You didn't want to break up, but here you are, alone. As you grieve the loss of your lover, you are subject to the stages of grief - sadness, anger, denial, bargaining and acceptance - just as with other types of losses. But the difference between a breakup and other losses is hope. Through your hope to get your lover back, you may experience a high level of denial and engage in bargaining. But winning your lover's heart back after a breakup requires more than bargaining. You have to begin by assessing your relationship.
Give yourself a full month of no contact between you and your ex-lover, advises Gene Williams in "Get Your Ex Back." Giving yourself - and your ex - time to be apart without contact relieves tension and provides an opportunity for each of you to clear your heads and reflect on the dynamics of your relationship. If you cannot avoid coming into contact with your ex during your daily routine, say hello and move on. Give your ex-lover space and time to miss you.
Assess your relationship. Breakups happen for a reason. Write down the reasons your ex gave you for breaking up. Make a list of complaints frequently made by your ex. Reflect on the ways you and your ex-lover are different from each other in interests and values. Even though you might have refuted some of your lover's complaints while you were together and you still feel the complaints are unfounded, do not dismiss them. Also make a list of your lover's negative traits. Consider how these characteristics affected the dynamics of your relationship.
Review the lists as objectively as possible. Denial of guilt doesn't make the problem go away. Acknowledge your faults. However, don't accept blame if it doesn't fit. In "How to Get Your Lover Back: Successful Strategies for Starting Over," Blase Harris recommends you ask yourself if you are prepared to devote the time and energy required to develop the skills and psychological strength necessary to sustaining a genuine loving bond. A breakup means something has to change. Should you change? Are you willing to change?
Take care of yourself. Even when you don't feel like it, eat properly, rest and exercise. Taking care of the basics will help you maintain your emotional strength. Work on your personal goals for your career or other interests. Maintain your self-respect.
Speak to your ex-lover in your lover's language. In "The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts," Gary Chapman defines the five ways individuals show affection for each other: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, service and physical touch. Reflect on how your lover expresses affection to discover your ex's love language. When you are ready to win your lover's heart back, speak in your ex's love language. Send a meaningful gift to a gift giver, offer an act of service to a nurturer, send a message of affirmation to the verbally expressive lover, suggest a catch-up lunch or short outing to someone who likes to spend time together. Use the language of touch when the moment seems right.
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- Get Your Ex Back; Gene Williams
- Grief.com: The Five Stages of Grief
- How to Get Your Lover Back: Successful Strategies for Starting Over; Blase Harris
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts; Gary D. Chapman
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.