Romantic comedies are full of this simple plotline. A couple falls in love and enjoys a honeymoon stage, then something wrong happens, and they get back together and live happily ever after – everything was just a misunderstanding.
Oh, if real life could be like that! But for the reality check, we don’t have enough information. For example, we don’t see the details of how they will make this second-time-around relationship work. When your breakup happened because of cheating, does someone regret and what exactly keeps it from happening again? How can you know you are over it when hurt and angry?
Let’s make things real – and talk straightly about life after restoring your former relationship. If you’re just after your initial breakup and hoping for reconnection, this article will help you gain a better understanding of whether you should really get back with your ex.
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“If you’re going to get back to the relationship, the obvious question is: ‘Why didn’t it work the first time?’ If each partner is the same person and has not worked on their part in what initially broke the relationship, then there will not be a healthy reconciliation.”
Mark Williams, licensed therapist
If you’ve just met or are about to meet after a painful breakup, difficult conversations need to be held. Each partner should take responsibility for the former unhealthy relationship and work out how each will change this time. If nothing changes, the same patterns will re-emerge. Both you and your former partner will have the same issues, perhaps even more pronounced.
Just do this short reality check if you may feel tempted to try when your former relationship partner comes back and asks you to start all over again.
But you may still wonder, “How to know for sure if you’re not looking at that old relationship through rose-colored glasses?”. Let’s eliminate that risk by looking at the wrong reasons to get back together with an ex.
There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone with yourself. And if you are thinking about getting back together with an ex because you are lonely, you have not learned to be comfortable being alone with yourself. So, instead of mending things, start with yourself.
It’s the wrong way to think when in your loneliness, “When we initially started dating, things were really great. We can start all over again, and this time we’ll keep our romantic connection alive and well.” These thoughts just show that you want to escape loneliness at any cost.
Think again. What exactly will be different now? Have you worked on yourself since you split? Has your ex-partner worked on themself? Did you both spend time analyzing what went wrong and how that will be corrected now? Chances are none of this has happened, and it probably won’t happen when you get back together either. So it’s too early to try – if relevant at all.
When a relationship ends, you lose some self-confidence, especially if it has been a long-term relationship. In this state, it’s easy to doubt that you will find a romantic relationship with a new partner who will be better than you had. And when you and your ex may get back together, you desperately jump at the chance.
But think twice – the saying, “There is plenty of fish in the sea,” is really true. Just because you haven’t found someone better than your ex doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. It just means you haven’t given it enough time. Being afraid of not finding romance again is no reason to get back together with your ex.
Related reading: Ex Still Renting Space in Your Head? 11 Tools to Break Free
You’ve found out that your ex has begun a new relationship, and you haven’t yet. Now, you’re in a bit of a panic, and your anxiety increases. They’re moving on, and there’s a good chance that you will definitely lose them for good! It’s too hard to stand, and you want them back.
So, you re-establish communication and begin some moves to get back together with them. Maybe you suggest getting together for a drink just to talk or being friends for a while.
Things might sound innocent, but you are doing none of this for the right reasons. You use your physical attraction to flirt, pour on the charm, and or even have sex to show them what they are missing. But you won’t get what you hope for.
You want to get back with an ex because you are jealous that they are in a new relationship. But even if you succeed, you are both in the same place as before the breakup. And if you take a break and be brutally honest with yourself, you’ll see that all of the reasons for the breakup in the first place are still there.
While you are now alone and ruminating about your failed relationship, you begin to focus on the good times because you miss those. And the bad times during the relationship begin to fade from memory.
Over time, as you continue to stew in your sadness, those bad times actually disappear. And you talk yourself into getting back together, ignoring any of the old red flags even when they start popping up again.
But again, you’re both at the same place you were when you broke up, and the same issues will surface. If you don’t get into couples therapy to work on your differences and issues, the relationship will only fall apart again. Troubled relationships don’t fix themselves – and just taking time with no work done won’t help them.
Related reading: What Are the 5 Signs the No Contact Is Working?
Anyone who has followed the love life of Jennifer Lopez probably is experiencing some head spinning. The woman has had marriages, divorces, and a host of relationships in between all of these. In 2002, she began dating Ben Affleck, and they became engaged, with a wedding planned for September 2003. One day before the wedding, they canceled the event, indefinitely, and there were all sorts of rumors about why the relationship ended. They drifted apart for years, and both moved on into a variety of new relationships.
