Sex & Relationships

The Reason Your Ex Is Starting To Sound Real Good Right About Now


The quarantine version of T-Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"? "Self-Isolating With My Mother Might Just Drive Us Back Together." Faced with global uncertainty, rehashing an old relationship may look as comforting as making sourdough from scratch. And if you've considered getting back together with your ex while social distancing, you're not the only one.

According to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear, it's completely natural to want to reach out to people from your past during times of stress.

"When the world feels unsafe, we naturally want to find a sense of normalcy and comfort," Dr. Manly tells Bustle. "A caring ex can provide a sense of safety, comfort, and reassurance that is so essential during times of unrest."

Take Heather, 30, who rarely thought about her ex before the pandemic. But as the virus continued to spread, she felt moved to check in. "I worry about them," she tells Bustle. "Thinking that they may be at risk or get sick? It seemed more important than any of the arguments we had. We both know how to make each other feel better."

When Priya, 27, began social distancing, she immediately feared for her ex's health. So, she reached out as a precaution. "My ex has a compromised immune system, and I was worried about him," she tells Bustle. "I texted him to make sure he was doing OK and had groceries, and we kind of just kept chatting."

We always fought about not having enough time to see each other. Now, we have all the time in the world to talk.

Although she's not sure she's ready to jump back into something serious, Priya says that digitally reconnecting with her ex has helped her manage her stress. "I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I'm happy we're talking again," she says.

Dr. Manly says using this time to be clear with your ex about your needs and desires can help you build a stronger relationship with them down the line. "It’s important to talk openly and honestly about your joint goals for the relationship," she says. "The outcome is far better when both people are honest from the onset."

Lily, 26, tells Bustle that social distancing means that she and her ex are finally on the same schedule. "We always fought about not having enough time to see each other," she says. "Now, we have all the time in the world to talk. If we wanted, we could text and FaceTime all day."

Since emotions are running high, and you can't leave your house, Dr. Manly suggests being as honest as possible before getting back together. "Both people need to take a solid, honest look at why the relationship failed and what can be done to move forward in a new, healthy way," she says. "When you are clear on your goals and needs, you will be able to be clear with your ex on what you are seeking."

But for some, witnessing their ex respond irresponsibly to coronavirus warnings served as a reminder of why they parted ways. "Within an hour of us texting again, he was asking me to send him nudes," Emily Rose, 25, tells Bustle. "When I said, 'No,' he said something to the effect of, 'BRB, watching porn.'"

Emily Rose was hoping that the dire circumstances would shift her ex's priorities but was disappointed. If a global pandemic couldn't change her ex, nothing would.


Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear