This is a question I am asked all the time by people who write to me or friends who simply want my honest advice.
My friend Danielle was in a ten-year relationship with a good man named Michael whom she started to find boring and uninteresting. They had settled into boring routines and predictability. Danielle was bored and felt she had fallen out of love. She no longer felt butterflies when Michael came in the room and, as a matter of fact, she started resenting him for the little things that never bothered her before.
Enter Ethan…Ethan was a bad boy. He was unpredictable, unconventional, and unavailable. Ethan was also in a relationship. Danielle became more and more attracted to Ethan since they worked together and the thrill of the forbidden made her want him more and more. Eventually, they started an affair. Danielle was head over heels in love and decided to ask Michael for a divorce AND Ethan was also going to ask his wife for a divorce.
But guess what? Ethan never intended to divorce his wife…After pleading and begging Ethan to divorce his wife, Ethan confessed that he still loved his wife and family and he didn’t want to throw everything away. Ethan’s wife knew of the affair and was willing to forgive him and try to rebuild their marriage for the sake of their family.
Now Michael wants nothing to do with Danielle…Now Danielle is beyond heartbroken and humiliated. She realized that the person she thought she wanted to be with, the one who made her feel alive, had been using her and never had any intentions to be with her and make a commitment to her. She was in a tailspin. She had hurt Michael whom she realized she truly loved, ended her 10-year marriage over a silly fling, was reeling from the rejection from both men. What had she done?
Every Relationship Has Its Ups and Downs
When you ask couples who have been together for most of their lives, they will tell you that not everything comes up roses in a successful relationship. To keep a relationship going, both parties have to work at it and compromise. They have to often put the other partner’s needs first.
While it was commonly believed that over half of marriages ended up in divorce, new statistics have found that most marriages have a good chance of staying the course. In fact, according to data from the National Survey of Family Growth, the trend is that most marriages, over 2/3 will never divorce.
But what about those couples that do divorce? Or how about couples who never quite made it to the altar and decided to part ways? Often times, either one or even both partners are left wondering whether they made the right decision. They wonder whether that relationship could have been salvaged. Living with regrets can be very detrimental to a person’s psyche and overall well-being, and have a lack of closure can linger on a person’s mind for the rest of their lives, even. Sometimes this lack of closure can impact the forming of new relationships and can cause the person to fall into a pit of depression, of doubt, and despair.
Danielle wanted to get back with Michael, but is it possible to get back with an ex after all the hurt and heartache? The answer is yes, often times it is possible to salvage and rebuild a broken relationship and get back with your ex.
So When Should You Attempt to Get Back With Your Ex?
Here I’ll give you 5 simple rules when you should get back with your ex and 5 rules why you should NOT get back with your ex.
5 Reasons Why You Should Get Back With Your Ex
You both want the same thing out of the relationship.In other words, you have the same expectations. Going back with a person you’ve shared some history with is not the same as starting out with a clean slate. This is not a new relationship. You’re both carrying some emotional baggage of hurts or resentments from the past. As long as you’re willing to discuss what went wrong, and accept each other unconditionally, then your relationship is worth rekindling.
You can’t live without each other. Some people break up but then cannot seem to get over each other. They are constantly talking about the ex to their friends and family and the ex is doing the same thing. You are always trying to find out what he or she is doing by creeping on their social media accounts or driving by their house and concocting ways of running into each other. (I’m not talking about stalking here, which is a crime!) If you and your ex cannot seem to move on and live without each other, then I say, YES, go for it and rekindle that flame.
Time has passed to heal wounds. Time heals all wounds and all hurts. Sounds cliche but it is not. A hurt that seemed so profound and unsurmountable offense, can be lessened and mitigated by the passage of time. Often times, we do not even know what the cause of a grievous argument was about because there is the distance of months and years. If this is the case, then yes, reconnecting with an ex may be a good idea.
