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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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Hei, I just need some advice on what to do. My ex-girlfriend

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I just need some advice on what to do. My ex-girlfriend ended our relationship (14 months) one month ago. We really had a great time together, everything seemed perfect. But then a couple of months ago I had some personal (work) issues and it transferred onto the relationship and I just wasn't working as hard as before to keep things going on. The emotions didn't change but I just wasn't putting myself into the relationship as much as I did before. So she probably felt that I was moving away from her and neglecting her (a.k.a. taking her for granted) so she decided to end it. Since then we had one really sincere and long talk about what happened, I apologized to her for screwing up and offered to try again. Not to bring the old relationship back, but to give it a fresh start. She said that she can't do anything right now and needs time. But a few days later she said she would like to go on dinner with me (we set the date three weeks from today). In the mean time, she is sending me texts (i.e. one week ago before I went sailing with some friends she texted me that it feels strange that I'm going alone and not with her). I never try to initiate contact first, but she does and this is bugging me a lot. And also the dinner date that we have set.

Through mutual friends I found out that she's really confused and also that she's not seeing anybody else.

What do you think of this?

I would like to understand better in order to be able to help. Why do you feel it is bugging you that she is texting you? Do you not like it or is it making you feel confused? If you could clarify that would be great.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't understand what's going on in her mind (and heart). She ended the relationship but now she's doing all these things that confuse me a lot. Why the date? Why the texts?

I would really like to get back together with her and these signals she's sending are just so confusing to me.

Thanks for explaining. I understand how confusing it can be as well as frustrating since you do want to get back. It sounds to me that she misses you and really does want to get back. She never wanted to break up in the first place the only reason she broke up is because she felt as if you were drifting away as well as neglecting her. Otherwise she would have stood with you. I believe after that heart to heart conversation you both had it opened her eyes to understand exactly what happened. She said she needed time in the moment, but after she had even the few days to think it probably all came clear to her. She most likely now sees that things could change and be better since everyone and every relationship has the right to go through stress as well as ups and downs. Also, it was not that your feelings had changed for her as she probably had thought. So her doubts kind of got cleared up and things are making sense to her now. It seems she is now trying to move forward in getting back together little by little in order to rebuild. She also seems a little sad because you are not taking her along sailing. Not that it is your obligation, but she is probably remembering how things used to be.

If you are wanting to get back I would continue with her lead and see where things go. You already had the discussion about what happened, which is good because that cleared the air. Now I would enjoy your dinner date and go from there. You can also reply to her texts as well as initiate texts if that is the direction you want to take. But if you are wanting a relationship with her I would definitely continue the friendship and build on that then go from there.

I hope it all works out and if I can help any further please do not hesitate to ask.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for this. Could you clarifiy a bit more as to what I should do to get this right. I've had my share of relationships and never wanted to get my ex back, but this is different. We had such a great time that I just don't want to throw this away. I have cleared up my mind and heart and I know that I really miss her. She also went partying with her girlfriends to the seaside during my sailing trip but one of my mutual friends sent me a text that basically she was "not being herself and just being quiet and held back".

Yes I think we discussed everything about the past and put all the cards out on the table, so this is good. But I would like to go on. I understand that she is feeling hurt and that I was the one that hurt her - that's why I try not to initiate too much contact. (one more note: we work together, so we see each other every day. a lot. I keep the communication at work professional and treat her like any other coworker).

How can I show her (not tell, but show), that I'm really willing to make this work? What should my next steps be?


You really hit the nail on the head when you said "show her". This is exactly what you need to do. The way you can do this is by doing the opposite of what caused the break up. I would start showing her how much you care for her through little gestures. Yes, at work you need to be professional, but when you can I would say sweet things, show her you are paying attention and that you care. Bring her a coffee she likes, lunch, or etc. Think and remember her in little ways to make her feel special. Maybe invite her out before the dinner date since that isn't for a while in order to spend time together. Make her feel within your feelings for her by showing her you care and that you notice her and things about her. Think about what brought you both together in the first place and try to relive that and even better since we all learn and grow. Back up all your words with action and show her how much you care and are there to support her. When you go out together focus on the quality of the time together and being yourself allowing your true feelings to show. Honesty and sincerity will always win and be transparent.

When you feel ready maybe after a few times out you may want to consider asking to try again, but then again that may naturally happen and no asking may even be needed rather it will be mutual.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I have thought about inviting her for coffee or something similiar but I tried this one week after the break-up and it was obviouslly too soon, because she got really angry and blew me off. If I start giving her small gestures won't she percieve me as "weak" and needy?

I think before she wasn't ready and now she may be by the signals she is giving and especially after the talk you both had. You can do it now or wait a little if you want. However, I do not believe it will make you look weak and needy. Keep in mind of how it started. She is hurt because she felt you didn't care and was neglecting her. If you do not show her your true feelings now she can continue to think like that. However, if you show her then she will not see you as weak and needy, but rather see your true feelings. She was angry before because she was hurt. Things are now starting to make sense to her about everything that happened before the break up and the talk you both had, so I do think she will be more inclined to go especially since she asked you to dinner.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

All this is what you're saying is making sense to me, because I was really caring and nice to her in the beginning when we just met. So I'm probably going to give this a try. Can you just help me ... with one more thing. From your experience: what is currently going on in her mind. I would like to understand what's happening to her and what she's going through, so I can act appropriately.

