Click play to listen to this article.
When people get into a breakup, most overlook the negative aspects of their dead relationship and try to revive it against all odds. Sometimes even if their ex is a serial cheater or liar, a codependent, a self-entitled fruitloop, or completely incompatible. These are all obvious signals that you shouldn’t try to get back with them.
But most people don’t give a shit! They don’t take “no” for an answer. They rationalize how their ex is “the one.” They make up reasons for why it’s a good idea to get them back. They bullshit themselves into believing their breakup is an easily reversible one-time thing and that if they could just get one more chance, everything would turn out peaches and rainbows.
Well, not everything will always turn out fucking peaches and rainbows. Statistically speaking, only a minority of people actually benefit from going back to their ex and stand a chance at making their reformed relationship work. The majority, however, would be much better off emotionally by finding someone else.
I know I can’t change your mind about reheating leftovers. But I can educate you on some pretty valid reasons why this pursuit is a horrible idea and hope you change your mind yourself.
1. Staying In The Past Only Prolongs Your Recovery
Let’s not kid ourselves. Your ex is not special. There are many other smart and attractive people out there who will rub you in all the right ways and will be willing and able to form a healthy and lasting relationship with you.
But as long as you’re looking for reasons to come back to your ex, you’re closing yourself off from those potentially amazing experiences. Sure, some may involve rejections, spilled drinks, or even a bitchslap or ten. Yet, those same experiences will help you become a better, more well-rounded person.
For example, maybe you start noticing that you get anxious not because the people you fancy don’t include a heart emoji in their texts, but because leaving out those emojis makes you relive the same feelings of abandonment you felt in childhood.
Or maybe you started noticing that your constant gift-giving is not a result of your generosity but your sick desire of needing other people’s validation. Maybe you even become aware of why you need that validation in the first place. Worthiness issues? Low self-esteem? Shitty values? Who knows…
These are the kind of realizations you can only become aware of when you shift your focus from your ex to yourself. Nevertheless, becoming aware of your emotional issues is not enough. After becoming aware of them, you also have to accept and manage them.
2. Your Motives For Wanting To Go Back To Your Ex Are Probably Dumb As Fuck
Most people want their ex back not out of love, but out of fear. They fear there’s no one better out there… They fear no one will love them the same way their ex did… They fear they’ll never find someone else… They fear they’re not good enough to attract someone else… They fear no one will think of them as good enough to commit to…
… So they stay stuck — forever chained to their ex, forever locked in the past.
Truth is, all of these fears, while they do feel true, are nothing but sick delusions fabricated from fragments of one’s past trauma. And the only way to get past them is through self-improvement. And no, getting your ex back wouldn’t help. Even if you got them back, your fears would still linger beneath your every behavior, causing you to sabotage your relationship in a variety of ways:
- Spying on your partner while they’re away.
- Checking their search history.
- Reading their private messages.
- Checking who they’re following on social media.
- Trying to limit which friends they can go out with and which ones they can’t.
- Obsessing if they still love you because they haven’t responded to your call for more than a third of an hour.
- And more…
These fears won’t disappear until you mature into a secure individual and convince yourself that you don’t need your ex — or anyone else for that matter — to be happy, fulfilled, and worthy. You can be all of that without relying on others for validation, companionship, or closeness.
Obviously reaching this transformation is easier said than done. It’ll take months or years of self-improvement and most likely lots of therapy. But it can be done. And, believe me — I went through this shit myself — it’s going to be one of the best things you’ve done with your life. However, it all starts with letting your ex go first.
3. Your Ex Has Probably Moved On Already
Your ex has likely been planning to break up with you for weeks or months before they’ve actually done it. And it was during this “mulling period,” that they were able to let go of you emotionally.
After all, they had a lot of time on their hands to process their grief and calmly form a plan for how they’ll move forward after the split. What’s more, your ex probably hinted that they’re losing attraction for you or that you’re doing something that keeps turning them off. Perhaps they even outright told you these things and tried to help you salvage your relationship.
After five years of helping people bust through their breakups, I’ve seen this pattern unfold repeatedly.
If the above reflects your situation — as it does for most dumpees — getting your ex back is next to impossible. After all, their decision to leave wasn’t made on a whim. It was a calculated one, even if your breakup felt sudden. Just think how difficult it is to change the mind of someone who made such a thought-through decision of high risk.
4. The Things That Made Your Relationship Fall Apart Will Still Be There
Even if you get your ex back, the reasons you broke up in the first place don’t just magically disappear.
If your ex left you because of your neediness, and you haven’t learned how to manage it by the time they return, everything will go to shit again. Same story if they left because you suck at erecting healthy boundaries, and you still suck at erecting them after getting another chance. Same story if you can’t find a compromise on having vs. not having kids and still can’t find a compromise once you get back together.
You get the point. If you don’t address and overcome the problems and incompatibles that destroyed your relationship initially, they’ll only destroy it again later after rekindling it. It’s only once you both change and improve for the better that you’ll earn a decent chance of staying together for good.
If you attempt to get your ex back in any other way (see: fake guru tactics, tricks, quick fixes, etc.), your efforts will likely blow up in your face. You’ll either fail to get them back or end up in a restored yet fragile relationship composed of two wholly different and skeptical individuals, replaying the same problems and dramas over and over while being constantly reminded of why things failed in the first place.
Why Do Breakups Hurt (Even When You Wanted It)
Discover the surprising science of why breakups hurt (even when you wanted it), how long yours will hurt, and what hurts the most about it.
8 Ways To Overcome Anger After A Breakup
It’s normal to feel angry after a breakup. It's a key stage to recovery. Here are 8 ways to deal with your anger after a breakup effectively.
7 Solutions For When You Can’t Sleep After A Breakup
Discover 7 powerful solutions for when you can't sleep after a breakup straight from a retired biohacker and sleep and productivity nerd.
The Dark Side Of Breakup Recovery
Don't overwhelm yourself with breakup recovery and know that the whole point of it is to come to a place where you no longer need it.
Don’t Fear The Rebound Relationship
A rebound relationship is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it's a great thing — in the short and long term, no matter how it unravels.