You want your ex back and you’re wondering what you can do to make it happen.

Well the truth is it’s less about what you do, and more about what your ex thinks. It doesn’t matter how much you want them back, how good of a catch you are, how perfect you would be together…if they can’t see it then it makes no difference.

You need to make them say “Okay, I need them back in my life or I won’t be happy.”

And to do that, you essentially need to teach your ex a few lessons. 

Now, I know, you’re not a teacher and your ex isn’t your student, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach your ex things through your behaviour that will affect how they think about you and your relationship.

Lessons To Teach Your Ex

Remember, pretty much everything we know, we learned from someone else along the way, even if we didn’t realize it at the time. Ideally, this process will happen at a subconscious level and slowly reshape the way your ex thinks so that they’re more open to reconnecting with you. 

Be sure to read the whole article, though, because these lessons work best together—they feed into one another to really reshape your ex’s feelings about you—and all 7 lessons are hugely important to your chances of starting over with your ex and having a long-term future together… and you need to get the timing right in order for them to be effective.

1. You’re not sitting around, waiting for them to call you– i.e. You won’t be around forever so they have to make a decision SOON

In order for your ex to come back, they need to feel a sense of urgency. And if they know that they could get you back in a second if they just asked, they won’t feel that sense of urgency.

Honestly, this is one of the single most common mistakes that I see people make.  It feels like you should be willing to wait for your ex to change their mind, right? If they need 4 more months to decide they want you back, fine.  You’re probably happy to wait and play along if it seems like it’ll increase the odds of getting back together in the long run.

This is absolutely the wrong way to think about things.  Your ex MUST not believe that you will be a backup plan in case they change their mind about breaking up.  If they think you’ll always be there, eager to agree the second they suggest getting back together, you’ve already given up control of the situation to your ex and further damaged their perception of you.

Because no one wants to be someone’s second choice, right? But you’re showing them that you’re willing to be that option for them. This makes it seem like you have no other options and you lack confidence in your ability to attract someone new. 

You don’t want to come across this way. Instead, your ex MUST learn that you’re quickly going to move on with life unless they make a complete 180 on their decision to break up.  They can’t feel like you will probably still be single and willing to take them back months down the road.  They need to feel like you’re quickly slipping away from them, and won’t be single for long.

Teaching this lesson to your ex is actually pretty easy.  First, you need to commit to a period of No Contact as soon as possible.  Basically you need to make sure you cut yourself out of your ex’s life as much as possible and as quickly as possible after breaking up. Don’t hang around and try to stay friends or be their shoulder to cry on. This just shows them that you’re available and that you’re not moving on. 

Secondly, you need to get out of the house, go on dates with new people, hang out with friends, join a club or pick up a hobby, take on new responsibilities or projects at work or school… just occupy your time with productive, interesting, or enjoyable things. Really grab life by the horns here.

Don’t leave yourself any time during your day to think about your ex… instead, live your life.  Be social.  Trust me, if you do this properly, your ex is going to take notice…. And they’ll learn the lesson.

They’ll feel a sense of urgency, and feel a loss of control over the situation that they didn’t expect when they initially decided to break up.

2. You’re an amazing catch that other people will be fighting over.

Yes, that’s right, you need to show your ex that YOU are a highly sought after person that anyone of the opposite sex would be lucky to go on a date with.

See, in most relationships, things start off on a high note.  When you first started dating, your ex couldn’t wait to see you again or hear your voice… they felt a rush of excitement just thinking about you.

In their eyes, you were amazing… you were the person they fantasize about and wanted to spend every waking moment with.

Over time, those feelings faded.  Your ex had time to start seeing your flaws and imperfections, and maybe the relationship ended with a lot of arguing and drama that further damaged your ex’s perception of you.

So now, it’s time to teach your ex that they were wrong to focus on your flaws and faults… it’s time to teach them to let go of the negative memories and feelings that they were focused on during the final days of your relationship.

You need to change how they feel about you and your potential future together.  

The best way to do this is, again, to simply live your life to the fullest in the first few weeks and months after breaking up.

Do the opposite of what your ex had come to expect from you.  Break out of your comfort zone and become much more social. Make new friends, reconnect with old friends, pick up new hobbies, and achieve your goals in life.

