Your relationship has ended, and it’s your fault. Maybe you cheated or lied. Whatever the screw-up, it’s time for you to come clean. No matter what happened, getting your ex back is going to take some work. It isn’t impossible, but all the striving in the world won’t necessarily get you the relationship you want.
It’s important for you to step back and figure out exactly what you’re missing. Is it your ex? Or it the lack of a relationship that’s actually bothering you? You could do everything in your power to try to get back together with your ex. But if the relationship was wrong to begin with, all you’re doing is wasting your time and your energy.
Once you have clarity on this point, and you indeed know it’s your ex that you miss, you can proceed. These six tips serve as a road map to lead you on your quest for forgiveness and hopefully land you a second chance.
- Take responsibility.
We often think that offering an apology is a sign of weakness. But really, it’s the first step toward restoring things between you to where they’re good again. Taking responsibility for your role in what went wrong will open the door and clear the path to a healthier future for the relationship.
- Be sincere.
Don’t apologize sloppily. What does that mean?
“Oh, my dearest, sweetest, wonderfullest beloved, I am the wrongest person in the world. Everything I did, I did for us, but I somehow went astray. I love you now and I always will. Please, please, please forgive me. I’m so, so, so very, very sorry.”
There are several issues with this approach. It’s pathetic, and it’s obvious that you want something. Now, you certainly want their forgiveness, but you shouldn’t make them lose all respect for you in the process!
Try something like this instead: “I want you to know that I’m truly sorry for ___” (fill in the blank with what you did). “It was the wrong thing to do, and it wasn’t fair. You deserve to be treated better than that, and I’m sorry.”
There are several reasons why this is better. First, you made it crystal-clear what you’re sorry for. You’re not groveling for every wrong in the entire relationship history, and you’re not coming across as a sappy, pathetic mess. You’re recognizing the hurt you caused, and you’re taking responsibility for it.
- Understand that they may resent you for a while.
We sometimes hope that our magic apologetic words will make our ex immediately forget about everything that happened and fly back into our arms. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Your ex may still upset with you, and may have difficulties trusting you the way they used to.
It’s never advisable to let somebody abuse you. But it’s totally up to you to decide the level of emotional backlash you’re willing to endure. Happy times may not return right away. However, don’t let anybody emotionally abuse you. Not even your beloved ex.
- Allow them the time and space they need to forgive you.
Knowing that your ex is still hurting or upset may make you feel guilty. It’s understandable that you’re longing for things between you to go back to the way they were. You just want the whole distressing process to be over, so you can go back to being happy together.
But we often want all this far too quickly. It may take your ex a long time to feel good when you’re around. You must acknowledge this when seeking forgiveness. Give them space to process their feelings. You must let them work through their hurt and anger, which may linger even after they offer their forgiveness.
- Don’t be defensive.
It’s important you remain calm and keep your head clear no matter what they toss your way. Don’t give in to the temptation to put up an emotional wall, to continue apologizing, or to offer further rationalizations for your behavior. Be patient, understand that they’re probably still upset about what’s going on, and make sure that they feel heard.
An affirmative statement such as, “I totally understand why you’re angry” is a great way to start. Let them get things out of their system, and then either gently redirect the conversation, or remove yourself from it. Revisiting the list of the 17 reasons why you acted the way you did, or apologizing again, will only stoke the emotional fire. Instead, stay focused on your goal: a return to a harmonious and trusting relationship with your ex.
Fighting and getting defensive will not help you reach that goal. This is difficult when it feels like you’re continually being attacked. But it’s important to avoid saying things you know will upset them. Keep your cool and don’t fight back.
- Stop living in the past. Focus on the present and the future.
A significant mistake people often make with their ex is to keep operating according to negative patterns from the past when they’re trying to reunite. Instead of working to remind their ex how great things were when they first got together, they rehash old experiences and revert to negative habits.
This is the wrong approach if you really want forgiveness from your ex. It reminds you of negative patterns and reinforces unhealthy behaviors. If you’re going to get back together, it’s essential to break the cycle of negativity.
Even if you follow these tips, your ex’s forgiveness is not guaranteed. You may never receive complete forgiveness from your ex. But these seven tips are steps in the right direction. They’ll at least prove that you care enough to try and work things out.