We've all been there - everything seemed to be going great between you both and then out of nowhere, she decides to break up. I know how overwhelming the experience can be - feeling loss, confusion, pain, anger all at once. And how it causes you to question every little thing. It's only natural to search for answers - "What did I do wrong?"
I hear the same thing from so many different clients: "Everything was fine! And then she broke up with me for no reason at all…"
And I know how hopeless it feels.
At some point in the session, I eventually bring up the fact that there is a reason for her breaking up with them. There's always a reason. Why would she put you through this pain if there was no reason? And there's a good chance she's hurting just as much as you, if not more.
Understanding why she broke up with you isn't suddenly going to fix everything. You won't suddenly win her back by impressing her with your deductive skills. You won't suddenly stop hurting and forget about her. Once you figure out why the breakup happened, you've only just finished the first step to recovering.
She has certain goals or desires that just can't be fulfilled while in a relationship with you. She may not have any complaints about you or the relationship itself. This is a simple one, without many layers. But I think that's what also makes it one of the trickiest issues to deal with - there's usually not much you can directly influence.
Welp, there we go. We're starting with the big one. You want to be in a relationship, and she wants to be single. Her exact reasons for wanting to be single can vary - maybe she wants to focus on career/education, maybe she thinks it's too soon to be in a committed relationship, maybe she just hasn't been single in a long time, etc. - but at face value, it doesn't matter, since your desires are completely incompatible.
It's not that grim of a situation if we look closer, though.
Unless your ex has no interest in ever pursuing a relationship in the future, her desire to be single almost certainly has a deadline. She wants to be single right now, not forever.
In other words, if she has no actual complaints about you or the relationship, there's nothing to say that you can't just continue your relationship after she has fulfilled her desire to be single.
It's not as easy as it sounds, of course. You still just got broken up with. You're still going to be hurting. And then there's the actual waiting - you don't know how long you have to wait for her, either. She's very likely to not know that herself, in fact.
Unless she was completely mistaken about her desires, she's not going to suddenly miss you so much that she changes her mind about being single. It's going to take a while. Maybe a couple of months, maybe even a year.
And trying to influence her decision will probably just make things worse for both of you. Instead, you must use this time apart to your advantage. While things may feel helpless and bleak, life hasn't actually stopped. You're going to focus on the other parts of your life so that when she's ready to stop being single, you will be there for her and ready.
This is a hard one. And if this is the reason, it's understandable why she may not reveal it to you. There are a few different things she might be looking for - maybe she's unwilling to be in a commitment right now, maybe she wants to "check her options", maybe she's looking for an open relationship and you're not - but the most important thing to figure out is if she has any actual complaints with you or the relationship.
If not, your next steps are not that different from if she wanted to be single (above). Give her time, do not pressure her, and work on yourself. Worst case scenario, she meets someone she prefers to you. But that goes the other way too - she might meet someone that just makes her realize she wants to be with you.
If she's looking to take your relationship to the next step and you're against it (or she feels you're against it), she may believe she has no choice but to cut her losses. This can be about marriage, proposal, moving in together, or even going steady.
The most important thing here is to consider what you really want. It's not advisable to jump into a deeper commitment than you might be ready for, but a lot of us have never actually given it as much thought as we should. It's also important to be completely honest with yourself and her. You might be tempted to agree to something now because you don't want to lose her, but if you're not actually on the same page; you're just delaying the inevitable. And making sure everyone gets a lot more hurt later.
This is one of the most common reasons why I see clients getting broken up with. And it's not just about someone's balding head, there's a lot of factors that are involved.
If your physical appearance has suffered since you both started dating, it's likely to have contributed towards your breakup in some way. It's time to take a look in the mirror.
Weight Issues - Have you gained a lot of weight since you guys have been dating? You may not even have realized it, but it's not uncommon to suddenly gain a couple of dozen pounds over a few months. Or maybe it was the other direction and you lost a bit too much weight.
This is a reasonably easy thing to fix, especially since you're not trying to become a supermodel, but just getting back to how you were when you guys first met (maybe a little better than that).
If she is very health or fitness conscious, this is likely going to be an even bigger issue for her, since it will hint towards major incompatibilities between the two of you.
Grooming and Fashion - If you've not been taking very good care of yourself, especially compared to when both of you first started dating, it's probably playing a part.
