After a breakup, it almost seems like you can’t live without your ex. You’d do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get them back, right? You’d be willing to look like an idiot, hurt your own feelings and even potentially mess up your life to make it happen.

While I admire your drive, it actually doesn’t matter how much you want them back. In fact, the more you want them back, the harder it can make the process. It’s not your level of motivation but HOW you go about winning back your ex that is going to determine your success here.

And the first thing you need to do to make this happen is to stop chasing your ex. Chasing your ex is DESTRUCTIVE to your chances of reconnecting with them and building a better relationship that actually lasts.

But don’t be afraid if you’ve already gone down this path. It can often feel like you can’t help yourself but there are ways to break this cycle and reconnect with your ex on more equal footing.

Why You’re Chasing Your Ex

First, we need to talk about WHY you’re chasing after your ex. I’m sure that right now you feel lost and alone. You just want the pain to be over and you think that the best way to make that happen is to reconnect with your ex, figure out what went wrong, and reconcile.

You think the more time that goes by, the less chance you have with them. That’s what’s driving you to do some pretty crazy things like calling them repeatedly, blowing up their phone with texts and maybe even showing up to surprise them at their home or at work.

I’m here to tell you that you’ve already made some serious mistakes here, based on bad assumptions, and if you don’t pull back right now, you just might lose your ex FOREVER.

First off, let’s talk about your first assumption: that the best way for you to feel better right now is to win back your ex. I think that this is actually dead wrong. I’m not saying this shouldn’t be your goal in the long term. I think there are plenty of relationships that can be rebuilt stronger than ever and lead to many years of happiness for both parties.

But, in this moment, trying to reconcile with your ex is only going to cause you MORE pain and heartbreak. And, in reality, removing your bad feelings is not a good reason to get back together with your ex and if you go into it with this mindset, you’re going to end up right back where you started whether it’s in another few days or weeks.

Give Your Ex Some Space

Right now, what you need, and what your ex needs, is time and space. Whatever went down between you two was significant enough to cause this breakup and you both need to sit with that knowledge and process what happened. I know it’s painful, but unless you get to the root of what really went wrong in the relationship, you won’t have a path forward with your ex. 

This time apart is not only for your own mental well being, it’s necessary to make your ex realize that they made a mistake, and it’s essential to getting that second chance. And remember that this time apart is not forever, though it may feel that way.

I always recommend the No Contact Method. It’s not complicated. It just means that you spend 30 days after the breakup, completely cut off from your ex. No phone calls, no text messages, no in person meetups. Nothing. You don’t need to ignore them completely but don’t get dragged into a conversation and don’t let them use you as a shoulder to cry on in hopes that it will lead to something more. It won’t.

Essentially it works by guaranteeing the two of you time apart. This time apart has a few functions. First, it allows you to process the negative feelings that are associated with the breakup. I’m sure if you two met up right now it could easily turn into a shouting match where you’d say things that you regret, and drive the wedge even deeper. After thirty days, some of the negativity that you’ve been stuck in will fade from your ex’s mind and he or she will be much more open to talking to you in a calm, constructive manner.

In fact, studies have shown that negative memories actually fade from our memories faster than positive ones. That means that your ex will forget–or at least stop focusing on–the bad stuff that happened during the breakup and just remember how happy you made them.

Second, it makes your ex worry about losing you. This time apart will hammer home the idea that they really WILL have to live without you. If you’re always showing up and reaching out to you, they won’t have time to miss you or really notice your absence.

In order to maximize this feeling of loss, try to spend some time dating new people. I know, dating other people is the furthest thing from your mind right now, but it really can help you in the long run. It will give you an added confidence boost, seeing that you do have other options, and it will make your ex jealous and upset which will help your chances BIG TIME.

I know, it’s hard to actively make choices that you know may hurt your ex. After all, you care about this person. But this is the kind of wakeup call that will make the difference between staying single and reconnecting with your ex for good. And it’s not like you’re doing anything truly cruel to your ex. Essentially, since they decided to break up, you’re giving them exactly what they asked for. They can’t begrudge you moving on after being dumped.

Third, No Contact allows you time to work on yourself. Self improvement is the best way to spend your No Contact period.

Because, without your ex, you’re going to have more time on your hands. You can either spend that time wallowing in sadness, and end up ten pounds heavier, full of regret, and cut off from the world–or you can spend it making small but meaningful changes in your life that will not only make you feel better, but will show your ex that you’re someone who is working towards goals and making the most of their life.

