Today, I want to talk about something that’s very important, especially for folks who want to get back together with their ex.
This is about the five stages that your ex goes through when getting back together with you.
There are a spectrum of emotions that keep your ex from wanting to get back together with you.
As your ex shifts from not wanting to get back together with you at all to eventually opening up to the idea and then wanting to get back together with you, they’re going to go through a certain emotional process.
If you are aware of what’s coming, you’ll know where your ex is in this process and exactly how to respond when you hit some of these obstacles and behaviors that will eventually come up in many cases.
Before we get into this, I really need to explain a simple concept and that concept is called emotional reactance.
Most people don’t know the word reactance.
It’s the resistance people have to interacting with, wanting to be near or wanting to talk to somebody.
Often we get these this feeling of emotional reactance when it comes to door to door salesmen or people who are trying to get us to donate money to a charity or some sort of organization that we don’t particularly resonate with, right?
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with these activities, it’s just that we know that the other person has a hidden agenda.
That hidden agenda might be selling more vacuum cleaners, raising thousands of dollars for some cause or trying to get back together with your ex.
If your ex is resistant toward getting back together or even talking, texting or interacting with you, there’s a high chance your ex has some degree of emotional reactance toward you.
We can measure your exe’s emotional reactance toward you on a scale.
It’s not a “real” scale, it’s not like there’s an actual machine we can use to scale your ex so we can say their reactance is at 86%.
We can’t do that.
But, it helps to conceptually think about your exe’s emotional reactance toward you as a scale from 0 to 100.
Now, if your ex has zero reactance whatsoever, they have pretty much no resistance towards wanting to get back together with you.
Basically, if you just ask your ex, “Hey, do you want to get back together?”
They would probably say, “Yeah, I want to get back together with you.” right?
But, I imagine that’s probably not the case if you’re reading this.
If your ex has 100% emotional reactance toward you, this means they absolutely don’t want anything to do with you.
If you call your ex, they will not answer the phone.
If you text your ex, they will not text you back.
If you texted your ex 10 times in a row, they might respond with “stop texting me” or something like that, right?
That is a very, very high level of reactance.
There’s a big ocean in between 25%, 50%, 75%, and all of the numbers in between, right?
At certain points in this process of moving from 100 to 0, you will experience different responses from your ex.
It’s also important to know that not everybody is going to start interacting with their ex at 100% emotional reactance.
If you went through a pretty amicable, pretty friendly break up with your ex, your ex’s reactance to you might only be maybe 50% to start with.
Then, maybe it gets lower and lower and lower as you start to move through the five stages of getting back together.
But… if you do the wrong things that you shouldn’t do when you’re trying to get back together with your ex such as begging, pleading, promising up and down that you’ve changed, grand romantic gestures, and writing love poems, you’re only going to increase your ex’s emotional reactance toward you.
If they were at say, 50% to start with, that 50% might start to turn into 60%, 70%, 80%.
If you’re not careful, your exe’s emotional reactance toward you could go to 90% or 100%.
So you have to understand that how you bring yourself to the interaction and how you relate to your ex is either going to increase or decrease their reactance toward being with you.
Keep this in mind because if you want their reactance to be low, to be zero so you can get back together again— then the choices that you make and the things that you do or don’t do are going to be very important.
Now that you understand that, let’s go ahead and get into the five stages of getting back together.
Let’s just say that you had a very, very bad breakup with your ex and their reactance level has gone right up to 100%, either because of the breakup or because of some mistakes that you made directly after the breakup like begging and pleading to get back together.
Somehow their reactance level toward interacting with you is very high, it’s 100%.
In this first stage of getting back together, the reactance is probably going to be somewhere between 80 and 100%.
1. The Wall of Reactance.
When your ex is at the Wall of Reactance, your exe’s reactance is very high towards you and their willingness to interact with you is very low.
This stage is when you text them and they don’t text you back.
You call your ex and they don’t answer the phone.
You leave them a voice message and they don’t respond, right?
Your ex is walling you out.
What’s happening here is that your ex has a very high level of reactance towards you.
When you contact them, interact with them or reach out to them, they don’t want to interact with you.
They’ve been pushed too far and they’re walling you out.
That’s why it’s called the Wall of Reactance.
Emotional reactance can be lowered by two main things.
The first is time.
If you give somebody time, their emotions might settle down a little bit and they might be more willing and open to talk to you again.
However, time is not really something that we can really control, which is why we often look instead to the second thing that can decrease reactance which is the way you’re approaching your ex.
Oftentimes, people will say something like,
“I called my ex but they didn’t respond to me. What do I do?”
“What exactly did you text your ex?”
“What did you say to your ex?”
What you say to your ex and how you say it is very important.
