How irrational fears and fear of loss lead to a negative self-perception that causes us to create and experience exactly what we fear in life, instead of what we want.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a gorgeous European woman who has let her fears get the best of her and cause her to act needy, unworthy and in a way that is demeaning to herself and what she has to offer a man. Even though she is beautiful, successful, in amazing shape and driven, her limiting beliefs she has about herself are causing her to act in ways that repel what she wants, by agreeing to be friends only, in hopes her ex boyfriend will want her back. Meanwhile, he has a lot of female friends and has been dating another woman who treats him poorly.
After another coach told her being friends only was a viable way to get her ex back, a year and a half later, she is getting nowhere. She asks my opinion on whether it’s possible to get him back, and how she should change her approach. This email is a great illustration of the importance of being aware of your self-perception, cultivating a healthy, empowering belief system and negotiating from a superior position of leverage to get what and whom you want in life. My comments are in (bold parenthesis like this below) in the body of her email.
I found your work about a few months ago, and I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t find it sooner.
(You found it exactly on time. What happened happened, and it couldn’t have happened any other way. You got to a certain point, and you were seeking answers. When people hit a wall metaphorically, they realize what they’re doing is not working and they know they’ve hit rock bottom and need to go in a new direction, that’s when they come across my work. Not when things are going great.)
I’ve tried different relationship coaches, and the last one was all about “being okay with being just friends, because you’re never just “just” friends.”
(What a bunch of bullshit. I get emails, and there are apparently people out there teaching men and women that it’s okay to be stuck in friends zone, and eventually you’ll get out of it.)
Well… now I’m not even sure if we’re friends anymore.
My ex boyfriend, who also was my first and only exclusive relationship, broke up with me against my will, and I was devastated.
(He unilaterally decided he didn’t want to be in a relationship with you anymore.)
He got in a new relationship 2 ½ months after with one of his friends, who he previously always spoke of as one of his best friends. That totally broke my heart.
(Rejection breeds obsession.)
She treated him like shit, and he reached out to me, because he thought that I was the only one who understood him.
(In any relationship, whoever is less invested has a superior position of leverage. It’s obvious you were more heavily invested in him than he was with you, and that’s why it was easy for him to just slide out of the way.)
I ended up being his go-to person, and he called me all the time, saying how difficult she was, how he regretted breaking up with me and how sad he was that he didn’t give us a second chance.
(That’s basically where you went wrong. What you should have said was, “I love you, and I want to give this a go, but I’m not interested in being your gay female girlfriend, because I want you back. I want to explore something together, but you’re dating somebody else, so this is not appropriate. These are conversations you should be having with your girlfriend.”
A lot of times, a relationships runs its course. Sometimes you get to a place where you love each other and you have a great friendship, but the sex and romance isn’t there, or maybe you don’t want to get married, or maybe it just kind of runs its course. I wrote about this in my book, with my English girlfriend. I was the one who decided to end the relationship, but we have been friends ever since. It’s okay to have an ex in your inner circle, as long as you’re both on the same page where you’re both okay with strictly being friends.
When one of you wants friendship and the other one wants romance, it’s just not healthy to continue being involved with him. That’s when it’s best to make a clean break, from a negotiation standpoint. In this case, he wants you to be his therapist or his shoulder to cry on while he’s fucking some other girl, and you made the mistake of agreeing to it, hoping you’d get him back. Remember, scarcity creates value, so because you continue to hang around and talk to him, you gave him whatever he was lacking with his current girlfriend. You filled in the blank for him.)
The reason I agreed on letting him call me was because I felt some sort of control, not good, I know,
(Well, control is an illusion, and obviously, if you’re writing this email, you definitely don’t feel in control of the situation),
that he would see how stupid he was to let me go,
(“Great. If you want to end things with your girlfriend, and if I’m still single, maybe we can start going out again.” That’s how you should have handled it, but you live and learn),
and I kind of loved that he needed me again. He eventually broke up with her, which lead me to believe that we would rekindle things and end up back together. We didn’t.
We hung out several days a week, he called me 5-6 times EACH day, we had wake up calls, called each other throughout the day and before bedtime.
(In essence, you agreed to do all of the things you did before when you were in a relationship with him, without the consistent sex and romance. That was your mistake. That was a weak position to negotiate from. You are in an inferior position of leverage. The strongest negotiating position is being able to walk away and mean it.
When I coach men and women and they want an ex back, one of the things I focus on is, what is your outcome for your personal life? Imagine you don’t even know this person you want to get back. What kind of relationship do you want to create? A lot of times I’m talking to somebody that’s dating somebody, or was dating somebody, and the caliber of person they are, or the goals and values of the other person, is totally not aligned with what they want. By getting them focused on their outcome and what they want, it’s much easier for them to realize why it didn’t work out.
A lot of times, guys are trying to turn somebody who’s really good for being a fuck buddy, friends with benefits or an open relationship into somebody that’s going to be a stable, faithful, monogamous type of relationship. Or with somebody that’s a horrible communicator, they think, “I can fix this person. With a little tweaking, they’ll be perfect.”
Again, what is your outcome? What kind of relationship do you want? I would venture to guess you want a boyfriend, somebody who cares about you and does all the things this guy used to do consistently. If your outcome is to have an exclusive, monogamous relationship with somebody, create a life together or just have an awesome relationship, the idea is to focus on your outcome.
