When you’ve shared a special connection with someone, it’s hard to let it go.
Especially when you know there’s still a lot of potential if he would just open his heart again.
You could build a beautiful life together.
If that’s something you want, then it’s only natural you would try to convince him that he should give the relationship another shot. After all, convincing him feels like the right thing to do.
Why would you not try to reason with him? Why wouldn’t you try to show him he’s making a mistake by pulling away?
Yet this is one of those times in life when our instincts lead us awry. Because convincing your ex never works. Fortunately, I know something that does.
Here’s the thing, triggering feelings will always trump logical argument.
Why? Because emotions run the show. We humans are not as rational as we’d like to believe. That’s true of all forms of decision-making, but especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
(By the way, If you’d like laser-targeted advice about getting your ex to talk to you again, check out my Relationship Rewrite Method here).
Emotion. It’s your best shot at winning him back.
I care about all my clients. But I have to be honest, sometimes a client’s story tugs at my heart and it gets personal for me. That was the case with Leah, a mother of five, the oldest of whom was born when she and the father were both seventeen, just high school sweethearts.
I’ll admit there was a judgmental part of me that thought Leah and Joel had been incredibly irresponsible to start having children while they were still children themselves. But I soon forgot all about that as I learned of the beautiful family they had created together. These two clearly belonged together.
And it was difficult to watch this beautiful family be torn apart by a short series of missteps and what I’ll call “almost-infidelity.” First by one, and then (in reaction) by the other.
Leah sought out my professional services first. Joel had moved out three months earlier. I could tell we had our work cut out for us.
Joel joined us a few sessions later. He was complacent with me and defiant with Leah. He had his mind made up. The hurt was just too great. But he claimed it was because Leah was “crazy.”
Leah, on the other hand, was not ready to let go of what they shared. She was going to fight for their love.
She had fire in her eyes every time she spoke directly to Joel in our sessions, demanding that he stop living the life of a bachelor, pursuing other women while her life began to look more and more like that of a single mother, just struggling to get by.
And this is where things get complicated for me. It was hard for me to maintain professional objectivity. You see, I wanted to convince Joel as well. I wanted to jump in with Leah and fight for this little family to survive.
Fortunately, I knew better.
So I privately began to teach Leah the techniques I’m going to share with you today. Let me show you the difference between convincing your ex versus triggering the right kind of feelings.
The easiest way for me to illustrate the difference between convincing your ex and triggering feelings is to offer you a simple list of do’s and don’ts. So let’s get right to it.
Don’t Do This:
- Don’t argue that he owes you an explanation since you know he still has feelings for you.
- Don’t tell him the relationship was going just fine and then try to get him to own his share of the blame for why things began to fall apart.
- Don’t imply he owes you something after all you’ve been through together.
- Don’t tell him real relationships take work and he needs to grow up.
- Don’t try to prove you shared something special by forcing him to acknowledge specific examples from your past.
All that telling, convincing, and arguing will get you nowhere. In fact, it will simply reinforce the painful emotions that are driving him away from you in the first place.
Why? Because his brain will automatically come up with counter arguments.
For example, if you tell him things were great in the past, he will immediately test the truth of that assertion by scanning his memories for contradictory evidence. He’ll think of the fights, the frustrations, and other low points.
He’ll mention those problems. And this will reinforce your efforts to convince. You’ll end up showing him your worst side. Angry. Desperate. And if that goes on too long, you’ll become bitter, resentful, and maybe even sarcastic.
You know it’s true. This is how we all react when something matters to us deeply but the other person refuses to be convinced. This is not what I want for you to show him. Don’t try to convince.
Instead, let his emotions do the work for you.
I’ll explain each of these briefly after listing the techniques.
- Build a private line of communication.
- Use private flirting but not broadcast flirting.
- Be vulnerable about struggles interfering with your goals.
- Throw rocks at his enemies.
- Make time your servant.
Build a Private Line of Communication
Here your goal is simple. Completely eliminate any communication via channels where others can observe his responses to you. Then ensure you have at least one private method for communicating with him directly. Text messaging is the most common method for achieving this.
Why not communicate on social media channels like Facebook? Because privacy releases him from the human compulsion to remain consistent. We don’t like to appear inconsistent. Psychologists call this “the consistency bias.” Once we have publicly committed to something (like a breakup) we feel foolish showing any sign that we are wavering or may have even made the wrong decision.
So your job is to completely remove that threat by eliminating any communication in public settings.
