Relationship Problems: Wanting Your Partner Back When They Don’t Want You

A little relationship advice today because I get so many questions that say: “How do I get him/her back?” Then, they tell me the story.

Honestly, my first reaction to that question is “Really? You
want him/her back. Why?” 

Sure, I understand that, if a long-term partner or spouse simply decides to walk out, it’s painful. Rejection hurts even when you know you have some big relationship problems. And, it may be that that person is not only rejecting you, but rejecting the children, the finances, the goals, the plans, the future, and more. That’s very hurtful, and it makes your head spin. I get that.

You have to work through your feelings (good to get some relationship help right away) and take care of yourself first. That will help you gain perspective as early on as possible. With my clients, I know that walking together with them through the early “broadsiding” is so important to healing. You need answers to the questions: 

  • Why now?
  • Why at all?
  • What was I missing?
  • What can I do?
  • What do I want?
  • Where do I go from here?
  • How do I regroup and carry on?

And all those questions need answers while your heart is hurting and your head is swimming.

Yes, sometimes, a partner makes a mistake and knows it immediately or close to. S/he comes back, apologizes, and agrees to go with you to get help with rebuilding the values, respect, and trust that your relationship sorely needs. You then have the option of saying “yes” or “no” to a fresh start.

What if you’re dating, or, have been in a relationship for only a year or less? At that point, when your partner says “No more,” you want to listen to that door slam on the way out, and be grateful. That’s why I say, “Really?” when someone writes and bemoans that loss of the relationship when he or she has been dumped.

Who would want to be with someone who doesn’t want you? Wanting that is close to self-destructive. For whatever reason the partner gives for leaving, it is clear that they have made a decision to show you who they are, and how they roll. Right?

Can you see it from that perspective? Can you recognize that wanting someone who doesn’t want you–once the initial pain is behind you–is a demonstration of lack of self-esteem?

You don’t want to be grasping after someone who has told you they’re moving on. Let that relationship go. Clearly, you are better off in the long run even though there is pain in the short-run.

Who, in their rational mind, would want someone back who treats them poorly, and leaves them bleeding in the dust?  People who:

  • have so little self-esteem and self-confidence, that they honestly believe they deserve to be treated poorly
  • actually think that it is their fault that another person behaves badly
  • believe they will be alone forever if that person leaves them
  • think they can nurture, nourish or love someone enough to change them
  • are more focused on “being wanted” than on quality in relationship
  • confuse being used with being loved
  • are afraid to be alone
  • have a self-worth issue, and think that being in a relationship–any relationship– validates them and makes them a more worthwhile person.

So, when I hear that question: “How can I get him/her back?” I wonder what is going on in the mind and heart of the person asking the question. Yes, it can make you wonder if you have value, or if there is something terribly wrong with you. It can make you wonder if you’re worthwhile. But, I hope, only for a short while.

Then, get help to pick yourself up, give your head a shake, and realize that you are better off. You now know who your partner is, and you understand–sadly enough–that you certainly don’t want someone who doesn’t want you.

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If you are in a relationship with someone right now who makes you question your sanity and second-guess yourself all the time, think about coming along to the Virtual Retreat on Saturday, June 27, from 1 – 5 PM Pacific Time, on Loving, Living With, Or Leaving an Emotional Vampire! at   Only 12 spaces! 

Relationship Issues: Fighting In A Relationship

In a relationship, some people expect a fight. Others look for one. Others run from one. Which are you?

And, there is one other approach: you can sidestep a fight.

Frequently, relationship problems turn into fights. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can stop that.

If you are looking for a fight in a troubled, or even in a relatively calm relationship, you’ll likely find it. It is possible, though, to change your focus.

Are you looking for a fight, or trying to make things right? 

Your instant answer to that question makes all the difference to the success of your relationship.

Not long ago, I was working with a couple in a Co-Parenting for Divorced Couples class. The fellow was regaling me with how they have rapid fire conversations, sending text messages back and forth that get progressively more unpleasant. He had a smile on his face.

The couple recalled one interchange–almost pleased with themselves–in which she called him a “Deadbeat Dad” to which he had replied, “You’re a fat cow!”  When I asked about this way of communicating and what they found so satisfying and amusing in it, the man replied that, although it was childish, it was fun. He said he enjoyed their exchange of insults, and here’s the kicker: He proudly said that, if she started it, he’d be sure to finish it, with a flourish!

Clearly, he loved the fight! And, just to add fuel to the first, the woman was unwilling to see her passive-aggressive tendencies, egging him on, and then, making him wrong for being upset. A match made in hell!

Does any of that sound familiar to you?

  • Do you take some kind of perverse pleasure in one-upmanship?
  • Do you feel superior, strong, or clever when you are putting others down?
  • Do you enjoy the battle, and have no problem bringing bigger and bigger weapons into it?
  • Do you like to see if you can push someone into losing their cool?
  • Do you feel powerful when you can get a rise out of someone, and then, make them wrong for getting upset?

If any of those are familiar to you, you are looking for a fight. Those could not be farther from trying to make things right.

Constant or frequent fighting in a relationship should be a red flag that you need relationship help now.

If you are the perpetrator of these things, you need to get some relationship help to explore what’s driving this. You are pushing people away for some reason, and you’d do well to figure that out sooner rather than later!

If you are on the receiving end of these behaviors, you can stop the fight by refusing to participate. You can be the one who can sidestep the angry, negative energy. You have to simply refuse to play this nasty game of lose-lose.

If you want things to change, both of you can use these four essential statements as soon as you realize that you are beginning to feel angry:

  1. I recognize that I am getting angry.
  2. I care about the relationship.
  3. I am going to withdraw and calm down. (Say what you are going to do: go for a walk, put on my headphones, exercise, watch a movie, run errands)
  4. I’ll be back at __________o’clock and we can talk about this then, or agree on a good time to talk about it.

Taking control of your anger in this way lets you know how powerful you really are. Fighting, whether it is bickering or blowouts, is damaging, hurtful, and unproductive. You know that all you do when you fight is make one more thing to throw at each other the next time you fight. That’s crazy!

What’s your answer? Are you looking for a fight in your relationship? Or, are you trying to make things right? That answer will make all the difference to the relationship problems you will be able to solve together.


Relationship problems need solutions, not stalemates! You are wise to work with a relationship expert as soon as possible if fighting is a frequent thing in your relationship. You’re just causing and perpetuating pain. That is definitely not love!