There are things you could do or say that drive your ex away, make your ex not want to respond to you and increase their reactance.
There are things that you can say that are going to decrease their reactance and make it more likely that they will respond to you, right?
For example, texting your ex something like:
“Hey, I want you to text me back, you jerk!”
Is going to make them think, “I’m not going to respond to that. That person wasn’t very nice.”
That’s not going to get a response and it’s going to possibly even increase their reactance.
However, texting your ex something along the lines of:
“Hey, I was thinking about you today and I know it’s been a while but I was wondering, did you do anything to celebrate that that special thing that you said was coming up?”
Something like this might be a little bit more understanding, softer, more empathetic and it might decrease their reactance and encourage them to want to respond to you.
The way that you bring yourself to the interaction, how you contact your ex and interact with them can increase or decrease their reactance.
When it comes to the Wall of Reactance stage, you just have to start to chipping away at that wall through empathizing, understanding, and compassionate messages, conversations and gestures like the one I just gave you.
This is where your Advanced Relational Skills really come into play.
You have to be able to see the world from your ex’s point of view and empathize with where your ex might be at.
You have to be aware of what your ex’s emotional state is and be able to respond and align yourself to it in a way that’s congruent.
Of course, you absolutely have to have composure and integrity when it comes to how you bring yourself to your interactions.
You don’t have to posture or pretend to be impenetrable, way cool or more unaffected by your ex than you really are.
You don’t have to collapse and go with the flow by essentially saying:
“Yeah, whatever you want. I’m totally cool with that. You make the choices, you set the tone, you take the lead. I’m down for whatever.”
Instead, you should act completely honest, forthright and true about what’s important to you.
2. The Test Drive Stage.
If your ex’s reactance is in a range of say, 60 to 80%, they are at the Test Drive stage.
When your ex is in the Test Drive stage of getting back together, you can contact them and they will probably contact you back, right?
You can text them and they’ll probably text you back.
You can call them and they’ll probably return your call or they might text you back instead because it’s easier or whatever, right?
At this stage of getting back together your ex WILL respond to you.
However, their responses are going to be shorter. It’s going to be maybe a one-word response or a very blunt, not very emotionally invested response.
You might get responses from your ex like:
“I’m doing good.”
“Today is nice. Thanks for asking.”
“It was OK.”
Your ex will respond to you with simple things like that. It’s really hard to sink yourself into their emotional state and have an engaging conversation when you’re having conversations like:
“How are you?”
“How was your day?”
“It was OK.”
“What was the event like?”
“It was fine.”
There’s not really a whole lot of dialog going on there.
At this point, you want to show your ex that it’s absolutely safe and OK to interact with you.
They’re not going to feel a hidden agenda because you’re going to be more focused on the connection rather than your goal, intended outcome, or hidden agenda of getting back together.
You really want to be more connection-focused than relationship-focused because you probably want the connection more than you want the relationship.
You want to get back together with your ex because you think that getting back together is going to give you all kinds of connection and love, and bonding.
You probably don’t want to get back together JUST for the sake of getting back together and saying, “I am in a relationship.” Check the box, move on to the next thing, right?
You probably don’t want that.
You want to get back together because you think it’s going to bring passion, love and all of the wonderful things that come with having a great relationship.
If that’s the case, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you should go for the relationship.
Instead, go for what’s most important which is your connection, right?
That’s how we do it with dating.
You don’t go on a first date and say, “So, are we boyfriend and girlfriend yet?”
You don’t do that.
You take the time and say to people you date,
“Hey, what are you like?”
“Here’s what I’m like.”
“What are you into?”
“Here’s what I’m into.”
You actually have a conversation. You see if there’s a connection there.
That’s how you want to go about it when it comes to your ex.
So you’re at this stage, the Test Drive Stage of getting back together where your ex has 60 to 80% reactance toward interacting with you. Your ex is responding but they’re not giving you much to go on.
Here’s the part where you want to shift down from the surface level communication like,
“How are you doing?”
“Did you see the thing on TV?”
“Is the guy from work still bugging you?”
All that stuff, right?
You shift down from surface level communication to emotional communication by using the conversational and Advanced Relational Skills I teach inside my course, the Ex Solutions Program.
Once you shift your conversations to the emotional level and have real, substantial, emotional interactions, they will feel that the emotional connection between you is still there.
Your ex will understand they can actually talk to you and it’s not going to be about you begging and pleading to get back together with them.
It’s not about you trying to make some sort of case or argument for giving the relationship a second shot or anything like that.
It’s just going to be the two of you hanging out.
You’re just connecting with each other and bonding like maybe you did on your first or your second date.
…back when you were first falling in love.
As this happens, your ex is going to start to relax a little bit around you.
