Famed poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, notoriously said, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." For someone going through a break-up, Tennyson's sentiment doesn't seem to ring quite as true. Romantic relationships can be a serious gamble, and not many things on Earth feel quite so awful as losing that hopeful investment in another person. That doesn't mean, however, that there isn't hope. People make up just as often as they break up. Not all that is lost is lost for good. Still, proceed with caution, and always keep in mind English author G.K. Chesterton's advice: "The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost."
Be self-aware of your issues. Chances are, your ex-love has --or believes she has-- legitimate reasons for calling it quits. Do not approach your ex without a relatively thorough understanding of three things: your own personal problems, your ex's personal problems and why the break-up occurred in the first place. If you can clearly communicate--even admit--your faults openly and apologetically, while understanding your ex's limitations, you will have taken the first step toward a healthy dialogue.
Make an action plan, detailing how you will go about changing your old ways, and communicate this plan to your ex. It's not enough to merely admit that you were wrong, or that you are aware of your personal issues. The next step is to do something about it and change for the better. If you want to show your ex that you can and will change, you must be able to recognize your problem, have the will to change and have the skill to change.
Listen to what your ex has to say. You've told your ex-love your plan and given her the details on how you will do things differently. Now it's her turn to talk. Effective listeners make other people feel appreciated and respected, and this is how you want your ex to feel. When talking, maintain eye-contact; minimize distractions; focus on what is being said; engage yourself in the conversation at the proper times by asking questions or letting your ex know that you understand what she's saying; and never interrupt, not even if what your ex is saying isn't nice.
Understand that you have no control over your ex and her decisions. This is a painful, often hard-to-swallow realization that people typically resist. It's easy to believe that, because we've done things the right way, everything will turn out happily in the end. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You can only control yourself and your own actions, not the actions of others. Realizing this will bring you peace of mind in knowing that you will have done all you can do no matter what your ex decides concerning the future of the relationship.
- Gifts and surprises can be a great approach to winning back your love, but unless proper groundwork is laid, flowers or chocolates can come off as trite and cliché. Be confident, yet humble. This is a winning combination that shows that you are self-assured but not cocky.