The pervasiveness of the “missing half” myth can do a great disservice. Believing that being someone’s other half is something perpetual and unchanging, people break up with the understanding that either they have lost their half forever or the spouse was never “the one”.
Both approaches are misleading, because human beings are able to change and change their attitudes.
On the one hand, you should totally accept your divorce and breakup. Something went wrong between you two and it really did happen. However, this does not mean that it cannot be changed. Your feelings are not set in stone, and if you address the issues that negatively affected your marriage, you can win your wife back.
Humans are varied and able to change under the influence of circumstances or inside motivation. A rare individual can produce a radical change in their personality and become whoever they want to, but people definitely have a wide array of possibilities and opportunities and are able to modify behavioral patterns and thus affect their life.
Marriage dissolution can have different effects on people. From total apathy and depression to an impetus to act, your reaction to your divorce will indicate what you should do next. It is possible that upon seeing yourself at the collapse of your marriage, you will get a powerful impulse to do something about your life and the situation you have found yourself in.
If you’re reading an article titled “How to Get Your Ex-Wife Back,” you probably have enough energy to come up with a strategy and charge forward. Often families of many years find themselves stuck in a rut and unable to bring fresh looks to each other. Many spouses lack the enthusiasm they had in the early years of their marriage and do not want to continue this dull existence.
In cases like this, a divorce or separation can become the proverbial ‘carrot on a stick’ that prompts their inner donkey to move forward and do something about themselves and their relationship.
If, however, you are in large part to blame for your divorce or separation – perhaps because of adultery or substance abuse or any kind of betrayal – you need to atone for your guilt first and then see what to do next.
The first thing that you need to firmly bear in mind is that you mustn’t, under any circumstances, chase your ex-wife and try to convince her that you need to get back together. Therapists advise a no-contact period. If you have shared children, you stay in touch about issues related to the children but without talking about personal matters.
Next, you need to analyze and understand the problems that you had in your marriage and which drove you away from each other. This stage can take quite a long time, as you are tasked with reinventing yourself and basically becoming a different person than the one she lived with all these years.
If you have children or a business together and have to interact regarding those matters, be sure to carry out your part of the deal but do not be too helpful in other matters as if you are trying to win her back. Do not let your ex-wife trample over your self-esteem and wipe her feet on you. Remember that you stopped being lovers and spouses, so you cannot shower your ex-wife with affection, even if you really want to.
Basically, you need to accept that now you are each going your separate ways. Only then, when your ‘karma,’ or slate, or whatever field of interaction exists between you, is clean, only then can you try to win her back.
Finally, you contact your ex and meet up with her to reveal your new self and see whether you can be together again.
Difficulties of the Post-Breakup Period
It’s a well-known fact that divorce is one of the most stressful events in one’s life, comparable to the death of a close person. Therefore, it is only natural that people experience their divorces in emotionally intense ways that are similar to the stages of grief.
Applying the stages of grief to a divorce, you go through denial first; you cannot believe that this is happening to you. Then comes anger at yourself for messing things up and/or your wife for falling out of love with you and so on. Next, you start bargaining and offering her whatever it was that was missing in your relationship, such as more care, endearing words, help, compassion, support, etc. After that comes depression, and only then do you arrive at acceptance.
All these stages are normal and they will happen to you to some extent. You might pass the first three stages quiet lightly and then plunge into a massive depression. Or you might embarrass yourself unbelievably at the stage of denial and anger and then compose yourself at the stage of bargaining and through mild depression, smoothly arriving at acceptance. It is difficult to predict, but you need to make sure that you pass through the stages of your post-divorce meltdown without making your ex-wife a witness. That is why you need No Contact.
Stage 1: No Contact
Stage 1 is to help you wrap your head around what has happened to you without checking on your ex-partner. Additionally, sticking to No Contact will help you not ruin your chances of getting back together. By starting the no contact period, you protect yourself from any unwise and stupid acts on your part that could compromise your chances with your ex-spouse. The best strategy right now is to hide from her eyes.
Thus you send her a message that you are fine, and if you are not, it is none of her business. She should not know what you are going through, apart from the basic ‘I’m going through a rough patch and need time and space to deal with it.’
Pity Does Not Work
Many men fall into an erroneous mode of thinking that they can use pity to win their woman back. It does not work at all. Even if your wife takes pity on you and agrees to get back together, this will not change the dynamics of your relationship and you will have the same issues that broke you up. Therefore, you cannot show your ex-wife that you are miserable without her and beg her to come back.
