Fifty-four-year-old Sam had spent over a year getting his life on track. His words were positive, he was enjoying his career and supportive staff, and he was enthused about his art classes. Friends were fixing him up with dates, he was meeting women on the Internet, and females were calling him and asking him out. Word was out among his friends and business colleagues that he was a changed man.
Sam decided to take a trip to Paris. He would have preferred to go with someone but he said the only person he could imagine being with in such a lovely place was—his Ex girlfriend. People were astonished that Sam would take a trip alone. But he didn’t take anyone and he went anyway because he had told himself all his life that someday…he would go to Paris.
While he was there, he noticed something extraordinary. Women were looking at HIM. He couldn’t believe it. Going from being a geek to a hottie in one year was blowing all his circuits. He called me from Paris and said, half scared, “I don’t know what’s going on!”
“That’s easy to figure out,” I said. “You’ve crossed the line from sour to sweet. You have more confidence, you’re interested in life, and you’re fun to talk to. This is what makes people attractive. Why wouldn’t everyone want to be around you? ”
When Sam was in Paris, it became apparent that in the last year, he had acquired three qualities he’d never had before. First, for some reason, women now liked him. Second, he had learned dating and social skills he’d never had before. Third, and most importantly, he no longer was desperate for a woman to make him happy—he finally knew how to do that himself.
When we talked about his future and what he wanted to do, he said, “I want to try and contact my Ex-girlfriend once more. Now I know what I did wrong, and even if she doesn’t want to see me again, at least I want to apologize.”
Sam called his Ex-girlfriend that night. She agreed to meet him at a neighborhood coffee shop to talk. He thought about what he wanted to say to her. He also realized after he hung up that he still didn’t know if she was single, engaged, or even married. Sam didn’t sleep all night.
She was waiting for him in a familiar booth they used to sit in. Just seeing her again made his heart pound. They hugged each other hello. Before she could say much, he told her the following:
• He was sorry for all the pain he put her through. Because he had not waited a healthy year after his separation and divorce, he had gotten in a relationship too soon. He wouldn’t listen when people tried to warn him against it. Because he hadn’t waited, he found himself talking to her constantly about his ex-wife. He said it was unfair to dump all that pain and anger on her (his girlfriend.)
• He deeply regretted his poor boundaries with others. He said in the past year, he had done a lot of growing, and he learned that because he was a “pleaser,” he said yes to everyone else first (including his former wife) when they called him. He put her (his girlfriend’s) needs last.
• He asked forgiveness for his tremendous baggage. He knew it was too much for their relationship that he still lived in the house he shared with his former wife with all the years of pictures, mail, clutter, furniture and memories. Though his girlfriend had tried to tell him it was emotionally draining and she felt like she was trespassing into another woman’s home, he couldn’t get it. He knows he lost her because of all this unfinished business.
Finally, Sam let his girlfriend speak. She said she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had forcibly put him out of her mind for the last year. She was dating casually, but she was not seeing anyone in particular. These apologies and explanations, however, were more than she ever expected to hear. Until today, she was certain they would never see each other again. She was stunned.
Sam asked her if she would go out with him. She said, “Sure. We can be friends and see each other sometime.” Sam said, “No. I don’t want a sometime relationship. I want to see you all the time and see where we can go with this.” She was startled by his confidence. He had never been so straightforward. “Well, okay…what are you doing tonight?”
I am happy to say that Sam no longer has a girlfriend. He has a wife. And I know this next part is hard to believe, but it is true. They check in with me periodically, calling from Paris, where they live part of the year. Now that’s what I call a great ending… to a story of how to get your Ex back.