Why seducing ex-lovers is a fool's game



20:57 GMT, 8 April 2012

My partner of ten years has ended our relationship and I am shocked and alone aged 41.

He says he adores me, but he’s not in love and we should both have space to find our ‘soul-mates’ – but he is that person to me.

Friends have said that the only course of action is to stay away, yet I feel I could seduce him back into loving me. Should I book a romantic weekend away

One reader is feeling shocked and alone after her partner of ten years ended their relationship (stock picture)

One reader is feeling shocked and alone after her partner of ten years ended their relationship (stock picture)

Knowing when to fight for love and when to beat a retreat is always tricky and even the best strategists get it wrong. If you try to stand your ground from a position of obvious weakness, you will get mown down. If you draw back when your opponent is wavering, you forfeit victory.

Unfortunately, you don’t have a very strong hand. Your ex sounds resolved in his intent to end the relationship — his reasoning, while wounding, is hard to argue with. You cannot tell another human being they are in love if they believe they are not.

Love affairs can unravel over the course of a decade and it’s possible he heard the death knell before you. Of course, I understand your instinct to throw your energies into salvaging your relationship, but I wonder if it’s wise.

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Nowadays we tend to believe if we want something enough we can make it happen, but there’s no erotic trick or piece of lingerie that helps when love has gone. I have one friend who has long boasted of her sexual repertoire — but none of her geisha skills has saved her from the ignominy of being dumped. Being jilted is a universal woe.

Fighting for love also risks you becoming ‘needy’ in the eyes of your ex-partner. If someone’s annoying you, the last thing that shifts your perception is greater contact. Often the person who caused the split feels irate precisely because they’ve caused their former beloved great pain and the sight of them red-eyed and desperate arouses feelings of guilt.

One of life’s great ironies is that we seem to blame the person we’ve just dumped for reminding us we’ve been unkind. Men, in particular, often want any messy human frailty out of sight and out of mind.

I know people who have won love back, but they were contending with something solid (such as a love rival) and most of them had children. My single friends who have reignited ardour tend to have withdrawn from their former lovers and aroused jealousy by dating other people.

It’s hard to discern your own best interests at this early point, but I urge you to think long and hard about whether you truly want to spend the next few decades of your life yoked to someone who declares they are neither in love with you, nor are you their soul-mate

You deserve more than that. Only by stepping back now can you give your ex a chance to re-evaluate his actions. Some people can’t gauge the true strength of their feelings until they see their partner detached, independent, confident and courted by others.

As the American novelist Richard Bach wrote: ‘If you love someone, set them free. ‘If they come back, they’re yours; if they don’t, they never were’.