How to get your ex boyfriend back…for good! 16 crucial steps to take

happy couple
Image credit: Shutterstock - By Peter Berni

Are you asking yourself, “how can I get my ex boyfriend back?”

When you’ve just broken up with your boyfriend, it can seem like there’s a gaping hole in your life.

The world seems staler, a bit greyer than before.

Maybe he dumped you or perhaps it was you who did the dumping. Whichever it was, you need to decide what to do next.

You could mope around wondering what might have been. Or you could try and win him back.

I know which one I’d do in your shoes.

In this article, I’m going to help you figure out exactly how to get your ex boyfriend back.

However, getting him back means understanding the way men think, truly examining your relationship, and deciding whether you really are better off back together.

So, before I get into the 16 big ways for getting him back, let’s first examine why men leave relationships in the first place.

The 5 reasons men leave a relationship

You need to understand why exactly the relationship ended.

Maybe one person hurt your partner in ways you couldn’t immediately forgive, through cheating or lying.

Or maybe the two of you just drifted apart and someone eventually cut a relationship that was already half dead.

But in most cases where a relationship ends after a slow, frustrating, and confusing finish, there are certain underlying reasons why men leave or fall out of love in relationships.

Understanding those reasons will help you work out exactly how to get your ex boyfriend back.

1) Your goals were incompatible

Maybe you and your boyfriend disagreed on important things that he just couldn’t let go.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you both want kids or don’t want kids?
  • Do you both want to live in the same place in ten years?
  • Do you both have similar career plans that won’t get in the way of the relationship?
  • Do you both have similar visions of how you want your lives to pan out?

Disagreement on any of these points can be a major deal-breaker, no matter how strong your love might be.

NEW QUIZ: “Does my ex want me back?” If you still love your ex, then you’re probably asking yourself this question. I’ve put together a fun science-based quiz to help you figure it out. Take my quiz here.

2) He lost himself with you

In an ideal relationship the two of you empower each other. You make each other better versions of yourselves; you’re stronger and more complete together.

The reality is that some men lose their sense of self or identity in a relationship.

Men value their alone time and their man caves, and they need space away from the relationship to be with themselves.

When they feel that their partner is taking over too much of their lives, their spaces, and their overall sense of self, they can start to feel extremely uncomfortable. The result? They emotionally withdraw from you.

Here are some signs that this might be the case:

  • You’ve fought about “changing or fixing” him
  • He doesn’t always want to introduce you to his hobbies or his friends
  • He has called you out for nagging him
  • He is shy to show certain parts of himself to you
  • You find it difficult to get him to open to you

For men, finding a partner who respects whatever boundaries they have is the most important part of finding a long-term partner.

3) You didn’t know what he wanted from a relationship

You broke up for a reason.

So, if you want to get your ex-boyfriend back, then you need to figure out what went wrong in the relationship. And fix any issues that lay at your feet.

One helpful thing to do is to really think about what drives men in relationships. What does he actually want from you?

I’ve recently come across a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology that explains so much about men — the hero instinct.

According to the hero instinct, men have a built in desire for something “greater” that goes beyond love or sex. It’s why men who seemingly have the “perfect girlfriend” are still unhappy and find themselves constantly searching for something else — or worst of all, someone else.

Simply put, men have a biological drive to step up for the woman they care about and earn her respect in return.

Male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood. Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.

So, when the hero instinct isn’t triggered, men are unlikely to be satisfied in a relationship.

How do you trigger this instinct in him? And give him the sense of meaning and purpose her craves?

In this excellent free video, relationship expert James Bauer outlines several things you can do. He reveals phrases, texts and little requests that you can use right now to trigger this very natural male instinct.

The hero instinct is the best-kept secret in relationship psychology and the few women who understand it have an almost unfair advantage in love.

Here’s a link to the video again.

4) The relationship has become an emotional burden

In a healthy relationship, both partners feel equal and happy in the relationship, and there is emotional weight involved.

Both partners have their own happiness and their own lives, and together they make each other’s situations better and more alive.

The real situation can be that your man feels he needs to give too much emotionally to you. Whether accurate or not, he feels that it has become his job to ensure your happiness.

