Ask an Expert Question: I become possessive after a breakup. Will she forgive me?
My question is relating to the current situation with me and my ex girlfriend. We broke up exactly 5 months ago now after having a 2 year relationship, it was an extremely fulfilling experience being with each other and we connected on an incredibly deep level. After we broke up I continued to talk to her for months afterwards being likely very annoying and possessive toward her (which I didn’t see at the time). Eventually, after about 2-3 months I asked her to take me back and she said no, understandably.
I continued to beg and show my emotions to her. Eventually I stopped talking to her but only for 10 days. She reached out to see how I was doing and I stupidly took it as invitation to start talking again. I contacted her 2-3 more times after this within a 1 month span and this is where I made my biggest mistake. Wrote her an enormous letter saying why we should get back together. I didn’t pour my heart out in the letter I tried to say things from a calm and logical perspective but this was still a dumb idea which I quickly realised.
She got the letter and then never addressed it or replied to it. I felt terrible and new I’d jeopardised things a lot, she never reaches out anymore and I understand why, I’ve learned from my mistakes and haven’t spoken to her in a month,
I’ve taken time to work on myself and realise what went wrong and how I can fix it. Like I said I haven’t spoken to her in about 5 weeks until last night when I ran into her at a bar, she gave me a big smile and said ‘Hi’, I went in for a hug and then proceeding to go about my night like usual.
Should I acknowledge them and apologise about it to start fresh?
My question is whether I should continue to let time go by for her to forget about my past attempts to get her back or if I should I acknowledge them and apologise about it to start fresh? Because my goal is to still get her back eventually. Would love to hear back, thank you!
Ask An Expert – Response:
The first thing I wanted to say is I can hear how much heartache you have experienced over the end of this relationship. It also sounds like you have tried really hard to win your girlfriend back or to do something or anything to try and get her to change her mind about the relationship. A relationship ending is one of the most difficult things for us as people to deal with, even if we are the one ending the relationship. It’s like a mini death in a way because the deep connection we had with another person has now stopped and ended. That’s why we behave the way we do.
People can and do behave differently though, and how you act depends on your relationship or attachment style.
Your attachment style dictates how you behave in every relationship you have.
Your attachment style dictates how you behave in every relationship you have. One of the easiest things to notice is that some people most always move toward people and other people mostly move away. This plays out even at the end of a relationship. I can read that you have been moving toward her and even pursuing her in the hope that she may change her mind. But I’m unsure if that is how you were while you in the relationship or if you have pursued her more because you have realised how important she was to you. It’s clear that she cared about how you were feeling as “she reached out to see how you were doing.” But this may have been a courtesy call as she was used to you constantly pursuing her and you had now stopped.
Jack in your question you mention if you should let time go past so your ex forgets about your attempts. I don’t think she will forget; I mean how could she forget?
You were in a relationship for 2 years and when the relationship ended you continued to pursue her on and off for the last 5 months. As to whether you should acknowledge your past attempts and then apologise to start fresh? I don’t believe there is a need for this as she knows how you feel you have told her by talking to her and by writing a letter to her. She knows how you feel about her Jack. You also mention your goal is to still get her back eventually but there is no mention of your ex-girlfriends’ goal. What do you think her goal is? How is she showing you what she wants and what she would like?
We cannot change who we are at our core
Jack, I know how painful this is for you believe me!! I’ve worked with hundreds of men and women who think if they were different, things would be different. The truth is though that we cannot change who we are at our core. We can learn to adjust to each other yes of course we can.
But you trying to win her back and making promises to be different better etc. is not going to work. Even if it did it would only work for a small while. Trying to be someone else to fit in with another person no matter how much we love them is not going to work in the long term. I call this auditioning for the role of partner. The role is far too hard to maintain in the long term and everyone eventually falls back into their natural patterns of behaviour. Of course, we can discover how to become an expert on our partner, and they with us but essentially we are who we are at a biological level.
And finally Jack you mention the mistakes you made. We all make mistakes and the biggest are made in relationships. Because we are learning who we are and who our partner is. This can be one of the greatest learnings if you let it be.
Reflect on yourself and how you were in the relationship and if your ex wants to stay an ex then let her do that. That’s her choice isn’t it. Allow her to have that choice and continue to work on yourself as you said. But do so for you so that your next relationship gets the benefit and so do you.
Rewire your Relationship
Get Jacqui’s Book Rewire your Relationship.
Jacqui Christie is a registered Clinical and Counselling Psychologist with a Masters in Psychology who blends insight and intuition with evidence based scientific research to strengthen and enhance individual’s lives. Jacqui has broad experience in treating adults with a variety of conditions from everyday concerns through to disorders.
Jacqui began her psychological career over 20 years ago in the field of Family Violence where she began working with men who were violent, abusive and controlling towards their partners. In addition, Jacqui began to work with and treat women who were currently or had been living in an abusive relationship.Jacqui has worked with men individually and in groups specifically facilitating Behaviour Change Groups for many years.
She has developed and implemented a number of other programs including anger management, behaviour change, parenting, stress management, mindfulness and depression.She is a relationship therapist and trained in clinical hypnosis which is used in a therapeutic way with clients as an adjunct to therapy.
Jacqui has recently trained in the US in the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) method which is focused on adult attachment styles and how these impact on intimate relationships.Jacqui is a mentor and has mentored CEO’s managers and other professionals as well as provided clinical supervision for psychologists and counsellors.
She has been highly regarded for her easily approachable and non judgmental style and ability to see beyond the masks. Jacqui has written articles for Women’s Health, Cleo and Girlfriend magazine on relationships and family violence. She is also a speaker on the topic of relationships. Jacqui has worked as a consultant and in corporate settings and is currently in private practice where she is also the Director of a wholistic health centre. She is also the author of Rewire Your Relationships and an expert at The Love Destination.
About Jacqui’s Book Rewire Your Relationship
Do you feel like you are going around and around the merry go round in your relationship? Do you both keep arguing about the same old same old things without any resolution stuck in a pattern of Groundhog Day.
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So if that’s just the way we are and at times it feels like we are just not right together, how do we “Rewire Our Relationship”? Understanding who and why we and others are, is the critical step to building relationships that flourish.With a deeper understanding of your own and your partners complex attachment styles you have the perfect platform to deepen your relationship because for perhaps the first time, we can equip you with the right tools and communication style for your unique partnership.
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