When it comes to regretting a breakup, the struggle can be
so real. Even if you’re the one who called it quits, the reality of your life post-split can be harsh — so much so that it can cause you to regret breaking up and start pondering whether you did the right thing. But how do you know if you’re only having regrets because you miss being in a relationship, or because your breakup was a mistake? It can be pretty challenging to separate the two, as the loss of an important person in your life can cloud your judgment. Before you know it, you could be rethinking your breakup and sending that ex a text, begging for them to come back.
If you feel like you’re second-guessing your split, then know you’re def not alone. And while it’s totally normal to
miss your ex, it doesn’t mean that you two should have never broken up in the first place. As clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow previously told Elite Daily, it’s “next to impossible to separate” missing your ex from missing the relationship right after a breakup.
However, if some time has passed and you still find yourself thinking, “I regret breaking up with her or him,” there are some ways to determine if you made your decision to break things off too hastily — or for the wrong reasons.
You May Regret Your Breakup If You Overlooked Your Compatibility
Compatibility can be the key to a successful relationship. No matter how much you might love someone, sometimes you have too many differences to overcome. So if you broke off a relationship — because you got bored, began to ponder what else was out there, or focused on insignificant “flaws” your ex had — but ultimately feel that you had amazing compatibility on your side, then you may want to rethink things.
Chelsea Leigh Trescott — breakup coach and podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak — compatibility is “your capacity to coexist, cultivate a partnership, and grow, not through each other so much as beside each other,” and she says it’s a good enough reason to circle back to your ex. While craving the chemistry you had with your ex “may just mean your passion was the highlight of that relationship and now it’s time to connect with someone who offers not only intimacy but practicality,” it’s worth reconsidering your relationship if you and your ex genuinely complemented each other.
Yes, chemistry is important, but having true compatibility with your partner is essential. And if you feel like you didn’t give the compatibility you shared with your ex enough credit, then you may want to give your romance another chance.
You May Regret Your Breakup If You Kept Your Distance Out Of Fear
Dating is tough when you feel pressure to pursue your passions and succeed professionally. According to Trescott, meeting the
right person at the wrong time can cause you to keep your partner at arm’s length and eventually even end things. “If you were just starting out in the workforce, in between jobs, or reinventing your career entirely while with your ex, it’s possible that what caused your relationship to crack was not your future with your partner so much as your own personal future feeling so uncertain, and at times, intimidating,” she says.
If you feel like your pride or stress got in the way of your ability to be with your partner, then there’s a chance your breakup was premature. “Perhaps this stirred up feelings of shame or even dependency that felt new or unsettling, and as a result, you may have felt like you were showing up small in life, or that you were simply unprepared to devote your focus and finances to this relationship,” Trescott adds. “Perhaps now you’re in a position to be forthright about the shame you were experiencing and how this put a limit on the way you were expressing your love, you can return to your ex and maximize your relationship potential.”
As they say, timing is everything — and this is definitely true in relationships. If you feel like your own individual struggles to find your place in the world got in the way of your bond, then your breakup might have been a mistake.
You May Regret Your Breakup If It Was A Reaction To A Fight
During a heated argument, when emotions are running high, it’s easy to get carried away and say something you might regret. But when it comes to a breakup, it isn’t something that should just happen out of the blue, especially if you never intended on breaking up with them in the first place. According to
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of , if there was a lot of drama, then it "probably indicates Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today you and your partner were just reacting to each other, and the breakup wasn’t really thought out.”
If that’s the case, then you may still be able to give your relationship another shot once the dust has settled. As Tessina previously told Bustle, “It’s worth going back, apologizing, and seeing if you can talk about what is wrong and work through it.” However, if you two
always fought when you were together, then your relationship may not be worth salvaging.
It’s one thing to revisit a relationship that ended over an argument. It’s another thing to go back to an ex with whom you were
constantly in an argument. Be honest with yourself about the amount of fighting in your relationship before you reach out to your ex.
