It Isn't That Simple: Why We Can Never Break Up With Someone Just Once

by Lauren Martin

Breaking up is like a lot like herpes: No matter how final the first time feels, there’s always a second time.

Like herpes, the first time it happens can be difficult and painful, but as time goes on, the outbreaks become fewer and fewer, until it’s just a faint pain.

Anyone who has been through a breakup knows it’s nothing like the Hollywood portrayal of two people ending things over an intense argument or calm coffee date, trading each other’s belongings and never seeing each other again.

In real life, nothing’s so final.

The beauty and the downfall of the modern day breakup is there’s always a second chance -- or a third. Nothing is final because no one’s feelings are final.

And no matter how heartbroken you are, there’s always a slim chance of the drunk booty call or the accidental swipe on Tinder.

When we’re in it, it’s a lot easier to understand why we're taking the person back, but for the friends who’ve just spent a week dissecting, talking and analyzing every detail of the relationship with you, it’s a little harder to understand why someone you so vehemently hated two days ago is now someone you’re letting back into your life.

What about everything we talked about? Didn't we just admit to you we hate him? Why did we just spend all that time helping you get over him?

Why would you take someone back you wanted to break up with in the first place? What’s the point of being with someone you already broke up with?

Like most questions in life, the answer is not so cut and dry. We can’t explain human emotion any more than we can explain Vladimir Putin.

Some things (and people) are a mystery, but the one fact that remains is that when you break up with someone, it’s never just once.

We always think it’ll be different the second time around

You know exactly how it’s going to be -- the exact same way it was before.

Neither of you has changed. You’re both still the same people with the same nuances, and just because you put some space between you doesn’t mean you aired out all the sh*t you couldn’t stand about each other.

But those first moments of reignited lust and passion always come after a dose of time apart and make us think this time around will be different.

We don’t trust our instincts

It can take a long time to learn to trust your gut. When your heart says one thing, your head spews the contrary.

Whenever we make a big life change, no matter what it is, we always look back with moments of panic and doubt, wondering if we made the right decision or if we were high off a sudden surge of emotion.

Many times, we let this fear overcome and cloud our once rational decision with the idea that we just acted irrationally.

We’ve forgotten how to be alone

Even though you were alone before the relationship, once you’ve experienced life as a pair, it’s hard to remember how you ever managed it solo.

With a breakup comes the terrifying fear of being out in the wild again -- alone and out of shape.

The idea of breaking your routine, starting fresh and spending all that time trying to find someone new -- who you might also end up breaking up with -- just seems like a lot of work.

We’re scared he or she will find someone better

With every breakup comes another hookup, and even if you’re completely over the relationship, you’re not always ready to think about your ex under someone else.

It’s childish, hypocritical and completely moronic, but we’re a jealous species who doesn’t like to share our toys -- even if we’ve just thrown them away.

We want what we can’t have

Even if you’re the one who threw the toy away, there will come a time when you want it back. And when you’re the one being dumped, you’ll always want that toy back -- until you find a new, better toy.

But in that horrible in-between of feeling lonely and depressed, it’s easy to question all the shoulds, woulds and coulds and wonder if maybe that person you didn’t want five minutes ago is someone you’re going to want in five years.

We’re scared of Tinder

It’s been awhile, and you’ve been out of the game. Tinder wasn’t your forte then, and it isn’t your forte now.

While swiping right is all fun and games, when it comes down to the real-life part, it can be a bit daunting.

Remember all those weirdos? All those horrible dinners that should have been drinks? All those guys who should have been studs but were just lonely boys with access to too many Abercrombie and Fitch ads?

All those right swipes that should have been lefts? Tinder is a scary place for any newly single fish out of water.