A terrifying thought might cross your mind that if you do not remind her of you by texting and calling often, she will live her life and never think of you again. However, if you relentlessly contact her, you are creating, or sustaining, an unattractive image of yourself as a miserable and needy person. No woman would want to be with such a creature. It will only reinforce her belief that leaving you was a good idea and that she can say good riddance. It is definitely not the effect you’re aiming for.
So, do your best to refrain from any interaction on personal matters, except for issues regarding your shared children and/or business.
Saying I Love You is not Helpful Either
If your tactic of choice is not to ask for pity but to woe her with promises and love, this will not work either. It might have worked at the break up stage, when you were negotiating your actions and venting your frustration with each other. Now that the divorce is finalized and you are separated, it is not the time and place to profess your love. It will not be appreciated.
If you broke up, it means that your ex-wife will not care for your love so long as you are the same person you were in the marriage with her. Again, your words of love at the wrong time and place will show that you are miserable rather than strong. Neither will it help you to say that you will do anything to get her back. It will result in you feeling humiliated and it is not a position of strength for you.
Your ex-wife sees that anything that you say or do is coming not from sincere feeling for her but from your desperation at losing her. Either you hate to be alone or you do not want her to meet another man, or you cannot handle the everyday tasks you now have like domestic chores, or dealing with the children or your parents, but she will not see you as truly loving and willing to be with her for what she is.
Be Careful with Expressing Anger
Also, the no contact strategy will help you save face in feats of anger you might experience regarding your ex. When you feel an urge to call her names and curse her out for ruining your life, it is better to do this when boxing a punching bag in the gym or running your negative emotions off.
It is highly counterproductive to take your anger out on your ex-wife in the presence of the children (who will tell her about it). First of all, this shows you to be an unstable person with abusive tendencies. Second, it undermines your chances of getting back together.
Do Not Misinterpret Things
Remembering that you are at the no contact stage will help you react correctly to any behavior that you observe in your ex-wife, see on her social media or hear about from other people. In the post-divorce period, spouses often check up on each other to see how the other is doing. Especially if you were the one who demonstrated difficulties in coping with the situation, your wife will try to poke you by texting or asking mutual friends about you.
You are not strangers to each other, and it is normal to probe your ex-spouse with a text or a call to find out how they are holding up. You should not misinterpret this common courtesy on your wife’s behalf as a willingness to get back together.
- If your ex-wife gets back to you,
- If your ex-wife gets nostalgic and tells you that she misses the old times,
- If you observe ambiguous activity on your ex-wife’s social media,
- If your ex-wife says that she still has feelings to you,
You should never interpret it in your favor as a genuine desire to reconcile with you. Just stick to the plan of having no contact, other than about the children and/or business.
Finally, you should also try and calm down your mind because the no contact policy refers to your thinking about your ex-spouse. Try not to question yourself about whether your ex-wife misses you or still loves you and when you will get back together.
Either way, you should not worry about her dating again and even moving in with somebody. You cannot know what is going on in your ex-wife’s head and you should not try to find out through your children and friends. You can never control her and make her do what you want. Furthermore, don’t you want her to really love you and feel attracted to you? You cannot force these feelings on another person. Therefore, focus your energy and efforts on using the post-divorce time to get back in mental and physical shape.
Getting Back in Shape
The no contact stage lasts at least one month or longer. To take your thoughts away from your ex-wife and your post-divorce ennui, it is highly recommended to change something in your appearance.
Change your hairstyle, buy some new clothes, and finally get that gym membership that you couldn’t find the time for before now. This will create a sense of change in yourself, and you will find yourself excited and invigorated by other changes that the future has in store for you.
These new activities will distract you from your gloomy thoughts about the breakup. Your new looks will give you more spontaneity and energy to interact with other people and attract women. Even if it is just casual flirting, it will serve as a mild reminder for you that you can be attractive to women.
Ultimately, getting back in shape creates the sense that you are strong and attractive to other people, which can have a rub-off effect on your ex-wife. It won’t prompt any immediate reaction from her, but it will definitely reinforce (or create) a positive image in her eyes.
Stage 2: Self-Therapy
After the no contact stage or concurrently with it, you should get down to the issues in your failed marriage. Try to get to the bottom of your problems. Was it your or your ex-wife’s adultery? Did you not provide for the family and your ex-wife got tired of doing it alone? Or was it simply the boredom and drudgery of your married life in which you lost touch with each other and could not get communication between you back on track? Chances are your children left the parental nest, and now there is nothing left between you.
