Have you ever heard something along the lines of
“It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.”
I don’t know about you, but when I was going through my first breakup at age 13, I wrote that on the back of my school notebooks over and over again. You know how it is when you’re a teenager. You almost love living in that angsty place and cherish your suffering in a way that you never really get to do as an adult. Everything seems bigger – happiness and pain are two extremes and it’s hard to feel the shades of grey in between. But that’s what it feels like after a breakup – Someone who knew you inside and out, who felt so close to you – becomes someone you no longer recognize.
One of the things that naturally occurs after a breakup is that distance is created. Sometimes it is intentional, and sometimes it happens naturally with time. It is almost always painful. But keep in mind that distance is not always a bad thing – remember, the No Contact rule is the first thing you should be embracing after a breakup. It’s that distance that you can use it to your advantage.
Why Your Ex Girlfriend Is Acting Cold and Distant
There are numerous reasons why your ex may be pulling away from you. But really, I find that they break down into four main categories:
She Could Have Someone New
This is what a lot of people fear, so I will get it out of the way first. Yes, it’s possible that your ex is seeing someone else, or is with someone else and you have been replaced in her life. I know it sounds harsh, but if she has someone else in that spot, in her mind, she doesn’t need you in the same way. That guy is her boyfriend now. If this is the case, you can use this to your advantage by using the Being There method. Show her that you are irreplaceable.
She Could Be Protecting You
My ex was guilty of this after our breakup, and really, it is a testament to what a great guy he was and still is. My ex continued to love me after we broke up, we just weren’t compatible anymore. But he knew he was hurting me. He had changed the terms of the relationship, so he couldn’t go on acting as though things were normal. That would be taking advantage of the power that he held as the one who ended things. So instead, he began to distance himself from me. Your ex, if she is a good person, may do the same. Take heart if this is the reason, she deeply respects about you, and cares about you on some level – which is a great place to start.
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She Could Be Protecting Herself
Truth be told, my ex was protecting himself as much as he was protecting me. We had been together for so long, he had to start getting used to a life without me. He knew I would not be able to remain his friend, and so he had to wean himself off of me, in a sense. He started pulling away and getting distant, but it was because it hurt him to be close to me almost as much as it hurt me. Your ex may be trying to adjust to her new, single life. She may still care about you, but for whatever reason, ended things and needs to create space for herself. Give it to her.
She Is A Stone Cold Bitch And Just Doesn’t Care
Really, this is the worst situation if you ask me. Unfortunately, I have seen some exes, both men and women, who fall into this category. It’s as if a switch flipped and they become a different person, seemingly indifferent to the fact that they tore your heart out of your chest and smashed it to smithereens. Then just disappear – poof – distance. But if she was really able to let go of you that easily, consider that you may have dodged a bullet.
What Can You Do About It
Short of asking questions like,
“Why is my ex being so cold and distant?”
You came here looking for answers, right? I mean, you aren’t just looking for me to explain the situation you’re in to you. You want something you can do about it.
So, let’s talk about the different areas of the Ex Girlfriend Recovery Program that you can focus on what will make it most effective for you.
If you’ve read any of my articles on Ex Girlfriend Recovery or Ex Boyfriend Recovery, you know that I will always rely on two things: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference, and the benefits of the No Contact rule.
You’ve read it over and over again and every one of you tries to find ways to get around it, but No Contact is an absolutely essential part of the process. I know it may be hard to not reach out to your ex girlfriend for that long, but I promise it will be worth it. Remember, this article is about distance and how to use it to your advantage to get your ex girlfriend back.
No Contact is important for two reasons: First, it helps your ex to miss you. If she breaks up with you and you are still in her life, it doesn’t give her time to live life without you. In fact, it probably annoys her. The best thing you can do is to absolutely disappear from her life overnight. What better way to win her back than to force her to live a life without you.
Secondly, No Contact is important for YOU. Your self confidence probably suffered a blow because of this breakup. It is important for you to learn to be happy with yourself again, and to put yourself and your needs first. Trust me, your ex girlfriend is way more likely to come running back if she sees all the cool things you’re doing without her, rather than acting like a lovesick puppy who won’t leave her alone.
In season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy is recovering from her breakup/the loss of Angel. Because of drama that ensued in the previous season finale of the show, she is required to see the school counselor. She initially is annoyed by this requirement, but is surprised when Mr. Platt seems to understand her in a way that no one else has been able to since she returned to Sunnydale.
They discuss Angel, the events that transpired (which I will not go into here), and how they impacted and changed Buffy. Mr. Platt says to her:
“Look, lots of people lose themselves in love. It’s, it’s no shame. They write songs about it. The hitch is, you can’t stay lost. Sooner or later, you…you have to get back to yourself.”
