Small Life, Slow Life: How I Got My Ex Back. (Seriously.)


I let him go.


I know too well what it’s like to be nursing a broken heart, thinking I’d do anything to get back with my former flame. I’ve thought of every tactic out there. Lonely months went by and I slimmed down to a ghostly version of my former, happy self.

I alienated my friends because the breakup was all I could talk about. “But he was The One!” I said to them, over and over.

My work performance suffered because I couldn’t stop the toxic spewing of negative crap from my mouth. I barely slept and became really destructive.

I told myself the myth that if he just came back to me, my whole life would be fixed.

Yeah. That didn’t happen.

Heart on fire, ashes everywhere
— there’s no return from a red like that.


It took a long time to give up on him and realize that I was facing my life alone. But after so much misery and thinking I’d never be happy again, it dawned on me that the worst had already happened, and there was nothing else to lose.

Weirdly, there was a kind of freedom in that thought. It was a clean slate.

I realized I’d totally abandoned myself, and I decided to reclaim my life.


It was during an anti-gravity yoga class that I rocked in Savasana and saw C’s face float in front of my eyes. I looked at it for a long time and softly said “Goodbye.”

Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.

So I moved on. I did what they all tell you to do – I spent time with friends, I took up hobbies, I learned to enjoy taking up the whole bed as I slept alone. I spent mornings drinking coffee on my new balcony (instead of bemoaning that I’d had to get a new apartment by myself at age 31 when I thought I was going to be married by then). I exercised and cooked healthy foods for myself.

I tried things I would have never done before. I applied to speak at Beyond Luon. I learned to make kombucha. Eventually, I dated someone else. It took time, but I came back to life and reclaimed my life as my own.

And then, there he was.

After fully letting him go, finally accepting we were over, there he was. All the shit they said in the books was true. (Dammit.)

Because you know what really works, in breakups and with anything else you want desperately?

Giving up.


Letting go.

Being at peace with the fact that the way you planned out your life flat-out failed.

And then, you know what happens?

That thing you desperately wanted comes and lands on your shoulder with total ease, like a happy little bird.

(And if it doesn’t, it wasn’t yours to begin with.)

We cannot lose what really belongs to us, even if we throw it away. Therefore we need have no anxiety.

So let it go. Stop thinking if you lose the weight, dress sexier, text him/her at 2am, that’ll work out. You’re missing the entire point.

As much as you can’t believe it, that person doesn’t even matter. You can be happy with someone else, eventually. And you can be very happy alone.

You are the one who matters.

Let nothing stand in the way of the happiness available to you at this exact moment.

Then go live your life and be prepared to be amazed.

10 thoughts on “Small Life, Slow Life: How I Got My Ex Back. (Seriously.)

  1. Pingback: Small Life, Slow Life: I’m Engaged! (For real.) | small life, slow life

  2. I googled and searched for days before finding your post. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Really letting go and being at peace that if he doesn’t come back, he wasn’t mine to begin with. Thank you for sharing your story. How long did it take you to finally let go? Did you both date other people?

    • Hi Nikki,

      I dated someone else, eventually. It took me a long time. C went on dates with two other people but nothing ever came of it for him.

      I was really resistant when my friends told me to date other people, but you know what? It really helped. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you’re worth it, and funny, and intelligent, and yes, attractive – especially attractive. Because it’s likely that your confidence is currently half-dead somewhere underground, and if you do want to attract him back into your life (or someone better), you’ll need to resurrect that confidence.

      Even when I was dating someone else, I wasn’t fully over C. That’s how it is with big love. But I found myself able to laugh again, and think of something other than the breakup most of the time, and that really helped. I also lived alone during that time and started focusing on really nurturing myself and giving myself the things I had denied when I was so wrapped up in the relationship with C. I cooked for myself and had late night dates with my girlfriends. I spent days in my pajamas watching marathon sessions of HBO’s Girls. And I played Britney Spears really, really loudly (C hates Britney, haha). I took super-long showers, simply because there was no one waiting for me to get out of the shower. I walked places. My life slowed down. Those things began to heal me, little by little.

      The thing I want to express about if he comes back to you is that it will NOT be the fantasy you have in your mind. In fact, you’ll initially really distrust him and it can be pretty upsetting, because then you will have to fix what broke. C and I are in pre-marital counseling and this stuff still comes up, over a year and a half since the breakup. So there’s that to think about too.

  3. Very inspiring story and something that I am currently struggling with. I was in love with the “love of my life” and I thought he too with me. That ended one day over a small disagreement over dinner. But, all my friends told me there was something greater at hand. I couldn’t really find any red flag issue but rather small mundane things that got on his nerves.

    It’s been about 5 months since we seen each other. Recent floods made me reach out to him just to let him know I care. But, I really think I need to let go of the thought of us getting back together. Then and only then do I think it will happen. It really is tough I was doing great, then his birthday hit and I went for a spin. ;(

    • Hey Rick,

      A setback is a very normal part of the process. I didn’t speak to my ex for three months but one day he began reaching out and asked if I wanted to have coffee. I was still very desperate and down and hoping we’d get back together, so I went. It was awful! Probably the most awkward cups of coffee ever shared between two people. After that, I thought I’d really messed up for good and that we’d never get back together. I decided to stop saying his name aloud, stop talking about the breakup and to just say YES to anything anyone asked me to do with them. “You know what,” I told myself, “he’s not coming back. So you have to decide to swim, or drown.”

      I decided to swim and I let any hope go of us reconciling, ever. One month later, he was back.

      Letting go is really part of the process. And as for your ex, you have to remember what originally attracted him to you — you were happy, and outgoing, and positive. Right now, while you’re holding on hoping that he comes back, you’re none of those things.

      Turn the focus back to YOU and remind yourself of what makes you, YOU, at an essential level. Do the things that remind you WHY you’re lovable and worthy. For me, it was writing, yoga and spending time with friends. One night when I was particularly sad, I wrote love letters to strangers and left them all around my town. Other people volunteer at a senior home or an animal shelter to remind themselves that their situation is not as bad as it feels.

      Five months feels like forever — I know it does. But your healing is just around the corner. I know it.

      • Thanks for the reply. I’ve really taken this all to heart. I’ve been “working on myself” but honestly it’s so half assed. You called me out =) I do want him back desperately but in that…I am not finding happiness. I’m not refocusing my efforts on myself and really saying…there is no reason to think we will get back. So I have to move forward. Sink or swim and now I have to swim. I honestly have SO much to be grateful for and it’s so annoying when I’m such a ball of positivity to all my friends and here I am sulking in my own ashes.

        So I’m really going to take my ship…cut the anchor that is keeping me in the sea of sadness and move on. If it happens and he comes back, oh … that’s a whole new world to explore. But, for now I’m going to make myself happy.

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