You want your ex back, but you feel lost.

You don’t know what to say and do to make it happen.

But instead of making big moves right now, what you really need to do is slow down, analyze your choices and make sure that you’re not making any mistakes.

This is because it’s much easier to screw things up with your ex than it is to get them back. It’s really a potential minefield.

These Mistakes Will Scare Your Ex Away

Now, let’s get into the mistakes you need to avoid if you want your ex back. These mistakes are both extremely harmful and extremely common because most of them make sense on paper. I wouldn’t blame you for making these mistakes because they often seem like the right thing to do in the moment. The truth is that getting your ex back can actually be a pretty counterintuitive process but if you follow my advice you WILL maximize your chances of that second chance.

Mistake # 1. Staying in close contact

Staying in close contact with your ex is another easy mistake to make post breakup, especially if you want your ex back. You think that if you never let them go, never stop talking it out, you’ll never really lose them. But you’re actually speeding up the process.

This is because you’re helping to establish yourself as your ex in your mind. Think of it this way. Say you break up, then two days later you text your ex. They see this message and all the memories of you and the relationship come flooding back. Their heart is beating. They’re wondering “what do they want?” But then you have a normal conversation, ask about their day or whatever. Then two days later you call them again. This time they’re curious but not as curious. And you reach out a week later, and then a few days after that. Again and again.

Now imagine it’s been 30 days since the breakup. You send your ex a simple message and they feel nothing. Or worse, they feel annoyed. “What do they want?” “Why do they keep texting me about nothing?” This is not the feeling you want to inspire in your ex.

Now imagine another scenario. It’s been 30 days since your breakup and you haven’t contacted them at all. Now when you reach out to them on day 30 they’re going to be surprised and interested in what you have to say. All those memories will come flooding back.

This is because you haven’t worn out your welcome. You haven’t changed how they see you. You haven’t gone from their former flame to their annoying ex. 

There’s much more to it than that too. Contacting your ex will make them miss you less. And we haven’t even gotten into what you say when you reach out. Are you asking them for a second chance? Are you being overly nice? Are you being aggressive? This is all going to drive your ex away from you and make it much easier for them to move on and find someone new. 

So keep your contact with your ex to the essentials only. If you have to pay a shared bill. If you have to pick up the kids at school. Anything else is just going to hurt your chances. 

Mistake #2. Giving your ex gifts

If you want your ex back, you may have considered sending them flowers or a gift to show them that you’re serious and that you care about them. While this is a nice thought, it’s not going to help you get them back and will most likely drive them further away.

This is pretty counterintuitive because it’s something that helps us connect to someone romantically when we’re dating. But the key word there is “dating.” You and your ex are not together right now so sending them a gift is not sending the right message.

To your ex, it may feel like you’re trying to buy their love, instead of actually understanding their point of view about the breakup. This can be really hurtful to your ex.

The same goes for romantic letters or big, over the top romantic gestures. These seem good on paper but what you’re really doing is putting pressure on your ex. If you do anything like this, your ex is going to know immediately that you want them back. If they feel the same way then this is great, but if you’re watching this video, I’m guessing you don’t know how your ex feels or you DO know that they feel confused or downright negative towards you.

In any of these cases, there’s an almost 100% chance that your ex is going to feel that pressure to respond and they’re going to reach out to you to say “thanks for the letter but it’s over. Please leave me alone.” 

If this happens to you, it’s going to be difficult or impossible to come back from. This is why I always recommend a more subtle approach if you really want your ex back. You need to show them that you can be a good partner, not just that you know how to go shopping. 

Mistake #3 — Trying to use words rather than actions.

You can’t talk your way back into your ex’s arms, as much as you may want to.

After a breakup, most people try to reach out to their ex and talk to them about their relationship and the breakup. They don’t know that this is actually a guaranteed way to make things worse.  

They think that if they can say the right thing, they’re going to magically change their ex’s feelings and make them come running back into their arms. 

But let’s think about this for two seconds. Your ex loved you. They cared about you and were attracted to you, so much so that they decided to try to create a relationship with you. All this tells me that breaking up was not an easy decision. They had to agonize over this for weeks or even months and, at the end of the day, they decided that this was the only path forward.

So what are you going to say right after the breakup that’s going to change their mind? Odds are you’ve had multiple talks, discussions or fights about the issues in the relationship and those weren’t enough to change things.

And now that you two have broken up, that’s a huge hurdle to making this relationship work.