Here are some things you may have done to make him feel this way:

  • You believe that he owed you certain things just because you’re in a relationship
  • You want him to know what you want without telling him because you believe that a good boyfriend should be able to understand you better
  • You’ve emotionally punished him when he didn’t perform the way you wanted him to perform, making him beg for your love or forgiveness
  • You created an environment where he dreads you at times because he can’t predict if you’re going to be difficult or easy on a certain day.

We all want love, both men and women.

However, when the love in the relationship becomes outweighed by the responsibility to carry another person’s happiness, it slowly drains the value of the relationship until it makes more sense to leave it.

5) The physical attraction disappeared

It’s natural for men and women to let themselves go in a relationship. We don’t work on our physical appearance like we used to.

And it’s not just about being physically attractive; we’re also attracted to partners who take care of themselves and respect their bodies and health.

Losing physical attraction in a relationship can be difficult to deal with because the love might still be there, but part of what supports the love is gone.

NEW QUIZ: To help you work out whether your ex wants you back, I’ve created a brand new quiz. I’m going to tell it to you straight based on your own situation. Check out my quiz here.

The 16 ways to get your ex-boyfriend back

1. Take a breath

Let’s start with a word about pacing this.

If you’re still feeling raw from a break-up, the first thing you need to do is be really honest with yourself about whether you genuinely want him back at all.

Sometimes, wanting to push the reset button is a response to the shock of a break-up or a sudden sense of loneliness. We’re very good at looking back fondly on a relationship that might not have seemed all that great when we were actually in it.

Those things about him that used to annoy you? Yep, they’ll still annoy you in the future. The times when you didn’t have anything to say to one another? That’ll happen again.

My point is this.

If he really is the right guy for you then fight tooth and nail to get him back. If you are just thinking, “well, I suppose he’s marginally better than no boyfriend at all”, then move on.

Taking the time to really think about what you want and why you want it. Give yourself a set amount of time — a week or a month. Then come back to it.

You might be surprised that, even after a short space of time, he doesn’t look like quite the prospect you currently think he is.

2. Give him space (but be smart about it)

When we’ve broken up with someone, it’s usual to feel an almost overwhelming desire to reach out and contact them.

Perhaps you’re not talking to him but you believe that if you can speak to him, explain how you feel and what you want, then he will rush back to you.

Life is rarely that straightforward.

All you’ll really be doing is putting him in a position where he can reject you again and hurt you again. Men like to feel desired but they also like to be in control. If he starts to see you as too desperate, or too needy, then he’ll run the other way.

It may seem like your ex is just going to move on once they have some space. This is a risk you have to be comfortable taking.

I know giving them space seems hard and counterintuitive, but leaving him alone is one of the best ways of actually getting him back into your life.

However, you have to do it in a very specific way. You don’t want to simply cut off all communication. You have to talk to your ex’s subconscious and make it seem like you really and truly don’t want to talk to them right now.

Try sending them this “No Communication” text.

“You’re right. It’s best that we don’t talk right now, but I would like to be friends eventually.”

Why I like it is that you’re communicating with them that you don’t need to talk anymore. In essence, you’re saying that you don’t really need them to play any role in your life going forward.

Why is this so good?

You induce a “fear of loss” in your ex which will trigger their attraction for you again.

I learned about this text from Brad Browning, hands down my favorite relationship expert.

In this free video, he’ll show you exactly what you can do to make your ex want you again.

No matter what your situation is — or how badly you’ve messed up since the two of you broke up — he’ll give you a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately.

Click here to watch his free video. If you really want your ex back, this video will help you do this.

3. Focus on the right thing

The danger is that all of your focus will be on winning your ex boyfriend back. That you see that as your main aim and go all out to achieve that.

You need to think bigger.

Your main aim should be having a long and loving relationship with one another.

While getting back together is a necessary first step towards that, it’s not a means to an end. Never forget that.

This is not just about ‘winning’, at least not in that narrow sense. A real win will be a real lasting relationship going forward.

4. Become a positive influence in his life

Regardless of how clean the break up was, your now ex boyfriend is likely associating you with negative emotions.

By focusing on building your friendship and just providing him with company, he’ll start associating you with more positive experiences.

That’s not to say that you have to be a yes-woman. Becoming a positive influence in his life means staying respectful of his boundaries and supportive of his interests and his career.

He needs to know that you’re willing to move past the fights and arguments you had when you were together.

