Getting back together with an ex is one of the great post-breakup dilemmas we all face. You know that normally we're not thinking straight, you're still reeling from a breakup, your emotions are swiss cheese, but you're capable of making big decisions like this, right? RIGHT?! OK, somewhere you know that it's (normally) an awful idea to get back together with an ex — yet you can't shake the feeling that maybe it's all been a mistake and somehow you can make it work. In fact, you can spend a whole lot of time thinking this way and, ultimately, stopping yourself from really moving on.
“If you still see a future with your ex after you’ve broken up, you aren’t giving yourself the opportunity to let someone else fill that role in your life," matchmaker and dating expert Sarah Patt tells Bustle. "You might be closing yourself off to new loves without even realizing it.” And more than that, you may just not really be living your life in the way that you want to after a breakup.
That being said, sometimes getting back together is the right thing to do, so how do you know? Well, the trick is that you have to be brutally honest with yourself about your reasons why you want to get back together and whether they're the right reasons. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself.
Why Did You Break Up And Is It Still A Problem?
You need to be really honest about all the reasons you broke up and whether they're things that have actually been fixed — or if they can be at all. "According to the well-known couples researcher Dr. John Gottman, 69 percent of relationship conflict is about perpetual problems — and ALL couples have them," Pella Weisman, Dating Coach and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, tells Bustle. "It's inevitable that there are ongoing issues in any relationship, and this is OK (although not easy), as long as they are things you can live with. If the issues are problematic, be honest with yourself about this. Even better, get an outside perspective from someone you trust." It may be that the issues are just too big to make it work.
How Long Have You Given Yourself?
You should always give yourself some breathing room. If you just broke up two days ago — or, if it was a long relationship, even two weeks or months ago — your mind hasn't settled yet. Getting back together is a big decision, so make sure you're in the right headspace.
Are They Promising To Change?
“The only reason you should ever get back together with an ex is because you’re willing to accept them exactly as they are,” sex and relationship expert Ravid Yosef tells Bustle. “Acceptance, no matter the circumstances, is the only way that you can make it when that thing that was wrong in the first place creeps up again.” If they're promising to change, you can't fall for it. You need to be sure you love them just as they are.
Are You Good Communicators?
Communication is a must if your'e going to get your relationship back on track. "Many couples have problems communicating about conflict, especially if each partner has a different communication style," Weisman says. If you can't find a way to reach each other, reconciliation is going to be near-impossible.
Is This Just Because They're In Your Orbit?
If you're on the same course or in the same office or have friends in common, it may just be that you're seeing too much of them and it's making you think you should be back together. “Staying too close with them and spending too much time with them does not allow you to move on from them, or to meet new people,” psychologist and love expert Dr. Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. Make sure you give yourself a healthy distance.
Do You Want To Put The Time In?
Getting back together and making a relationship work takes a lot of investment. You need to be prepared to put in the time and energy — and feel sure that your ex will do the same.
Are You Scared To Be Single?
Too many people run back to the last person they were with because they're scared of being single — even though it can be a life-changing experience. "It can actually be a time to learn more about oneself and experience the greatest self-growth,” psychotherapist Mary Beth Somich, MA, EdM, LPCA tells Bustle. “Feeling lonely as a result of being single can actually inspire individuals to have new experiences that they would not have put themselves out there for otherwise."
Getting back together may feel like a good idea, and sometimes it is. Sometimes. Make sure you're taking a long, hard look at your past relationship and your reasons for wanting to get back together before you jump into anything.