You May Regret Your Breakup If You End Things After A Tragedy
This past spring, one of my best girlfriends reconnected with a former flame who had broken things off abruptly a year back. When the two reunited, he finally explained his reasons for the split: He had just lost his job, he had to move home, and meanwhile, his parents were going through a nasty divorce. Sometimes, in the wake of major difficulties, we push people away instead of drawing them close. Ideally, if you were in a long-term relationship, you would be able to lean on your partner during a challenging time.
Still, you may have felt like you had to get through something on your own — and that’s totally understandable. “Tragedies can work in two ways: They can snap us awake to loving someone fully and right now, or they can make us shut off and back out,” says Trescott. “Especially if the tragedy was centered in an unexpected loss, it’s likely that you broke up with your ex for fear of growing to love them too much as well as feeling like this breakup, on your terms, was the one loss you could control.”
You’ll always need time to heal following a tragedy, but if you find yourself missing your ex or regretting your breakup once the grief has passed, then it may be time to reach out.
You May Regret Your Breakup If You Gave Into Pressure
Maybe your family had a certain idea of the kind of person you’d end up with, or your friends had their own reasons for persuading you to break it off. Either way, if you feel like you made the decision to break up with your ex because of other people’s thoughts and feelings rather than your own, then the split may have been a mistake. “Maybe you felt the pressure to live up to your own parents’ relationship,” Trescott says, “or maybe it was easier to date someone in your friend’s group because that’s all you knew and it kept things simple, cordial, and fun.”
It’s important to separate other people’s opinions from your own inner feelings and desires when assessing whether a breakup was the right choice. And if the decision to end your relationship wasn’t yours and yours alone, then there’s a good chance you’ll live to regret it. As Trescott explains, “If you gave up on your partner because your
family didn’t want to give them a chance or your friends didn’t warm up to them, but you felt deeply connected, at ease, challenged, and comforted, then it’s worth rising above the noise of the peanut gallery in order to explore a relationship that may not look right to others but feels right to you.”
While family and friends may have your best interests at heart, they don’t always know the whole story — only you know the inner workings of your relationship and can decide what feels right. Take some time to evaluate your loved ones’ concerns, and then you can figure out whether they were valid or not.
Here’s What To Do If You Regret Your Breakup
Now that you’ve hopefully worked through your tragedy and begun the process of healing, you may have realized that your bond with your previous partner is worth salvaging. If that’s the case, Trescott advises being honest with your ex about your confusion and fear during your time of tragedy — a supportive, understanding partner will likely be able to empathize with the difficulties you faced that may have led to a premature breakup.
It can be rather challenging to assess whether a breakup was a mistake or not — mainly because it’s typical to have some regrets after ending a relationship, even if it wasn’t a healthy or totally happy one. “The most common mistake post-breakup is to confuse emotions with signs that you should be back together,” says Trescott. “Missing your ex and refreshing their Instagram feed every few hours — or minutes — isn’t a sign that you lost the love of your life. It’s a sign that you’re experiencing the very real and natural tensions of heartbreak — emotions like longing and fixation that skew our perspective and hold our attention at a backwards glance.”
If any of these signs sound familiar, however, Trescott advises
reaching out to our ex and asking to meet in person or at least talk on the phone about your revelations. “If you’re coming from a place of clarity, self-responsibility, and you feel healed and capable of returning to the relationship in a new and improved way, then the best move to make is to speak from your heart,” she says. “Be genuine, revealing, and compassionate as well as patient to where your ex might be at. And at the end of the day, rush nothing because if you really feel like breaking up was a mistake, forcing your ex to see that on your timeline would only be mistake number two.”
As humans, we all make mistakes — and that is certainly true in regards to relationships. There are many reasons why we might break up with someone, and sometimes, we realize in retrospect that our
relationship was worth fighting for despite those reasons. Take some time and space to honestly reflect on your relationship (perhaps even with a therapist), and evaluate what led to your decision to end things.
At the end of the day, it's important to trust your instincts. If it feels like your love story is unfinished or was ended too hastily due to insignificant factors, then it may be worth working to rewrite the ending.
Experts: Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist Thank You Heartbreak Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach and podcast host of Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.