We regularly observe our former, long-dead relationships through rose-colored glasses, which make remembering all the cheery and lovey-dovey parts of them, easy as pie. But at the same time, the glasses prevent us from seeing the heartache, the fights, and the drama we endured in those same past relationships.
And as a result of seeing mostly the good, we often succumb to returning to our exes, even though we deep down know we shouldn’t.
Now, while seeing things through the infamous pink goggles is a common human tendency, descending into the abyss of denial is not.
But unfortunately, that’s what happens to many people these days.
They realize that they’ve been cheated and lied to.
They realize that their ex might’ve been a codependent, narcissistic, and self-entitled fruitloop. Aka, an all-around fuckup.
Some even realize that the invisible force that prevented them from forming a lasting relationship with their exes was pure incompatibility.
But do the same people who understand that their ex was either incompatible or toxic move on?
Of course not!
Even if their ex left them through a text or if they walked and stomped all over them as a child stomps on an ant nest, they would still find a reason, which they believe is a good one, to want them back.
Even worse, these people somehow still yearn for their ex-partners’ closeness and unconditional love, even if that means returning to the same dysfunctional cycle they tried to get out off.
And this drives me fucking nuts.
Mostly, because I’ve done the same shit when it came to my ex girlfriend(s). I’ve also invented thousands of falsely forged reasons why I should return to her. I thought that things could be different the next time around, just because I loved her so bloody much! I thought she’s the one and only, and that no other woman could replace her.
Not surprisingly, all the above thought patterns were false. In fact, they were so tightly enveloped in my emotions that no rationality could ever come near them.
So here’s the bottom line: No, you probably shouldn’t want your ex — toxic or not — back.
Now while I can’t change your mind about wanting your ex back, I can educate you on the most crucial two reasons why you should stay light years away from them.
So buckle up, grab a box of tissues, maybe even some oh-so-yummy chocolate, and let’s do this shit.
1. The things that made the relationship fail the first time are still going to be there
When you break up and come back together, the same reasons why you broke up in the first place, don’t just combust or magically disappear.
Perhaps your partner left you because of your needy tendencies but came back a few weeks later because of your bitchin’ new Nintendo Switch. The limited Pokemon “Catch em’ all” edition, of course.
And since you spent all your time glued to the gaming console until you were one with it, you haven’t done the proper work on yourself — you haven’t learned how to manage your needy tendencies effectively. The one thing that could help you re-create a better relationship.
So the primary catalyst of why your parter left is still inside you and acts like an invisible fence preventing you from enjoying a healthy relationship.
In fact, instead of forming a healthy relationship, the cycle just repeats itself: at some point, your partner will leave you again for the same reason why they left in the first place — your exhausting needy tendencies.
Or, in some instances, your ex will stay in the relationship for the sole purpose of not being single, as they believe that being single equals to being lonely and unsuccessful in one’s love life. These kinds of people are also the ones most miserable in their relationships and inclined to participate in steaming couch yoga with your friendly neighbourhood mailman.
And since we’re on the topic of cheating, here’s another quickly-digestible example of how the same reasons for why your relationship fell apart in the first place will be the exact reasons why it might fall apart the next time around.
Let’s say your relationship crumbled down due to your partners’ affair. The sole act of forgiving them and staying together enables them to do more of what they’ve already done and, conversely, allows you to meet face to face with the same kind of agony stuffed donut you felt initially once again.
And if you’re still hoping that your cheating ex won’t commit their betrayal again after you come back together, think again! For your own mental sanity, let me obliterate all shreds of hope you may still be holding on with a study titled: Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater? Serial Infidelity Across Subsequent Relationships. (1)
The results reveal that anyone, regardless of gender, who committed an act of unfaithfulness in their past, is three times more likely to repeat the toxic deed in future relationships compared to individuals who never cheated.
As I said, the same things that made your relationship fall apart in the first place will be the same things that will destroy it the second, third, fourth… 69th time.
However, what if you’re committed to not only rekindling your past relationship but also making it last the second time around?
Well, the only thing you can do in that case is to work on yourself before getting back together. Here’s what I mean, specifically.
