How to make an ex regret breaking up with you

Megan Holstein

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“The people that truly love us in life don’t fight for us to remain a doormat for others.”― Shannon L. Alder

So you want to know how to make your ex regret breaking up with you. You want them back, maybe. Or you just want them to feel the weight of what they’ve done. Doesn’t matter, as long as you can get them to see what a mistake they made.

But you can’t. You can’t make an ex regret breaking up.

See, we can’t make anyone feel anything. You can’t make your ex regret breaking up with you any more than you could make them fall for you in the first place.

Sometimes exes regret breaking up. You probably have friends with exes who regretted the breakup, and you can find countless stories online of people who were together, then broke up, then got back together to live happily ever after. But you can’t force it to happen. Either it does or it doesn’t.

When people regret breakups, it’s not because their ex cleverly made them regret it somehow. It’s usually because they see their ex being their wonderful authentic self without them and think “Oh my God, what have I done?” No one is more attractive than someone who is fully and authentically themselves.

You can’t fake your authentic self as part of a tactic to get an ex to regret leaving you. Either you’re being authentic for you, or you are not.

If you try, you’ll fail. Anything you do with the intention of making an ex regret breaking up with you is not something you do for yourself, it’s something you do for your ex. It will come off as unconfident, desperate, and maybe even sad. Your ex will only be more glad they left you.

And you know what? They’re right to think that. If someone only improves themselves or their life because I dumped them, I don’t want to be with them. I want to be someone who improves their life for themselves, not to impress an ex. People who try to impress romantic partners often give up the effort after a few months anyway, so it doesn’t even work.

Trying to make someone regret leaving you is a paradoxical trap.

There are a lot of people on the internet trying to tell you it is very possible to make an ex regret breaking up with you. But if you actually watch or read them, they all say the same things:

  1. First off, respect that they broke up with you and leave them alone for as long as they want. Nothing will make them less attracted to you than desperately texting them six times an hour.
  2. Use the intervening time to think about the relationship. Reflect on why it ended and what you may have done to contribute to that end. Use this time alone as a valuable space to learn and grow.
  3. Decide if you want to reapproach. After this time spent learning and growing, you will likely discover you don’t want to be with them anymore in the first place.
  4. If you decide to reapproach, act like you’re getting to know them the first time. The past is the past. If you get back together, it will be a new relationship, so treat it as one.

This advice is the opposite of what people are looking for when they want to get back together with an ex. It’s slow, it’s painful, it involves a lot of personal work, and it usually doesn’t result in the reunion the dumped are looking for.

You shouldn’t even want your ex to regret the breakup.

The number one thing you should look for in a partner is to look for someone who loves you for who you are. One of the most important things romantic partners do for us is to show us our worth when we are at our lowest, to help hold us up even when we cannot hold ourselves up.

Someone who just broke up with you has said, in no unclear terms, that they will not do this for you.

This ex of yours may have many wonderful qualities. They may be one of the best people you’ve ever met. But they’ve made it clear to you that they will not support you in this way, so they are not the partner for you.

Furthermore, cyclical relationships tend to end poorly. Kansas State University researcher Amber Vennum ran a study on cyclical couples — couples who break up and get back together, as opposed to couples who have never broken up — and found couples in cyclical relationships tended to be less satisfied with their partner, had worse communication, made more decisions that negatively affected the relationship, had lower self-esteem, and higher uncertainty about the future together.

“The idea is that because people aren’t making explicit commitments to the relationship, they are less likely to engage in pro-relationship behaviors, such as discussing the state of the relationship or making sacrifices for their partner,” Vennum said. “The thought is that, ‘I’m not committed to you, why would I work very hard for you?’”

If you get back together with your ex, you are more likely to start a cyclical pattern, ending in a dissatisfying relationship.

To say nothing of getting married. In The Impact of Premarital Cycling on Early Marriage, Vennum explains “results demonstrated cyclical couples (compared to noncyclical couples) exhibited worse adjustment on a variety of relationship indicators at the entrance to marriage and were more likely to experience a trial separation over the first 5 years.” In other words, most people who get back together with their ex and get married do not end up happier.

Let your ex go. You don’t want them anyway.

What You Should Do Instead of Focusing on Your Ex

Reflect on your ended relationship. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • How did you contribute to its end?
  • Were you a bad partner during the course of the relationship?
  • Did you make a bad choice, picking someone with whom things were doomed to end anyway?

There are a lot of circumstances where we pick the wrong person and things are doomed to end. Someone who wants children very much picks someone who doesn’t want kids. Someone who wants to travel their entire life picks someone who loves staying home. Much of the pain of heartbreak can be avoided if we pick people who want the same things out of life as us.

Sometimes we pick people who aren’t emotionally ready. Maybe this person would be a great partner in a few years, but right now, they aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle a relationship. A relationship with someone in that position is doomed to end as well.

Then there’s how we behave in relationships. People with toxic patterns can take a positive relationship and burn it up in flames, causing the other person to leave.

What you should do instead of focusing on your ex is consider how you may have picked the wrong person or contributed to the relationship turning sour. Learn from what you’ve done so you don’t repeat your mistakes.

Learning from your mistakes is far more important than what some ex may or may not think of you, because they don’t matter. You do.

“Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake & help us see we are worth so much more than we’re settling for.”― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

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Self-help writer with 3M+ views on Medium and Quora. Covering personal growth, relationship skills, and career growth.

Columbus, OH
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