Hey there, and welcome to another episode of the Ex-Girlfriend Recovery Podcast. We’ve got a real interesting one scheduled for you today where we’ve got a guy who’s asked a question about what his ex-girlfriend means when she says that they’re being too dependent on each other.
Before I play Mr. Anonymous’s question, because he wanted to remain anonymous, I feel it’s important that if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re struggling through a breakup, probably the first thing you should figure out is whether or not you even have a chance of getting your ex-girlfriend back.
What’s funny is actually the voicemail that I’m about to play literally ends with the guy asking, “Should I give up or not?”
And a really great way to get a quick answer on if you should give up or not is to stop by our website and take our ex recovery chances quiz there on the homepage of the website.
Anonymous Asks What His Ex Girlfriend Means When She Says He’s Too Dependent
Hi, Chris. This is from Anonymous.
But me and my girlfriend of three years, three and a half … just recently broke up … and she said that she wanted to find her own happiness, that we were becoming too dependent to make ourselves happy when we should be doing it on ourselves. And now that we’ve broken up, I really see what she means and says by all that, and we still care about one another.
At one point in time, we were thinking about getting engaged, so it was pretty serious.
I don’t want to walk away from it. She really does feel like the girl from me. She says I feel like I’m the guy for her, but we just were working on ourselves and trying to better, but she doesn’t want to give me a promise for a future because she doesn’t know the future or how long she’ll need.
I really don’t know if I should just pack up and just move completely on or if I should try to work on myself and hope to win her back over and just any advice on what to do. I feel like I’m just stuck in limbo right now, but I appreciate it.
Okay. There’s a lot to unpack here.
Even though it’s not that long of a voicemail, there’s some really interesting things that we can talk about with his situation.
And before I really do that, I want to give a quick synopsis of what’s going on here with him, really what he’s trying to get at.
- It looks like him and his ex-girlfriend were together for three and a half years, which is a long time.
- He didn’t really tell me their ages, but I’m assuming they’re probably somewhere in their mid 20s.
- It’s a relatively serious relationship, especially if they’re talking about getting engaged and things of that nature.
- They were together three and a half years.
- They recently broke up.
- His ex-girlfriend cited the reason as they were being too dependent on each other to make themselves happy.
- In other words, she is coming under the conclusion that being together is a function of not deriving happiness from the other person, but deriving happiness from themselves.
- He says they still care about one another.
- I’m assuming they’ve been talking ever since the breakup, and she seems confused about whether or not she wants to get back with him.
Ultimately, the way I’m going to structure this podcast episode is by talking about what she means and what approach should he take.
What His Ex Girlfriend Actually Means
What does she mean, right?
His ex-girlfriend literally sits there and says, “We’re being too dependent on each other,” for the breakup.
But the trick is, I know what men mean when they say things a lot more easily than what women mean when they say things.
Luckily for you, Mr. Anonymous, I called in my secret weapon to help you out.
I thought I had maybe an idea of what your ex-girlfriend meant, but I don’t want to tell you anything without verifying it by asking real women first.
And so if you don’t know, anyone basically buys any of my programs, the Ex-Boyfriend Recovery Program or the Ex-Girlfriend Recovery Program, get access to this really cool private Facebook support group community where there are over 4,000 members currently.
Most of them are women because we haven’t really launched it to men yet, but we will. Don’t worry, Anonymous. We will launch it.
Anyways, what I did is I basically took notes on your situation. I went to the private Facebook group and I asked the women there, “Hey, what does it mean when a girl says during a breakup that you’re being too dependent on each other?”
And within about five minutes, I got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven responses, which is mind-blowing.
What that tells me is that most women know exactly what it means and also they don’t tell you exactly what they mean in person when they actually say it.
I am just going to read word for word what each of the responses are to you and I want you to stop me when you notice a trend.
- Sarah says, “Well, it means he’s trying to do everything she does. He needs his own hobby and she needs her girl time.”
- Tamara says, “Well, it means they’re becoming codependent and losing their sense of self. She wants space and time for other things perhaps. Miss working on things by herself like her Trinity.”
