My ex broke up with me last month after being together for over a year. The last few months were rough because his grandmother passed away after being in the hospital for a few months. I tried to be there for him but he totally withdrew and would reject my advances and we started fighting a lot because of it.
He told me he loves me, but felt like I was smothering him and he needed to find himself. I told him I would give him space while he figured things out but he said he couldn’t ask me to do that. I asked if there was a chance for us once he got things sorted and he said he isn’t sure if he sees a future. He said he worships the ground I walk on and should never change because I was perfect in the relationship and will go far in life whereas he feels like he has nothing to offer since he is grieving and stuck in a job he doesn’t like.
He suggested we stay friends but I told him that would be too hard on me and he said I can contact him anytime. I know I came across needy over the last couple of months and am wondering if there’s anything I can do to get him back. Should I text him? Try to stay friends? Is there any hope of getting him back?
I can relate to both your situation and his.
I remember, years ago, when I was extremely unhappy with my job and a few other areas of my life. I was dating a woman who really was a great girlfriend, but I was totally not in the right place to be in a relationship.
The fact is… when men don’t feel like they’re “winning” at life or that life is good, they want to shrink away and withdraw from the world. Men want to mentally work out whatever is bothering them, solve it and then they’ll re-emerge, ready to conquer the world.
MORE: Why Guys Withdraw
Men don’t want an audience for this. I can tell you firsthand that when people try to probe why I am being distant, it feels very invasive to me and I withdraw even further.
That doesn’t mean I think the person “probing” is a bad person or that they have a bad intent. It’s more like I don’t want to feel exposed and vulnerable while I’m already in pain.
All I want is to quietly solve the problem by myself. I don’t want to be coddled. I don’t want to be reassured. And I definitely don’t want to be pitied.
I do want the woman I’m with to be OK though; I don’t want her to worry or be upset. And I don’t want her to see me as anything less than the man that I aspire to be – the man that I am when I’m at my best.
So with all that in mind, you could sum it up by saying: I want her to give me space and I want her to be OK while she’s giving me space.
All relationships are going to require moments where you give the guy space.
RECOMMENDED QUIZ: “Can I Get My Ex Back Or Is He Gone Forever?” Quiz
What exactly does it mean to “give the guy space”?
All it means is that you trust that everything is going to work out for the best. It means that you allow yourself to feel OK instead of feeling nervous, worried, or frantic. It means you take on the belief that things always work out exactly as they should and abandon the idea that you can make things work out how you want them to…
The truth is, everything always works out as it should, but sometimes this can be hard to see in the day-to-day experience of life.
We can’t control other people. We can’t make them do what we want them to do.
The truth about people is that everyone is always going to do whatever they want to do, so it’s in your best interest to surround yourself with people who do what you want without any effort on your part.
Moreover, it’s in your best interest to live your life in a way that brings you happiness in your moment-to-moment existence without effort… and abandon any perspective or pursuit that has you feeling crappy in your moment-to-moment experience in service of some imagined better future.
Another thing that you have to realize is: Neediness is a mindset.
What I mean by this is that if you take on a certain perspective, you are guaranteed to act needy. And if you take on a different perspective, you will never act needy.
What’s the deadly mindset/perspective that will guarantee you act needy? It’s believing that you could “lose something” or that something could happen that would create a “lack of something” in your life.
At the heart of it, it’s the feeling of fear of loss.
When you believe that you could lose something, you’ll instinctively shrink inside and it will take the wind out of your sails. That feeling does not feel good, and the source of it is how you’re thinking about your situation, it’s your perspective.
The fact is, relationships are not “things” that you could lose or gain. They are not objects like a stone or purse or car.Relationships happen in-the-moment, as they’re happening.
Relationships are like music. You could have 100,000 songs on your iPod, but if you’re not playing any of the songs… you’re not hearing any music. In that same way, your relationship is exactly what it is in the moment that you’re with that person, experiencing that person and interacting with that person.
You don’t have a relationship… you experience it in the moment you’re with the person.
So you can’t “get it back” because there’s no thing to get. In another sense, you already have a relationship with him… your relationship with him is what it is.
Relationship “titles” are meaningless. It is only the quality of experience that matters and the quality of your experience is determined by your perspective and mood.
So, to answer your questions about what to do and if you can get him back…
If you want your relationship to improve with this guy… if you want to “get him back,” so to speak, this is what you need to do:
First, recognize that you are single right now.
It is counter-intuitive, but when women fixate on a guy (and worse, a specific outcome with a guy), they are destroying their mood and ability to be attractive.
When you take on the perspective of, “I need this guy to be this specific way with me… or else I won’t be happy,” then you set yourself up for tremendous unhappiness.
You see, that style of thinking is completely backwards and it will drive the guy away.
Why? Well, it’s simple: Men are attracted to women who are happy (not feeling like they are unhappy unless they “get” specifically what it is that they want).
Men are attracted to women who have the vibe of being OK (not anxious, worried, hostile, upset, etc.).
Men are attracted to women who have the vibe of being enthusiastic (not insecure, pessimistic, negative, etc.).
So what does this have to do with recognizing that you’re single (and why should this be something to be very happy about)?
You should be happy recognizing that you’re single because it means you can have limitless options. It means that you are not imprisoned in a reality where you can’t be happy unless you get a very, very specific outcome with one particular person.
When you fixate on a specific outcome with a specific person, you ruin your attractive vibe since you can’t be happy unless you have the outcome you want… and every moment you’re unhappy you push the guy further and further away.
When you let go of the idea that you need things to work out a certain way, then you cut off that poison negative cycle.
Instead of making a specific outcome your goal, make happiness your goal. Be open to the idea that your happiness, enthusiasm and enjoyment of life is the most attractive thing in the world to men.
And be open to the idea that if you are tremendously happy in your own life as a single person, the perfect guy will appear and he will lock you down in the relationship you’ve always wanted… because being around you feels so good, he can’t imagine living his life without you.
A man gets into a relationship with a woman who makes his life feel better than it did without her in it. Men marry women because they want to feel that good forever.
This is great news for you because the path to being that kind of women is very simple – follow all that makes you feel happy in the moment… cut off and drop all that does not make you feel happy.
This goes for thoughts, habits, situations, circumstances, activities, environments, and relationships with other people.
When you live your life in line with what makes you happy, your attractiveness will shine through. The more happy you are, the more attractive you’ll be to guys.
The bottom line is that when you drop your fixation on getting the guy back, you free yourself up to becoming happy… and thus, becoming tremendously attractive to men.
And here’s why it’s so important: When you become incredibly attractive to men, men will want to date you. Men will want to lock you down. Men will want you to be exclusive with them.
The thing is, ... (continued - Click to keep reading Ask a Guy: How Can I Get My Ex Boyfriend Back?)