As a kid, that’s all it took to get someone to chase us. Now that we’re all grown up, it takes a little more finesse and effort.
“What? You mean I’m actually going to have to work at this?”
That’s right! So you might as well just settle in because we’re in this for the long haul.
I know it’s tempting to rush in and just demand or beg for a second chance, but let’s not do that. Okay?
It will do far more damage than you can imagine.
Get it all out now.
Start singing Queen’s “I Want It All,” karaoke-style. I’ll wait.
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Now that you’ve got that out of your system, let’s get down to brass tacks. You want your ex girlfriend back.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here?
Tacks of Brass
First you have to understand one thing and one thing only. Men and women don’t handle break-ups in the same way. I have noticed that men, for the most part, jump straight to the “Over-it” phase and then move backwards into a position where they miss her.
You all make it look so simple from our side of things.
Women, however, tend to go through a series of stages, kind of like the stages of guilt. It starts with being absolutely devastated and ends with being completely over it.
Except it’s more like a 7 stage program.
Before we continue you need to realize that no two women handle a break up exactly the same. Some skip stages. Some go back and repeat some of the steps multiple times.
Let’s start with “Stage One”
Stage One – The Emotional Wreck
A woman is likely to spend a couple of days to several weeks in a completely depressed state. During this time, emotions are running high and women tend to act without thinking.
She will most likely spend the vast majority of this time speculating as to what caused the demise of the relationship, even if she’s the one that called it off.
At this point, with emotions running high, she will constantly be reminded of you by anything and everything.
Let me explain.
When we are in a relationship we are constantly flooded with the feeling of being needed, wanted, and loved. These feelings are deeply connected to the levels of chemicals in the brain.
Dopamine: is a chemical that rises when you feel pleasure. When you feel loved, this is what causes that butterfly feeling. It is said that dopamine can be just as addicting as certain drugs. For women, going through a break up is a lot like quitting heroin cold-turkey.
Seratonin: is a chemical that is responsible for balancing moods. During a breakup, Seratonin levels drop, meaning she’ll be dealing with a variety of unpredictable mood swings. Seratonin also helps control obsessive behavior. Low seratonin levels can lead to obsessive thoughts or even lead to stalking or even send her into a jealous rage.
Norepenephrine: is a stress hormone. It is directly tied to the part of the brain that controls attention span and response actions, such as the fight-or-flight response. It also has a lot to do with the blood pressure spikes that cause that butterfly feeling.
Cortisol: is produced in the adrenal gland and is the body’s way of raising the blood sugar, suppressing the immune system, metabolizing fat, proteins, and carbohydrates. It also decreases bone formation.
When dealing with losing a relationship, these chemicals are all out of whack.
Your serotonin drops and your cortisol increases.
This results in a rise in dopamine, which in turn causes a rise in norepenephrine.
This combination can make a person very jumpy and anxious while their moods are very hard to predict and unstable.
This rise in dopamine levels, while it would usually make you feel great, can actually make you feel pretty crummy when you don’t get what you want, even to the extreme of severe depression.
At this point, she’d do anything for some stability, a feeling of control.
It’s what neurologists call “Reunion Obsessed.”
It’s the reason there are so many women dubbed as “Crazy” out there.
Being obsessed with getting back with someone and not being able to control your actions or emotions is a recipe for disaster.
NEWSFLASH: The last time she felt balance regarding any of these chemicals in her brain, she was most likely with you!
Therefore, you have an in!
However, just knowing that at this time she’d be willing to jump back into a relationship with you shouldn’t have you running to jump back in just yet.
If you’re just wanting her back for a few weeks, yeah go for it, but two weeks into this, whoever did the dumping will remember why they did it and do it all over again.
If you want her back for good, this stage is NOT where you want to double dutch your way back in, or at least I don’t suggest it.
You want to let her level out again.
Recognizing Stage 1
Pay attention to her behavior:
- She’ll change her appearance drastically.
- She’ll be sending you tons of sporadic and desperate sounding texts.
- She’ll be acting completely crazy.
- She’ll have some seriously hard to predict mood swings.
- She’s told anyone who will listen about your breakup… yes I mean anyone… even the bartender.
How To Deal (if you want her back for good)
I’m sure you noticed that last part there, “for good.”
Not a hookup.
Not a contingency plan.
I mean you’re in for the whole enchilada.
Let her straighten things out on her own. Once she gets through this she’ll be a stronger version of herself.
By letting her work through things, you’re basically allowing her the to morph into a new person, a better person.
Who wants GIRLFRIEND BETA when you could have GIRLFRIEND 2.0?
