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

DSCN7635

I let him go.

Really.

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.

MANUEL DE FREITAS

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.

Nick&Darcy-500

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.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU

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.

Surrendering.

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.
THE I-CHING

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.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

EDIT | June 2, 2015:  This blog is so very often misinterpreted. So before you email me with your entire history with your ex, please read this first: Small Life, Slow Life: I Honestly Don’t Care If You Get Your Ex Back.

As many of you know, C is no longer “my ex.” We reunited in April of 2013, got engaged that September, and were married in August, 2014. :)

I had no idea when I wrote this post that it would create such an outpouring of love and questions from you readers. I am amazed everyday by all of you who so bravely and vulnerably share your stories with me here.

The comments per day keep growing, and sometimes it’s hard for me to keep up it is impossible to keep up!

Please know that while I may not answer your specific comment in a timely fashion (I work full-time and am married!), that I still encourage you to share. Someone may read your comment and relate to you. It may create the healing that they need.

I am honored that this little corner on the internet has been able to provide some healing for you. And I’m sorry if I’m unable to answer your specific question. My first piece of advice is to read all the comments written back and forth before yours — you may find the answer you need in there.

If any part of you believes in the law of attraction, I also recommend reading this and regularly reading these. Both helped me immensely during my breakup.

I wish you quick and full healing.

I am so thankful to you. Love, Jen

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

  1. ETA, anybody reading this might go, he was so cheating on you, he wasn’t, the event was actually a work thing at his place of work, I live in a third world country with Internet access at exorbitant prices, his place of work has free WiFi. He works a full day shift once a week, so he doesn’t have to work the next day, I’ve followed him to his night shift many times to use the free WiFi and keep him company. Now instead of coming back after his shift, he just continued working the next day even tho he didn’t have to.

  2. Hello Jen..what a relief to find your site..I read your recent post so I will not give you a detailed history of my ex and I..let’s just say that I pretty much have been in denial for a year and a half, chasing under friendship pretenses, accepting hot/cold behavior, on/off contact and yes casual intimacy (although that only happened twice this year)….However the much awaited the “snap” moment occurred when he told me two weeks ago he was seeing someone. The funny thing is I don’t feel in my gut its true. I think he said that to put things on hold and take some distance but it just occurred to me how incredibly low I’ve stooped to get him back. Don’t get me wrong, he is a great guy and has always been caring and honest about not wanting to get back together by fear of leading me on but I deliberately chose to read “mixed signals” and cling to hope. I do think he still harbors feelings for me but my accepting attitude has done a lot of damage and I am not sure it is salvageable. He has been taking me for granted and I am mostly angry with myself for treating myself with such little regard and pushing down my needs.
    Anyway I reacted very well..told him this moment was expected and that if he was happy so was I, I wished him well and told him I hoped sometime down the line we could manage a friendship and we hung up. Naturally I cried my eyes out afterwards but I also felt a surprising feeling of relief which I attributed to closure.
    I am moving on, trying to gain my self-esteem and life back. I’m 30 and I’ve wasted too much time on hope. I feel sorry for myself but I am adamant on being positive and pushing through. Naturally I do think of him but I do not wish to contact him and In my mind I have let him go…whether or not he will come back doesn’t matter anymore because I am not even sure we can undo what has been done…it would take a lot of time and at this point it seems easier to start with someone new…just wanted to say that reading all your posts and comments filled me with certainty and positive vibes…I only wish I had come across this sooner. Then maybe things could have turned out better. Nevertheless its all about learning and growing pains are part of the path to happiness!

    much love xoxox

    • Hi Karla!

      You have several things going for you here — that you reacted well to his news (news which may or may not — but probably was not — true) and you’ve stayed away without contact. If only everyone who wrote to me did that part as well as you have.

      Forgive yourself for holding on as long as you did…if I’d had the opportunity during my breakup to hold on for that long, I ABSOLUTELY would have. The intimacy would have given me hope…the pseudo friendship would have given me hope…all of it would have. So forgive yourself right now and please know that it’s not unsalvageable…it’s NEVER unsalvageable. But you are right in that at this point, you have to shift your focus off of him and onto you. And I think my most sincere advice to you would just be to hold the word “possibility” in your heart, and by that I mean…yes, you are 30; yes, you’ve been deeply hurt and it FEELS like there’s a long road of healing ahead of you; yet I think you should continue to believe that your healing, which can be much quicker than you imagine, is totally POSSIBLE, and it’s also a huge possibility that big love is right around the corner for you past that healing.