In any case, you should pinpoint the core of your breakup in order to know what to do about it.
If It Was Your Fault
If it was some fault of yours that drove the divorce, you obviously should deal with it. You should find a steady job if you weren’t a provider. You should quit drinking or gambling or whatever it was that put a strain on your relationship. With adultery, it is somewhat different. At the very least, you should show that you understand it was your fault.
Overall, your task is to show that you are addressing your issues by enrolling in therapy and/or joining a support group, such as Alcohol Anonymous, Sex Addicts, Anger Management, and so on. At this point you cannot be fully confident that you’ve overcome your issue. You are just on the way to recovery.
If It Was Her Fault
If it was she who cheated on you and you still want her back, especially if you have children together, you still need to work on yourself in order to make yourself more attractive to her, but not by being polite and comfortable. Rather, you need to become stronger and more respectful of yourself. In this situation, your strongest point is the children. By taking good care of them and being a great father, you reinforce a positive image in your own eyes. This creates a foundation that you can rely on. At the same time, you should not send her a signal that you are ready to take her back on any terms. You should convey to her that she needs to do her best to win you back. Keep your cool and do not respond to a quick sign of desire to return. Make sure that she acknowledges her misstep and really wants you back.
If It Was a Loss of Connection
You may have lost connection for a number of reasons. You may have just drifted apart because you were overwhelmed with family duties, new jobs, taking care of senile parents, etc.
You may have driven yourself into an unending vortex of fights and quarrels because your own lack of self-actualization was at play. You may have neglected your wife by doing long hours at work.
In any case, poor communication was among the chief reasons. Either you talked about your issues but failed to “hear” each other, or you were uncomfortable talking and just let your problems pile up. Therefore, you need to deal with your communication issues; take a course in effective communication or start seeing a therapist and work on your issues.
By improving your relationship skills, you will learn how to build and maintain a healthy relationship. You will learn how to communicate more effectively and how to argue in a healthy way. Any healthy relationship has a conflict now and then, but you must learn how to get closer to each other with each conflict rather than grow apart because one party can’t hear the other.
If It Was Boredom
However, it is sometimes the case that wives lose interest in their husbands, and not because the latter made particular mistakes and demonstrated character flaws. Quite the opposite. Their husbands might be helpful and good – so good that they become boring. Their wives are not victims of bad behavior who need some positive actions from the husband to get their feelings back. No, these wives might be tired with the daily routine, household chores and childcare, and they see their husbands as an additional burden that they have to emotionally service and so on.
If you find yourself in this situation, it will not help you to look good in your wife’s eyes, because you have always been good. What she really wants to get rid of is frustration and loss of interest. She wants you to be exiting and refreshing. To prevent yourself from turning into a comfortable doormat the wife can wipe her feet on, you need to reinvent yourself and enhance (or develop) confidence, passion, joie de vivre and all the other positive emotions that will make your life more interesting for yourself and possibly for your ex-wife as well.
Stage 3: Self-Reinvention
If you and your ex-spouse have children, it goes without saying that you should carry out your parental responsibilities without skipping a beat. Your personal relationship has nothing to do with your duties as a parent. Besides, this creates a foundation you can rely on for a positive image in your ex-wife’s eyes. If you fail to be a caring father, if you skip your meetings with children without a good excuse, if you promise them something and don’t live up to it, this will work against you even before you try to reinvent yourself as a more viable romantic partner.
In some ways, having a child facilitates getting back together. because many see the children as a linking factor and can turn a blind eye to many other issues in their marriage. However, once you’ve broken up, you ought to get back together on better conditions than you had before. If each of you changes and fixes the issues that used to drive you mad, your chances of living together smoother and happier are higher.
The changes that take place in your wife are not up to you, but you are in charge of your own changes. Therefore, use the post-divorce time to your maximum benefit.
Another reason why you need to reinvent yourself is that your way of getting your wife back lies not in winning her trust (except for cases where you were unfaithful) but in gaining her interest and respect, in most cases. That is why you need to be responsible, carry out your duties on schedule, and behave in a beautiful and noble way. Now, this does not mean sucking up to her, guessing her desires, fulfilling her pettiest wishes, and thinking that she wants to trust you.
If you lived in a boring marriage with passion long gone, your goal cannot be to show that you can provide a quiet life and comfortable co-existence. Quite the opposite: you will need to show that you can be ambiguous, exciting, surprising, and even a tease.