Go step your game up in the areas of your life so you’ll be able to keep up with her when you finally get her back.
Stage Two – The Rundown
Let’s face it, Stage One is emotionally and physically draining.
We’ve not entered into the phase where she’s run out of energy.
Energy to cry.
Energy to eat.
Energy to crawl out of bed, shower, and face the day.
She just can’t find the energy to care anymore.
You’re probably thinking,
“So what she just sits there, numb to it all?”
Well, kind of.
She’ll spend most of this time in her own head. She’ll sit and stew, trying to figure out exactly where it all went wrong.
Some women skip this stage entirely.
Me, I’m perpetually in this stage, since I like to know how things work. I’m not ashamed to admit that I own the manual to nearly every device I’ve ever owned, even my car, or that I actually even read most of them.
I’ve found that sometimes while I’m in my own head, one of the other stages will start before another stage has ended. So you’ll just have to use your common sense on that one, seeing as I’ve given you a basic idea of how to tell which stage you’re dealing with.
A woman will go over every inch of your relationship trying to pinpoint the exact moment when things went haywire.
The good news is, if she’s in this stage, it means she hasn’t given up on you yet. She hasn’t hit that point of not caring; she just doesn’t have the energy to wear it on her sleeve at the moment.
Recognizing Stage Two
- From 100 to 0 – Sudden lack of texts except maybe a question about some nostalgia, then radio silence again
- You get the cold shoulder from her close friends. – At this point she’s stopped asking them what they think, and they’ve been watching her deal. Even if she dumped you, a break up still takes it’s toll. and whether it was your fault or not, they’re fed up too.
How To Deal
Approach with caution if you approach at all.
Her friends and family don’t like you at this point. She’s being contemplative, so it’s likely that you’ll get hit with a barrage of “Where do you think it went wrong?” questions.
Which means you may answer in a way that makes her decide that the break up was a good idea. Since, she’s past the “Emotional Wreck” stage, she’s thinking more clearly and is more likely to make a sound decision on things.
So, like I said, approach with caution.
Stage Three – Clarity
During Stage Two she asked herself hundreds of questions, to which she came up with a multitude of answers I’m sure. Now, she’s settled on some answers, perhaps your mutual friends help shed some light on the reasons things panned out the way they did.
And most definitely she’s concluded that you’re an idiot for letting her go, whether she walked away or you pushed her out the door.
And lets go ahead and put it out there, since you’re here reading this, it’s highly likely you agree with her conclusion.
You’re an idiot for letting her go.
As for me, I usually speed through stage one and two and wind up at this one after a break up. Not many women do that though.
Getting to this point takes a lot of time and exertion for them. So it’s going to take a lot of effort to worm your way back in.
She’s finally found comfort and acceptance in the fact that you two may very well be through and she has powerful thoughts running through her mind right now.
“Maybe it was for the best.”
“I was fine before him; I’ll be fine without him.”
Recognizing Stage Three
- She’s acting normal around you – not flirting, not mean… normal.
- She isn’t reaching out to you to try and reminisce anymore.
- She also isn’t calling you to try and figure out “What went wrong.”
- She may even cut you off at this point, cold turkey.
- It looks like she’s moving on
How To Deal
Now that she’s clearly moving on, she’ll be much more confident in her decisions.
So you’re going to think I’m mental when I say THIS is the perfect time to do your double-dutching.
Jump on in!
It’s the optimum time to show up and say “I was such an idiot!”
Even if you think you did nothing wrong, if you want her back, she is clearly something special. Letting her get away was the dumbest mistake you ever made. So tell her that.
Repeat after me,
“I was such an idiot. Letting you walk away was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, and I put duct tape on my cats paws once. I’m not asking for your forgiveness or for you to take me back, I just wanted you to know that I really value the time we spent together and if you ever decided to give me another chance, I would consider myself the luckiest guy on earth.”
Now you’re going to insert your own story, I’m certain you haven’t duct taped a cats paws just to see it dance.
(I don’t recommend it. Scotch tape works fine, comes right off, and doesn’t take two hours, three stitches and two whole bottles of coconut oil and dish soap.)
(To whom it may concern, no cats were harmed in the creation of this article, nor do we advocate terrorizing small animals for your entertainment.)
I want you to make this statement your own and only say it if you mean it.
I’m a cold-hearted witch when it comes to a man who treated me wrongly, and this would have me weak in the knees and reassessing my decision to be move on.
Stage Four – Physically Moving On
She’s spent enough time wallowing in self pity, may as well move on.
She’s going out.
She’s meeting people.
She’s getting asked out on dates and has nothing holding her back.
She doesn’t even necessarily have to be hooking up with someone new.
