12 Considerations Before Getting Back Together With an Ex

There are many reasons why revisiting old relationships can be problematic.

Posted Mar 03, 2020

We have all been there. We get lonely and perhaps we start to reminisce about old times. We think about a past relationship and an ex and we become curious. We begin to question ourselves and start to think about whether or not we might have made an error by breaking up with a past partner. We wonder if we acted too hastily. After all, we are currently not in a better relationship.

Before we know it, we are seeking information about the ex's current relationship status and then we find ourselves initiating contact again. Does this sound like something that you have done or are currently considering doing? If so, please be careful. Research by Monk et al. (2018) found that a pattern of on again and off again relationships may be associated with depression and anxiety. On the other hand, we all know about couples who have successfully resumed their relationships after a prior breakup.

There are therefore many issues to consider before getting back together with a former partner. Please consider the following set of issues before checking up on your ex on social media and then reaching out.

  1. Is this coming from a place of loneliness or true regret about ending the relationship? If it is solely due to loneliness, then perhaps you should hold off. You really don't want to use your ex as a slot holder, do you?
  2. Are you keeping in mind why you broke up in the first place? If it has been a while and the details are unclear then perhaps you should check in with your closest friends who can probably remind you.
  3. This is very similar to #2 but please review the circumstances of the relationship and the breakup very, very carefully. Did you talk it through as a couple? Was it one-sided? Did it take you by surprise? Did things spiral out of control? Was there cheating involved? Did the relationship become abusive? How did the relationship serve you?
  4. Do you remember clearly how the ex made you feel during the best of times and during the worst of times? See if you can pull up that set of feelings. It is likely that those feelings will emerge again if you resume the relationship. Are you sure you want to go back in time?
  5. Were you relieved after the breakup? If so, then you know what you should or shouldn't be doing. Right?
  6. Are you setting your ex up for false hope? Is this a person who really likes you and you really never reciprocated? If that is the case, then perhaps you should look elsewhere for relationships. You don't really want to hurt anyone, do you?
  7. Are you recently on the rebound from a relationship that didn't work out? That is not a good enough reason to get back with an ex. Take a breath in between relationships and try to sort things out. You don't always need to be in a relationship.
  8. If you resume the relationship, will the next breakup (if that happens) be even harder? Will one or both of you feel terribly hurt and disappointed? If so, then try to take care of yourself and have empathy for your ex.
  9. Perhaps you and your ex have become friends. If you date again and things fall apart, can the friendship survive? Is the friendship meaningful to you? Are you ready to lose it? Think long and hard about this. Friendships keep us going in so many wonderful ways.
  10. Do you believe that the second or third time is the charm? If so, you may want to put that to rest. That is unlikely. It's hopeful but not likely.
  11. Is this really the best use of your energy? There are so many things that you can do to take care of yourself. Is repeating a relationship the way to go? Only you know the answer to this question.
  12. Do you have a history of returning to former relationships over and over again? If so, you really need to take a look at this and figure out why you have developed this pattern. Think long and hard about this. It may save you a lot of energy and heartache.

If, however, you have thought long and hard about how you and your ex might be able to change your behaviors so that the relationship might be more fulfilling, then maybe you two can try again. Move ahead carefully and mindfully. Feelings and hearts can be broken easily. Please keep that in mind.

References

Monk, J.K., Ogolsky. B.G., & Oswald, R.F. (2018) Coming Out And Getting Back In:Relationship Cycling and Distress in Same and Different Sex Relationships. Family Relations.