How Often Do Exes Come Back After A Breakup

by By Max Jancar | Last Updated: April 8, 2021

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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, a 90% success rate. And Chris Canwell, arguably the biggest charlatan of all, promises 96%. (1)(2)(3)(4)

Oh yeah... then there are hundreds of other gurus, hidden in some shady and obscure corner of the Internet, preaching even loftier success rates. (Like the guru in this sham product).

How can I tell you this... Well... All of those percentages, those chances, right? ...They are complete fabrications. 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 makes the purchase of the get-your-ex-back course that they're probably selling 10x more enticing.

Here's the uncomfortable reality, though: getting an ex back rarely works out, and keeping them after getting them back, even less so.

In this article, I'll prove this point. But not before I reveal the truth behind three popular studies on the chances of reconciliation that most popular get-your-ex-back gurus distort and misrepresent in their favour.

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. It 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. This is what it reports:

"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 are 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 your 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 you change your underwear.

Therefore, when discussing your average, healthy, non-on-off relationship (however you want to call it), the chances of reconciliation are inevitably way lower than our famous studies suggest.

2. The consequences of reconciliations aren't positive

According to our previous study — the one with 1075 participants — getting back with an ex is, in general, a horrible idea. Check this out:

"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 on 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.

3. EVEN THE author OF THE LARGEST RECONCILIATION STUDy ARGUES AGAINST going back TO YOUR EX

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 an actual expert on reconciliation and moving on from ex partners, Amber Vellum. 

Oh, and before you read further, Vellum's comment doesn't solely apply 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 are from Kevin Thompson, the owner of ExBackPermanently.

Kevin made a 3000+ participant study which found that about 30% of them reconciled with their ex. However, only 15% actually stayed with their ex for good. (The other 15% split again a year or so later.)

A skeptic would ask me, why do I think this guy is legit? I mean, he's operating in the scammy get-your-ex-back industry? Why are you even promoting him? Did he pay you for this?

Relax. Kevin did not pay me a dime, nor do I know him. We don't even talk. In fact, a lot of his advice is questionable and far from what I would encourage. Despite still being less immature than the advice from other gurus I've seen.

The only reason I'm giving Kevin's statistics a pass is because 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. 

Further, it's not just me and Kevin who are getting these results. Other legit personalities are getting them too. The most vocal ones being Jesse Marin, a retired breakup coach, and Corey Wayne, a renowned life coach.

Again, a skeptic may ask, why do I trust those two? It's simple. Even though they help people get their ex back, their business is not based on that premise alone. Therefore, making up some lofty statistics about whether an ex will come back or not is not really beneficial for them.

You've probably noticed, that this is also how I operate my business. I do give advice on getting an ex back, but that's not my main focus; giving advice on recovery and self development is.

Another plus, Corey and Jesse, have squeaky clean track records tied to their online personality, which means no overhyped ClickFunnels 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%. However, the answer can quickly boil down to "it depends..."

...It depends on the length of your relationship, the intensity of your emotional connection, met and unmet emotional needs, the amount of mutual respect and trust between you, your unique communication styles, your overall compatibility, and so forth.

I know, I know... everyone hates the "it depends" answer. But it's usually the right one.

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE 

If you really want to raise the chances of getting your ex back, focus on self-improvement. Fuck the get-your-ex-back courses. Fuck the get-your-ex-back content. Hell, fuck articles like these!

All the people I consulted with and who got their ex back and kept them did so through self-improvement. Never did they said, "I got my ex back because I bought a course on how to get an ex back."

So what are you waiting for? just start.

Start reading books on psychology, self-development, relationships, and philosophy. Start working out, eating well, sleeping well, managing neediness, overcoming shame, etc. Start digesting up works from John Gottman, James Clear, Nat Eliason, Mark Manson, Brene Brown, Ryan Holiday, etc.

Those are the people who actually have something worthwhile to say, instead of your typical vomit like "win your ex back in 31.5 days with my 3-step super duper easy system reverse psychology bullshit."

In any case, if you're willing to get your ex back, either through self-improvement or manipulation, know this: You broke up for a specific set of problems. 

Chances are, if you get back together, those problems are still going to be there; they'll still cause havoc or at best, frustrations. So, you'll most likely just break up with your ex again.

Don't get me wrong though. I'm NOT saying that getting an ex back is always a bad idea. I'm saying that getting an ex back is often a bad idea, even if your chances of reconciliation are good. But is it bad idea in your case? Hah, you got me. That's something you'll have to figure out on your own. Good luck.

"If someone breaks up with you, they won't flip flop and change their decision back. It means there were things that did NOT work. Each breakup also has its own unique set of circumstances. Someone could have crossed a major red line, so getting back together is impossible.

The healthiest thing to do, is to get on with your life. Process it all later. If it hurts too much, distract yourself. There will be a period where it feels like you cannot live without your ex. But this is just a phase and you will get over it.

Keep in mind that whatever happens, happens for the best. Be grateful for the good times. Cherish your pleasant memories. Do not dwell on the lack, instead focus on the positives.

— a smart person from Quora.com

Footnotes

Cover photo by Tithi Luadthong via 123RF

1) https://www.exboyfriendrecovery.com/what-are-the-chances-of-getting-back-together-after-a-breakup/

2) https://www.themodernman.com/blog/odds-of-getting-an-ex-back.

3) https://www.exfactorguide.com/video/male/

4) https://www.developattraction.com/get-her-back/

5) Halpern-Meekin S, Manning WD, Giordano PC, Longmore MA. Relationship Churning in Emerging Adulthood: On/Off Relationships and Sex with an Ex. J Adolesc Res. 2013;28(2):166-188. doi:10.1177/0743558412464524

6) Dailey RM, Jin B, Pfiester A, Beck G. On-again/off-again dating relationships: what keeps partners coming back? J Soc Psychol. 2011 Jul-Aug;151(4):417-40. doi: 10.1080/00224545.2010.503249. PMID: 21755653.

7, 8) Vennum, A., Lindstrom, R., Monk, J. K., & Adams, R. (2014). “It’scomplicated:” The continuity and correlates of cycling in cohabiting and maritalrelationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31(3), 410-430.

9) DAILEY, R.M., PFIESTER, A., JIN, B., BECK, G. and CLARK, G. (2009), On‐again/off‐again dating relationships: How are they different from other dating relationships?. Personal Relationships, 16: 23-47. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2009.01208.x

10) https://www.hhs.k-state.edu/news/2012/02/20/research-finds-that-rekindling-a-romance-often-extinguishes-a-couples-happiness/