I'm not on social media, so some things I miss when they are trending. Take the #HurtBae hashtag that went viral a couple of years ago. I just saw all of the videos recently. Whew. If you're not familiar with the backstory, there's a platform called Iris that featured a former couple—Kourtney and Leonard. The first six-minute-and-some-change video consisted of them discussing/processing the ending of their relationship (according to Leonard, he slept with so many other women while they were together that he lost count). The second five-minute-and-some-change video was about Kourtney talking about the first video going viral and how it literally changed her life overnight. The final a-little-over-seven-minutes video brought Kourtney and Leonard back together, a year later, to see where things stood (Leonard, Leonard, Leonard).
The reason why I'm intro'ing this particular topic by recommending that you check—or re-check—those videos out is for a few reasons. One reason is because it is one of the best examples of the kind of man you should never take back into your life—as a boyfriend or a friend (Leonard's pride was ridiculous; he was mad flippant and disrespectful too). Another reason is, if you're currently going through a break-up with someone, the year later follow-up is a hopeful reminder that time heals all wounds and 12 months can totally change your life for the better (hang in there). And finally, the video series is the opposite of what this article is about. Kourtney revisited why it was good to never reconcile with Leonard; this is about how to know if an ex truly wants you back.
Reconciling with an ex isn't always or automatically a bad—or stupid or pointless—thing. No two people are perfect. Sometimes break-ups happen so that both individuals can mature, evolve and come back together at a better, healthier and more purposeful time. But if that is indeed the case, there are certain things that should transpire first. So, before entertaining letting an ex back into your heart and life again, make sure that he does these following five things (at least).
He’ll Acknowledge His Faults—WITHOUT DEFLECTING
There's someone who really hurt my feelings this time last year. Last month, we met up. Kind of like Kourtney and Leonard, only without the cameras. Anyway, although he let me share how what he did affected me, not once did he apologize. It was more like, he listened and explained why he does what he does without really owning up to how supremely jacked up he can be when it comes to matters of the heart. In fact, there was a time in the convo when he said, "No one else in my life wants to have these kinds of conversations." (No one holds you accountable?) Oh, here was another gem—"Honestly, I'm here more for you than for me." Ohhh…you hurt me but rather than acknowledge what you did wrong, you want me to be thankful that you're even out here at all. #thisguy
You know, not too long ago, a friend of mine told me that their spouse never apologizes for anything and that is something that I might have to accept in order to salvage things with ole' boy. NOPE. An apology is an act of acknowledgement and humility. Someone who isn't willing to do that is someone who is setting you up to go through the same drama and trauma all over again. I'll pass.
So yeah, sis, if "he" really wants you back and he knows there are things that he did wrong (or that simply hurt you because that's not always the same thing as "doing wrong") in the first place, he's gonna bring up where he went wrong, apologize and share, without any prompting on your part, how he's going to do better in those areas. Because his love for you will be bigger than his pride (cue in Sade's "Love Is Stronger than Pride" right here).
He’ll Want to Know Your Needs. And Wants.
Clearly, if the both of you were getting your needs met (not just you, him too), things probably wouldn't have ended in the first place. But sometimes, when you're in the throes of a relationship, you're so busy trying to make it work that you're not always stopping to process if you both are bringing to the table what's required for the relationship to thrive in the first place. Sometimes a break-up lets you see if the love you had for each other really is enough to try and give things another shot.
If your ex comes to the conclusion that it is, he's already gonna know that it's an honor for him to even get a second chance. He's also going to be painfully aware of the fact that if things go south this time, there probably won't be another opportunity. For both of these reasons, he will be proactive about getting to know what you need in order to be fulfilled and happy this go around. He won't assume he knows. He won't be shocked if the time apart has revealed to you that some of your needs have changed. He'll need you, so what you need from him (within reason; check out "Are You in Love or Are You in Need?" to get what I mean by that) will be a top priority. Some of your wants—also within reason—will be as well.
He’ll Be a Better Version of the Man Who Left
There are three online dating series that I currently enjoy. One is called Can 2 Strangers Fall in Love with 36 Questions? It's a reminder to be intentional with truly getting to know someone on your first few dates with them (Russell and Kera and Azariah and Nikki are two of my favorite couples so far). Another is Eating with My Ex. In a particular episode, exes Jas and Ash ask each other (among others) four super-relevant questions: Why can't we let go? Are you always trying to win me back? Where do we go from here? Delete each other's number or get back together? (If you are considering getting back with an ex, I recommend asking these too!) Then there is the Snapchat series Second Chances.
In an episode featuring exes Rovelt and Richelle, they broke up due to flirting and poor communication issues. As they were hashing things out and trying to figure out if they could make things work, Rovelt pulled a surprise on everyone. He not only admitted the areas where he could—and should—improve but he offered Richelle a promise ring as well. He even got on one knee.
I appreciated his effort because, to me, it was a reminder that if/when an ex wants you back, he's not just going to want to be with you again; he's going to present a better version of who he was before. You'll see growth in his character, his efforts and even his perspective. You won't have to prompt any of this to happen either. He'll do it all on his own. Because he wants to. Because he wants you.
He’ll Want the Relationship to Be More than It Was Before
This one right here, while it might seem like the same point that I just made, it actually isn't. I'd venture to say that a top reason for why a lot of relationships end is because it's reached the "piss or get off the pot" portion of the program; you know, the place when one person wants to move forward while the other either wants things to remain exactly the same (see "Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time?" and "Here's How You Know He Won't Commit to You. Like, EVER."). If this is why you and your ex are no longer a couple, I don't care how much you love him, how strong the connection is or whatever other "tempting" reason you have for entertaining going another round, if he still doesn't want what you ultimately desire, what's the point in choosing to frustrate yourself all over again?
I remember Dr. Phil once saying that when he was dating his wife, Robin, there came a point when she was like, "Listen, if you're not gonna marry me, I need to get on with my life." She did just that and moved to another city. Not too long after, he went and got her back; not to be his girlfriend but to become his wife.
Some people might find what Robin did to be an ultimatum. I'm actually not big on applying those to relationships, so I don't. She didn't say, "Marry me or else". No, what she said was, "I know the kind of relationship that I desire and I'm gonna free my heart and life up in order to get it." BIG DIFFERENCE.
There really is no point in reconciling with an ex for more of what you got, that you didn't want, before. This is probably why a lot of men can break up with a woman they love and completely leave her alone; they know this. So yeah, if your ex is truly trying to get back with you and the main reason you broke up in the first place was because the relationship wasn't bad, it was simply stagnant, he's gonna come with a plan, a purpose and a future. You can take that to the bank!
He’ll Be Thorough and Consistent
Two things that are totally underestimated when it comes to both men and women is getting with someone who is thorough and consistent. To be thorough is to be extremely attentive. To be consistent is to be constant, dependable and reliable.
A lot of men like the chase, so don't be too moved by what your ex initially does in order to capture your attention. Take things slow (intimacy included) so that you can see if he's going to call when he says he will, if he's really listening to what you communicate to him, if he's avoiding the past faux pas that were made, if he's striving to make you feel safe and secure—if he's showing that getting involved with him again isn't going to be a rerun but something very fresh and new.
If this is the kind of man who shows up, while it's wise to proceed with a bit of caution, please don't close yourself off to the thought of opening up again. Especially if deep love is there, it's OK that you want to give that man a chance. Even if he is…an ex.
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