- Kristen says, “I would say something like that if I was feeling suffocated in a relationship, like we spend too much time together, or the relationship was moving too fast for me and getting too serious.”
- KN says, “In my opinion, it might mean that they didn’t give each other enough space.”
- Isabella says, “They are codependent and he is being clingy. This is exactly what my ex-boyfriend said when I was being codependent with him.”
- Amanda says, “My guess is she needs space. She probably feels like she’s losing her identity or independence in some way. And I usually say we meaning you. I just don’t want to come off mean, so I’m trying to say it’s our issue, but really it’s his issue.”
- Zoe says, “Their lives are merging into one no time away from each other, no time to miss each other, no hobbies of their own, no girl time or no boy time.”
The trend is very clear already and I put it to the whole 4,000 members of the group, so I’m pretty sure there’ll be like 150 comments by the end of the day.
But after the first seven comments were pretty consistently on point, I don’t think we really need to dive too much deeper into what your ex-girlfriend really means when she says that you’re being too dependent on one another.
It means that she feels you are crowding her too much.
Therefore, she broke up with you. But that really doesn’t tell us what you should do, does it?
What You Should Do When Your Ex Says You’re Too Dependent
I’ve been working with a guy and he is among one of the smartest guys I’ve ever worked with. And him and I were talking about his situation with his ex-girlfriend.
And he was talking about this concept of how, when you date someone long enough, they just create this perception of you. And this perception is what eventually becomes their reality when it comes to thinking about you.
For example, your ex-girlfriend probably thinks you’re this super clingy guy. I don’t know if she thinks you’re insecure, but she thinks that you don’t really have enough swagger on your own, I guess is the way to put it.
And so I was talking with my coaching client and we were basically going through, “Okay, well, what can you do if your ex-girlfriend thinks these kinds of things about you, if you have this negative perception?”
And ultimately I told him this story, and he told me this really interesting story about exes running into each other.
He told me this really interesting story about one of his ex … Well, I don’t know if it was his ex-girlfriend, but it was this girl that he had run into suddenly. After talking with her and after she saw him for who he really was, and was able to peel back the layers, she actually made some really interesting comment.
And every once in a while, if you listen to a female long enough, they do put hints of the truth in their mischievous, little game-playing aspects of communication. And she said this to him. She said, “I thought you were really different than you actually are.”
And then I said to my client, I said I was interviewing a success story. It was a female. But what was really interesting is she told me that her ex ran into her suddenly. It was a genuine run in. It wasn’t staged or anything like that, but she was out and about. She was doing the no contact rule and things of that nature.
Her ex just suddenly runs into her and he gets to see what she’s actually been up to because when you go through this breakup, you are apart from each other and your ex will have certain thoughts about you.
She’ll think something along the lines of, “Yeah, well, he’s partying,” or, “He’s doing this,” or, “He’s doing that.”
And she said that when her ex ran into her, he literally said something along the same lines of, “Wow, I just wasn’t expecting you to be doing so well after the breakup.”
And what this is is kind of the thing I think you’re going to have to do, and that’s rebranding yourself.
How do you rebrand yourself?
Well, what you need to do is something called an accusation audit.
This is something that I’ve recently learned about.
I’ve been reading this really, really fantastic book called Never Split the Difference.
It’s by one of the FBI lead hostage negotiators. And he’s talking about what are the skill levels that work when you apply them to hostage negotiation?
And essentially I think, “Oh, this is perfect.” Your ex isn’t taking you hostage or anything like that but it’s about trying to convince someone who doesn’t want to do something to actually do what you want them to do. What actually works to do that when you’re dealing with hostages and lives are on the line?
And so he talks about this concept of labeling and this thing called an accusation audit.
The Accusation Audit
The accusation audit is basically really being honest with yourself and thinking about all the specifics things that are negative that your ex could say about you.
But I think in your case, Anonymous, which you need to do is do an accusation audit on the negative perception she has of you.
Just looking at the seven women who were the first to respond to my little Facebook group inquiry, it’s pretty clear that they think that you don’t have enough of a life on your own, that your whole identity is wrapped up into this entire relationship with your ex-girlfriend.