If your breakup, for instance, came to fruition because of your wobbly boundaries and a lack of healthy self-esteem, then to make things work the second time around, you have to a) develop sturdy boundaries, and b) grow a fair amount of healthy self-esteem. Which, by the way, is not a walk in the park to do.
Both things involve honestly questioning your current values and beliefs, working on your confidence, and developing some kickass self-awareness to tie everything together.
But on the other hand, let’s assume your breakup befell due to your ex girlfriends or boyfriends toxic qualities.
What can you do in this case, where the amount of self-improvement you splatter all over your baby-but-smooth naked body doesn’t matter?
Here’s the answer: the only way for a lasting relationship to flourish when your ex had emotional issues is if they not only take you back but also begin working on their issues as well as the relationship. Which, again, is not an overnight thing to achieve.
We’re talking about learning to communicate effectively from scratch, manage a crippling dose of anxiety or shifting a persons core values like what loyalty or integrity means to them, for instance.
Additionally, there are also cases where relationships fell apart not due to any particular red flags in the individuals dating each other but instead because of their misaligned goals, values, and deep-seated beliefs.
For instance, you desperately want kids and wish to live in the heart of New York while your partner can’t stand kids and wants to live on a secluded mountain top with Kung-Fu Panda.
Ultimately, whether your ex has mental/emotional issues or if they’re just incompatible with you, you can’t make them change. You can’t change anyone.
You can’t make your ex adopt new, better values or beliefs and, therefore, influence the two of you’s compatibility, nor can you make them work on their toxic qualities if they’re not ready to do that.
You have 0% control over your ex. So I strongly suggest you let them go.
The suffering of today will make you into a better person tomorrow if you so choose. It might even generate a profound life purpose that so many men and women in this day and age crave.
2. You’re just preventing yourself from healing by staying fixated on the past
Let’s not kid ourselves.
There’s a bunch of other people out there that you can not only meet but also date and form meaningful and healthy relationships with.
And as long as you’re looking for reasons to come back to your ex — who is an ex for a reason — you’re just closing yourself up from countless new opportunities for personal growth and unique experiences.
Sure, some of those new experiences might involve a few rejections, maybe even spilled drinks and a bitchslap or five if you’re a dude. But that’s also the fun of it.
It’s those trivial experiences that help you become a better, more well-rounded person. Even better, they oftentimes humble you and make you grateful for the everyday things you do have in your life — like the mailman bringing you a chunky Amazon package.
The post-breakup time is also the period where you get a close up of your most destructive side: all those icky anxiety/fear-driven behaviors, shame, codependency issues, emotional baggage, and limiting beliefs.
For example, maybe you begin to notice that you got furiously-anxious not because your ex forgot to send a heart emoji as you thought, but because they made you feel neglected and unloved, the same way your dad made you feel when he wasn’t home for days when you were a kid.
Maybe you learned that your constant gift-giving is not a result of your generosity or kindness, but pure selfishness. In essence, you realized that you’re not buying gifts for the sake of pure giving, but only to receive other people’s approval regarding how great of a person you are.
At some point, you may also discover why you need other people’s approval: because you feel inadequate, unworthy, and lack the discipline or willpower to change those limiting beliefs. Therefore you resort to using other peoples’ “pats one the back” and words of kindness as a way to make yourself feel better about yourself.
While the short high of someone’s approval may give you a spike in your self-worth and self-esteem, it’s just a matter of time before it all crumbles down again. The only way to make quantum leaps in improving your overall sense of self-worth is by engaging in internal work, not external.
Those are the kind of life-changing realizations a breakup can help you see, but only if you’re brave enough to go and look for them. However, just finding them is not enough.
When faced with your flaws, you also have to learn how to accept, embrace, and work on them to improve. In general, that’s how you become a so-called better person. But the more you fixate your mind on getting back together with your ex as soon as possible, the more you’re going to blind yourself from these imperfections, or worse, fail to grow from them, since you’ll be rushing things just to get a change with your ex. Subsequently, you’re going to hinder yourself from becoming a better person, which is a much greater loss, than not getting your ex back.
Hope this article answered the question of, “should I take my ex back?” All in all, It’s more-often than not, not worth it. So instead of trying to get them back, refuel and improve, so you can bounce back and can find someone better.
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