There’s a lot of lies out there about the chances of getting an ex back. Most self-proclaimed “get your ex back experts,” or as I call them, fake gurus, tackle this issue by making the whole feat seem easy peasy, turd-in-a-toilet-bowl easy.
Chris Seiter promises a 70% success rate at getting an ex back if you buy and follow his program. Dan Bacon promises an 80% success rate. Brad Browning, 90%. And Chris Canwell, arguably the biggest charlatan of them all, promises 96%. And then there are hundreds of other gurus, hidden in some shady and obscure corner of the Internet, preaching even loftier success rates. (1)(2)(3)(4)
Look, all those percentages right, those happy hippo chances of yours? ..They are complete fabrications. I’m talking absolute hogwash. Utter lies pulled straight from the depths of egotistical, greedy, and morally corrupt assholes. The only reason people tell you that there’s some exceptionally high chance you’ll get your ex back is because it sells better.
Here’s the reality: most of the time, exes don’t come back. And even if they do, keeping them after you get back together is even less likely to happen.
Don’t believe me? Here, I’ll prove it to you. Below I’ll show the real numbers and facts behind three studies on how often exes come back that I see plastered across every “get your ex back” related website. Then I’ll explain how all of those studies get distorted and misrepresented. And finally, I’ll reveal the actual chances of getting back together with your ex. So buckle up, for shit’s about to get real…
TOP misrepresentED STUDIES ON How Often Exes Come Back
Our first study comes from The Journal of Adolescent Research. It encompasses 792 test subjects — men and women between the ages of 17 and 24 and reports the following:
“44% of emerging adults who had been in a romantic relationship in the past two years had experienced at least one reconciliation with an ex romantic partner and 53% of those who reported reconciliations also reported having sex with their ex.” (5)
Our second study comes from The Journal of Social Psychology. This one works with a sample of 274 loud and raging fist-in-the-air undergraduate students and reports this:
“In some studies, breaking up and renewing with the same partner were reported by as many as 40% of the samples. A recent study focusing on on-again/off-again relationships found that over 60% of young adult respondents had experienced a relationship that broke up and renewed at least once, with 75% of those reporting at least two renewals with the same partner.” (6)
Our third and last study sprang all the way from The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. It dissects a hulking 1075 couples — 323 of which are cohabiting, that is, living together, and the other 752 married. Here’s what it reports:
“One-third of cohabiters and one-fifth of spouses have experienced a breakup and renewal in their current relationship. However, partners who have experienced cycling (breaking up and getting back together) are at greater risk for further cycling and experiencing greater constraints to permanently ending the relationship, greater uncertainty in their relationship’s future, and lower satisfaction. ” (7)
If you take these three studies into non-careful consideration, you’d assume the chances of getting your ex back are somewhere between 30 to 50 percent. Not bad, right?
Well, there’s only one problem… You’re focusing on the wrong studies.
If you examine them thoroughly, you’ll be able to find pieces of information that essentially make each one of them irrelevant and unrelated to our concern — the odds of getting your ex back. Here’s what I mean.
1. STUDIES ARE ONLY APPLICABLE TO ON/OFF RELATIONSHIPS
None of the three studies you see plastered on every “get your ex-back” site consider reconciliations in the context of healthy romantic relationships. On the contrary, they consider exclusively those in the context of toxic on-off relationships.
Why is this important? Because the couple in an on-off relationship is inherently more inclined to breaking up and getting back together. In fact, those kinds of couples break up and make up almost as frequently as I change my underwear. Therefore, when discussing your average, healthy, non-on-off relationship, the chances of reconciliation are inevitably way lower than our famous studies suggest.
2. The consequences of getting back with an ex aren’t positive
According to our previous study — the one with 1075 participants — getting back with an ex is, in general, a horrible idea, primarily for these reasons:
“Unfortunately, partners in renewed relationships have been found to be at greater risk for relationship distress. Although researchers have yet to determine causal ordering, compared to stably together relationships (relationships that have been continually maintained), relationship cycling is associated with lower commitment and satisfaction, poorer communication, greater uncertainty, and higher levels of verbal abuse and physical violence.” (8)
There’s even a study published in the journal Personal Relationships that reports the other side of the same coin.
