What to Do if your Ex Says they've Changed

Image by Saskia of Hey Saturday

If you’ve been in one of those breakup/get back together/breakup etc etc boomerang relationships (urgh – exhausting isn’t it!), this one is for you.

I think it’s safe to say that one of the most challenging things about going through a breakup is knowing how to react if your ex wants to see you again. Even if they were a first class a**hole, that pull can be so strong and difficult to resist. We know in our head that staying away is the right thing but our heart, emotions and attraction to them can scream otherwise.

It can therefore be very easy to agree to see them because you miss them so much or perhaps you’re seeking some form of closure.

So then the following plays out: You meet or speak and you realise that nothing has really changed. Your ex still won’t commit or give you the answers that you were hoping to glean from the conversation or interaction. You then might feel used or like all the hard work you have put into getting over this breakup has been undone.

This situation can so easily become a cycle.

So, it can be helpful to understand why your ex might have done this.

Well for starters, they probably miss you. But just because they miss you that doesn’t mean the relationship will all of a sudden be hunky dory and it also doesn’t mean they have the emotional capacity to deal with what went wrong in the first place and actually address the issues.

Also, not having you around has probably thrown them off-course! It’s taken away their power and reaching out and getting a reaction from you is almost giving them the validation they need to prove to themselves they can reclaim that power. And so obviously this doesn’t mean they intend to change. It’s all very short-term and backed up with very little substance.

As I said before, it can be very easy to lead with your heart in this situation. So how can you tell if your ex is really being genuine and has changed or whether seeing them again might cause more heartache?

- Look back at the past. Breaking up and getting back together can become a draining pattern and if this relates to you, well, you already have all the proof you need to show you that nothing is going to change this time around. Regardless of what your ex says or promises – it can be allthe right things (and probably will be as they’ll know how to push your buttons!), is that being backed up by solid action?

- Are there signs that your ex has taken any time to work on their own stuff since the breakup? Again, they might say all the right things in regards to this but is there actual evidence to show it?

- They are still vague about what they want. Maybe yes, they’re communicating in some way but are they being 100% clear on what they want moving forwards? If not, they’re probably just trying to keep you around rather than really working on what went wrong.

Here is what I suggest you need to do -:

- Know your limits and boundaries. Taking everything into account and how far you have come, is seeing them really the best thing for you?

- Don’t feel bad about saying no. The best and most dignified way to approach it is to be very clear about your needs right now and why you don’t think it’s a good idea to meet or continue communication. This can be done in a polite and compassionate yet emotionally detached way.

- Don’t focus on all the good memories during these moments. When an ex reaches out, it can trigger all of those amazing memories. Hearing from them feels familiar and comforting but just because you had some great times, that doesn’t mean your ex will change and that the relationship can be fixed.

- Remember that you are the main character in your own life! Keep up the work on putting yourself first and building your own self-esteem. This will also help you cultivate those boundaries and that inner self-knowing. It will help you trust yourself to work out what choices will be best for you regardless of what your heart might say.

I hope you find this helpful and if you have fallen victim to your ex reaching out in the past and prone to believing their words and non-committal behaviour, this is now your chance to intercept it. Just know that you DO deserve far more! There IS a better way forwards. And as always, I have got you on this too :)

Love, Laura x