Confessions and insights from a man who gave a woman four chances.
First off, let me say that in all my years, there has never been an old girlfriend/wife that I’ve ever taken back, but one. My philosophy – tried it, it didn't work, move on. Then came my last girlfriend. We met in the fall of 2007. I was enamored from the first sight. Yes, I thought she was physically attractive, but her inner beauty glowed brighter than ten suns. I fell in love.
I saw in her so much good, so much potential, so much love she gave to others. She inspired me to be a better person. We had many great times, but the true tests of a relationship are the times when our inner glow turns dark.
As I look back on why we broke up, sometimes it was situational (she was from another country and had via issues), other times it was personality traits (our own egos or baggage), and the last time, it was a relationship boundary that was crossed and finally ended the relationship. Reflecting on this experience gave me a lot of insight as to why we mended our relationship so many times; why it was diffrent from my other relationships. And it gave me insight into how a great relationship can be created.
Coupling my personal experience with information about men I’ve learned through my business - helping over a hundred men deal with the impacts of divorce (commonly the feelings of loss and wanting her back are discussed) - I’ve developed five steps to win your man back.
And to set the renewed relationship in the right direction, I’ll conclude with the four universal relationship truths needed for a strong, healthy relationship.
Five Steps to Win Your Man Back
Step 1: Be truthful to you. Do you really want him back, or are you trying to fill a self-worth void within you? Was he really good to you in the first place? Did he support you? Did he make you a better person? Did he inspire you? When fights occurred, was he respectful? Was he abusive in some way? If you can honestly answer this question “Yes, I want him back because he treated me well” then proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Take resposibility. What caused the split? Was it a heavy moralistic lapse that cannot be salvaged (having an affair, stealing, lying) or was it more about harsh words that came out during the heat of the moment? Also, look how you contributed to the conflict or issue. Have you owned up to it? Are you working to change or improve that topic about you? If the reason for the split was due more to hot air than bad moral judgment, and you are working on making yourself a better person, proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Is he forgiving? Look at his behavior? Does he show forgiveness in other areas of his life (rescue animals, volunteer, taken other old girlfriend back)? If he is someone that shows tendencies to forgive, proceed to Step 4.
Step 4: Was it real love? Was he really in love with you and you with him? Or are you just trying to fill an empty void? As mentioned in Step 1 – when two people are truly in love, it brings you to a higher level. It’s inspiring, uplifting and supportive. I know this can seem a bit grandiose, so if you’ve felt any of these feeling with him for large chucks of time, proceed to Step 5
Step 5: Your strategy to get him back.
- Realize that this is a negotiation and the first rule of negotiations … don’t have a stake in the outcome or you’ve already lost. If you want him back you have to act like you don’t, better yet, be truly indifferent. You just think he’s interesting and want to keep in touch with him.
- Keeping in touch with him. Be casual – “hey I was wondering if you had time for coffee to chat.” Don’t direct the conversation towards getting back together, let him direct the conversation that way. And if he does bring it up with a negative tone, acknowledge the issue and simply state we don’t have to talk about it if he does not want to. "I just wanted to keep in touch because I think you’re a good person."
- Confront the white elephant. At some point, you’ll have to confront the big white elephant standing between you two – the fight or issue causing the break up. Again, don’t direct the conversation let him navigate to it. When it does come up, if you made the mistake, admit you were wrong and acknowledge your role in the break up and apologize.
- Let him vent. He needs to get his thoughts and feeling on the table in a safe environment. This "clear's the air" and enables a new beginning. You can create that environment by staying calm, not trying to extract anything from him, and be open minded. But there is a limit. If he becomes hurtful, you have to stay strong to you. Communicate your boundaries – “I know you are hurt and I am sorry. I am willing to continue talking as long as our conversation is productive and not purposely hurtful.”
- Don’t ask for forgiveness. Let him forgive you in his own time. Asking for forgiveness is a form of indirect begging and shows signs of weakness. Be strong, live up to your values. If he does not forgive you, hey, move on - you're a great catch!
- Don’t say that you’ve changed, show that you’ve changed. Once the conversation heads down the path of forgiveness, you have to show that you’ve changed with your actions. And not for just a few weeks or month, but forever. This does two things: 1) it shows him and yourself that you have improved and you’re not just putting on an act; and 2) if you don’t change then the relationship will end up the same way again – with a break up.
Four Universal Relationship Truths
If you’ve made it this far with him, congratulations on winning him back. If not, don’t be disappointed, you can use these four truths in your next relationship:
- Don’t put the other person down, ever. A relationship should make each other better, not beat each other down.
- Never use the relationship as a pawn. Realize that what you say creates your future. So, don’t ever say something that suggests you want to end the relationship … unless you really want to end it.
- Heal yourself – if you have not comes to terms with you, to love you, your love will always be veiled with need; I love you because I need … (to feel loved, to feel complete, to improve my self worth …). True love is a gift giving frely, expecting nothing in return.
- Last and more importantly develop a relationship common vision. Talk with your partner about what a relationship looks like to him. Share what it looks like to you and work to create a common vision. Then, once decided, live into that vision; don’t let yourself be pushed by your past relationship experiences. An example? Here's mine: "To create a relationship in which everyone talks about … for the right reasons."
What I’ve learned from my experiences and other men, is that most times it’s good to look and moving forward to find love. But sometimes, you do find love looking in the rear view mirror. Wanting someone back requires you to be truthful to you, to taking responsibility for your actions, to learn to forgive and to let go, and to recognizing real love.
As you continue your quest for love - be it the one that just left, the one yet to come or the one inside you - I do hope that you too will see the ten suns that shine within you and your partner. And I hope that these words have help you create a relationship in which everyone talks about … for the right reasons.