I completely understand the appeal — you know each other well and you know how to please each other. It’s easy and it’s comfortable. Unfortunately, these are all short-term gains that delay a very harsh reality. I’m talking, of course, about the backslide: giving in to your ex's late night booty call or, worse, earnestly seeking to re-spark the old flame.
You know why this is such a bad choice. But, in case you’ve been putting your fingers in your ears and humming loudly every time your best friend tells you – again and again – all of the reasons this is a terrible idea, here are the four biggest reasons you should not, under any circumstance, get back together with an ex.
1. The two of you broke up for a reason.
Regardless of who made the official call, a conscious decision was made to end the relationship. It may have been because those quirks, which were so cute in the beginning, became insufferably obnoxious. Or it may have been a fundamental difference in values or future goals. Whatever the reason, someone decided. One (or both) of you concluded that this was not union to which you desired to devote your life.
The decision still stands, even after you put on the “but we were so happy” goggles. Never lose sight of the complete version of your relationship, including the bad stuff.
2. Your ex is the same person with whom you broke up.
“But people change!” No, they don’t — at least not without a significant amount of time and a lot of exerted effort. Has it been at least six months since you last spoke with one another? If not, then chances are your ex hasn’t changed.
3. Your ex is being nice to you because he or she has had a chance to miss you.
This especially applies if the relationship ended poorly. Plates were thrown, bad names were shouted and a piece of furniture may have even been set on fire. But now, your ex is back to treating you as if it were the very beginning of your relationship. This is not surprising — your ex is lonely and misses you. Plus, this is not a reflection of your ex’s authentic self.
Think about it — are you the real you in the beginning of any relationship? Of course not — there’s a solid three-to-six month “best impression period” in which you don’t fart in front each other or fight about anything or share that weird dream from last night.
Then, after this phase is over, your real self shines through. You see the truest version of each other — the good and the bad. Presumably, the bad is why you broke up. Now that you’ve had the chance to take some time apart, you are both back in first impression stage. Do not mistake this for your ex having changed. It’s only a matter of time before the “real” him or her will yet again emerge.
4. It’s comfortable and easy for the wrong reasons.
Long-term couples eventually reach a point when their love for one another is so strong, they can be 100% themselves. This is good comfort; the kind of comfort in which you can look your absolute worst and your significant other still thinks you’re beautiful. The “but I miss my ex” comfort is the bad kind of comfort. It’s the kind of comfort that only exists because change and loneliness are difficult to navigate.
It’s undeniably tough to start over, but once you learn how to feel like yourself with a new person, everything will be worth the struggle. While new things are hard and scary, they are also exciting. You get to experience all of the “firsts” all over again. Do not accept a lesser form of comfort just to avoid the new and scary.
It’s time to cut your losses and move forward. You are not the first person to miss an ex or to consider backsliding. It is always hard to get back out into the dating world again.
Yes, life would be easier if you could just skip ahead into an existing three-month relationship, but you would also rob yourself of some of the best parts of growing close with a person. New may be scary, but scary is always exciting. At all costs, avoid the trap of the backslide — your future self (and future significant other) will thank you.
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