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Should I Get Back With My Ex? – 6 Relationship Experts Reveal Must-Know Insights To Consider Before Getting Back With Your Ex

by Lyndsey Fraser – MA, LMFT, Cynthia Pickett – LCSW, LADC, Sharón Lynn Wyeth – BS, Deborah Cox – PhD, Ileana Hinojosa – MLA, LMFT, Sally LeBoy – MFT

Should I Get Back With My Ex

“Find yourself first… like yourself first… love yourself FIRST… & friendship & love will naturally find YOU.”

~ Mandy Hale

Find Yourself First Mandy Hale Quote
Lyndsey Fraser

Are you are attempting to get back together with an ex-partner? Why are reasons for doing so? 

Do you see yourself in the any of the thoughts in the list below?

  • I don’t want to be alone
  • I don’t think I can find someone else.
  • My ex-partner needs me and can’t be alone.
  • The grief is too much to bear.
  • I don’t want anyone else to have my ex-partner.
  • My partner has all the qualities I want to have in a partner.

Before you try to get back with your ex-boyfriend you need to understand why you want to be in the relationship. 

If you look at the list above that I mentioned the last reason is a good reason to try to get back in the relationship with your ex-partner and that is only if your ex-partner feels the same way.

To determine if the relationship has many of the qualities you want I recommend you create an ideal relationship list. 

On this list you should break it down into three categories: must have, negotiable, and absolutely not. 

In the must have column list the qualities that must be present for the relationship to rekindle. 

A few examples in this column might include: Likes more time together than apart, balance of power, and physically affectionate. 

In the negotiable column a few examples might be: college degree, likes traveling, and enjoys exercising together. 

In absolutely not column a few examples would be: untreated mental health, active chemical dependency, and emotionally abusive. 

If anything is present in the absolutely not list than the relationship is not a good fit and it is not worth pursuing. 

But if you find that you have many in the essential and the negotiable list it may be worth an attempt to rekindle. 

Keep in mind when you write this list that is about what you want and not necessarily what your ex-partner possesses. 

If you ex-partner does not possess the qualities you want it is better to move on in the hopes of finding someone that does fit your ideal than to rekindle a relationship that will not be satisfying in the end.

Lyndsey Fraser, MA, LMFT – www.relationalconnections.com

Cynthia Pickett

In determining whether or not to reconcile a relationship it is first important to look at why the relationship ended. 

Was it a heated argument in which things were said that weren’t necessarily meant? Or was it a betrayal to the relationship? 

Both are indicators of serious issues not only with the individuals but also with the relationship as a whole. 

But the remedies and paths to reconciliation are different.

When we have arguments and say things that we later regret, we have already stepped over the line of disrespect in the relationship that indicates it is on borrowed time. 

While it routinely happens and we routinely make excuses for it, it is never ok to lose control to the point that we say hurtful, harmful things to our partner. That is not a loving behavior and will surely kill a relationship over time. 

The first step is to get yourself into therapy and explore your own baggage that generates these intense feelings and allows you to treat people you love this way.

However, if the relationship ends due to a betrayal, lying, cheating or some other subversive behavior then an examination of why to stay is very important. 

And it needs to be more than “I love him”. 

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior! 

So unless you are willing to put up with the betrayal again, tread very slowly. Yes, people can change! 

While you may make the decision to “work on the relationship” I highly recommend keeping one foot out for at least a year. 

Don’t get caught up in the honeymoon period that follows all betrayals! People say they will change, and mean it in the moment, so while change can happen it is slow and tedious and most people quit before getting to the root of the problem.

In a lot of cases of betrayal people stay because they think “forgiveness” means to turn the cheek. 

It doesn’t! Forgiveness is simply an absence of anger but does not mean that you will stay in a dysfunctional relationship with a broken person.

Another reason people stay is because they don’t like to be alone or feel like they have failed in the relationship. 

Neither is a good reason to reconcile and should be explored in individual therapy. It may well be keeping you in a relationship that is toxic.

Breaking up, for whatever reason, is a very serious indicator of unhealthy patterns in a relationship. 

Unhealthy patterns form because of unhealthy people. In order to make any kind of relationship work we have to bring our best to the table so therapy and lots of self work is extremely important.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com

Sharón Lynn Wyeth

People break up for a variety of reasons; sometimes it is a little thing that simply hit the wrong nerve. Other times it is a major violation of trust. The reasons for not getting back together are many as most find it hard, but necessary to move forward. 

A definite reason to not get back together is for the sake of the children as then the children are being taught the wrong lesson. 

However, some breakups are due to violence, mistrust, or lack of respect yet the love between the two is still there. 

The only time its appropriate to attempt to get back together with your ex is when love is still present.

It is easy to mistake loneliness for love. 

A valid thing to do when you have broken up with your ex is to write down all of the reasons you broke up. Then, when loneliness sets in, you can reread the list and remind yourself why you are no longer together.

When love is still present then boundaries need to be reestablished.

This is essential because whatever caused the separation needs to be dealt with head-on and new agreements need to be made, as you wouldn’t want to repeat whatever caused the problem in the first place. 

Many people have a comeback and it works, however, more people attempt a comeback and find that the same problems still exist. 

Time needs to be allowed for scars and hurt feelings to heel. 

