When you hear news like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez reuniting, it may have you reminiscing about your ex. Most people enjoy the romantic notion that they could work it out with their ex. Meanwhile, the pandemic readjusted priorities and heightened the sense of loneliness for singles. Dating websites found that more than 15% of singles were texting an ex during this time.
Couples do get back together successfully with their ex, but it isn’t common and it’s not easy. Reuniting should be done for the right reasons – not just because you’re lonely or bored. Hooking up is not creating a healthy relationship and leads to more pain and disappointment. If you are considering a relationship with your ex, how do you know if there is hope for the two of you? Relationship experts suggest you pay attention to the answers to these 5 questions.
1. What was the cause of the breakup and has it been resolved? Some couples break up over personal issues such as substance abuse, fear of commitment, or anger management. If they admit to the problem and were able to get mental health help, it demonstrates maturity and responsibility making a relationship possible.
2. How long was the couple apart? People get more reflective and less reactive as they mature. They may have had time to think about what happened and own their part. Couples who have spent a longer time apart have a greater chance of making it work again.
3. Do you miss them or just hate being alone? Crisis moments such as the pandemic induced loneliness and fear for many. Wanting security and companionship drove many to get back in touch with their ex. However, wanting someone because you’re lonely is different than wanting someone because you’re ready to work together to make a relationship you both love.
4. Have they changed? People do change, but change is difficult. If your partner was emotionally immature, engaged in infidelity, or made poor life decisions, they may still sabotage the relationship. It requires a lot of self-awareness and insight to change. If you’re ex is still unwilling to get emotional help and still blaming others for their situation, getting back with them would be a move backwards.
5. Do they make your life easier or more chaotic? A healthy relationship should make your life better rather than bring drama and instability. Getting involved with someone who adds chaos and insecurity to your life or makes you doubt or dislike yourself is setting the relationship up for failure.
As a therapist, I have seen couples reunite after divorcing for 10 or 20 years, but it wasn’t romance or fantasy that brought them together. It was a true recognition that they were better together than apart; they were both willing to accept responsibility for the changes they each had to make. Unless both of you have made changes from the lessons learned, your ex should remain your ex. -Mary Jo Rapini