he wants to keep from losing you.
Here are a few other things you can text to slip in/slip out:
- I found this great article on corvettes online and thought you might enjoy it
- I saw that your company just got a big project. Congrats!
- Do you remember that great little bar on 7th street? They’ve changed owners…check it out
- I thought you’d enjoy this new version of that song we danced to at Gina’s wedding
It’s Time to Show Off the New You
Whether you know it or not, you’ve already been doing this. You have been working hard on taking care of yourself through new self-care practices, you’ve rebuilt your confidence and become an independent student of life.
If you think he hasn’t noticed, you’re wrong. Even if you blocked him on social media, he’s seen the evidence. His friends have shown him, trust me. He may have even seen you out and about when you didn’t realize he was near.
You also have not behaved in the way he expected. You stopped the name-calling and tear-filled voicemails. In fact, you broke contact with him, except for the letter and now, your new tool of slip in/slip out.
He’s stymied. This is not the woman he broke up with at all and he is intrigued by you. You’ve become mysterious to him, and this is a good thing.
Showing off the new you really just means continuing to do the things you’ve been doing, but adding to your activities.
I know this will sound counter-intuitive, but you need to date other men. Don’t panic. Remember, you’re broken up and he’s dating other women. He thinks it’s okay for him to date other women, but he’s not okay with you dating other men. What if you like one of them? What if he loses you to one of them? Oh boy!
Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep pursuing your hobbies and taking trips, even if they’re day trips. Keep exploring the world. Share it on social media. Share it with your friends. Let the world know that the new you is rocking it!
When is it Time to Contact Him?
There are several facets to this answer. Timing is everything when it comes to contacting him again.
The most important measure is how you feel. You should be acting mostly with your wise mind, not your emotional mind. You should feel very confident, much more so than you were at the end of your relationship.
This higher confidence is necessary in case he still rejects the idea of meeting you again. The hit to your confidence will still happen, but you’re stronger now and you can come back easier.
You should also be dating other men. I know you want your ex back, but it never hurts to date other men, if for no other reason than to compare and find out what you like and dislike. Have fun! Dating is about exploring new people, it isn’t an automatic commitment for marriage. Meet new men and enjoy spending time with them. There is no harm in it.
The exception to this is using the slip in/slip out method. This is helping you gain and maintain a power position in the relationship and your expectations here should be low. You don’t need a response from him to know you made an impact.
Your job is to watch for what I call The Shift. The Shift is the moment at which your ex weakens and reaches out to contact you. If he’s capable of love and he still cares for you, it will happen. You’ll know he’s experienced the shift if:
- He randomly starts texting you
- He asks if you want to get together for coffee or something
- He’s asking your friends about you
- He begins to show any kind of interest in you and what you’re doing
This next sentence is crucial so read it carefully. Just because he experiences The Shift doesn’t mean he’s ready to get back together.
Neither of you is quite ready yet. He may simply be testing the waters to see if you’ll come running back to be his beck and call girl again. This will not be your role in his life. You aren’t his sometimes girl and you don’t want to be, do you?
In the next step, Plan to Meet Him, you’ll discover how to test and see if his intentions are genuine or if he’s still playing his games. For now, if he reaches out, let him do the talking. If he texts, reply, but wait an hour or two. Continue doing everything you’re doing, including dating other men. You don’t have him back yet.
How to Casually Hang Out & What That Means
If your ex still cares for you, he is beginning to have doubts about the breakup, but you’ll keep pressing on as if the breakup is final.
This step is for you if you’re feeling a high level of confidence, you’re dating other men and maybe even questioning the breakup.
During casual conversation with your ex, probably something that came from slip in/slip out or maybe while you’re discussing the kids, work or another common area between you, you’ll say something like, “Gee I’d love to double-date with you and your new girlfriend sometime.”
This is the equivalent to a punch in the gut for him if he has any feelings for you at all. He’s wondering how it is you’re already dating. He thought he left you a devastated mess but now he’s feeling like he’s the mess.
By using “sometime” in your statement, or other ambiguous words like in the future, you’re not promising anything will actually happen, and it won’t.
The key to this tactic is timing. Don’t make it the reason for your conversation. Just slide it into another conversation, as a by the way, type of thing.
Why are Mystery and Challenge a Big Deal?
You’ve heard us say things about mystery and challenge, but what’s the big deal? Why do these things keep coming up?
These two things are huge for attraction where men are concerned. Relationships can easily fall into ruts if the mystery and challenge disappear. When you first started dating, he found you very mysterious and getting a date with you should have been a bit of a challenge for him. This spurs men on and makes them want to pursue you.
Now, it’s time to make sure he’s feeling those things again. We want him to feel you’re mysterious again. We want him to feel it’s a challenge to get a date with you. Let’s take each one individually.
By doing what you’ve been doing, you’ve injected tons of mystery. When you stopped texting and calling, when you started working on yourself, when you changed your routine and as you’ve built your confidence, you’ve become a different woman from the one with whom he broke up.
He’s wondering what you’ll do next, and this has his attention! In a good way!
Women think that if they present a challenge, a man will turn tail and run, but if he’s at all interested, he won’t. Start paying attention to rom-coms, especially movies. In the well-written ones, you’ll find these elements.
But what does it mean to be challenging? It means you’re dating other men right now and he knows he needs to get back on your radar and he will also need to step up his game to do so.
It means that when he asks if you can meet on Tuesday night for a beer, you say no because you have Yoga class, but you suggest meeting up with him on Friday.
If he wants back into your life, make him work for it a little. Let him know that you aren’t his beck and call girl, like he thought you were. You’re a woman who’s busy with hobbies, workouts and dating and if he wants time on your calendar, he’ll have to earn it.
What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose
We’ve been dancing around this topic throughout this step, and it’s been mentioned in others. When your ex broke up with you, part of his reasoning was to date other women. It’s the old the grass is greener on the other side thing. Surely, he could be happier dating other women.
But he isn’t, at least not now. He might have enjoyed it at first, but as you started blooming out of your shell, he enjoyed it less and less.
As you’ve already learned, he expected you to sit home downing pint after pint of ice cream while he sashayed off happily to explore other women. But you didn’t, at least not for long. You had your brief period of wallowing and then you pulled yourself up by your garter straps and started this journey.
He never, and I mean never planned on you getting back out into the dating world. Not in a million years did he expect you to be looking great and taking the world by the tail. Meanwhile, he’s been second-guessing the breakup over the last week or so and wondering why he ever gave up a woman like you.
You’ve shown him that what’s good for him is good for you too and he never considered that the breakup would go that way.
You’ve turned his ideas of this breakup on their head. He’s confused and wondering what he was thinking.
It’s all good stuff and it’s exactly where you want him to be right now.