They’re going to start to think, “maybe I didn’t have to be so resistant to talking to them. Maybe I can just open up and be myself”
Their reactance is going to start to decrease a little bit more.
That’s going to bring you to the third stage of getting back together called Riding the Dragon.
3. Riding The Dragon.
This stage of getting back together happens when your exe’s reactance toward you is between 40 and 60%.
Between 40 and 60% is a special number. That number is 50%.
At 50%, your ex’s negative emotional state towards you is at 50%.
And… their positive emotional state towards you— which is what you’re building through good, positive interactions– is at 50%.
When this happens, these two forces are balanced. They’re in equilibrium, right?
So it’s like a teeter-totter or a balanced scales where it’s teetering back and forth.
One thing on one side or the other could be enough to shift the balance.
The reason why this is important to know is because when you’re at this stage of getting back together– Riding the Dragon– you’re going to get a lot of hot and cold behavior from your ex.
You’re likely going to get a lot of mixed messages and mixed signals from your ex.
This probably isn’t because your ex is toying with you, unless they’re an evil person. In which case, do you really want to get back together with them?
They’re probably doing this because they’re actually genuinely confused themselves.
Keep in mind this gauge of their emotional reactance towards you is their emotional compass.
It’s telling them and driving them and compelling them to act and behave in certain ways.
If they’re right near that 50% mark, they’re going to be very confused. They’re not going to know if they want to move towards you or away from you. It could be anything that will to shift your ex one way or another.
It could be the way you did or didn’t phrase your text message.
It could be something that you said or didn’t say.
It could be things that are completely out of your control entirely.
Maybe they weren’t even with you and they were out with a friend who said,
“I never really did like your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.”
“I always liked your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.”
…Or something like that.
That can suddenly change your ex’s opinion in a tiny amount that makes them shift a little bit more.
When you’re Riding the Dragon, you will get hot and cold behavior from your ex. You will get stuff like,
“Hey, I’m sorry. I think we might be able to get back together in the future.”
“Maybe I just need a little bit more time to think about it. I just don’t know yet.”
Anything along those lines, right?
You’re getting substantial and meaningful responses from your ex. Sometimes they seem really warm toward you.
Then, maybe the next day or shortly after, they pull back and they say,
“Hey, I’m sorry. I don’t want to get your hopes up. I think we should just be friends.”
“I think breaking up was a good idea. Maybe we really should date other people.”
The day after that they might say,
“I’m sorry. I didn’t really mean that. Please let’s go on another date. I’ll be extra nice. Maybe we’ll even get a little intimate later on.”
There’s this back and forth that happens when you’re at this Riding the Dragon stage of getting back together.
The important thing at this point is NOT to get pulled into your ex’s emotional confusion.
If you get pulled in to their emotional confusion, it’s going to tie you in knots as you’re trying to figure it out as you’re hanging on every word your ex says.
Don’t get pulled into that. Just understand that they are confused and stay focused on what you want.
Stay focused on having a high-quality emotional connection with your ex.
As long as you continue to beat down their reactance and build up their positive emotions towards you, you’re going to eventually get to the fourth stage.
4. The Crisis Point Stage.
Often people get very excited about being at the Crisis Point stage even though it’s not very exciting to be at— although it can be exciting but maybe not in a good way.
It’s called the Crisis Point because, at this point, your exe’s reactance toward you is down to 20 to 40%.
The majority of them likes you emotionally. There’s a very little bit of that emotional resistance left.
At this point, your ex knows that they have very strong positive feelings for you and they are unable to deny that any longer.
They can’t veil their feelings for you with confusion.
It becomes very clear to them.
However, they don’t feel ready to make the jump into being in an official relationship with you again.
They’re not emotionally ready.
Maybe they still have hang-ups or concerns.
Maybe there are some external things going on in their life that are keeping them from making a decision.
Maybe they’re in a rebound relationship with somebody new, right?
They don’t want to break up with that new person until they’re really sure.
After all, they broke up with you and then ended up in this relationship with somebody else.
How silly would it seem if they broke up with that second person and got back together with you and that didn’t work either?
Then they’re on a third breakup?
Then they are lost and everyone around them is like, “oh, that’s the person that’s just always breaking up. They’re in one relationship this week and they’re out the next week.”
Your ex doesn’t want to think of themselves as that way so they want to make sure that this is the right choice.
They’re holding off and pushing back as they’re approaching this crisis where they have to make a decision.
Are they getting back together with you or not?
Are they going to create space in their life to explore what’s possible with you or not?
As your ex gets closer and closer to this crisis, they might start to do things like actively discourage you even though they really like the connection they have with you.
Your ex might say things like,
“You’re too good for me.”
