Go back to part 6 here.
Our next question is from Claire who wants to know how to handle her ex girlfriend who still cares about her but doesn’t want a relationship right now. Claire writes in and says,
“Hi Clay and Mika,
I hope you guys are doing well. My ex broke up with me about a month ago to work on herself. She has a lot of body image issues and because she felt that she had jumped into our relationship too soon after breaking up with her previous girlfriend. They had a long term relationship, but it was very toxic as her ex cheated on her several times and made her feel really insecure about her body; she stopped loving her months before she started dating me.
She said she still loves me and still sees a potential future with me, and after a month of limited contact, we ran into each other a lot because of our job. I’ve started to reach out to her again.
It’s clear that she still cares about me a lot, but also that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship.
How can I respect her need for time to herself while still laying the groundwork for a future relationship?
We have the same group of friends, so I’m worried about fading into the background of our friend group.
How can I spend time with her one on one to develop our connection without making it obvious that I still have feelings for her and wants to be with her?
Your question is how to respect her need for space and simultaneously build the groundwork for a future relationship when your ex girlfriend says that she does not want to be in a relationship right now.
Since the two of you are in the same group of friends, I do imagine that you’ll be seeing each other a lot and will be able to stay in contact with each other fairly easily. So I think that’s something that the two of you can pretty easily do, especially since you have a shared past together and were in a relationship with each other.
You probably shared intimate feelings, emotions and experiences with each other that maybe the rest of the people in your circle of friends did not get to experience.
So it makes sense that you and your ex girlfriend could be close on an emotional level.
You don’t want to try to nudge your ex girlfriend towards being in a relationship right now.
She’s a little bit skittish and hesitant about that right now.
So I wouldn’t worry about trying to define what the two of you are right now. I would simply just focus on the emotional connection.
If you really think about it, what you really want isn’t ‘a relationship,’ when the other person is dragged kicking and screaming into it.
What you probably want is an emotional connection.
You can do that without the label. When you build emotional connection, the label will follow.
But if you go for the label first, then the emotional connection isn’t necessarily going to follow.
So I would focus on the emotional connection. Focus on spending time together with her in your group of friends and maybe once in a while, just get together with her in a casual way for coffee, just catch up or whatever. Don’t try and nudge it in a romantic direction.
Like I’ve told people a lot, you don’t need to worry about your ex girlfriend being attracted to you.
You don’t need to worry about her seeing you through romantic lens or anything like that.
The two of you have already been in a relationship.
She already has that history of being attracted to you and viewing you as a potential romantic prospect.
You even said here that she said that she still loves you and she sees a potential future with you. So you know that she’s already thinking about that.
What I want you to do is I want you to just simply connect with her on an emotional level. Trust that the attraction is there and it will take care of itself when the context is right.
Instead, focus on the emotional connection so that you can have that emotional context in place for when your ex girlfriend does start to open up and think, “I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable. I might be ready to start dating somebody. I might be ready to be in a relationship again.”
Right now what you want to do is develop that emotional connection between the two of you. For the time being just interact with her in your group of friends or maybe occasionally, once in a while, just get together for something casual like catching up by saying to your ex girlfriend:
“Let’s just get together for coffee”
“I saw that this movie is playing. I know it has your favorite actor or it’s on your favorite story (or something), Let’s go see it together.”
That’s a good way to do it and keep the pressure off of trying to define what the two of you are.
Keep the pressure off of trying to make it a relationship or make it seem like the two of you are dating and just focus on connecting with your ex girlfriend on an emotional level.
I hope that helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here.
Continue to part 8 here.
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