Accept for the Time Being that You Cannot be Together
Consequently, it might help you to accept the fact that for the time being, you cannot be together with your ex-wife. You may not want to be with her, even after all the changes you will demonstrate to her some day. You need to accept that too. She might even change herself so much that you won’t want her back. This is also a possible scenario.
In fact, one test you can run on yourself to check whether you have reinvented yourself enough and can now see your wife again is to imagine, in your mind, a situation where you and your wife meet up and she says that she’s in a serious relationship with someone and is getting married. What is your reaction? It is totally ok to feel disappointed and sad. However, if your emotional reaction is too strong and you feel as if you have trouble breathing or you feel like your life is ending or any other powerful imagery that reveals the depth of your distress, this is a vital sign that you are not ready to meet up with your wife. You are too dependent on her and her reaction.
The reinvention stage is definitely the time to get new goals. One chapter of your life has ended and some new opportunities have probably opened up. Or now you have time to think about what else there is that you would like to achieve in your life. Maybe the fact that you are now a single parent (even if you share custody of your children) will prompt you to take a different look at life and what you want to have in the future. Do not worry that setting some goals will bind you to something; it will give you some guidelines, which you probably really need now.
Embrace New Roles
The fact that you are now on your own also means that there are some roles for you to embrace. When you lived with your wife, you shared household chores. Now you have to do them on your own. If it was your wife who did all the cooking, now you have to learn some simple recipes for your children when they visit.
Some fathers find that hanging out with their kids is a whole new experience for them, because they were not as hands-on as dads when they lived in the same house. You may want to read a book or two on parenting or watch some educational videos.
Meet New People
You may also find yourself meeting new people more often. Not being secure in the confines of your family life, you definitely need to go out and mingle in the community. While you are working on your communication skills, you can practice them on other people. If, for example, you were the one who could not argue in a constructive manner, try to strike up a conversation with someone at the bar to see how well you can do it now. Obviously, having a conflict with a spouse and arguing about, say, politics with a stranger is different, but it might help you see your weak spots anyway.
Reinventing Does Not Mean Building From Scratch
If you approach the idea of reinventing yourself with disbelief and irony, think of it not as a radical change in who you are, but as a way to address the issues you have long known about so as to make your life more fulfilling.
In reality, the core of any individual remains the same. At our core, we are made of our temperaments and physiological and mental peculiarities. If you are introverted, you cannot ‘reinvent yourself’ and become an extrovert who gets his energy up by hanging out with other people.
However, if you know that your introvertedness makes you shy and it robs you of certain life opportunities, you can just find ways to balance your tendency to be alone and improve your communication skills and, for example, public speaking skills in order to be more successful in work and in your social life.
Reinventing yourself does not mean that you set the goal of becoming a different person. A willingness to do so would mean that you are not comfortable with yourself. Rather, the idea is to try and address your points of weakness.
‘Reinvent oneself’ is just a common way to refer to dealing with the post-divorce period, which can be misleading for some. On the other hand, a wife who used to be irritated with her husband’s indecisiveness or lack of confidence or lack of empathy would indeed think that he’s turned into a new person when she sees him demonstrating his new qualities, because it is so not like him the way she knew him.
Stage 4: Contact
Finally, after quite a long period of at least six months or longer, you can try and reveal your new self to your ex-wife. You should not expect, however, that she will necessarily like the way you’ve turned out or express a willingness to get back together. Overall, you should not get your expectations too high.
You changed and reinvented yourself for your own sake. Even without your ex-wife’s appreciation, you benefit from your new skills and habits.
Ideally, to that point you have not contacted your ex-wife unless you had to, such as queries about papers or the business or something similar, and you have been communicating on a formal basis. If you have kids together, all your communication was limited to child-related questions.
Therefore, your first move will be to pique your ex-wife’s interest through a text.
Texting Your Ex-Wife on a Personal Level
There are rules regarding texting with your ex-spouse. First, you should not text an empty message. Nothing along the lines of ‘how are you?’, ‘missing you’ or silly emoticons. It does not look light-hearted or cheeky. It looks desperate and out of place. Your ex-wife will easily shrug them away and it will do nothing for your image in her eyes.
Second, it is not the time to say that you still love her and miss her. Again, you mustn’t sound needy and miserable. You spent so much time getting back in physical and mental shape so it would be shame to blow it all in one text (or a series of texts, more like).
Finally, no negative texts are allowed either. You cannot get your ex-wife back if you start to accost her: ‘We could have been together if you’d just committed,’ or ‘Our children are unhappy because you didn’t want me to be your husband anymore.’