When he thinks about you, he should be looking forward to spending time with you instead of dreading some looming argument or fight.

5. Men want what they can’t get

This is, sadly, absolutely true. And you need to use this fact to get him back into your life.

Every barrier you put in the way of him reaching you becomes a challenge that he can’t resist. And by keeping your distance you are increasing your value in his eyes.

This isn’t simply about disappearing though. Moving to an old log cabin in Alaska makes you unavailable, but probably won’t rekindle your relationship. He needs to be able to admire you from afar.

Luckily, Facebook and Instagram can do that job for you.

You don’t have to flaunt yourself or post pictures of you draped around other guys. It’s more about living your life. Looking strong, confident, and happy.

If he thinks you’re fine without him, you’ll become even more attractive in his eyes.

Being ‘ungettable is the number one way you’ll get him to chase you rather than the other way around. There’s no challenge in winning a girl who’s desperate to be won.

Men like a mission; a task that challenges them. If you limit his access to you, it can turn ‘you wanting him back’ to ‘him moving mountains in order to get you back’.

If you can pull that switch, my work here is done.

6. Want advice specific to your situation?

While this article explores the main ways to get your ex-boyfriend back, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.

With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences…

Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like getting back together with an ex. They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.

How do I know?

Well, I reached out to them a few months ago when I was going through a tough patch in my own relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

In just a few minutes, you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

Click here to get started.

7. Be his friend

Do you really want to get your ex boyfriend back?

Then approach the relationship as if you were starting from square one.

You need to understand how to genuinely be there for him without expecting anything in return, no matter how much you miss him.

And if you didn’t end on the best of terms, chances are he’ll be reluctant to act as if nothing ever changed.

Being friendly with him and keeping things strictly platonic is a good way to kick start your interactions.

Whenever you’re feeling the itch to tell him how you feel or act romantic, just remember that this is you trying to win him back.

Spending some time with him without any romantic motives will help you build a neutral relationship — one that’s built on friendship instead of romance.

Building a solid foundation as friends might actually help your case and allow him to see you in a different light, which could help your case in getting him back.

8. Don’t badmouth him

Yes, I know that it’s tempting, but don’t do it.

Once words are said, even in confidence, they have a habit of taking on a life of their own. Those words usually get out there. He’s heard what you said about him from a friend of a friend.

Obviously, we all need to vent sometimes, but try to keep the focus of those conversations on your own hurt. Don’t go twisting the knife, or try to win sympathy for your side of the story.

If you really want to win back your ex, then being indiscreet about him to your friends is a diabolical starting point.

NEW QUIZ: “Does my ex want me back?” We all ask this question at least once after a break up. I’ve put together a fun science-based quiz to help you figure it out. Take my quiz here.

9. Write your thoughts down

I’m not suggesting you write a romance novel, but there’s real value in having a way to capture and structure your thoughts.

It provides a way to think out loud without breaking confidences. And it allows you to think clearly and to keep track of where you are.

This isn’t about him — so no need to spend your time drawing hearts and practicing your new signature with his surname. It’s about you.

Think about what you want from life and what a happy future would look like. Romance might be part of that, but I’m guessing it won’t be all of it.

There are lots of proven benefits to keeping a journal, but for you the main reasons are giving you the space for self-reflection and also to help you heal after a break-up.

When you write something down, you make it graspable. It becomes something that you are able to engage with and think about in a different way, rather than just having lots of random thoughts pinging about in your brain.

10. Spend time with other guys

You don’t have to date them. Or sleep with them. You should, however, spend time with other guys and let your ex-boyfriend see that.

This might spark jealousy in your ex’s system and he or she may end up wanting your attention back for themselves.

Jealousy is powerful; use it to your advantage. But use it wisely.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try this “Jealousy” text

“I think it was a great idea that we decided to start dating other people. I do just want to be friends right now!”

By saying this, you’re telling your ex that you’re actually dating other people right now… which will in turn make them jealous.

This is a good thing.

You’re communicating to your ex that you’re actually wanted by others. We’re all attracted to people wanted by others. By saying that you’re dating around already, you’re pretty much saying that “it’s your loss!”

After sending this text they’ll begin to feel attraction for you again because of the “fear of loss” I mentioned earlier.

This was another text I learned from Brad Browning, hands down my favorite “get your ex back” online coach.

