If you are trying to get your ex back after a breakup, it’s tempting to think that Valentine’s Day might be a day when reaching out could touch their heart the most.
But will it help or hurt your chances with them if you reach out on that special day?
As the newness of the new year begins to wear off, I prepare myself for coaching clients who will ask if they should contact their ex on Valentine’s Day or even if I think that they should send their ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend a gift for Valentine’s Day.
Just to provide some context, most of the time I suggest that people who want to get their ex back use what is known as the No Contact Rule. Being a relationship coach for twenty years now and having been part of PhD research projects, I know the power that this strategy can have to get an ex back and to help the person who has been broken up with to become emotionally more able to cope with the situation no matter what happens.
Why no contact works
I usually do a good job of convincing most people that the No Contact Rule is their best bet to re-attract their runaway lover by allowing them to truly experience the breakup. This can set the stage for the person who dumped them to start missing them and to fear that they are losing them forever. You might be surprised at some of the happy emails I have received from clients who received a text or call from their ex begging them to take them back because they missed them so much.
That would not have happened without the No Contact Rule because if the two had remained in contact, their ex wouldn’t have had the opportunity to miss them. How could they? By definition, you can’t be missed unless you are not there.
No matter how convinced my clients become by testimonials, stories, and encouragement I provide, a solid percentage reach out to me each Valentine’s Day with the question of whether they should make an exception and break no contact by reaching out to their ex or even sending them a gift.
I have heard some pretty elaborate reasoning on why wishing an ex, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” could warm their heart, re-spark attraction, and be the missing piece to getting them back. I’ve also heard over-romanticised predictions of how much a special Valentine’s Day gift would touch the heart of an ex.
Why breaking no contact on Valentine’s Day almost never works
At the heart of people who are using the No Contact Rule to get an ex back but believe that the rule should be broken for Valentine’s Day is a lingering belief that contact is more powerful than no contact.
A concern that I often hear is that it could hurt the feelings of their ex if they don’t reach out with a simple, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” text or card. I usually feel the surprise on the other end of the phone when I ask, “Why?”
“If this person broke up with you, why would they expect you to make a romantic connection with them on a day meant for lovers?”
“This person broke up with you. Why would it hurt their feelings if you don’t treat them like you two are still together?”
Those are my go-to questions to cause the other person to think rationally about the situation. Sometimes it helps them get a better grip on reality. Other times, I field calls days or weeks later from a deeply hurt client that their text was ignored or that their ex responded with something casual like, “Thank you,” or “Same to you” but that nothing else came from the interaction.
I then have to gently break it to the client that by ignoring what I said and reaching out to their ex, they have assured their ex that they are still interested and that there is no danger of losing them. The person who dumped them just received a “get out of jail free card,” concerning the breakup. Any fear of loss that they might have been feeling or starting to feel was relieved by the Valentine’s message. My client is now worse off than he or she was before.
Why giving them a gift on Valentine’s Day almost never works
People tend to place their ex in their own shoes. What I mean is, I have spoken to a large number of people who tell me how wonderful it would be if their ex sent them a gift on Valentine’s Day.
For that reason, a desperate client believes that if they were to send a Valentine’s gift to their ex that he or she would also feel wonderful.
It’s not true.
You see, if your ex broke up with you and you still want the relationship, the two of you are in very different places emotionally. You would think a Valentine’s gift from your ex would be wonderful because you want to get back together with this person. Your ex, unless they have said otherwise, doesn’t want to get back together yet. They haven’t reached a point where the fear of losing you. The experience of being without you hasn’t been enough for them to pick up their phone and ask you to take them back. Or at least get together to talk.
Different stages of the breakup
Therefore, sending your ex a gift on this day meant for lovers doesn’t make sense. People are often very hurt when their gift is sent back to them. Or when they receive a response from their ex asking that they leave them alone. Sometimes an ex even responds with anger to a gift being sent. The reason for that is because your ex goes through stages after breaking up with you and one of those stages is relief to have gotten the breakup over with (here is my video on stages an ex goes through).
The No Contact Rule is designed to get them out of that stage, but it takes time. If you send them a gift during that stage, or even some of the following stages, no matter if it’s Valentine’s Day or not, the result is often anger because your ex doesn’t feel that you are respecting his or her decision.
The most likely result of contacting your ex or sending them a gift on Valentine’s Day is that your ex will go back into the stage of feeling relief from the breakup and feeling that the breakup is easy to endure emotionally. You remove the difficulty, risk, and other consequences which lowers your chances of getting your ex back.
So if you are wondering if you should send your ex a text or a gift on Valentine’s Day, I’ll ask you one simple question, “Why?”
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