Without sufficient time passes a couple will resort to what was comfortable and old habits. 

Take time to heal first and then decide if you truly wish to go backwards towards your ex, versus forwards toward your new possibilities.

Sharón Lynn Wyeth, BS – www.knowthename.com

Dr. Deborah Cox

Lots of therapists use popular psychology to guide their advice-giving – I’m guilty of it myself sometimes. But not when it comes to love. 

Behold, the following tip list, straight from respectable magazine shelves at your local grocery store.

Common but Misguided Psychological Advice often given about Love:

  1. Avoid jumping into a new relationship just after a breakup.
  2. Don’t date someone from work.
  3. Don’t let yourself become too attached too fast.
  4. Finally, never get back with your ex, no matter how much you miss him/her.

Tip number four looks like well-founded wisdom, but it falsely assumes that a breakup means you shouldn’t be together. Utter nonsense! 

Every relationship worth its salt moves through periods of crisis and resolution. 

Sure, something happened to push you two away from each other. But you both learned from it.

Next chapter…..

If you still have tender feelings for this ex of yours, trust them. 

You have great leverage now to ask for changes. 

Now’s the time to lean in and work on your connection, get into couples therapy, consult your clergy, do a couples retreat. 

I’ve missed you so much….. AND I need some changes if we’re going to get back together. 

Maybe you need more transparency and honesty. Maybe you need monogamy, more emotional sharing, more space, fewer weekends with his family.

But…..obvious exceptions deserve your attention.

1. If there’s been any kind of violence or substance abuse. 

These problems in a relationship warrant professional help and WILL NOT get any better unless you have intervention from the outside. Getting back together under these circumstances puts you at risk.

2. If your ex has manipulated or exploited you in any way. 

Again, emotional abuse signals deeper problems that should receive the attention of a professional.

3. If your friends keep telling you this person is bad for you. 

Listen to them. They may be wrong. But they may see danger lurking under the surface that should be addressed before proceeding down the aisle.

Bottom line? Only you can know if this love was meant to be. 

Stay awake. Watch for signs. But let yourself love him if you love him.

Dr. Deborah Cox – www.deborahlcox.com

Ileana Hinojosa

You need to ask questions like: 

  • What was the quality of your relationship with him? 
  • Was it a stressful relationship or was the relationship fulfilling? 
  • How hard did you work to keep the relationship going or was it easy? 
  • Did he meet your needs? 
  • Do you feel safe with him? 
  • Does what he say match what he does? 
  • Can you be healthy and stay in your integrity within the relationship with him?

It is important to determine if your need to reconnect with him is to validate you in some way or if you are genuinely interested in reconciling and having a healthy relationship the second time around. 

Check in with yourself and your motive for wanting to reconnect with your ex. Wait 24 hours before making that call. 

Make sure that you are not getting back with him to get back at him. 

This is unhealthy and will only end in more heartache. Go to a movie and turn off your phone. Pause and think about what purpose reconnecting with him serves.

Check in with yourself and determine if you are being influenced by being “HALT” (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired). 

Have a plan and determine what to do if you get blue. Ask a friend to support you by listening to you and not judging you when you are processing if you want to reconnect with your ex. 

Are you idealizing the relationship and hoping that it was the way you want it to be versus the way it really was?

If you check in on all these levels and are reconnecting because you genuinely miss him and it was a healthy relationship, then make the call to reconnect. 

Taking that risk to reconnect is never easy. Approach the second time around with an open mind. People change and try to leave the past in the past. Go slow and set your boundaries. 

Be mindful of the mistakes you both made in the relationship the first time around and talk these things through but do not rehash. 

Be open to support and approaching this relationship in a healthier way. Set an appointment with a couple´s therapist. Set goals and build on the aspects of the relationship that are working and avoid rehashing.

Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net

Sally LeBoy

I suppose it makes sense to get back with your ex when you’ve figured out and remedied the reasons why you broke up in the first place. 

People do get back with their ex’s. I’ve known many people who have divorced and successfully remarried their ex’s.

This route has two possible paths. 

The first is that each person has matured, understood his or her part in the relationship problems, and wants to try to do it better. 

This route necessitates a lot of personal growth and maturity. Well, people do grow and mature, so this can absolutely happen.

The other route is that you are dependent on your partner and feel so alone without him, you talk yourself back into an unhealthy relationship. 

Relationship problems don’t just disappear on their own. You have to address the issues and figure out how to resolve them. Even if you feel more capable of functioning well in the relationship, he must also have grown. Otherwise you will be taking care of him for the rest of your life.

There are many qualities that make for a successful relationship. 

The ability to communicate, shared values, shared interests and common goals are all important contributors. But I think the most important quality is each individual’s ability to manage emotional reactivity. 

Relationships are difficult by nature.

You’re taking two people who will have differences and asking them to share a life. This is not for the faint of heart! Learning to manage your emotional reactivity when you don’t agree, when things are difficult, when there is high stress for one or both of you is foundational to being able to come to agreements, successfully manage conflict and find ways to compromise.

If you and your partner have taken a good look at what went wrong, taken responsibility for your part, and learned to self-regulate, then by all means give it another try. 

Love doesn’t come around every day. If you’ve found it with your ex (or never lost it) maybe the second time’s the charm.

Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

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