You have children. This is a big one. While there are circumstances that do not warrant a person staying in a relationship (I’ll talk about those in the 5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Get Back With Your Ex), couples who have a family, especially small children, should do everything within their power to mend a broken relationship and get back together. And yes, even if it’s for the sake of the children. That’s probably the main reason you should get back with your ex. As long as the spouse was not abusive to you or the children and there is a glimmer of love that can be reignited, all efforts should be made to keep your family intact.
Your friends and family approve. While we are told by society that we shouldn’t care what others think, in this case, you SHOULD care what others think, especially your friends and family. When you tell your mother or your best friend that you are reconsidering getting back with your ex, what is their reaction? Are they horrified? Are they elated? Take that as a cue. They are probably seeing something that you are missing. They remember what it was like when you two were together. They can look at both of you dispassionately and with a rational mind. Remember that your heart is leading the way in matters of the heart, not the head. That’s why you ‘re probably not thinking clearly. Your friends and loved ones can probably help you make a good decision.
5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Get Back With Your Ex
He or she has moved on and is with someone else. If your ex has remarried or is in a new relationship, then you should respect the new life that he or she has chosen. Your ex has clearly moved on and you do not need to be the psycho ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, ex-wife or ex-husband that is meddling and interfering because you want to break the new couple up. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on with your own life.
Your ex has asked you not to contact him/her. If your ex has explicitly stated that he or she wants nothing more to do with you, then you have to respect their wishes and stay away. You do not want to be that stalker person that gets slapped with a restraining order because you are obsessing over a person who wants nothing to do with you. If you feel you cannot get over this person, then it’s time to seek professional help because there may be other underlying issues preventing you from moving forward. But, you have to respect another human being’s wishes of being left alone. As a matter of fact, if you even have a chance of getting back together with an ex, often times, a little distance helps clear the air and put things in perspective.
He or she was verbally or physically abusive. This is a Non-Negotiable. If your ex-partner ever abused you, whether it was verbally, emotionally, or even worse physically, then this is not the person you want to be around. Unless this person has sought help and is in a continuous treatment program, chances are that the behaviors and patterns that precipitated the abusive behavior are still there. If you feel that you need to be with this person, then perhaps, you too need to seek expert help to figure out why. You deserve to be with someone who loves you, respects you and values you for the beautiful human being that you are.
The same problems still persist. Think of what caused the breakup in the first place. Things that bothered you about your ex-partner will bother you again once the romance and illusion of new-found love dies down. The little things, the behaviors that have not changed, the ticks, the bad grammar…if those things have not changed you’re going back to the same spot that made you so unhappy. What makes you think that things will turn out differently now? As a rule, most people don’t change unless they make a conscious effort to work on themselves and evolve. But this is not the norm for most people. So before you decide to jump with both feet into an old relationship, ask yourself some hard questions because if this is the same person you grew to dislike and fall out of love, chances are, it will happen again and then you’ve wasted precious time on something or someone that was doomed to fail from the beginning because of your incompatibility.
You both are different people. You have grown as people. So when we speak of incompatibility this hits the bullseye. The high school boyfriend or the lover you had in your thirties is not the same person 10 years later. Although it is generally true that a person’s core remains the same, people tend to develop different viewpoints, opinions, ideas, and even hobbies throughout their lives. The person who shared your same religious or political view with you may now seem unrecognizable because their belief system has changed radically. This is okay. People’s life experiences lead them in different directions. The issue is that when those life paths take you in different directions, you form new perspectives and opinions about things. These may not be shared with your ex. You’re expecting the same person you fell in love with years ago and you’re in for a big disappointment if you don’t recognize that this may not be the same person you thought he or she was. You need to go into the new relationship with eyes wide open!
Should I Try to Get Back With My Ex?
This is a very personal question that only you can answer. I’ve tried to give you the best advice based on my experience with friends who’ve tried to rekindle past romances. Some have worked out and some have ended in even more heartache and headaches than the first time around.
Going back to an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, or ex-husband may be the right thing if the relationship is worth saving as delineated in the five points given above. But please be very careful and examine your motives and reasons as to why you would want to go back to someone who may have hurt you in the past. In the end only you know your heart and as they say, ” the heart wants what the heart wants.”