I think on your accusation audit, you could say something along the lines of, okay, well, she thinks that there’s nothing more to me than this relationship or she thinks that I’m too attached to this relationship.
And once you have this accusation audit, I’d say think of the 10 worst things that she could think about you.
What you want to do on social media is try to rebrand yourself and directly show that there’s more to you than meets the eye. It sounds kind of simple, but it’s not, because really the key lies in two aspects. Number one is the accusation audit where you’re literally sitting down, you’re thinking to yourself, “Okay, what ways can I think or be super harsh about myself and understand my ex’s negative perception of me?” And this also requires you to have some empathy, which is different than sympathy.
Sympathy is trying to make your ex feel better. Empathy is trying to understand her world. And that’s what you need. You need to understand things from her point-of-view.
And that’s why I went to the women to ask them these questions, “What does his ex-girlfriend mean when she says this?”
And basically, I mean, “Oh yeah, I’m feeling suffocated in the relationship. We spend too much time together. I feel like he doesn’t have any hobbies of his own.” Well, these are perfect things for you to put in your accusation audit.
You’re going to be better than me at coming up with your own accusation audit because you know what your ex-girlfriend has told you and you can kind of get the vibes from her.
But the second part of what you really need to do is try to find a way to show and don’t tell. The number one mistake I see with men is when they see their ex-girlfriends after a breakup, the first thing they try to go into is this tell mentality, “Oh, I’m so much better,” but it’s almost always more powerful for her to come to the conclusion all by herself, like, “Oh, wow, he’s different.” I mean, it’s like a positioning thing. And one of the best ways to do that is utilize social media to show all of the new hobbies you have.
And really this is the key to our program.
Our program emulates moving on. I talk about this concept of moving on without moving on all the time and really our program is designed to emulate that aspect where you’re trying to move on, or at least show that there’s more to you than meets the eye.
And I think that’s what you’re missing, Anonymous. I totally get where you’re coming from and how you want her back really badly. And a lot of times I tell my clients to do counterintuitive things, but they work. I wouldn’t advise anyone to do anything unless there was real life applications.
And if you don’t believe this accusation audit or this idea of tactical empathy or trying to understand your ex’s worldview and how important that is, I highly recommend you check out that book called Never Split the Difference by Chris Foss. Incredible book. I’ve only gotten about 25% of the way through it because I have to work during the week, but during the weekends I’ve been pouring through it and I cannot recommend this book enough.
Just with the 25%, a lot of the stuff I’m thinking is game changing.
A lot of the stuff I already recommend just naturally because I found it works in the field of breakups generally, but there’s just a lot of stuff that are new, like this accusation audit and talking to your ex from her perspective and her worldview and understanding the difference between empathy and sympathy and how most of our clients are literally focused on sympathy or making their exes feel better when that’s not what will get them back. What gets them back is understanding their point-of-view and making them feel heard.
Get Hobbies Of Your Own
And the best way, Anonymous, that you can make her feel heard right now is to get some effing hobbies of your own.
As weird as that sounds and as counterintuitive as that sounds, the consensus in just the first seven comments I got on that thing were pretty much like, “Look, she feels smothered by you. She feels like you don’t have enough hobbies of your own.” And maybe you do have hobbies of your own. But what you need to do is really go all in on showing them and show her new depths to you.
Women are just like men when it comes to relationships. They can get bored in relationships. She should always feel like there’s new layers and new depths to you. And sometimes it’s hard to create those new layers to yourself after three and a half years of being together for a really long time. But this is a good time as any to get some new layers.
That’s going to do it for this episode. If you haven’t already, I would recommend that you take a listen to the podcast episodes I’ve released so far.
And if you like what you’re hearing, please leave an honest rating or review on our iTunes page.
I would really highly appreciate that. And if you want to see the actual responses from the women in my little mock ask of them, just go to the show notes of this episode, pull up this episode, this podcast episode and I will literally put that in there. I’ll see you next time.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Ex-Girlfriend Recovery Podcast. Make sure you subscribe to us on iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. Also, don’t forget to take the free quiz to show you what kind of chance you have with your ex on our website, www.exgirlfriendrecovery.com. We’ll see you next week.