Some of my most embarrassing moments have emerged in the fallout of a breakup. The crying, the bargaining, the drunk texts — even if everything has since worked out for the best, I just generally wish I’d skipped all of that. But there’s no real guidebook for breaking up, and no official rules to ensure the optimal outcome. There are, however, several experts on the topic who share their insights with desperate listeners. And like just about every other type of guru, these “how to get your ex back” influencers have found their most welcoming home on YouTube.
To that end, search “how to get your ex back” on YouTube, and you’ll find a dozen different attractive people posing next to a bold font and all-caps lettering that advertises techniques like “3 Texts to Get Your Ex-GF Back” or “Get Your Ex Back When They Don’t Have Feelings For You.” Many of these videos have well over a million views, with their creators having built entire brands around addressing this central problem.
“Whenever someone wants to find out how to do anything these days, they know they need to go to YouTube,” says Lucia Demasi, a relationship expert and dating coach who offers advice on her YouTube channel, The Art of Love, where she, too, has honed in on ex-retrieval. She has 169 videos on the topic alone, and an additional 105 on the so-called “no contact” technique that she and many other YouTubers in the field promote.
Not surprisingly then, Demasi has addressed nearly every question one could possibly have about managing a breakup. For instance: Should you unfriend them on social media? And: Is your ex breadcrumbing you? Ultimately, though, much of her content emphasizes “no contact,” which is essentially going a full month without contacting your ex at all if you want to win them back after they’ve broken up with you. You’re not supposed to like their posts on social media, or text, call or email them. You’re not even supposed to respond if they contact you first. If you follow these rules, they say there’s good odds your ex will come crawling back in a play of reverse psychology: By showing that you’re unavailable or independent, not vying for their attention, your ex hypothetically begins to miss you and wants your attention anew.
But for Demasi, 30 days still isn’t enough. “I came up with the 60-day rule, which basically means that if someone breaks up with you and you leave them alone, you’ll usually hear from them between week six and eight, which is days 45 to 60 days after the breakup,” she says. Demasi developed this strategy through her own experiences of being broken up with and breaking up with others, as well as through guiding her clients as a relationship expert over the last 20 years.
While there’s no concrete data as to how often this technique works, “no contact” is indeed a common method recommended by psychologists, if only to help someone get over the breakup rather than mend the relationship. Rather, as grief coach Breeshia Wade told Cosmo in February, no contact gives you the proper space to deal with the loss of the relationship. But as the YouTubers explain, it’s once you feel “over” the breakup, emotionally distant from it, that your partner comes back.
On her YouTube channel, Demasi has shared more than 21 “success story” videos featuring people who’ve gotten back with their former partners after implementing a no-contact policy following the breakup. In the comments section, most of those watching are still in the early stages of a breakup, trying to cope. Whether the technique did eventually bring their partners back is unclear, but the videos seem to help in the moment. “I needed this so bad,” one woman wrote. “Thank you. I’m with a player and I’m stopping all contact if it kills me. This gave me knowledge and strength.”
Of course, there are situations in which getting back with an ex isn’t a healthy decision, no matter how badly you want it. With the exception of those who are victims of abuse, Demasi says she and other YouTubers aren’t there to be arbiters of whether someone should get back with an ex — they’re simply there to help show people what’s worked for others. And given that their primary advice is to completely cut off contact with an ex for a period of time, they aren’t encouraging their viewers to directly do anything at all. In some cases, the no-contact rule may even allow a person who wants to get back with their ex to realize that’s not actually what they want.
“The way you feel on day one [of the 60-day period] may not be the way you feel on day 60,” Demasi eplains. “Stepping back gives you a different perspective and makes you realize that, you know what, maybe you shouldn’t be in that relationship. Maybe there’s a good reason for the breakup.”
Even if the advice often remains the same, the hundreds of videos on the topic shows that there’s no shortage of people looking to hear it. Reflecting on my own prior breakups, I probably should have done a better job of seeking out their YouTube insights when I really needed them, too. Who knows — maybe I could have become a “how to get your ex back” YouTuber myself.