She’s just not thinking about you and not sitting at home in a blanket burrito eating Haagen Dazs.
You aren’t going to treat her right? Someone is out there waiting to do just that and she’s not wasting any time waiting around any longer. She’s looking for Mr. Right and you’re Mr. Got Left Behind.
Recognizing Stage Four
- She’s posting pictures on social media of her going out with friends, and meeting new people. (You’ve been checking up on her. We all know. Everyone does it.)
- You’re mutual friends can attest that she seems to be doing well, great even.
- You haven’t heard from her at all.
How To Deal
Now isn’t the ideal time to jump in, but there’s no going backwards if it’s already gotten this far.
So if you’re still determined to get her back, I suggest dealing with Stage Four the same way we would have dealt with Stage 5.
Talk to her.
Tell her you made a huge mistake.
You just need to understand that she’s accepted the fact that there are other men out there that may be better for her and know that admitting you were an idiot is still going to make her reassess.
However, it may not have the same results as it would have in Stage 4.
Stage Five – Self Betterment
She’s a strong independent woman who don’t need no man!
She’s in the gym.
She’s moving up at work.
If you were to have met her at this point you wouldn’t be able to speak to her.
You’d have been intimidated because she so clearly has all of her stuff together.
Recognizing Stage Five
- She looks great, better than you remember.
- She seems happy.
- She’s clearly not pining anymore.
How to Deal
This is possibly the best time to jump back in. Compliment the changes she’s made. And again, tell her how big of an idiot you were.
Are you seeing a pattern?
Women are easy in this respect. We just want to be appreciated and heard. If you aren’t above groveling, you’ll do just fine.
Of course, it’s important to remember that groveling and begging aren’t the same thing.
Stage 6 – The Rinse and Repeat
Okay so it’s not like she’ll start pining for you again at this point. It’s more like she’ll be using you as a template for the next guy she dates. She’s not going to waste her time again, so she’ll be paying a lot of attention to his actions.
Her expectations will be hard to meet, because she’ll be determined to get it right this time. And the more difficult it is to find a guy that will bend to fit this mold, the more she’ll compare them to you. The more she’ll think of you.
There will be some area of the dating thing that the next guy just doesn’t measure up to you in. She’ll miss you occasionally because of this.
Recognizing Stage Six
- She’s going on dates
How to Deal
It’s tempting to beg for her back or just give up when she’s starting to see other guys.
But if she actually means enough to you for you to read this far, I’m going to go ahead and tell you not to do either. I’m going to tell you a secret.
You can still tell her your an idiot.
Because it’s what she wants to hear!
Nothing make us happier than knowing that you agree with us. Especially when it means that you realize what a catch we really are.
She may being seeing someone new, but knowing that you’ve realized your mistake will leave her thinking, “Maybe we could give it another go. Maybe things will work out this time.”
It’ll reside there until eventually she’s single again. That is when you make your move. Ask her out to dinner. If she accepts, take this opportunity to pay attention.
If you get a second chance, don’t take it for granted. Treat her better than you ever did before.
Stage Seven – She’s Done
She’s over it!
She’s sick and tired of being sick and tired!
So, When Is The Best Time To Try To Get My Ex Back?
Why did I tell you what a woman goes through during a breakup?
You don’t deal with it. Heck, you don’t even see it most of the time, unless maybe you work with or live with her. Well, the one thing my guy friends ask me is “What do women want?” and for the longest time I’d answer,
“We don’t even know, how am I supposed to tell you?”
But there is an actual answer and it’s so simple that it gets overlooked by men constantly.
Are you ready?
This is something you’ll want tattooed on so you’ll never forget it…
Are you on the edge of your seat yet?
We want to be heard.
Did you miss it?
Women are far less complicated than most men think if you simply pay attention. (We love attention and thoughtfulness.)
I have a guy friend that hangs out at my house a lot. So I am constantly cooking him food. Any time he throws something away he checks to see if the trash is full and takes it out if it is. I am always telling him he doesn’t have to do that, but I make sure to also tell him how grateful I am. I also continue to invite him over for dinner, because he’s a thoughtful guest.
In dating her, you’re a guest in her life. I guarantee that there are tons of guys would love to be with a woman as great as the one you’re trying to get back. Show her you appreciate the fact that she chose you by being a gracious that she let you into her orbit.
So, again, why did I tell you what a woman goes through after a break up?
Well… you guys broke up.
She’s in one of those stages at this very moment. You need to understand where she is standing in that sequence so you can choose how to approach the situation.
If you approach a dangerous animal, you at least Google it to get an idea of how to approach it.
Let’s face it, an agitated woman may as well be a Bengal Tiger.