Don’t talk to him in front of the kids. Don’t talk to him in front of your friends or his friends. Don’t ask him to meet you in a public place for coffee and a chat.
He won’t even notice you’re not communicating with him publicly. Without realizing why, he’ll feel more open to exploring where things could go with you.
Just send him a pleasant message once every four or five days. Something you knew he would find interesting, funny, or exciting. Nothing about your relationship. No convincing.
Only send the kinds of messages that gradually condition him to expect that pleasurable little rush of dopamine you get when you open your favorite email newsletter or text messages from a friend who is good at making you laugh.
Don’t demand any kind of response. Just keep the doors of communication open.
Use Private Flirting but Not Broadcast Flirting
I wrote an entire article on this one powerful concept. I encourage you to read it in its entirety here.
For now, I’ll just share this simple explanation.
Broadcast flirting is on display for everyone to see.
When a woman uses broadcast flirting, everyone around can see what she’s up to.
For example, it’s broadcast flirting when Debbie laughs at all Daniel’s jokes at the office party and purposefully compliments him in front of others. Exclusive flirting is different.
Think of it like an exclusive club. There are only two people in the club, and the two people share something exclusive.
This is another reason your private line of communication is a must. You need an avenue to bring up insiders-only stuff like an inside joke or a reference to a funny moment only the two of you would remember.
Any message like that evokes the right kinds of emotion. It evokes the emotions that naturally arise from feeling part of something special. No convincing is needed.
Be Vulnerable about Struggles and Goals
Once your private line of communication is up and running, it’s time to step things up a notch.
Many brilliant people have talked about the power of vulnerability, including Brené Brown who has recently popularized the concept while helping us all to understand its true power. But I have a more specific purpose in mind for you.
If you are honest about goals you care about, and the struggles that block your way, it naturally triggers his hero instinct. It increases the chances that he’ll want to come to your rescue in big or small ways.
And for men, being someone’s hero is romantic in ways that are hard for women to understand. It tugs at an ancient instinct all of us men share.
Throw Rocks at His Enemies
It sounds cruel, but I mean it metaphorically. We all want someone to have our back. We all crave validation more than we are willing to admit.
And guess what? Your private line of communication is the perfect opportunity for him to complain about anyone or anything that’s getting in his way.
When it comes to your ex, this is an ideal opportunity to put “the respect principle” to work.
The respect principle is the main topic of the downloadable relationship course that first made me famous as a relationship coach. Thousands of women have taken my course and used the respect principle to bring out the best in their man.
Simply put, men confuse the emotional sensations they get from love and respect. And if forced to choose, they would rather feel respected than loved.
So when the frustrated text arrives, recognize it as the golden opportunity it is. Because we will do anything for someone who validates our frustration and takes our side when we are feeling insecure.
Give him the impression that you hold him in high esteem relative to other men. He’ll love you for it even if he’s not ready to admit it.
Make Time Your Servant
Waiting is hard. Especially when you fear his heart may be taken by another woman at any minute.
But feeling pressured to fix things fast is one of the worst culprits when it comes to my clients pushing men into a corner and inadvertently triggering his instinct to fight or flee.
Don’t let time pressure be a master. Instead, make time your servant. Make it work for you.
The key to accomplishing that is to recognize that time is on your side. He’s already pulled away from you. That’s done. Now you need time on your side because it works day and night to gradually break down the emotional walls he has built up against the idea of getting back together with you.
Give a man and a woman enough time together, and something’s bound to spark romantic feelings eventually. Give it enough time, and your private line of communication will eventually present you with an opportunity to see each other again face-to-face.
When that opportunity arises to spend time in person, here’s what you’re going to do. Make long, deep eye contact. Less talking, more silence.
Silence carries great power between lovers. It speaks louder than words and often evokes emotion in ways that bypass the barriers of words.
Plus, sustaining eye contact while thinking loving thoughts toward him will cause your pupils to dilate. Humans subconsciously notice this small change and it triggers reciprocal feelings of attraction.
So use periods of long, sustained eye contact. Make him wonder what you are thinking. Let his imagination do the work.
While you’re at it, it helps to wear something new and different. It helps to differentiate the woman from his past and the woman standing in front of him now. If you have the opportunity, show up in something he’s never seen you wear before.
I understand your situation is unique. Some of my suggestions may not apply. Despite that, I hope you will find opportunities to use this understanding of the difference between convincing and evoking the right feelings in the man you love.
To your happy future,