If you want to get your ex-wife to notice your changes, all your texts and messages should be in a light and positive mood with an aim to remind her of the positive moments you had together and to make her smile.
For example, you can text her and say that something reminded you of her: “Hey, I was watching Amy Schumer’s comedy special and she said this and this and it reminded me of you and what you used to do. I laughed so hard.” Or “Hey, I finally found the time to read that book you recommended to me last summer. It was awesome. I had a great time. It made me think about a lot in my life.”
She may not respond to it, but it will help you create a more positive image of yourself in her mind than she used to have.
In addition, you can remind her of good times you had together. Do not do it in a blunt way like “I just remembered about that time we went scuba diving. It was so fun.” This screams that you want her attention. However, she might take it more favorably if you mention something like, “Remember the little place we had lunches at, next to my job? I just found out they got closed.”
The main guideline is to try to entertain her and be fun.
Occasionally you can swap a meme or two. Your goal is to show her that you can be fun, you are not needy and you are not going to cling to get her back. Overall, your overarching goal is to rebuild the connection between you.
The next step is to meet up. The ideal scenario is to bump into each other and spend some time together just to show her that you pose no ‘threat’ in terms of being needy and desperate to get back together.
You can suggest to your ex-wife that you meet up by calling her or texting. If she politely declines, however, do not press too hard. You can say, “Feel free to come out, it’s just coffee” but do not beg or go overboard by saying something like, “You owe me this after all the trash you put me through.”
By meeting up, you intend to plant a seed in her mind that you are great and allow her to feel attracted to you. Odds are that your ex is well-aware of your desire to get back together. If she was evasive about it, she still could test the new you to see if you will crack at the same places you used to.
If jealousy was your weak point, she may tell you what a great man she’s met and how great they are together. If you had anger control issues, she will tell you about a situation at work where her colleagues treated her unfairly. If a lack of confidence was your issue, she will tell you that you will never get back together; if she sees your face crumble, she will know that under the veneer of confidence you remained needy and desperate.
After the first meet-up, you will probably keep texting and may have another meet-up. Keep working on connection and attraction. Tell her about yourself and listen to what she tells you about herself. The topic of your past relationship can even be brought up. Even if your wife remembers something negative from your past, it is not a bad sign. You can look at your relationship from a fresh perspective now. Now is the time for you to show her that you have changed and now see your mistakes. If you can react calmly to her talking about negative stuff in your relationship, it is good. Tell her that now you will handle your conflicts differently and mean it.
However, do not get too involved in reconnecting to your ex-wife, as it could firmly place you in the friend zone, which is notoriously very difficult to get out of.
Your goal is not to turn into a friend to her. Therefore, do not encourage her to talk about her relationships with other men. You are not her girlfriend.
Do not be afraid to lose her. Thinking this way demonstrates that you aren’t back together as a person yet.
Remember that your goal is to make her look at you with respect and interest. If you are scared of losing her, it will block your spontaneity and harm your self-esteem.
Sometimes articles on this topic advise that you establish an equal relationship and reciprocate everything. For example, if she tells you about her love life, you in turn tell her about yours. If she asks you to meet her at the airport, you in turn ask her the same. This might not always be helpful in steering away from the friend zone, though, because as a courting man you should offer up these grand gestures as a signal to her that you want her to see you as a man rather than a sexless friend.
Depending on how it all went the first time round, you can ask your ex-wife on a date. If she refuses to make it sound romantic, keep it casual. Just suggest going shopping together or having coffee one more time.
Your goal here is to have a good time together. If all is going great, offer to go somewhere else. After coffee, suggest having lunch together. After going shopping, suggest a trip to the cinema.
You will see by her nonverbal response how to proceed further. If you notice that she recoils when you touch her, it is definitely not time yet for you to bring up the question of getting back together. However, if she does not pull her hand away when you take it crossing the street, if she touches you lightly when talking and does not say anything when you touch her occasionally, it could be a positive sign.
At some point you will eventually need to hint or say it outright that you would like to get back together, but make sure that you do not do it too early. The best scenario is for her to broach the subject of getting back together. If she does not, but you have established a good rapport through texts and met a few times, it is time for you to let her know what you want.
If, however, your wife tells you a firm ‘no,’ be ready to take it seriously.
If you see that she is in doubt, show that you are also not one hundred percent sure that it will work out. Let her know that you are eager to try and you want it a bunch, but you suggest taking things slowly because you understand her doubts. At the same time, do not press too much. You do not want your ex-wife to give your relationship a second chance just out of pity, do you?