Of course, this works better if your ex knows what you’re up to. Unfortunately, you can’t just come out and tell them that you’re living your best life, for a few reasons. First, you don’t want to break No Contact because this will hurt your chances with your ex.

Second, if your ex can tell that you’re doing these things for their benefit, it’s going to come across as desperate.

They’ll see that they’re still dominating your thoughts and so you’re not really over them at all. Essentially, you’re showing them that you’re still obsessed with them–a huge turnoff.

So to avoid this problem, you need to find another way to get this information back to your ex. I recommend either mutual friends, or through social media. Remember to be subtle here. You need your ex to think that you’re not thinking about them at all…you’re simply moving on. 

Remember, your ex expects the opposite from you — in fact, they expect you to continue being the same flawed person they broke up with.

By making positive changes to your life, working harder than ever to achieve your goals, and living a fun, interesting social life… your ex is going to wonder whether they had actually misjudged you.

They’ll begin to worry that maybe you WERE still that person they first fell in love with back in the early days of your time together.

If you can, it’s also extremely helpful to teach your ex that you’re a hot commodity by going on a few dates with new people.

Even if it’s just for fun, jump on Tinder and some dating sites and go on a couple of dates.  Even hanging out with friends of the opposite sex can be enough to teach your ex that there’s plenty of people who would love to be with you and take your ex’s place.  

Try to always remind yourself:  you’re an amazing person and a great catch, but your ex has lost sight of that over time… so it’s time to show them how awesome you really are, and how foolish they would be to let you walk away.  

3. You’ve learned your lesson.

This one is actually not going to be relevant for everyone, but it is an important lesson if the relationship ended because of something you did to hurt your ex.

If you cheated on your ex, lied to them, smothered them and tried to control their life, or even just generally treated them poorly… these things are obvious mistakes on your part, and your ex won’t want you back if they think you’ll do the same things again if you get back together.

Your ex needs to understand that you’ve recognized your mistakes and come to regret them.

They need to know that, if things work out and they give your relationship a second chance, you won’t make the same mistakes again.  Things will be different next time around.

Now, if you haven’t apologized in a sincere way to your ex for something really bad you did or said to your ex…. That’s the best way to start.  Make it a single, heartfelt and genuine apology that shows your regret and your understanding of what you did wrong.

For example, you could send your ex a text saying, “Listen, you don’t need to respond, but I wanted to apologize for what I did to you. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I shouldn’t have lied to you, and I’ve realized that now.  I’m really sorry for the hurt it caused you, and I’m going to make sure I never do it again.”

If it wasn’t a single mistake you made, but rather an ongoing trend or pattern of behaviour… such as being overly jealous and controlling of your ex, or smothering them and being too clingy all the time… then you don’t want to apologize, but instead you want to exhibit the complete opposite behaviour from now on.

If you were too insecure and needy, and you constantly made that your ex’s problem, it’s time to do the exact opposite now:  give your ex tons of space and don’t ask them what they’re doing, who they’re with, or what their plans are.

Act like you no longer care what they’re doing and don’t have any need to contact them anymore.

By showing them through your actions that you’ve changed the behaviour that drove them to break up, you’re clearly indicating that you’ve learned from the past and have the ability to change and avoid those same mistakes in the future should you end up getting back together.

Just know that this won’t apply to everyone, even if you made a few mistakes during the relationship and the breakup.

If you just forgot to make your ex’s lunch one time then apologizing to them is just going to make you look weak and it will bring up old drama which can remind them of the things they DON’T miss about you and the relationship. 

So only apologize if you actually did something worth apologizing for. I’m talking about something very major and clearly one-sided, that led to the breakup.

And only apologize one time. Apologizing more than once just won’t be effective and will only drive them away.

Which leads into lesson number four…

4. Their rational reasons for the breakup aren’t actually relevant or important.

Usually, when someone decides to end a relationship, they have specific reasons that they believe justify that decision.

They thought things over, and found issues that they felt were bad enough that the only solution was to end things and move on.

Well, obviously, you need to address these issues.

Your ex needs to learn that those rational ‘reasons’ that led them to decide to break up were wrong… or at least, they weren’t nearly as bad or insurmountable as they had previously thought.  

This one can be difficult to do in practice, but there are some situations where you can easily show your ex that their fears or concerns were overblown.

For example, maybe you were stagnant in your life and not ambitious enough for them. 