      C and I broke up when I was 30. I wanted a marriage and kids desperately, and I drove him away with trying to force him into it. I felt like such a failure that I had to begin all over again at 30 and I spent so long beating myself up about it. I thought no one would want me. I was working in the entry-level position in the company of my dreams when, I thought, I should have been at the top of the totem pole. I had to move in with my parents for a while after the breakup because I had no money saved and nowhere to go. Eventually, I moved into a tiny studio apartment by myself and even though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, something about having my own space was very freeing…even though I told myself that I was too old to live alone.

      As time went on, I had to face the facts that, like it or not, I was 30 and alone. And then I really began to focus on my healing and happiness, and the feeling of possibility rose up inside of me. Wasn’t it still possible that I could fall deeply in love? Wasn’t it still possible that marriage and kids and happiness were on the table for me? I believed it was possible, and believing in that was the best thing I ever did.

      I work in a place where we believe a lot in vision + goals (I need to write more about this in a future blog). Anyway, we all have our ten year visions + goals posted in the back at work. I updated my goals to say that by December of the year after the breakup, I would be engaged to be married. Two guys I worked with at the time said, “Hey, you can’t put that on your goals.” “Why not?!” I asked. “Because you can’t control falling in love,” one of them said, “you can’t manifest that.” I remember smiling and saying, “You’re wrong. I CAN manifest that, and the only reason that’s stopping me from manifesting it right this second is how sad I’ve been feeling. But by December 2013, I will be engaged…just you watch.” Long story short…C came back in February of 2013…we got back together in April, and were engaged by September. I was three months early in how fast it manifested. :) Our one year wedding anniversary just passed. :)

      So that’s my advice to you, Karla. Believe deeply that you can heal. Believe it’s possible that, at age 30, there is SO MUCH MORE left for you to experience and feel. Believe that you didn’t waste ANY time…choose instead to believe that every mistake and every heartache was taking you exactly where you want to go, and that it all happened exactly how it was supposed to. Because it did! And you will see new gardens blooming before your eyes where before there were only wastelands. Believe that your ex will realize his mistake in casting you aside, and that YOU will have the choice of whether you want to forgive him, or choose a new love with someone suited for you…because that will happen too. It will be up to you, this I promise you. Fortune favors the ones who have been wounded deeply. Where once you only fed on scraps, a whole feast will be presented to you. I promise.

      Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
      Just keep going. No feeling is final.
      –Rilke

      first, the hardship
      must break you –
      and then,
      it will make you.
      -f.gabdon

      Be well, and make sure you write that word “possibility” down somewhere you can see it. Keep me updated. <3 xoxo

      • Dear Jen…your words truly moved me and went straight to my heart. I cannot express how grateful I am for you taking the time to write this down for me. I have written possibility on my bathroom mirror :) I made a promise to myself to read your heartwarming reply whenever I feel in doubt.

        Thank you for paying it forward like you do, I wish you only the best on you journey. the world needs more beautiful souls like yours.

        will definitely stay in touch <3 xoxoxoxo

  3. Hi Jen,
    I love how honestly and openly you talk about manifestation and the power we all have inside of us.
    My boyfriend left me about two months ago but has reached out about once every week to two weeks with casual questions/statements and I’ve always responded with respect and a friendly but reserved manner.
    Since the breakup I have been VERY attuned to signs, particularly repeating numbers (222 and 555 specifically.) Even a friend has pointed out that repeating 2s seem to follow me everywhere.
    I know I am a powerful manifester and I know I am on a right track and using both my intuition and guidance from the universe to create a second chance. I also think finding your blog and being able to connect with a like-minded gal was also part of the process.
    Here’s to staying strong and recognizing the true potential of our power to create the life we want.
    Xo

    • Thank you! ^_^

      I also saw lots of signs when C and I were apart…usually his name (it’s a rare name too), or crows (his favorite animal). Once on Thanksgiving, a crow landed right in front of my car, forcing me to stop. It just stood there and stared at me for about ten seconds before flying away. My heart was pounding so hard — I had been so miserable and was totally in a fog. “Show me there’s something for me beyond this sadness,” was what I’d been thinking the whole morning. Then the crow. So weird!