The other thing to keep in mind is, if you want somebody to stay exclusive, do you really want to be in a relationship with a guy whose friends are all women? Usually those orbiters want to date him, but are all stuck in friends zone and going along with it.)
He reached out to me 80% of the time, and I was kind of playing it cool, not trying to seem desperate.
(As I discussed in “7 Principles To Get An Ex Back,” he broke up with you, therefore he’s got to earn a chance with you and not the other way around. It’s a big perception change from thinking, what can I do to get them back? What can I do to cause the other person to see my vibe?
First and foremost, scarcity creates value. But the other thing is, he ended the relationship unilaterally, therefore, he’s got to earn you back. If you’re giving him all those things you used to give him, what’s his incentive to come back? Because he knows he can keep you on the side in backup position, while he explores things with all these other females in his life.
Plus, you’re both young, so you’re not old enough to have the experience of having several long-term relationships, breakups, then being single, meeting somebody new and starting a new relationship. It’s always better when you’re young to date around, because you’ve got to figure out what you like.)
I eventually expressed my feelings towards him, and he said that we could continue hanging out and just see what happened, but time went by, and even though we had mind-blowing sex from time to time, it just seemed to stop there. He said he didn’t have the right feelings for me, and that we shouldn’t have sex when I still loved him.
(That’s when you’ve got to be strong enough to say, “You know what, that doesn’t work for me. I’m not interested in being your pal or your buddy. I want to jump your bones, but I can’t do that. Call me if you change our mind.” And you’ve got to be congruent with that. You can’t say that, and then the next week agree to go hang out with him.)
I got upset, even though we continued our friendship, and he even brought me a rose and a card on Valentines Day as a surprise, but still – “it didn’t mean anything.” He totally confused me with what he said versus what he did.
(That’s the problem. You were taking into account what he said, instead of just looking at his actions. His actions show that you’re just kind of a backup, place holder at this point, because you haven’t been strong enough to say, hey, pound sand.)
He’s the type of guy who has A LOT of female friends, and he refers to them as his “best friends.” I’ve tried my best not to get jealous, but around March/April, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I started getting more and more jealous, I have problems with bad overthinking, and the waiting game of “just hanging out and see what happens” drove me nuts.
(You continued interacting with him in a way that was not aligned or congruent with the personal relationship outcome you wanted.)
I cried and acted needy and desperate, plus I got jealous over nothing. I told him that I couldn’t take it anymore, and he said he understood, but that it had to be my choice to cut contact, because he really wanted me in his life. Every time I cut contact with him, he reaches out through Snapchat or Instagram, or he calls me to inform me of things that he really could just text me or not tell me at all. He doesn’t really have to tell me these things, but no matter what, he just wants to be friends.
I’m currently walking away, intending not to look back, but he reached out to me today commenting on my Instagram story, and I find it difficult to deal with everything.
(When an ex is commenting on your social media, unless they’re addressing you or messaging you directly, I would just ignore those things.)
He also works out at my gym, so I see him from time to time.
(Talk to other guys when you’re at the gym. You’ve got to focus on your outcome. It sounds like you’re looking for a relationship. This guy’s all over the ice, and he’s got lots of other women in his life. He’s not treating you the way you want to be treated, he’s not offering you what you want, and you’ve had a year and a half of this going around in circles, getting nowhere, so you’ve just got to say you’re not interested. You’ve got to put your foot down and set a healthy boundary, and you’re not doing that.)
I see myself as a successful, young and attractive woman who’s got her shit together. I’ve got a good education, a full time job, I go to the gym 5 times a week, and I’m in general a good-hearted person with a lot of friends. He says that I am gorgeous, kind, good-hearted, have good values and so on, so what the fuck do I do now?
(Walk away and never look back. Next time you see him say, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and unless we’re going to date and have sex and romance like we used to, it’s time for me to move on. I can’t be just your friend. That’s never going to work for me. Unless you’re calling to take me out on a date, I don’t want to be your friend or therapist anymore. You need to respect my boundaries.” And more than likely, because he’s always gotten you to cave for the past year and a half, he’s probably going to try several different ways to get you to cave.
Remember, scarcity creates value, so you’ve got to stick to your guns and what you want. The strongest negotiating position is being able to walk away and mean it. You’ve said that to him several times, but you never really mean it. From a negotiating perspective, you’re being a piss poor negotiator for yourself.)
I love him, but I’m not really sure if I want him back or not.
(You wrote this email to me, so obviously you want him back or you want another shot. Again, you should be focused on your outcome. Is this the kind of dude who can really offer you the kind of long-term relationship you want? If the answer is no, as hard as it is, you need to fucking boot him out of your life, because he is filling up a space in your life that otherwise would create an open space for a new person to come into.)
It has been over 1 ½ years since we broke up, and I am DONE with feeling like crap because of a guy who doesn’t want me back.
Pleeeease help me.
(You’ve been trying this other strategy, being friends first, and that’s fucking bullshit. From a negotiation perspective, it’s an incredibly weak perspective. You’ve got to negotiate from a superior position of leverage.)
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Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“In order for someone else to recognize your value, you must first learn to create a life and lifestyle that supports and enables valuing yourself. It’s hard to overcome the impulse to tolerate mistreatment and a lack of respect from those you have strong emotions for. Having high standards, setting boundaries and acting in a way that is consistently congruent with them is the key to making sure you only spend your time with people who value, respect and appreciate you. Without them, you invite and enable others to abuse, mistreat and disrespect you. You invite what you tolerate.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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