In latest online video (which happens to be free), gives a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately to get your ex back.

Click here to watch the video.

11. Don’t try too hard

It’s one of life’s quirks that often things happen when you’re looking the other way.

One of the best ways to get your ex boyfriend back starts with you not being focused on whether you get him back or not.

This is partly about him craving someone who has got things together and is living a full and happy life. More than that though, it’s about you being the person you want to be. He doesn’t want a lonely ex-girlfriend sitting at home all day.

Live your life. Go out. Be with your friends. Do it because that is what you want to do — not just because he will see it on Instagram and come running back to you.

Hopefully he does. But if he doesn’t, you’re still living a life that works best for you.

12. Keep it casual

If you get a text from your ex boyfriend suggesting you meet up for a chat, don’t book a fancy restaurant.

Meet for a coffee instead. Jeans and a t-shirt are the order of the day here.

You can’t go from 0 to 100 miles an hour instantly. If you do get back with him, treat it as you would a new relationship. Take the time to get to know each other again. Have proper dates. Take it one step at a time.

Men can sense desperation and there’s nothing more likely to send him running for the hills.

13. Drop the drama

Get led by your head not your heart. Being too emotionally driven in this situation is not your friend.

Letting him know that you miss him every hour, or that you can’t live without him, won’t get him back.

You can’t guilt a guy into getting back with you. He won’t do it because it feels like ‘the right thing to do’.

What he really wants, whether he knows it or not, is a strong woman who can live a perfectly good life without him. You need to show that side of you.

14. Make him look to the future

The problem isn’t that your ex won’t love you again — your past relationship has shown how strong his feelings can be.

If you’ve tried to get back with your ex but failed, perhaps the real problem is a closed mind. He’s already decided not to give you a second chance.

That’s the emotional wall you need to climb over.

The key is getting him to think of the future, rather than dwelling on the past and the baggage associated with it.

15. Clear the air

If you get to the point where you think you’re getting back together, then take the chance to create a solid foundation to build your new relationship on.

This means you shouldn’t leave any issues festering away ready to rear their heads as soon as there is a bump in the road.

Have an honest, clear, and sober conversation before you get together. Make sure you both understand the issues that drove you apart in the first place. And that you are both committed to working with each other to make sure they don’t happen again.

This is a conversation about detail, but also about values. How will you treat each other? Will you both always be honest about things that are bothering you?

If there are things that either of you needs to apologize for, then now is the time to do it too.

Setting out some of the ground-rules at this stage may feel a little bit painful, but your relationship will be much better for it.

16. Getting back together is only the start

If you do get back with your ex boyfriend, this isn’t game over. Like I said at the start, if you become too focused on just winning that battle, you could easily lose sight of what it was that you wanted in the first place.

This should be about finding a long-term partner to spend a significant part of your life with, not proving him or other people wrong.

Treat the relationship as you would a new one. Spend time getting to know one another again, build up the level of trust you need for the relationship to work properly.

The issues that led to you separating are unlikely to have gone away. Be open and honest with each other and put the work in that is needed to make this relationship into one that works for the both of you.

In conclusion: what’s your plan to get him back?

There you have it. 16 ways you can win your ex boyfriend back.

If you really do want to get back with him right now, then you need a plan of attack that will work.

Forget the naysayers who warn you never to get back with your ex. Or those who say your only option is to move on with your life.

The simple truth is that getting back with your ex can work.

If you want some help doing it, then relationship expert Brad Browning is the guy I always recommend.

Brad has one goal: to help you win back an ex.

Watch his excellent introduction video here.

The crux of what he does is this: getting your ex to say “I made a huge mistake.”

Brad Browning claims that over 90% of all relationships can be salvaged, and while that may sound unreasonably high, I tend to think he’s on the money. I’ve been in contact with too many Hack Spirit readers who are happily back with their ex to be a skeptic.

Here’s a link to Brad’s free video again.

If you want an almost foolproof plan to actually get your ex back, then Brad will give you one.

FREE eBook: 4 Steps to Starting Over With An Ex

Do you want to get back with your ex?

Then you need to check out our FREE eBook, The Ex Back Handbook.

We have one goal in mind with this book: to help you win back an ex (for good!).

If you want a foolproof plan to reverse your break up, you’re going to love this guide.

Check it out here.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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