How to Get Your Ex Back: Strategies for Reconciling (2024)

Despite attempts at working through arguments and creating a rewarding relationship, some couples still break up. Nevertheless, romantic feelings can remain, especially when partners invested a lot in the relationship or ended things on good terms. Sometimes those lingering feelings motivate partners to get back together and find a way to reconcile at a later time too.

Even though reconciling is possible, however, it is not always easy to figure out the best way to get an ex back. Under the best of circ*mstances, there are still some awkward things to work through. Therefore, if you are inclined to rekindle a romance with an ex, what is the best way to do it? Let's look at the research...

Research on romantic reconciliation

Bevan, Cameron, and Dillow (2003) explored strategies individuals might use for getting an ex-lover back. They asked participants to describe a breakup with a former partner and discuss what they would do to reconcile things. Participants were also asked to indicate whether they were the ones responsible for ending the relationship and their level of confidence about being able to reconcile with their former partner.

From those responses, Bevan, Cameron, and Dillow (2003) were able to identify a number of techniques that could be used to reunite with a former romantic partner. The most frequently mentioned techniques, when put together, suggest an overall basic strategy for reconciliation. Those techniques are:

  • Setting the scene: Inviting the former partner to a particular place or situation that is beneficial for reconciling with them.
  • Referent appeal: Motivating positive emotions by reminding the partner about good times together in the past.
  • Explanation: Sharing thoughts and feelings with the partner about why they want to get back together.

The remaining reconciliation techniques can be utilized as part of the process above. For example, some participants set the scene by taking their ex to a place that they used to like going (liking) and/or buying them something they like (pre-giving). Participants also made referent appeals by telling their former partner what they missed about them (ingratiation) and suggesting that those might have been happy times for the partner, too (positive self-feeling). Finally, participants offered explanations to their partners by discussing why the relationship ended (information-seeking), telling them they were sorry for the breakup (apology), and promising to do better in the future (promise).

Participants also suggested various ways of asking their ex-partner to get back together too. Some suggested asking the partner directly whether they would like to try dating again (direct request). Others shared that they might indirectly ask their partner whether they saw a chance of them getting back together in the future (indirect request). Finally, others said that they would only hint that they still had romantic feelings and wanted the partner back (hinting). In any case, participants who were responsible for the breakup were more confident about their partner agreeing to their request to get back together.

Steps for getting your ex back

Overall, the research above offers a number of reconciliation techniques. Nevertheless, the best approach, as suggested by 66 percent of the participants, is to use multiple techniques together. Fortunately, given the way I have organized the techniques above, it is possible to use them all in a single step-by-step strategy.

1. Set the scene: The first step would be to invite your former partner to a place they like to go, which sets the right mood for reconciling with them. Ideally, it should be a romantic setting that leads to loving feelings or an exciting activity that creates passion. Buying a thoughtful gift can also impact their emotions here as well. In any case, the idea is to create a positive, romantic, and attractive situation that helps to facilitate the conversation to follow.

2. Appeal to their emotions: After picking the right situation, it is also important to say the right things to keep good thoughts and feelings going. The goal is to reminisce and talk about good memories from your past relationship. Reminisce about your relationship story together. Discuss how you are grateful for the time spent with them. Highlight how and why your relationship was special and sacred. In short, get them to remember the good times (while avoiding bringing up bad times too).

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3. Offer an explanation: After getting everyone in the best possible mood, the next step is to lean into a more difficult conversation. Essentially, to reconcile, you need to at least briefly discuss why the relationship ended. It can help to do so in a way that is positive, empathetic to your partner's feelings, and genuine.

Also, rather than rehashing the negatives for too long, get to a point where you apologize for your part in the breakup. Then, you can begin to discuss how things can be mended in the future. If you are working to improve an annoying habit or doing something to earn forgiveness, this is a good time to focus on those points too. Overall, the goal is to communicate how the bad things that ended the relationship are being fixed now—and how things will be better between you in the future too.

4. Make a request for reconciliation: Finally, it will be time to actually make a request to reconcile. That request can be made directly by simply asking them to get back together. You can also ask them indirectly to meet up again in order to move things forward. Or, you could hint at things and simply make a move to restart the romance by getting physical. No matter what you choose, the goal is to make it clear that you want to be more than friends again, in a way that your ex (and hopefully future) partner will find most appealing.

© 2022 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.


Bevan, J. L., Cameron, K. A., & Dillow, M. R. (2003). One more try: Compliance‐gaining strategies associated with romantic reconciliation attempts. Southern Communication Journal, 68(2), 121-135.

How to Get Your Ex Back: Strategies for Reconciling (2024)


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