–Mr. Platt, “Beauty and the Beasts”
This quote always struck me. It rings so true. You can’t mope forever. You have to get up and start working on self improvement. Maybe it will bring your ex back. Maybe not. But either way, you’ll be happier with yourself than you were, so I’d call it a win.
The Push/Pull Theory
Alright, so after you’ve successfully completed your No Contact period, it’s time to start interacting with your ex girlfriend again. Depending on the reasons for the breakup, she may begin becoming distant again – don’t let this freak you out.
A lot of the people that come to this site with this problem end up saying something like,
“My ex is being so cold. Should I just ask her why she’s being distant?”
And the answer is a resounding “No!”
This is part of the push/pull theory. If your ex girlfriend begins to pull away, it may be your natural impulse to push – think of two people on either side of a door. But pushing when she is pulling away will have the opposite effect.
Instead of pushing back when she pulls away, try pulling back yourself. This may result in her pushing to you, which is a perfect position to have yourself in.
This is about chasing. People like to be chased, both men and women. However, because of societal norms, the burden is often put on men to do the majority of the chasing. Mix is up – if she’s becoming distant, mirror her and force her to do some chasing.
I also call this gauging investment. You need to get a sense of how interested and invested your ex is in you, and rekindling a relationship with you. If you are the one doing the majority of the chasing, it is hard to gauge how much effort or energy should be put in. When I was trying to get my ex boyfriend back, I went an entire month refusing to initiate contact. He texted me every day. It was at that point that I knew I could have him back if I wanted him (spoiler: he did come back, but it was too late – I had moved on). Gauging how invested your ex girlfriend is in your potential relationship is extremely important. The best way to gauge this is by creating distance and seeing if she steps it up with the push/pull theory.
I often refer to the ex recovery process as a chess game – you always need to be thinking two or three steps ahead of your opponent. This involves keeping a cool head and thinking logically. Which brings me to…
This is a hot topic in the Ex Recovery Facebook Group.
I hate to say it, but there are two groups: those who master the art of emotional control, and those who don’t. The ones who do tend to get their ex’s back. The ones who don’t tend not to, and if they somehow do, they always end up breaking up again.
I think that while the types of emotions that need to be controlled between men and women differ in specifics, the overall message is the same. Sadness, neediness, anger, adoration…you need to keep it all under wraps as you are on this journey to get your ex back. You need to appear strong, and infallible. Nothing can ruffle you.
I know it may be appealing to in the moment, go off on your ex girlfriend, tell her how awful she is, or, on the other end of the spectrum, how much you love and miss her.
DO NOT GIVE IN TO THIS IMPULSE.
Gaining control of your emotions is one of the best things you can do. And it isn’t just helpful in dealing with ex’s. It is also helpful in stressful job situations, when interacting with family, or in dating in general. Keep your eye on the big picture. Do not throw away the things that are important to you for a few moments of emotional relief that will not behoove you in the long run.
Distance is Power
So as I said at the beginning of this article – I know that your ex girlfriend being distant or feeling like she’s avoiding you
is scary, and I know it produces a lot of anxious feelings. But keep in mind that your ex girlfriend is not the only one who can be distant. You can pull away and create distance as well, only in your case, you are using it as a tool to create more of that push/pull dynamic we discussed earlier.
Your power is in her not knowing exactly how you feel about her. If she knows she is capable of making you feel strong emotions, she knows that she now holds the power, and that she could get you back if she wanted to. You need to always keep her guessing. Shake things up.
Pull back, feign disinterest. Your ex girlfriend broke up with you, so it is important to gauge how invested she is in potentially rekindling your relationship.
Both parties should put in equal effort in a relationship, so make sure she is putting forth some energy into you and this process. If you are the one doing all the work, you are not giving her a chance to miss you or fight for you.
Distance is not altogether a bad thing. It is a tool that is used in all steps of the Ex Girlfriend Recovery process – from No Contact, to becoming Ungettable (ie, not always available), to implementing the push/pull theory and gauging investment. Even getting your ex back – you want to try to make it seem like it was her idea, remember? Distance may seem like a negative thing at first glance. However, after seeing this spin on some of the Ex Recovery Methods showcasing how distance can be a blessing in disguise, hopefully you feel like you’re a few chess moves ahead of your ex.
So, here is what I am prepared to do for you.
I want to know about your situation. You can fill me in below in the comments.
- Tell me what your relationship was like before the breakup
- What your breakup was like
- And what you have done since the two of you split
And I will help you get to the bottom on if you have a good, average or low chance of getting your ex back. From there, I think you can make a smart decision on how you want to approach using the distance in your favor.