In the spring of 2021, the two were spotted together. By April 2022 it was confirmed that they were engaged again, and they were married in a small ceremony in July of that same year. Exactly why they decided to get back together, no one knows for sure. But suffice it to say that both had plenty of years and other relationships during those years. Perhaps they both grew apart during that time and became new people since that first breakup. Whether this rekindled relationship lasts remains to be seen.
There is no point to this Jennifer Lopez story other than that going back to an ex and having it work may require time. It may not be 20 years for you, but at least some time is needed after the break. And what happens during that time apart may point to good reasons for couples to get back with an ex.
Long-distance relationships are tough to maintain without a lot of work and commitment. And ultimately couples can decide that the long absences have just put too much strain on their lives. So they mutually determine to end it – no anger, just acceptance and some sadness about what might have been. Neither person is really at fault here, and they have remained friends.
Now, something has changed. One of the partners is moving to the same city as the other. Both may be dating others, but there is every chance that the two want to get together and build on the foundation they originally had. This is a good reason for getting back together with an ex.
This is one of the most common reasons for reconciliation. The two have been apart for a while, have taken time to sort out their feelings, have analyzed why they broke up in the first place, are willing to accept responsibility for their part in the split, and are ready to try again.
Will the rekindled relationship with an ex work under these circumstances? Certainly, it has a chance. But, at the same time, it may be a good idea to work on your relationships with an expert. It’s important to work through any previous issues, learn better methods of communication, and avoid major issues in the future.
Related reading: What Is a Break in a Relationship?
You had a heated disagreement and became a deal breaker because you both are stubborn and a bit hot-headed. You dug in your heels and neither one of you is budging.
There’s a famous line from the movie “Cool Hand Luke” – “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” And that, along with a stubborn streak, has caused a breakup that didn’t need to happen at the moment.
One of you must make the first move, and it might as well be you. Take the step, profess your love, and then get with a relationship or family counselor and learn how to “fight fair.”
Your relationship has a solid chance to be healthy and long-lasting, once you recognize your emotional triggers and learn how to express them calmly and reach resolution. A licensed marriage and/or family therapist can help you resolve your communication issues.
Most people do mature over the years. You may have broken up, felt the anger and the hurt, and ultimately moved on. Maybe you even got some individual therapy and have worked on your relationship flaws – insecurities, fear, being too clingy or jealous, etc. And you may have had a relationship or two as a healthier person.
You meet up with your ex, perhaps quite by chance, and the old desire and sparks fly. If you are honest with yourself, you realize you are ready to give things another chance. Let’s just hope you don’t have to wait 20 years like JLo and Brad did.
Related reading: Male Maturity – When Does It Kick In?
Toxic relationships include those that are either physically or emotionally abusive or ones in which one partner is a full-blown narcissist or a cheater. Getting out was probably tough if you have been a victim in one of these relationships.
While you desire a healthy relationship, you fear you won’t find one, so you stay. A codependent aspect of the partnership is also hard to break. But it will always be the right decision to do so. This is a mental health issue for you, and you should not be in any partnership until you have been through therapy.
Related reading: How to Stop Being Codependent and Reclaim Your Life
If your relationship wasn’t toxic, you could rethink the breakup. The additional factors may inlcude having pure feelings of love and respect and genuine support from your partner in your desire to develop yourself as an individual. Maybe you thought you could do better and now realize they are the ones for you.
Tap into those love feelings. Don’t be afraid to make the first move and test the waters of getting back together. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
Sometimes “outside observers” can see things you don’t. They wonder why you broke up with that person in the first place because you two seemed so right together.
You don’t necessarily have to take their advice; they are not always right. But at least listen and think about what they say. Maybe you used poor judgment and should give it another try.
Relationships are complicated. And when there is a breakup, a lot of emotional flooding can happen. It can do a number on your mental health if you are not careful, and you may want to jump back into that past relationship because it seems familiar and “safe.”
Take your time and analyze what went wrong. If you are both ready to right those wrongs, go for it. This listing of reasons when it’s wrong or right should help you make the right decision.