“Analyses of open‐ended responses about relationship experiences showed on‐off partners were less likely to report positives (e.g., love and understanding from partners) and more likely to report negatives (e.g., communication problems, uncertainty) than partners who had not broken up and renewed. Also, a greater number of renewals, the greater the negatives and the fewer the positives. (9)
In non-science speak: people who stayed broken up gained more clarity, satisfaction, happiness, and peace in their lives than those who hooked up or rekindled things with an ex after their breakup. In fact, the latter had significantly worse moods and many more sour experiences in their future love life.
3. Even THE author OF THE LARGEST “how often exes come back” STUDy ARGUES AGAINST reheating old leftovers
Look. It’s fine if you don’t want to listen to me. I mean, I’m just a guy with a keyboard and a somewhat stable internet connection. But at least listen to Amber Vellum, an actual expert on reconciliation, breakups, and on/of relationships. Here’s what she had to say about getting back together with an ex. And no, her comment does not apply solely to on-off relationships but all relationships in general.
“Don’t get back together. Study after study shows that when our relationships are poor, we don’t function well. If it seems necessary to get back together, make sure the decision is carefully considered by both people and that specific efforts are made to establish clarity.” — Amber Vellum (10)
THE TRUE CHANCES OF YOUR EX COMING BACK
To my knowledge, the only legit statistics on couples who broke up and got back together and who were NOT in an on-off relationship (at least not most of them) are from Kevin Thompson, the voice behind ExBackPermanently.com. Kevin made a 3000+ participant study in which he found that about 30% of them reconciled with their ex. However, only 15% actually stayed with their ex for good. The other 15% split, yet again, a year or so later.
A skeptic would ask me, why do I think this guy is legit? I mean, he is operating in the scammy “get your ex back” industry. Well, for one, I’m getting near identical results with my clients. About 15-20% of those who want their ex back actually do get them back and stay with them long term.
Also, Kevin and I are not the only ones getting these numbers. There are also other legit personalities getting them. The most vocal ones being Jesse Martin, a breakup coach, and Corey Wayne, a renowned life coach.
Again, a skeptic may ask, why trust the two? It’s simple. Even though they help people get their ex back, their business is not based on that premise alone. In fact, that topic takes a minor role in their business. Therefore, making up some lofty statistics about whether an ex will come back or not is not all that beneficial for them. Plus, they both have squeaky clean track records: no overhyped products, shady marketing, false scarcity, or hyper-promotional (see: spammy) behaviors.
Ultimately, we could argue that the odds of getting your ex back and keeping them are somewhere between 10% and 30%. Still, the answer can quickly boil down to “it depends…”
(I know, I know… everyone hates that answer.)
…It depends on:
- The length of your relationship.
- The intensity of the emotional connection you shared with your ex.
- The frequency of met and unmet emotional needs.
- The amount of mutual respect and trust between you and your.
- The compatibility of your unique communication styles.
- The overall compatibility of your values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices.
- The commitment level you shared.
- The age bracket you and your ex fall into.
- The attraction level your ex had or still has for you.
And apart from the above, there are plenty more factors that influence how often exes come back. Factors so intricate and vague that they’re almost entirely unmeasurable. And that’s all fine because that’s how relationships are: inherently complex, chaotic, and unpredictable. So, I wouldn’t even focus on whether your ex will come back or not. I would focus on something much more important…
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
If you really want to raise the chances of getting your ex back, focus on self-improvement. Start reading books on psychology, self-development, relationships, and philosophy. Start working out, eating well, sleeping well, managing neediness, overcoming shame. Start digesting works of John Gottman, James Clear, Nat Eliason, Mark Manson, Brene Brown, Ryan Holiday, and so forth.
Those are the people who actually have something worthwhile to say, instead of the typical vomit: “win your ex back in 31.5 days with my 3-step super duper easy system reverse psychology bullshit.”
Because let’s face it, you broke up with your ex for a specific set of problems. And chances are, if your ex comes back and you officially get back together, those problems will still be there and cause resentment, making it ever so likely that you’ll just break up again in the near future. The only way to fix those problems is through self-improvement. Nothing else will quite cut it.
Generally speaking, I’m not saying that attempting to get an ex back is always a bad idea. I’m saying that attempting to get an ex is frequently a bad idea, even when the chances of them actually coming back are sky-high. So the question you should be asking yourself isn’t, “Will my ex come back,” or “Do exes come back in general,” but rather, “If my ex comes back, should we even get back together?
Receive a free copy of my popular breakup survival guide, 56 Tips To Heal A Broken Heart, with three bonus exercises on how to stop obsessing over your ex. Remember: whether you want to get over or re-attract your ex, recovery is always the first step.
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