“And you know what…”
With those four little words… POOF… you’re magically transported back in time to an argument you already had.
Us girls are like wizards when it comes to stirring up old stuff. Trust me. It’s a talent I try to keep under wraps.
Even if you never had a real fight during the entire relationship, I’m sure your heart jumped into your throat the second you saw her name in your inbox.
To be honest, I understand the reaction. Every time an ex I haven’t been in contact with for a while reaches out, I feel the exact same way and maybe even a little nauseous.
It’s completely normal to feel that way.
How you respond, though? What do you say?
I know. I know. That what you came here to find out.
Decide What You Want
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Well, before we even dive into that, you need to decide how you feel about your ex.
Alright. There is a reason you need to do this first before you add anyone else’s input. That reason boils down to making sure that the decision is completely yours.
So, take the whole situation into consideration and figure out where you stand. This is not the only thing that you will have to put some thought into.
So, get comfortable and really put some thought into this. Let go of everything that everyone else wants FOR you and figure out what you want for yourself.
Discern Where She’s Coming From
The next step is something you have to do for yourself, but it isn’t really a science. You need to discern what state of mind your ex was in when she sent you that email.
Now, I know you’ve probably been asking yourself,
“What does it mean?”
Well, that’s something I can’t answer for you and you can’t really ever know for sure. But, it’ll drive you bananas if you don’t get any clarity on it. Otherwise, it feels an awful lot like it does when you are walking through a haunted house and you are anticipating something jumping out at you. You’ll be on edge the whole time you are interacting with her.
And if you are on edge… she will be too.
And if you’ve decided that you want her back… then it won’t help you if you both are on edge.
Do you understand where I’m going with this?
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
Alright, so what calms you down? A long drive? A walk in the park? Sitting beside a lake or a beach?
Whatever it is, find your way there.
And, no, I don’t mean grabbing a pint at the pub. You need to be as clear-headed as possible and no matter how convinced you are that a few drinks “help you think,” I promise you they won’t help.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way.
Let’s dive right in…
There are some questions you have to ask specifically about her email. Ignore the colorful bars for now. I’ll explain those in a minute.
How soon after the relationship did you receive the email?
What was the fallout of your breakup like?
Knock Down Drag Out
What was the tone of her letter?
Was she “just checking to see how you are?”
Was she being argumentative?
Was she apologizing?
What does her writing style say?
Did she write quickly?
Or is she deliberate with what she is saying?
That’s it. Don’t go any further than that or you’ll drive yourself crazy with completely pointless ponderings.
Instead of picking apart each and every word like your brain is telling you to right now, these questions will help you take a step back and look at the big picture.
Don’t get hung up on phrasing and stuff like that, alright? You are not Sherlock Holmes! If you try to play detective with this then you’ll end up seeing things that aren’t there.
Let’s break it down like this.
Each of these factors weighs into how difficult or easy getting your ex back could be. So let’s look at it this way.
Now, I’ll explain the bars.
The further left you that go on each bar the more difficult getting your ex back more difficult. The further to the right you go the more likely that your ex will be for open to the idea.
Basically, the sooner she reaches out to you after the breakup, the more heightened both of your emotions will be. The less time you both will have had to make moves toward fixing the problems that were at the root of the breakup in the first place.
Raw emotions make everyone do things without thinking them through.
The same goes for how the two of you left things off when you split. If you had a big fight, then, look at what’s in the email. This leads us straight into the next one. If she seems like she’s trying to carry on the fight, then that’s a pretty good sign that it’s not the time to engage. However, if she’s apologetic or even offering up solutions, then it may be a good time to gather your thoughts and do the same for her.
Lastly, look at the WAY that she’s writing. Is it hurried, with lots and lots of spelling mistakes and repeated thoughts? That’s a clear sign that she is reacting to something, perhaps memories that triggered heightened emotions if it’s been a while. Yet, if she took her time writing it, then her thoughts will be clearly stated and concise. There won’t be typos or overly emotional statements.
How to Respond
Well, now that you have an idea of how receptive she will be when you respond, let’s talk about how you should go about it. Because after a breakup I can guarantee that she is just as concerned about interacting with you as you are. But it’s a good sign if she is reaching out. And if she’s reaching out via email when she doesn’t usually correspond that way, then you can bet reaching out was important to her.
So, what do you say?
Well, once you decide to respond, you are going to want to be as non-confrontational as possible. Chances are, she’s going to express a lot of emotions even if she’s given what she’s saying a lot of thought. So, it’s really important that you keep an eye on how you are feeling as you respond.