Let's be honest, it's quite natural for people to become complacent about their appearance, clothes, even hygiene when they start getting more serious with each other. As we get more comfortable with our partner, we feel more secure about ourselves, and that's a good thing.
A healthy balance is always crucial, though. There's a difference between being yourself and letting yourself go.
Aging - This is a tough one as it's pretty much entirely out of your hand if she strictly means your age. But it's likely to not be about the actual number.
If she suddenly feels you're too old, that's more likely to be about herself than your age. Unless you guys have a really big age gap and have been together for a while, you've probably not aged that much since you both started dating.
Your age is just one part of the "attraction" puzzle, and if you're aces in all the other sections, this one will not weigh you down that much.
Rather than your actual age, this probably has more to do with how you act. Specifically about how you act towards her and around her. The biggest red flags are if your behavior has significantly changed since the time you both met.
Have you recently become more protective or possessive of her?
Have you stopped flirting with her like you used to?
Maybe you prefer to hang out with your own friends, who just happen to be older than her's?
Or maybe you're always telling her to act a certain way.
Either of the above can remind women of their fathers instead of the man they want to be with.
Even if you make the necessary changes ASAP, she's not going to suddenly think you've lost a few years. She has an image of you built in her mind and it will take a while to replace it with the new one you want to present. Taking some time apart and practicing no contact is a great solution, especially as it gives you the time to make the changes.
I'm going to have to explain this one a little bit. When you first think of the word "status," it can have a slightly negative connotation. It's a bit deeper than that though.
When I say "status," I'm not specifically referring to the relative status between the both of you, eg: you were better than her, now she's better than you. That's absolutely not the implication. It refers to her impression of your status when compared to your past self (and other guys).
Career/Education/etc troubles - Life has ups and downs. And a lot of it can be out of our direct control.
If you're not doing as well at school/work as you were when you guys met, you have to admit that you're not the same guy she fell for.
Even if she doesn't particularly care about your pursuits, these things generally have a domino effect. Trouble at work can mean stress, which can lead to overworking, which can lead to neglecting your partner. And that's just one example.
Or maybe things haven't changed at all. And that can be just as bad. We always want to keep doing better, not stay at the same level. If you've stagnated in your pursuits while she has continued to better herself, she has basically outgrown you.
Take an inventory of your life. What are your goals outside your relationship? And how are you actively working towards achieving them? That's your priority now. Use this time away from her wisely.
Putting her on a pedestal - Some women dig it, but unless that's the dynamic you guys established in your relationship from the beginning; it's unlikely to win you any favors. And even then, I'd advise against it. It's natural to elevate the ones we care about and love, but if we do it at the expense of ourselves, it will usually come back to bite us.
Were you always asking for her approval, even for the smallest things? It probably made her feel like you can't make your own decisions and that you have to rely on her for everything.
Were you being clingy? Maybe you displayed some jealous behavior. Put yourself in her shoes and you'll agree how annoying this can be.
Did you always make time for her and/or do whatever she wanted you to do, regardless of your plans and needs? Some people call that a doormat. It's good to make time for your partner and to be able to prioritize her needs over your own, but if you're only ever making concessions and never stand your ground, she's going to realize that you're not the man for her.
It does not mean you have to be a jerk. It's about being assertive and sincere. If someone asks you to do something, and you're genuinely happy to do it, that's good. But if someone asks you to do something that you're not really interested in, you shouldn't be insincere and play along just to be "nice".
When two people are in a relationship with each other, a lot of things are taken for granted and left unsaid. Arguably the most important component of a successful relationship is making sure both your emotional needs are met. Even if the attraction between you both is great and you share similar goals and interests, it will all be for nothing if both of you aren't emotionally fulfilled.
Lacking attention - You may have unconsciously stopped paying attention to her needs and desires. In a long-term relationship, over months and years, our lives shift, move, and we are constantly taking up new responsibilities and tasks.
You may have started spending more time and attention on other people or pursuits. Maybe you've been really busy with work lately or made a new group of friends. Either way, she hasn't been getting to spend as much time with you as she'd like.
Maybe there hasn't been any change in how much time you spent with each other, but that doesn't mean you couldn't have been neglecting her in some ways.
Were you guys not talking as much when you spent time together?
Were you calling or texting fewer times than before?
There could also have been a drop in the quality of your communication.