This will create a powerful contrast to the puddle of tears they left you in when they decided to end things 30 days ago. And, whatever happens next, this will have been time well spent because it will show you that you don’t need them to be happy after all. If you can understand this, you’ll see your own value and when the time comes to reconnect, you’ll be way more confident and in control. 

And finally, A No Contact period subverts your ex’s expectations. Instead of chasing after them like they expect you to, you’re taking the initiative to move on with your life, improve yourself and disconnect from them completely. This sends a powerful message that they’re not the “winner” and you’re not the “loser” in the breakup. They won’t have you begging for forgiveness or trying to change their mind. They’ll have to live with their decision and watch as you live your best life, without them.

So if you can’t contact your ex, how are you supposed to know your chances with them? You’re in luck. Head on over to right now to take a free quiz. It just takes a few minutes, it’s totally confidential, and it gives you a personalized report that lays out exactly how likely it is that you can have a second chance with your ex. This quiz was created to help those in your exact situation and it’s helped thousands of people around the world. That’s

Let’s talk about the question I’m always asked about No Contact: What if they forget about me? What if this time apart causes them to realize that they made the right choice and allows them to move on?

In my experience, it’s extremely rare that your ex will “forget” about you in 30 days. In fact, it’s around the thirty day mark that they will begin to miss you more than ever because that’s when it dawns on them that they may really have lost you forever. Coinciding with that, it takes about 30 days for their negative feelings surrounding the breakup to fade away so that when you do contact them, they’ll be much more open to talking with you. 

And while this time apart will allow them to process the breakup, this is actually a good thing. It’s not going to mean that they’re going to suddenly realize how much they DIDN’T like you. It’s almost always the opposite. When someone handles a breakup gracefully, it makes the dumper go, “Wow, they’re handling this so well. Maybe I was wrong about them. Maybe I made a mistake.” And letting them really sit with that feeling will be KEY to winning their heart again.

Why Chasing Your Ex Doesn’t Work

So we’ve talked about why No Contact works. Now let’s talk about why chasing your ex doesn’t work. This applies to chasing your ex in any way, whether you’re demanding an explanation, begging them to take you back, or just staying present in their life in hopes that they’ll realize the mistake they made. It’s all bad news and here’s why:

Chasing your ex sends them the wrong message. I know that the message you’re trying to send is this: I want you back, I think we can make this work if we give it another try, and I’m the perfect person for you.

But the message you’re actually sending is quite different. By chasing after your ex AFTER being dumped you’re telling them that you lack confidence in your own desirability. You’re telling them that THEY’RE the desirable one and that you’re LOST without them.

Think about it this way. Have you ever turned someone down romantically? And has that person ever stuck around, refusing to take no for an answer, pathetically trying to get your attention and make you change your mind? This never works because it only makes you feel more desirable and it makes them look more desperate and low status. That’s exactly what you’re doing to your ex right now.

And by chasing your ex you’re also telling them that you don’t respect their feelings or their boundaries. Breaking up with someone is never easy. It took a lot of reflection for them to come to this decision and it required a lot of courage for them to go through with it. Because, at the end of the day, they do still care about you a lot. They even still love you on some level. You can’t just turn that off like a light switch.

So breaking up with you was really hard and you need to respect that. If you refuse to accept that decision and keep on hanging around, trying to change their mind, you send the message that you think your wants and needs outweigh theirs.

And if you don’t respect their decision, it’s pretty easy to see that you don’t respect them as an individual who has made a choice. This isn’t romantic or charming, it’s hurtful and it WILL hurt their opinion of you.

Not only that, but chasing your ex actually has the effect of strengthening their resolve. The more you reach out to them and try to get their attention at this point, the more they’ll pull away. This is just human psychology. They’re trying to protect themselves because they know that they do love and care about you so if they let their guard down, you just might be able to change their mind.

Knowing this, every move you make in their direction, they’re going to put up boundaries and walls to try to keep you away. If you break through these barriers, by stalking them, showing up to their house, or otherwise pestering them, you’re only going to make them feel scared and unsafe, which is NOT what you’re going for.

So at the end of the day, if you want your ex back, you need to stop chasing them right now. I know it may be difficult. It may feel like you’re going against every fiber of your being, but you need to trust me that No Contact is the best way forward.

I’ve helped many, many people get the second chance that you’re looking for, and it’s always through planning, restraint, and moving slowly. It’s never through texting them a two thousand word message about your feelings.

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.

View Articles