Should You Ever Get Back Together With an Ex? Pros & Cons
- by Rich Santos, Marie Claire, on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:07pm PDT
I once took revenge on a girl who told me she only liked me as a friend.
I knew she’d realize she had feelings for me at some point, and I vowed to deny her that chance.
Sure enough, a few weeks later, she told me she had feelings for me. I didn’t even think about whether I had feelings for her or not. I said: “Well, I think we should just be friends.”
I used to have strict rules: If they mess up, don’t take them back.
These days, I’m undecided on whether it’s best to take someone back or swear them off after they’ve messed up. A lot of it depends on why they left your life or how they messed up.
I’ve never had a good experience taking someone back. The “newness” and excitement is never there the second time around.
But it’s still a tough decision when you have that option. And people have the knack of reappearing after you’ve just gotten over them. Making a decision is challenging because it feels like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Here are pros and cons of taking someone back:
Don’t Take Them Back Because…
You Can Never Make It Like It Used to Be
Some relationships simply can’t withstand that moment when the magic ends. No need to get back together and beat a dead horse.
It Might Be for the Wrong Reasons
When you have that familiarity with each other, it’s so easy to fall into bad habits. For example, I’ve gotten back together with many women as a temporary Band-Aid for our mutual loneliness (which usually plays itself out in the form of sex with no real relationship).
They Might Hurt You Again
Obviously, if someone hurt you, they could do the exact same thing again. So, on top of the pain, you’ll feel stupid making the same mistake twice.
They’ll Think They Can Get Away with Anything
If you take someone back, they may think they can get away with treating you badly and they’ll take advantage of you. You don’t want to be that person, so think hard before you take that risk.
You Have No Room to Grow
Meeting new people helps you grow, and you learn from each new relationship. Going back to the old relationship might stunt your growth as a person…and prevent you from meeting someone better.
Give Them Another Chance Because…
We All Deserve a Second Chance
There’s power in forgiveness. If you expect perfect behavior in your significant others, you’ll be disappointed, and breaking up often.
Losing You Made Them Get Their Act Together
The reality of losing someone causes people to get their act together. They do some soul-searching to figure out where they went wrong and they realize how they should develop to be better in the relationship the next time around.
You Might Regret Not Taking Them Back
We’ve all be there before with the one who got away. Sometimes it’s worth taking the risk to take someone back simply because we know we’ll regret it later, and wonder what could have been.
It’s Impossible Not to Take Them Back
Usually, your heart is wrong and your head is right, but your heart wins out. Sometimes it’s impossible to say “no,” and that’s OK. Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work out.
It Could Be Better Than It Ever Was
This is rare, in my opinion, but my parents are a good example of this. They got back together after a separation and they’ve been happy together ever since. Sometimes a break helps you sit back and take stock of everything. If the growth you do while you’re apart is complementary, then you might be able to give it another shot.
Ultimately, I’d lean toward not taking someone back. I think it’s important to move on and meet new people and gain experience. It’s definitely riskier to take someone back than it is not to let them back in your life.
However, I find it incredibly romantic when two people are separated by circumstance and time and overcome the odds to end up together.
Have you had successful relationships with anyone the second time around? What’s your policy on taking people back, and what are your thoughts on my reasons above? Is it usually a tough decision for you?