For example: if she brought up something that the two of you argued about that makes you angry, you have two viable options here to make this work for you rather than against you…
- Write out everything you want to say in a draft, but don’t send it. Leave the draft in your outbox and come back to it in a few days, or weeks, after you’ve cooled down and reread it. When you reread it, think of your sister or a really close friend that is a girl. If she got this email from her ex and asked you to read it, what would you tell her? Would you tell her to get back together with the person that wrote it? Or would you tell her to ditch him for good? Girl’s do that, you know. We ask our friends to read all of the texts and emails we get from guys, just in case our “in love” brains are reading into it wrong, like a second (or third or fourth opinion.) Use this way of thinking to rewrite it in a calm and thoughtful manner.
- Or you can just take some time and give it some thought and come back to it and write a response. Either way, you definitely should NOT respond right away. Give yourself some time to process everything she said in her email and respond to it calmly and rationally.
That’s the most important thing. That’s why I’m repeating it over and over and over again.
Rationality is Key.
Rationality is Key.
Rationality is Key!
If you take nothing away from this. Make sure you get that in your head and don’t forget it.
Alright, so now that we know how important it is to keep our emotions under control.
Let’s carry on, yeah?
So, what is it that you say to her exactly?
I know you are wanting to ask. Who wouldn’t?
Situation 1: Extreme Statements
These are things that are said in moments when emotions are running rampant.
“I can’t live without you.”
“I feel like I’m going to die.”
There’s a literal downside to reconnecting during moments of heightened emotions. They don’t last. Eventually, you have to come down.
You end up dealing with this roller coaster…
You want to build ALL new moments of communication during those neutral moments when rational thought outweighs the emotional ones. Think of it as positive reinforcement to be rational in the future when a situation is touchy. It’s like a safe zone for building good communication in the future.
Like this:It is just like a stop sign.
Green = Good to Go
Yellow = Be Mindful and Cautious
Red = No Go
Now, when you do find on of these “green” moments, keep your communications as concise as possible. Short, sweet and to the point is what I’ve always said to help me keep from going overboard with the anger and the mushy stuff. If it’s not a “green” moment, then my preference is to write out my response and go back a few days later to make sure I have the right tone before sending it.
Another way to remember it is the acronym BIFF, Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm.
Brief – The fewer words you put out there, the less you are likely to go off on a tangent or say something that might get misconstrued. When something she says hits a chord with you and you feel an urge to react rashly, remember what you end goal is here. Are you wanting to get her back? How do you think that snarky comment that will make you feel great right now is going to make her feel when she reads it? Do you think that will make her more or less likely to rebuild a relationship with you?
Informative – Answer and REASONABLE questions she asks with facts. This is why “green” moments are so important. If you just write the first gibberish that pops into your head after you read her email, then you are going to put entirely too much information into whatever you send her. However, if you do some well-timed editing, you can remove anything unnecessary stuff in there.
Friendly – No matter ow aggravated you get, the idea is to keep a calm and rational mind. Instead of fanning the flamed of a problem, your best bet is to assuage any negativity and, once you get on a good page or back together with your ex, address any issues you have in the relationship by finding a solution for those issues together.
Firm – When you read her email, you are going to have a lot of mixed feelings. When you answer her, you need to have a solid idea of what your endgame is. Do you want to end up getting back together? Then make sure that EVERYTHING you write points toward where you want to be.
If you are better with visual aids… here we go.
This is how beautifully effective a conversation with an ex can be when you have a FIRM and single goal in mind.
However, this is how it goes when you have multiple unclear points competing in your mind while you’re writing her back.
While interesting looking, it’s not really indicative of achieving one goal rather than just making your ex really confused about what it is you want. The blue picture about has one clear goal, getting her back. The red one that looks like a modern art piece has several intersecting points, Getting her back, getting even for past grievances, and maybe even a jab or two for the way you feel about her dad who isn’t too fond of you. Whatever your other reasons, find a way to set them aside or let them go. They will only derail you.
So, what’s more important, getting a good jab int or getting back together?
I’m not saying tell her that you want to get back together. There are very specific things I want you to focus on.Here are the things that you want to cover when you reach out:
Here are the things that you want to remember when you reach out:
- You understand how she is feeling. However, you don’t actually say this to her. Instead, you mimic her verbiage. If she say “it just bothered me so much that you kept talking to your ex.” What you would say is, “I’ve had time to think about things. I just want you to know that I understand why talking to my ex bothered you.” By mimicking her statements, you peak her interest and put a thought in her mind. That thought is “maybe we could get back together.” Guess what? She’s already thought that before. Now, she knows that you’ve thought about it too. Plant that seed and let it grow.
- Don’t lie. If you lie, then you’ll have to follow through on it, when you get her back you have to. Lying would just lead to torture for you in the future.
- Avoid negative words and contractions. Here are a few: But, Um, Not, Never, Don’t, Can’t… you get the idea. You want her to read what you say and feel good about the interaction, not like she might never want to interact with you again.
Those are just a few tips for you. Now, that I’ve given you some things to think about before you respond, go do good things, my lovelies. And feel free to ask us any questions you might have in the comments. Remember, we’re here for you!