All a woman wants to do is be understood. If you can approach her in a way that is sympathetic to what she is going through at the moment, she’s more likely to respond positively.
That’s why I put such an emphasis on admitting you made a mistake by letting her go. I cannot tell you how attractive it is for a man to be able to admit he made a mistake, even if it’s over something small. At the same time you are telling her you value her. That’s like hitting a home run with all the bases loaded.
There’s one note I will add to this though. You have to be able to say this without expecting anything.
You can’t get mad if she doesn’t swoon and come running back. Making sure she realizes that you don’t expect anything is part of the “Get Her Back” process.
So, yes you can have expectations, but go ahead and make them low ones, that way you don’t physically show her your disappointment when she just says
It’s like inception, but with expectations.
You have to be sympathetic. If you fake it or get angry because you have certain expectations, then you’re setting yourself up to fail.
THERE’S ONE MORE THING
Only tell her ONCE that you made a huge mistake. Don’t keep repeating yourself. That’s an oversell. Tell her once and I promise it’ll make enough of an impression that she’ll be replaying it over and over in her head later that evening.
Then, a few days later, ask her if she’d like to do something like go out with a group of friends or to get coffee. Something innocent and not as serious as an actual date.
Spend the entire time you’re together letting her catch you up on what’s going on in her life. Ask her questions. Do little things that are thoughtful, like getting a few extra napkins for her when you get yours.
When you’re done hanging out, give her a hug, if appropriate, and leave.
The next day text or call her and tell her you really enjoyed hearing how well she’s doing and you’re glad that the two of you can spend time together.
That’s it. Don’t try to carry on a full conversation.
It should go something like this.
You: Hey. I really enjoyed getting to catch up.
Her: Yeah me too.
You: I’m just so glad to hear things are going well for you.
Her: Aw, thank you!
You: I’m just really glad we got to hang out. Anyways, I’m walking into a meeting/movie/etc. I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed spending time with you.
Do not ask her to hang out again soon. Don’t do it!
Leave it alone.
That comes later.
Wait a week or so, text her something funny that “made you think of her”. Make her laugh, then cut the conversation short again.
Women are a lot like men in the sense that we want want we feel like we can’t have.
A few days after your funny text, ask her to go do something you know she wants to do. If it’s something you’re not too keen on then EVEN BETTER! You aren’t going to enjoy watching sea otters on ice. You’re going to enjoy her company.
Pay attention to every thing she says.
Yet again. No expectations! you’re getting to know her again and making sure to be thoughtful.
Continue to invite her out in group settings and on innocent friend-dates. Consider it reconnaissance. She has information you need to make her fall for you again.
THE SIMPLE MOVE
Let me explain something to you. Most women, not all but most, will have given thought to a future with you while you were together, even if they “aren’t the marrying type.” So, whether you broke up with them or they broke up with you, they’re probably left with the feeling that they’ve left something… unfinished or unresolved. If they left you I can guarantee that, at some point she’ll wonder if she hasn’t made some kind of mistake.
If at any point they actively point out that they’d give it another go, don’t stop courting them! Just amp it up a notch and do something sweet. Give her flowers, or take her coffee when she says she’s tired at work.
This is a good idea, because her coworkers will ask her who the guy who came to visit was. When she says, “That was my ex. He just brought me some coffee,” they are sure to inadvertently back you up by telling her how sweet you are. They’ll ask why you guys ever split up. Soon, she’ll start to wonder herself.
I will never be the type of girl that expects flowers. I think they’re a waste of money and you are literally watching them die. (I’m a rare breed. I know.)
But if a man I like gives me flowers I will automatically think he is the sweetest guy ever. You’d think he did something over the top with the way I’d melt. It’s not about the gift. It’s about the gesture. We don’t need grand gestures, we just need to know that you’re putting forth some kind of effort. It’s that simple.
Even better, I once dated a guy that was so thoughtful that he noticed when he picked me up for our date that I went out of my way to open my bathroom door softly every time so the lock didn’t put a dent in the wall.
He showed up to date number two with a door stopper and offered to install it. I mean he had to actually pay attention to notice that. Thoughtfulness is the most romantic gesture you can make.
The only downside to this is that you have to keep it up.
The only reason Mr. Door Stopper and I went our separate ways was because he was only thoughtful when he was trying to get me to date him. After I agreed to see him exclusively.
Boom, done with that.
So do things to an extent that you’d be comfortable carrying on extensively. Don’t make grand gestures. It just takes a culmination of little things that let her know you’re simply paying attention.
(Written By Ashley S)
(Head of Content Development For The Ex Recovery Team)