Were you prone to giving vague responses? A lot of guys resort to being vague when they don't want to express their actual emotions (like resentment) or they're trying to keep some secret.
Not only does this slowly build up a wall between you and your partner, but it can also come off as deceptive since it'll feel like you're trying to hide things.
Lacking intimacy - Intimacy is a foundation of relationships. It represents that two people care about and trust each other enough to make themselves vulnerable in each other's company. Without intimacy, no romantic relationship will ever go far.
Had things stopped being romantic? Or at least not nearly as romantic as when you began dating. A "romantic" relationship is the result of a lot of things - attraction, interest, comfort, sexual tension.
Did arguments/fight happen more often as the relationship went on? Negative interactions put us on the defensive, and that is just not conducive to letting oneself be vulnerable and intimate with another.
Did you guys rarely have conversations about each others' feelings? Validating your partner's feelings and providing a safe space for their feelings is crucial to maintaining intimacy.
Do you have a short temper? It would be hard for someone to be intimate with you if they have issues dealing with your short fuse.
Lacking support - Having each other's back and supporting your partner is an important part of a fulfilling relationship. If she felt like she couldn't rely on you for emotional support, it's not surprising that she decided to end things.
You have to be supportive of her goals and passions. If she felt like you didn't respect or support her in her pursuits, she would feel like you don't care about what she wants.
People aren't mindreaders. If you never complimented her or acknowledged her accomplishments, she probably felt like you didn't care about her success.
Did you hold yourself back from speaking your mind when you felt vulnerable? That probably made her feel like you didn't trust her enough. As a guy, it's not uncommon to feel nervous about sharing our insecurities with others. But it's an important step towards building a successful relationship. You have to work on your insecurities, and let your partner help you with it - trust them to be there for you.
Lacking security - If someone isn't feeling secure in their relationship, it's not going to go very far. This is usually more important to women, and often why so many men don't understand it well.
Is there any reason she might doubt that you'll still be around in a year? Or two? If you couldn't get her to a position where she felt comfortable that you'll be around, that's your answer.
Were you facing financial instability? The world is a shaky place, and this past year has been quite remarkable. If your financial position deteriorated, that probably had a part to play in your breakup.
This isn't something you can just fix, of course. No one wants there financial position to worsen, and you probably did your best to prevent it.
Set reasonable goals and start working on building a stable foundation for yourself. Use this time apart from her to focus your 100% on this.
Are you bad at keeping promises? It's going to be very hard for you to find any woman to date you if you're not halfway decent at keeping promises. If you follow only one advice I listed out today, please make it this one - set achievable goals and keep yourself accountable.
Lacking autonomy - If she lacked autonomy and agency in the relationship, it would have made her feel trapped. When any of us feel trapped, our mind automatically starts telling us to "get out". As guys, we're taught most of our lives to be assertive and grab what we want. But sometimes we can take it too far. Here are some signs that you were too controlling in the relationship.
You stopped (or tried to stop) her from going out with friends to clubs/bars.
You demanded that she share her phone or social networking app passwords.
You constantly asked for her whereabouts.
You nagged constantly about what she should be doing.
You often made decisions for her.
We're all going through our lives at different speeds and in different directions, all of us have wants and desires that are largely independent of each other, we may not all share the same values in life.
Compatibility is key to a long-lasting relationship. Even the strongest chemistry, attraction, and all the understanding in the world can't substitute for compatibility. This doesn't mean that two people have to be 100% compatible, and in fact, a little difference is appreciated. But if two people are truly incompatible, it can be really hard to get around it.
Incompatible Values - We can't all have similar values in life (though that'd be something to behold). There are a lot of things that are very important to some people and incompatibility in any one of these things can be enough to end the relationship, eg: health and fitness, the involvement of extended family, traveling, religion, integrity, privacy, etc.
If you're willing to compromise on some of your values and prioritize your ex's more, then that's the obvious first step. But honesty is crucial here. Honesty to yourself. You don't want to convince yourself you can do something just to later regret your decision.
Don't ask her to compromise her own values.
Different points in life - Maybe you both just lack enough commonalities. Life experiences, personality, cultural background, maturity level, financial situation, general life experiences, etc all factor into where we believe we are in life, eg: When to get an education, start a career, living the simple life, moving in together, get married, have kids, etc.
If she believes you both are at different points in life, it could be the sole reason behind the breakup.
