“He always comes back.”
I’ve heard this line many times from women after a break-up, taking pride in the fact that the ex who left them contacted them again or even asked to get back together. They feel flattered thinking that their ex couldn’t get over them and there must be something special about the relationship that it wouldn’t just end.
Admittedly, I was one of those women.
When an ex broke up with me, I would reassure myself that they would come around again. When they did, even if it was just a missed call at a thirsty hour, I took it as a compliment. I felt like I was winning because they were thinking about me and missed me. My dumpee ego was soothed. On the other hand, if they didn’t reach out to me, I felt sad and negative about myself.
Now, after a year of therapy and intensive self-work, I’ve fortunately opened my eyes to why my thinking was misguided and found my way before it was too late.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
There’s nothing flattering about an ex coming back to you.
They contact you not because there’s something special about your relationship with each other — if it was truly that special, they wouldn’t have left in the first place.
They pop back into your life randomly because they don’t respect you or your time.
They send that text or leave that voicemail because they’re looking for an ego boost and they haven’t even bothered to delete your number yet.
They drop you walls of messages because they don’t care about doing what’s best for you and chances are high they’re manipulative.
They ask you to get them back because they don’t think your standards are high enough to find someone better than them.
They keep coming back to you NOT because you two are soulmates, but because you’re the only one who’s putting up with their shit, times and times again.
This is a reminder that your ex coming back to you is not a compliment — it’s an insult.
When you respond to them, you’re telling them that you accept their disrespectful behaviours and you have no boundaries. You hand them the power to walk in and out of your life like a revolving door without any real consequences.
If they register that you have no boundaries and they can get away with giving you less than the bare minimum, they won’t treat you better than the last time you were together — they will treat you much worse. And you will hate yourself for letting them do that to you.
What to do instead
I understand that, as a dumpee, you’re feeling rejected and vulnerable. You want to know that you matter to your ex with whom you shared intimate parts of yourself — a simple “Hey” text from them could give you the validation you need.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter why your ex contacts you.
It means nothing because their presence has no real value in your life and no place in your future. Seeing your ex’s name on your phone screen might make your heart jump for a second —that’s fine, but as soon as that second passes, you need to take back your power and get on with your life.
Remember that your relationship ended for a reason, and this reason doesn’t change just because your ex has the audacity to claim your time and attention now.
You’re only wasting your time with them — you’re worth more than being someone’s free entertainment.
Here’s a summary of what you should do after a break-up:
1. Look at the big picture
What are your facts? Your ex is not compatible with you and you have no future together.
What is your rational decision? You cut contact with them and you move on with your life.
That’s right. It doesn’t matter if they realise they’ve made a mistake and they profess their undying love for you, you’ve made up your mind — you don’t need their love. Their love isn’t enough for you.
2. Set firm boundaries
Once a relationship is over and especially if you’re seeing someone new, make it a fixed rule to consider your ex dead. Train your brain to automatically filter them out.
For example, delete and block them on social media; tune out of conversations or news about them; when they contact you, don’t even bother to tell them off. They’re entitled to exactly zero of your time.
Let them think you’re dead too — do nothing and say nothing, till the end of time.
That said, it works both ways — don’t initiate contact with your exes after break-ups. A self-respecting person would know to leave exes alone.
3. Focus on yourself and live your fabulous life
After a break-up, take time for yourself. Do the things you love and expand yourself as a person. Set goals and make vision boards.
Whenever you feel weak, look at your vision boards. Feel free to daydream about the life you’re going to have for yourself and remind yourself that this life would never be possible had you been stuck in your past relationships.
A minute you waste entertaining your ex is a minute you can never take back to prosper yourself and live your dream life.