How many people do you know suffer through a break up (amicable or not), only to get back together with their exes? How many people do you know who have done that more than once?
1. Habit: A big fat vacuum exists after a break up. Something (someone) is missing, and you have to readjust to being on your own, without a partner to share things with. This creates an acute yearning for that person which is easy to label as “it must have been love!.”
2. Romanticizing the good: Over time and distance, the “bad things” recede and the good things take center stage in your mind, and you put the guy up on a pedestal.
3. Limited options: Any new potential mate’s appeal wanes in comparison.
4. Laziness: The idea of starting the get-to-know-you process all over again with someone new seems exhausting and dreadful. Not only do you have to span time with that new person, but you have to tell your stories all over again (or you can cheat by having them read your blog).
5. Comfort: You ex knows your friends, is familiar with the fights you’ve had with your siblings or boss, and knows where your dog likes to be scratched.
6. Jealousy: You hear he is dating, and the knowledge that he is focused on (or having sex with!) someone else other than you propels you into action. (see: Ego).
7. Ego: He doesn’t contact you at all, and his Facebook statuses show him partying in bars and on boats. The realization that he might be over you hurts and is mistaken for an “in love” feeling.
8. Love by association: You spend time with friends who say, “He was a great guy, and I was sad when you split,” sending you into a regret spiral.
9. He comes back: Just when you think you’re over it, and start feeling good again, he somehow picks up on it and comes back into your life with compliments and promises (however well-meaning).
10. No single friends: Most of your friends happen to be in relationships or starting new ones, and it makes you miss being in a couple.
The list could probably continue past #10, but I thought I’d stop here, and start discussing the more hopeful and optimistic reasons some people get back together:
There is something left unexplored.
With time apart, both people have grown and truly come to appreciate the other.
The circumstances that drove them apart (a new job, long distance) change.
They broke up in haste, over a fight, and get back together because it was stupid for them to split over boxers on the bathroom floor in the first place.
Some people need (and are addicted to) the drama of a break up, and use it to wake them up to their feelings.
Sometimes we get back together with the person to remind us why we broke up in the first place. Like #2 above, we forget. It’s human. And when you’re missing someone post break up, and you know they are experiencing the same feelings at the same time, it connects you. You share a common feeling with that person that no one else can understand.
So sometimes break ups don’t last, and people end up re-committing for the long haul. So I’m not at all saying that getting back together with an ex is a lost cause, and can’t lead to a long-term healthy relationship.
If you’re wondering whether I’m talking about myself in this post, the answer is, not really (or kinda). I’m looking back on my last two or three relationships post divorce, and in all of them, we got back together, however briefly, before breaking up again for that last and final time. Sometimes we need it for closure, and I know that for me, I needed to be convinced in my mind and heart that we tried everything – that we wrung the relationship dry – before I could truly move on.
So I guess if you’re contemplating getting back together with your ex, make sure it’s for the right reasons. Whatever that means to you.