Unlike values, this is far easier to compromise on, for either of you. But just like values, you have to be completely honest with yourself.
Unhealthy Lifestyle - If you have any habits that she couldn't put up with, especially ones that are negatively affecting your health in some way, she may have decided not to put up with it.
Smoking, drinking, drugs are the obvious problems. But even somewhat harmless habits can become dangerous if we become psychologically dependent - like video games.
If your drinking or drugs habit is to the point of addiction, I think we both have to agree you have more crucial things to work on before you can think about winning her back.
If you used to waste weekends just sitting on the couch smoking weed and being unproductive, use this time apart from her to your advantage.
Sexual Incompatibility - This is actually a lot more common breakup reason than most expect.
If she wasn't having as much sex as you wanted, it may have been because she was losing attraction towards you (check #2 above). Or it may have been because her prerequisite emotional needs weren't being fulfilled (check #3 above).
If you were not fulfilling her sexual needs, it may have been due to several reasons.
If you weren't having as much sex as she wanted, you have to think about where it began. Did your sex drive decrease compared to when you both first started dating? Were you just not getting enough time? Maybe your attraction towards her had been dropping. In this case, sexual incompatibility is a symptom of a bigger root cause - like you not paying enough attention to her.
Did you not feel comfortable performing certain sexual acts? Besides just slowly building up to it, an alternative is to suggest a similar sexual act you'd be more comfortable performing.
If you have any medical issues or medicines that affect your sexual performance, that is very understandable. Generally, this isn't a deal-breaker unless there are other issues in the relationship as well.
Maybe she felt like she couldn't sexually fulfill you.
You may be more adventurous in bed than she's comfortable with.
She may just not be as sexually active as you prefer.
You may not have communicated your preferences to her openly.
Trust is an integral part of relationships. It is the foundation for intimacy, comfort, even attraction to an extent. If she felt like she couldn't trust you, she would not be able to continue the relationship. There may be many reasons why she'd come to this conclusion.
Lying - If you've lied to her in the past, it's easy to see why she may not trust you completely.
If you had a pattern of lots of white lies, you won't be able to suddenly convince her you're not going to lie anymore. It will take constant effort and time, you will have to establish low-level goals and keep yourself accountable.
If you don't have a history of lying, but lied about something important, you may be able to make her forgive you. You would have to apologize to her, making sure you explain exactly why you lied (like if it was out of fear or jealousy, etc). It'll also require some time for her to slowly let go of any anger.
Breaking promises - If you've made promises to her and failed to carry through, you've basically set yourself up for failure. Depending on the severity and frequency, it's going to be really hard for you to fix this.
You have to be genuinely apologetic and show it to her.
You can't just promise to never break another promise - if only things worked like that.
You will have to slowly build up trust even if she forgives you.
Unforgivable Incident - Did you say something hurtful to her? Maybe you picked a fight with her best friend? Or maybe you humiliated her in front of a group?
Whatever the reason, the only way you dig your way out of this by apologizing.
She probably doesn't want to talk to you right now, so you should write her a message. That way even if she decides to not read it immediately, it will be there for when she's in a better mood.
After that, you can give her some time and space, and then re-engage later with another message.
The one thing none of us want to hear. Yet, it is always a possibility. If she found someone else, that's just one part of it. For her to decide to leave you for this other guy, it also means that this other guy provides more value than you. In her eyes and for her current needs, she believes the other guy is a better fit.
Let's take a look at some scenarios:
The new guy provides value to her in ways that you weren't. Maybe it wasn't always like this and you changed over time. Take a look at all the 5 points above this and try to figure out where you might have lacked.
You've not changed since you met her, but she may have climbed higher on the "dating pool".
If she feels like she's much better than when you both first met, it's easy to see why she would want to "upgrade".
Focus on raising your own "market value". Fitness, develop attractive communication skills (like teasing, witty banter, charismatic speaking, etc), advance your career, etc.
No matter what, do not confront her about the new guy. Instead, take yourself out of the equation. Give her space and use this time to better yourself.
# As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why your ex might have broken up with you. Not all of these reasons will apply to your relationship. It'll probably just be a couple. But that's a start. You can't try and fix things if you don't even realize where things went wrong.
After all, if your goal is to win her back, you need to actively take steps that maximize your chances of winning her back.
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