And other things along those lines. That’s what it means when your ex says these things at The Crisis Point stage of getting back together.
Your exe’s thought process is like, “I’m trying to take the pressure off of myself to make this decision because if you just didn’t want to get back together, then I wouldn’t have to make this decision and I wouldn’t be at this difficult point where I have tell my friends and family that we’re getting back together.”
After they finally worked up the courage to tell them that you broke up and then spent the past month or two trash talking about you, right?
I don’t want to have to go back to them and kind of say “Well, yeah, so you know my ex that we all agreed was a jerk, well, yeah, we’re getting back together again,” right? That’s a little bit embarrassing.
Your ex does not want to make this choice to get back together with you unless they’re absolutely sure.
So, in order to take the pressure off themselves from actually having to make this choice, they want you to make the choice for them.
They’re trying to get you to disqualify yourself by saying to you,
“We should date other people.”
“You should really date other people.”
Part of them is hoping that you’ll say no. But the other part of them is hoping that you will say,
“All right. Maybe we should date other people.”
It’s kind of a test.
They’re saying, “Well, if you really did believe you are too good for me, then we wouldn’t be in this situation and I wouldn’t have to make this hard choice.”
That’s the Crisis Point stage.
ONLY at the Crisis Point stage, not earlier, you can draw a line in the sand and tell your ex:
“No. I don’t want to date other people. I’m into you and I want to be with you. So I’m not going to date other people.”
“I don’t think you’re too good for me. I think you are the right person for me. Besides (with a knowing mischievous grin), I can be a little bit bad too.”
Again, you ONLY want to do this at the Crisis Point.
If you do it earlier or prematurely very bad things will happen. Don’t do it beforehand.
Please, DON’T say that to your ex before you reach The Crisis Point.
Not back at Wall of Reactance. Not at Test Drive. Not at Riding the Dragon.
If you remember anything, don’t do this before The Crisis Point stage.
What this does is keep the pressure on your ex.
It’s going to force them to confront what they actually want which is to continue to develop this strong connection with you.
It’s going to help put more trust and faith in what the two of you have so they know if they can break up with their rebound.
They will know they can finally move back in with you.
They know that if they tell all their friends and family that you’re getting back together and rearrange their life that it’s not going to be a mistake.
If you can get past the Crisis Point stage, you’ll be at the last stage, the fifth stage, this is called the New Beginnings.
5. The New Beginnings Stage.
This is where your ex’s reactance is from zero to 20%.
Your ex may still have a few hesitations and concerns about getting back together with you. Those are the last little bits of reactance.
They might wonder what’s going to be different about things between you this time, right?
They enjoy interacting with you and this is fun, but your ex might worry that you did end up in a breakup last time.
What’s going to be different? How are you going to keep yourselves from ending up in that same dynamic, right?
At this point, you can actually talk about getting back together with your ex and directly address how you can make the relationship work in the long run.
Because their reactance is lower, your ex is much more open to talking about getting back together and making your relationship work.
They’re much more emotionally open, ready and excited about getting back together with you.
They can talk about how the two of you are actually going to have a successful relationship together.
- What are you going to need to do to make it work?
- Are you going to be able to spend more time connecting with one another?
- Are you going to prioritize your relationship more?
- Are you going to not work so much?
- Are you not going to be so influenced by your friends?
- Are you going to keep your word more?
I don’t know exactly what your ex might be concerned about, but this is where you can talk about it.
At this point, this is also where you can reduce the last little bit of reactance and have your ex feel comfortable and completely excited and completely ready to get back together with you.
That’s the fifth stage of getting back together, New Beginnings.
These have been the five stages of getting back together with your ex.
Wall of Reactance, Test Drive, Riding the Dragon, Crisis Point, and New Beginnings.
Along the way, the most important thing is to focus on the quality of emotional connection and interactions you have with your ex.
Your emotional connection is more important than who is texting who.
It’s more important than who is initiating contact with whom.
It’s more important than whether or not your ex is in a rebound relationship.
It’s more important than whether your ex is upset or not.
Emotional connection and quality interactions are more important than anything else.
I literally say this all the time and I mean it.
Your exe’s emotional connection with you is the most important thing in successfully getting back together with them.
If you want your ex to want to get back together with you, emotional connection is the most important thing.
I do not say that lightly.
I mean this 100%.
You do not need to focus on text messages.
You do not need to focus on social media activity.
You do not need to focus on how your ex is in a rebound relationship.
You do not need to focus on your ex wanting to be “just friends.”
You do not need to focus on any of that.
As long as you focus on the quality of emotional connection between the two of you, everything else will take care of itself.
I hope this has been helpful for you.
To find out exactly what to do no matter what stage of getting back together you’re in, join me inside The Ex Solution Course.
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