Sure, what I think is happening is she remembers and fell in love with the true you in the beginning. Then all of a sudden she didn't have that, so it was a huge shock to her as well as painful. She lost what she thought she had. This hurt so bad that it caused her to break up with you. This left her feeling unloved, deceived, and confused. It also hurt the trust. This is why she was angry in the beginning. I believe after the talk it helped her to see what really happened and to understand. She is in the healing process wanting to rekindle because she now knows the negative things she had thought are not true. Now she needs you to show her your care and true feelings as well as be understanding to her fear she may still have. As well as be understanding and patient to the fact that the trust needs to be rebuilt a little.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Just a quick follow up. Yesterday evening she texted me and asked how was sailing and that she hopes I'm doing great. I answered back and told her that it was great but it's hard to explain this over text, so I proposed for us to get coffee together this week and she said yes. So what I want to do is just have coffee, share some stories and have a good time and not bring the conversation to our past together, because that would just open up some old wounds, right? I also picked up her favorite chocolate at the grocery today and will bring it to her someday this week.

What do you think?


Thanks for following up. I think that is PERFECT! Your plan is wonderful and you are right on track. You found a "smooth" way to ask her out for coffee and your plan to not bring up past is great. Just focus on having a good time enjoying one another. The fact you will bring her favorite chocolate shows you care and were thinking about her and it also shows that you remember her favorite chocolate. The fact she texted you asking how your trip went and that she said yes to coffee is a wonderful start and confirms what we spoke about yesterday. I am so happy for you and you handled that great. I am glad she said yes and I hope you both have a wonderful time together.

Feel free to follow up anytime! :)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well, she said yes, we didn't exactly agree on a date/time, so it's not 100 % sure. But I sent her another text which was really smiliar to the one she sent me before I went sailing (It's weird that you are going alone, because we went everywhere together and I still care about you). and she replied with "this is how it is at the moment, maybe it will be different someday." And them we exchanged a couple of fun texts and after one of them I sent, I got back from her "I see you're really changing a lot of things in your life." She's visiting her relatives in another country and is not coming back before wednesday.

Is this going along ok or am I just getting my hopes up to high?

I think it is going well and you are not getting your hopes to high. You are on the right track. Just take things slowly and one day at a time then you will be fine.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So, I brought here her favorite chocolate on wednesday and we went for coffee yesterday ... it was a casual coffee (a little bit over an hour) we talked about the fun stuff both of us did in recent weeks, the conversation was light, easy, we didn't say a word about (our) past. I actually had a great time just talking to her and being near her. Then we went home, agreed to do something fun together next week, hugged and went our separate ways. In that moment, my heart just broke to pieces. I cried, knowing I can't have her, can't kiss her, can't hold hands, she's not my girlfriend anymore. What should I do? Write her a letter and express my feelings to her, apologize, and ask her for another chance? Or just block her out of my life completely and take care of myself (cancel all the arrangements I have with her)? I still would love to get back with her, but I don't want to fall into a circle of depression and just losing myself in the process. At the moment, I'm feeling profound sadness.


It sounds like you both had a wonderful time and I am sorry you are feeling like this. Since you both care for one another so much and things are now moving somewhere I don't think stopping all contact would be best. I would give it a little time first. You can handle it one of two ways. I would write the letter or since you both are already in contact you may want to try a few more dates first to see where things go. For example set a time or amount of dates such as 4 dates or two months then see where things are. If they have not progressed then you can end it or write the letter and see where that goes. However, if you can not handle the dates then it may be best for you to write the letter now. This all depends how much you can handle and what is best for you personally. But I would go with one of those two ways. I would not end it before giving those a try based on the situation.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It was tough to not write and send the letter but I kind of imagined what my response to the letter would be if the roles were reversed. It would not be ok. So I decided to try go on a few more dates and see how things go and if she will start to open up. After that there will have to come a time when I'll need to decide if I want to continue this or just let her be and move on completely with my life and start searching for a new partner. Maybe it will work out, maybe it won't. We've talked quite a bit during the last few days and I can sense she's completely emotionally shut down. It's obviously I've hurt her a lot and she's just shut herself up. Obviouslly the trust we had is broken. Is there anything I can do to show her that she can trust me again?

I can also sense from the things she says and how she acts around me, that she still has feelings for me, but they are closed down behind a brick wall she built around herself.

I understand where you are coming from. The best way to break the barrier and build the trust is by continue doing what you are doing. It will take time. She needs to see your change as well as you backing up your words with actions over a period of time. It may take a little longer than you expected based on how hurt she is. However, it is up to you how long you want to stick with it. There really is no way to accelerate this. It is really time that will heal her wounds as well as your consistency and spending quality time with one another.