Not only that, but your ex is worried that they won’t be able to resist getting back together with you, so they’ve hardened their heart against you, meaning that they’re not really going to hear and consider what you say at this point. They’re simply going to be trying to put distance between themselves and you, both physically and emotionally.

This is a lot to overcome and it’s not going to be achieved through words alone. Sure, you will end up reconnecting with them via text or phone and you’re going to have to have multiple conversations to make this happen, but it’s not about CONVINCING your ex that they made the wrong choice and that you’re the one for them. At least not in so many words.

It’s more about reattracting them. Showing them that you can be the person that they want to be with, by showcasing your best qualities and actively improving yourself.

So don’t think that you’ll be able to use words alone to flip your ex’s perception of you upside down. It’s going to take serious thought, action, and–of course–time.

Mistake #4. Being their friend

Many people try to stay friends with their ex following a breakup. Whether this is a genuine attempt to maintain a friendship, a way of softening the blow of the split, or an attempt to get back together doesn’t really matter…because almost without exception it ends the same way: drama and hurt feelings.

I think most of us know that this is a bad idea but we think that we’ll be the exception. We’ll keep them close and, eventually, they’ll realize that they made a mistake in letting us slip away. They’ll see that we’re more than just friends…we’re the one. 

But this never works for a few reasons.

First off, going from partners to friends is a major downgrade in the relationship. For better or worse, most people are looking for constant progress in life and in relationships. We want the next big, exciting thing and if we don’t get it, we start to look elsewhere. Being friends with your ex isn’t new or exciting. It’s not moving forward. It’s moving backwards.

So your ex is never going to really value the friendship the way you’d like them to because it’s just not possible to be that excited about being friends with your ex. And if they don’t value the friendship, they’re not going to value you as much as they did in the relationship. And since they were already starting to sour on you to the point that you two broke up, it’s pretty clear that lowering the heat level even more here is not going to be the thing that gets you two back together. 

Secondly, you two want different things. You want them back. What they want is a little less clear but it’s pretty obvious that they don’t want you back right now, if they’re asking to be friends. They may want to make you feel better because they regret hurting you. They may want to keep you around as a backup plan to make themselves feel better about being single. This way they can have you around for support and validation as they heal the wounds of the breakup and begin dating again. They may actually want to be your friend. More likely they don’t really know why they want this and it’s probably some combination of these reasons.

In any case, you two are not on the same page here. And a relationship with two people is hard enough when you ARE on the same page. Now you’re going into it with two sets of expectations and needs so you’re practically guaranteed to clash. Or you might be able to push down your own feelings and pretend and go along with what they want, and just end up hurting yourself in the process.

And third, being friends with your ex is a very low value move. It shows your ex that you don’t value yourself. You don’t have other options and you’re willing to stick around, hoping they change their mind. Desperation is not attractive.

On top of this, you’re actually helping your ex get over you by offering them emotional support and love, albeit as a friend rather than a partner. 

Just don’t do it. 

Mistake #5 — Getting into serious discussions with your ex.

So what about when the time comes to reach out to your ex?  Is now the time to really hash it out? Talk about the breakup and everything that went wrong in hopes of coming to a reconciliation?

No. Absolutely not.  This is another very common mistake people make…. Talking with your ex about the relationship or the breakup is generally a very bad idea.  

Pretty much any kind of “serious” discussion–where you bring up old drama, go over old arguments, or discuss the things that led to your breakup–is a recipe for disaster.  This type of stuff is almost certainly a contributing factor that led to the collapse of your relationship.  How is re-hashing old disputes or re-visiting problems from the past relationship going to make your ex want to take you back?  All that does is remind your ex why they wanted out. 

What you need is for your ex to let go of those bad memories and problems that led to the breakup.  As a matter of fact, research has shown that negative memories tend to fade over time much more quickly than positive memories.  This is a natural human coping mechanism.  

This means that your period of “no contact” after the breakup can help your ex forget about the negatives and latch on to the more nostalgic and positive stuff.  Every time you talk with your ex about the relationship, or engage into any kind of bickering, drama, or mind games… you’re only digging yourself a deeper hole and making yourself look less attractive in the eyes of your ex.

So focus on the good things that you bring to the relationship. Rebuild attraction and intimacy with your ex. There will be a time to hash out past issues and that time is when you’re safely back together in a relationship. 

Dave Barker

Breakup Coach

About the Author

Dave Barker is a breakup and 'ex back' coach with over a decade of experience helping clients repair and improve romantic relationships.

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