Want to Win Back “The One That Got Away”?
You idiot. What did you do to screw this one up? OK, calm down and take a few deep breaths. This isn’t the end of the world. Losing the one you love aka the One That Got Away™ may seem like it’s the end of the world, but I can assure you that it’s not. While the feelings circling through your stomach, heart, and brain are currently at their most uncomfortable state, there is plenty to do to win back the one you lost. All it takes is a little bit of sticktoitiveness and a slight suspension in self-respect … but just for a little bit. If Brad Pitt’s recent encounter with Jennifer Aniston at the SAG awards is any indication, that spark you two once had can potentially be reignited.
RELATED: Post-Breakup Rules
Here you’ll find everything you need to do get back the one that got away.
1. Apologize Profusely … If It’s Your Fault
What happened? Look, let’s straighten out the facts before they blow up in your face. If either one of you did something completely morally reprehensible, then you should truly consider if it’s worth getting back together. Some couples can get through something like infidelity, but some couples can’t. You two will know in your heart if there’s an issue you can get through, but if you broke up over a silly who-said-what quarrel, then apologize like your life depends on it. Make sure it’s something you actually feel sorry about, though, as this will be the basis of your new relationship.
2. Make an Effort to Change Yourself
Nobody should have the ability to make you act the opposite way you intended. If you hate oranges — and I mean truly hate them — you can’t be expected to suddenly love oranges with the coos of someone you love. That being said, there are some qualities that cannot (and should not) be changed. On the other hand, there are some qualities that absolutely can stand to be tweaked. If your untidiness and interest in hoarding old bottles drove her wild, consider changing your act. In the end, do you want to be on your deathbed with the one you love or surrounded by your hobbies and foibles for all to see? Forget the Coke bottles, damn it.
3. Be The Cusack
There are so many good movies out there in which star-crossed lovers have to defy the odds to be with one another — a lot of those movies feature John Cusack. In one of his most memorable roles in Say Anything, he plays Lloyd Dobler who holds a goddamn boom box over his head (blasting Peter Gabriel of all people) to get the love of his life back. Guess what: it eventually works. While not everyone likes Peter Gabriel and even fewer people have access to a boom box, doing that one huge romantic gesture is something she won’t be used to. Maybe it’s surprising her with a dozen roses, or chocolate, or a new puppy covered in roses, showing you’ll go the distance for her will almost definitely help break through that icy layer of anger. BE THE CUSACK.
4. Use Your Words
Don’t message her on Facebook, don’t favorite her tweet, don’t show your affection via a stray like on Instagram — hell, don’t even try to get back together on the phone. Put down your phone if you can stand it and have a face-to-face conversation like adults. You’d be incredibly surprised to know how much emotion and meaning gets lost in translation when communicated through a text message. An innocent “It’s OK” can be turned into a cold and scathing version of itself when the other party is upset enough to interpret it as such. So, just grab coffee together and work out your differences with your mouth holes.
5. Offer a Solution
OK, so maybe it wasn’t an argument that drove you two apart, maybe it was a natural disaster like moving across the country. If you gave or were given the whole “the universe will bring us back together” speech and know that the universe doesn’t particularly give a shit about two young adults in love, offer a solution. If she’s in New York and you’re in Ohio, make a schedule. You’re going to visit each other every month and talk on the phone every night. If that doesn’t work, find a compromise that does. One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make is giving up and leaving their fate in the hands of this foggy unknown force that is the universe. It sounds romantic to say that you’ll eventually end up back together, but have you seen how many attractive people are in New York? She’s gonna find a new boyfriend faster than you can say “universe.”
6. Change The Relationship
If you broke up over the state of your relationship, whether it was too stale or rocky, simply change it. If it takes some particularly un-sexy planning in which you sit down together and figure out what you’re going to do and when, just do it. It may not sound fun to put “sexy time” in your iPhone calendar, but when that notification pops up and you follow through with your plans, you’ve already progressed in changing your habits. Let’s say you’ve ended things because you couldn’t find time alone with her and your roommates were constantly getting in the way of your relationship, consider moving in together. It’s not that hard.
7. End Your Fling
Being single, no matter how long, is a perfect time to test your bachelorhood and date a bunch of different people to make sure you’re fine with your choice. Once you’ve gone through and had sex with the entire Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and are sure the one that got away is the one for you, then end your fling. Just end it. If she’s gone through the same process, assume she’s learned the same vital information about herself that you have. No matter how you cut it, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
8. Don’t End The Conversation
There’s a reason you keep coming back together. If you truly didn’t want to be together, you wouldn’t be. Keep the dialogue open and relish the time you have with one another. There’s never going to be a relationship as seamless and easy as you imagine and that’s totally fine. Nobody’s perfect and two not-perfect people together are bound to make for a not-perfect relationship, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. If you’re worried that things are going downhill, ask her if everything is alright. Sometimes your insecurities will take hold and send the relationship into a bad spot when everything was going better than you thought in the first place. Keep talking, keep planning, and never stop being romantic.
Need specific help on how to get your ex back? Head to guyQ to ask our community of experts.
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