In that case, by making strides in your career you’ll show your ex that they were wrong about you…you are going places with or without them.

Or maybe your ex felt like you were codependent and couldn’t do anything without them…Well by showing them that you can survive on your own without their help, you’re showing them that you can be independent and strong. 

You could even say to your ex, “you know what… breaking up has actually been a big eye-opener for me, and helped me get my life out of a rut and back on track.  Hope you’re doing well too!” to get the point across.

Not all of your ex’s rational reasons for breaking up are going to be within your control.  You can’t suddenly cut off your family because you knew that your ex had a problem with the way your mother treated them.

But you could set firmer boundaries with your parents and show your ex that they won’t be a problem anymore. 

Regardless of the exact reasons your ex has in their mind for the breakup, you need to teach them — as much as possible — that those problems can be solved.

You want to give them some hope that some or all of the reasons can be worked out, or show them that things could in fact be different if they were to give your relationship another chance. 

Now, on to #5…

#5. They need you in their life

This one is simple.  You need to make your ex feel heartache and loneliness.  You want them to miss you as much as possible.

If your ex feels a strong sense of loss after breaking up — if they notice their life becomes noticeably worse with you not around anymore — the more emotions will drive them to miss you and second guess breaking up.

The only truly effective way to teach this lesson to your ex is to apply No Contact as soon as possible after the breakup.

You need to give them a “cold turkey” breakup experience to ensure they experience the full consequences of their decision to break up.

You can’t make them miss you if you continue to be part of their daily life, which is why No Contact is so important… it ensures that they have no time to slowly learn to live without you.

It forces them to suddenly experience a major change to their life, and will focus their attention on all the positive things you brought to their life they might not have appreciated before the breakup.

No Contact works, folks, and it’s the only way to truly make a breakup as painful as possible for your ex.  Teach them how much worse their life is without you in it, and they’ll be obsessed with you and the idea of getting you back.

No Contact is the key to teaching this lesson to your ex.

#6. They’re on their own without you

Now this is similar to number five but this is less about the emotions they feel and more about the tangible benefits you brought them. 

So not only are they going to miss your presence when you go No Contact, they’re going to miss the things you did for them when you were together.

If this relationship was significant, it means that you started to depend on one another for things.

So maybe you used to bring them coffee in the morning. Without you, they have to wake up alone with no coffee from here on out. That will make their life just that one little bit worse.

Or maybe you’d drive them to work in the morning. Or you’d split rent or you’d share shopping duties.

All of this stuff is going to add up to show them that you really did impact their life in a positive way. Even if these things feel very transactional and not personal, they did make your ex’s life better and without them, they feel your absence.

And the main way to teach them this lesson is to stop doing things for them. They can’t feel like you still have their back and are willing to bend over backwards to help them when things get tough.

They need to see that they’re on their own now and that that’s a huge bummer.

And finally…

#7. They miss being with you sexually. 

OK, this is another lesson that your ex really needs to learn in order for them to decide to take you back… they need to be reminded of how much fun you had in the bedroom.

They need to want you and be physically attracted to you.  You want them to understand that being with you means amazing sex.  

Teaching this lesson to your ex is pretty simple.  First, be sure to look your best any time you’re going to see your ex in person.

So just getting a nice haircut and some new clothes can work wonders but you can also lose a little weight or start hitting the gym…whatever it takes.

And show this off without being too obvious about it. Maybe post a photo of the new slimmer you or mention to your ex in passing that you have been hitting your fitness goals lately.  

Another great method is to hint at a steamy, intimate moment you shared with your ex in the past… just by bringing that memory to your ex’s mind will remind them of the amazing sexual connection you used to share.

Be careful not to be overly explicit or direct when bringing up your past sex life or dropping sexual innuendos… but, if you do this correctly, it will help your ex remember how good your sex life was and what they’re missing out on.

Lastly, you want to use any in-person encounters with your ex after the breakup to flirt and build sexual tension.

Be sure to get close to your ex when you’re together, make physical contact, and playfully tease them or drop a very subtle sexual innuendo during your conversations.  Basically, just use your charm to be seductive and crank up your flirting to force your ex to feel attracted to you sexually again.

Once they learn that they still want you physically, your ex will have yet another reason to re-consider breaking up.  

If you want to know where you stand with your ex, take my free quiz.

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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