Should exes ever get back together?
The vast majority of them, no, they shouldn’t.
But the rule of “what broke you up the first time will break you up again” is far from being the truth.
While the black and white rule of “getting back with your ex is never a good idea” is a sexy concept, it’s simply not true in real life.
Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t – and five reasons why you should – get back with your ex.
Five Times When You Shouldn’t Get Back With Your Ex
1. They were the best thing in your life
Were they the best thing in your life?
Maybe they were. But that’s generally more of a sign that you want to improve the things in your life (especially the things that aren’t people).
While a romantic partner can be your favorite person in the world, they shouldn’t be your favorite anything.
2. Trying to find someone new isn’t going well
Sure, dating can suck. And the few flings that followed your ex might all seem like laughably poor options compared to your past relationship, but that still doesn’t mean much.
Just like the process of finding a new job after quitting/being fired from your last job isn’t fun, those are necessary growing pains in order for you to find something you’re excited about again.
And if your mind is trying to tell you that they were the best that you could get, have a little faith. Your ex was in your life for a reason, and you very likely catalyzed each other into the kind of people you needed to be in order to attract your ultimate partner.
Besides, if you feel like going back to your ex because it seems like an easy option, remember that nobody wants to be the person you settled for.
It’s better to be temporarily alone and hurting in order to find your ideal partner later on, than it is to keep yourself stuck in the same old relationship that has no potential.
3. You want to prove that you can
Maybe they broke your heart, and your self-esteem took a huge hit.
If you find yourself wanting to get back with them just to see if you are able to, this a recipe for disaster.
Do you want to see if you are still worthy of them and their attention?
Do you find yourself telling your friends that you think you can still “win” their heart?
When someone wants to walk out of your life, have enough self-respect to hold the door open for them. Stop giving them real estate in your thoughts, and cut them from your life.
4. When your gut knows you shouldn’t
When your gut/heart/intuition is screaming at you “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?
That person again!?”
You can’t logic your way into a relationship. You have to feel genuinely compelled, not cornered into it. Don’t ever date someone because your friends think they they’re good for you, or they’re wealthy, or everyone you know thinks that they’re absolutely gorgeous.
The only thing that matters is how you and your heart respond to them. Everything else is just noise.
5. They were awful to you, or awful for you
Were they awful to you?
Were they emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive?
Did they belittle you and make you think you were unlovable to anyone but them?
Were they awful for you?
Did they encourage the sides of yourself that you didn’t like?
Did you find yourself engaging in self-destructive behaviour like drinking, drugs, or partying more often than you would have liked?
Did they discourage the sides of yourself that you wanted to flourish (for example, were they dismissive of your hobbies or friends)?
If you didn’t like the version of yourself that you were when you were around them… steer clear. The relationship has run its course and you deserve better than what you experienced.
Five Times When You Should Get Back With Your Ex
So you’ve read through all five points of why you shouldn’t get back with your ex, and you genuinely feel like none of them apply to you?See if you can confirm your beliefs about your compatibility and make note of whether or not the following five steps resonate with you.
1. When you learn from your time apart
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.
If you enter into a repeat relationship with your ex and there’s no difference in the behavior of either of you, then you’re doomed.
On the other hand, if you both genuinely learned about your communication styles, triggers, and emotional patterns in your time apart, then you might be much better set up for a healthier round two.
2. When you are both willing to put in the work to do things differently
Did you always fight fair when you dated your ex? Did you voice your needs when they came up or did you bury them?
Whatever the old pattern or behaviour that you’re trying to correct, it takes intentionally from both sides to make a relationship run smoothly.
Are you “kind of hoping” that things will work out better this time around, or are you being purposeful about how you show up in your relationship?
3. Your life wasn’t going well and they were the easiest thing to push away
If your life wasn’t going well, and they were just an easy thing to push away, you may have made a rash decision.
If you realized this mistake after it happened and you communicated to your ex what you did, then you may have a shot at a second chance with them.
Trust builds slowly, but can be damaged quickly. Don’t expect your ex to welcome you instantly with open arms.
It will take some time for them to fully trust you again, but if you know that they’re the one for you then it will be worth it to sacrifice your ego for the greater good.
4. Your collective life goals have grown even more similar in your time apart
Did you break up because you were incompatible in things important to you?
You wanted children and they didn’t? You wanted to live in the city and they wanted to live in the suburbs?
Well, what happens if those things change with time?
If you and your ex broke up years ago, it’s completely possible that both of your long-term goals and ambitions have shifted.
If you got along well, you were deeply in love, and your once incompatible differences are now aligned, then by all means, give the relationship another shot.
5. You feared the depth of your connection and you ran away
Maybe when you and your ex were dating you felt such an overwhelming feeling of love for them that it was too much for you to take in.
This kind of behaviour is especially common for people with commitment issues, rejection sensitivity, or old abandonment wounds that were never fully healed.
But really, a deep feeling of love can cause anyone a feeling of anxiety (regardless of past emotional trauma or relationship hangups).
If you pushed your partner away from a place of fear or anxiety, you may still be just as compatible as a couple as you ever were.
As with point #3, you’ll have to communicate to them what you realized you did, and see if you can earn their trust back over time.
Are You Being Honest With Yourself?
Have you ever known a couple (or been a part of a couple) that broke up and got back together repeatedly for months, or even years?
Generally this is a sign that the people can’t accept fate. They are grasping for straws. They are holding on to a projection of what they had hoped the relationship could be but, in reality, never was.
While researching my newest book, I interviewed dozens of highly successful long-term marriages, and every single one of them said that their relationship trajectory was “easy”.
It wasn’t tumultuous and filled with half a dozen breakups. Their path to marriage was fairly straightforward and simple.
Does this mean that a couple can’t bounce back from a breakup or two?
You absolutely can have a successful relationship after a rocky start.
But it takes two self-aware and intentional people to make it work.
So be honest about why you’re getting back together.
See the relationship for what it is, not for what it could be.
If you’re going to date someone, date someone as they are, don’t date their potential.