      What’s funny is that my husband believes in NONE of that stuff. He’s an atheist and very science-brained. I don’t think you have to believe in LOA or manifesting to heal yourself and attain what you want the most. So whatever works for you is fine with me. :) My husband explains signs as coincidences our brain was already searching for to affirm what we want. That works for me too. (But tell that to the crow who made me slam on the breaks when I was the most miserable!)

      • Thanks Jen!
        I just noticed you replied at 2:22pm. There really is no such thing as coincidence ☺️

  4. Thanks for this blog. I have been going through turmoil the past 3 months after my boyfriend left out beautiful loving relationship of 3 years. A few weeks later he moved all of his things out of our house and has been sofa surfing since he left that day. In a week I have to leave our home as the rental contract is up. It’s been very hard being there without him and I’m going to be staying with a friend for a couple of months before I go away for 3 weeks in November.

    Since he went I have only called him once and that was last week, we have only seen each other a handful of times to sort house and car things and briefly. I hadn’t been angry with him but let him go despite my devastation. I have given him a lot of space. The phone call culminated in an hour long very emotional talk, we were supposed to meet up and then he text me saying he needed to go his separate way and move on and I did too and we shouldn’t meet. He was sorry he had led me on and he had loved me but he wasn’t in love with me anymore. (I think that’s the biggest hollywood cliche)

    I told him he was a coward and a few days later he text telling me I was right and could we meet to say Goodbye. It was extremely difficult and sad and he cried the whole time but I think that was out of guilt for totally destroying my heart. He said he missed me but those feelings were not there anymore. I don’t get it, nothing has changed for me. I told him I had deleted him off facebook to try to make things a little easier as I had said on the phone we couldn’t be friends, he said he totally understood that. He wrote me a long letter saying he had learnt so much from me and cherished our time, how he cares deeply for me but now he has to go on on his own.

    We said goodbye and 2 days later I realised he has blocked me on facebook, which feels very hurtful and unnecessary, it wipes all evidence of that person from your profile and them off yours. I am trying very hard but I feel I can’t cope. I thought this was it for the rest of my life with my best friend and love, the man God gave me. He thought all those things too and talked about our future, suddenly saying now he doesn’t see one with me anymore, despite how amazing a person he says i am (don’t need to hear that right now!)

    I am exhausted by all of this and by my sadness and constant overthinking and churning things over. I don’t want a life without him but it isn’t my choice anymore. My life is my life and I had one before him now I need to work on one without him again.

    Though I pray one days he grows and comes back. I have a hope that maybe in this time I will grow to be a better version of me and maybe then I might not even want him.

    Thanks for helping me have the tiniest moment of looking forward to being just me at 27 and to think about just me for a while.
    x

    • Hi Anna,

      A couple of things.

      When someone says they love “but are not in love,” it usually means you gave away too much of your power in the relationship. It could also mean you stopped living your life and gave too much of your time. That phrase means that he looked at you and could imagine how your entire future would be, and it didn’t excite him. He could predict how 100 days would go, exactly. That’s a relationship killer for both men and women. It was the same when my ex left me the first time. This time I have really learned my lesson and I have my own very full life that is fun and separate from what we have together. He is the same. The good news about this scenario is that with some time apart with no contact, the person who feels like he just “isn’t in love” will get curious about you and reach out. If you’ve really done the work I’m suggesting that you do, you will be different to him and he will sense that about you. You will have regained your power which will immediately make things better between you. But if he reaches out and you’re still desperate for him and you’d go back into the same exact pattern you were in before, he’ll lose interest. So do the work. Work hard, face your pain, create a new life from the ashes and work on letting go.

      He blocked you from facebook because seeing you hurts him. Don’t be mad about that. Have compassion. It means he cares and right now seeing your pictures is too hard. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Just the opposite.

      The sadness and overthinking are the worst. Trust me, I understand. But know that they can only last so long — no feeling is final. Even though it seems like it will go forever, it will fade. Happiness will return. I swear, I’ve been there. I am sending you love and comfort. It will be difficult but healing is on the way — it’s inevitable that you will feel better. And soon you will see why all of this happened the way that you did and you will — I swear — be grateful that it happened just this way.

      Heartbreak is the shittiest. But it makes us so much better people, and kinder, and it increases our ability to feel a deeper happiness like you wouldn’t believe.

      xo ❤️

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