Here's What To Consider Before Hooking Up With An Ex

Originally Published: 
Elite Daily/Jenny Garbutt

Dating is more complicated than ever right now: you can be benched, breadcrumbed, and ghosted by your Tinder match... all in the same week. And even when a great first date gives you butterflies, knowing what to do next can be confusing AF. Luckily, in Elite Daily's series, We Need To Talk, our Dating editors break down the latest terms, trends, and issues affecting your life with their own hot takes to figure out how to navigate finding love in a world that changes faster than you can swipe left.

The holidays bring with them more than just mashed potatoes, mistletoe, and below-freezing temperatures. They also come with a hefty dose of nostalgia. Combined with the fact that everyone you know is home visiting family — including your ex — and you’ve got a recipe for disaster bigger than burning the turkey. Hooking up with an ex can be tempting enough as it is on the reg, but when you’re both single, it’s cuffing season, and you’re ~back where it all began~, do you resist, or just give in? Even trickier: What do you do if you go through with it and now you’re feeling awkward and confused? All these emotions can make even the most far-removed exes doubt whether they should’ve broken up in the first place. The Elite Daily Dating editors unpacked this topic over a bottle of red and a ‘90s nostalgia playlist. (Noticing a theme?)

Here’s what went down.

Elite Daily/Jenny Garbutt

Iman [4:48 p.m.]

so, thanksgiving is coming up

wonder which ex is gonna text me “happy thanksgiving” this year

Hannah [4:48 p.m.]

exes f*cking love getting back in touch on thanksgiving because of the ~nostalgia~

Iman [4:49 p.m.]

i can’t help but feel like they want to hook up when we’re both home for thanksgiving and i’m like ??? is that even a good idea

Hannah [4:50 p.m.]

hooking up with exes was my number one plague all throughout college. i couldn’t resist

have you done it?

Iman [4:50 p.m.]

i’ve only done it once, with my high school boyfriend when we were both home for winter break freshman year of college

he was my new year’s kiss and it made things totally awkward. we haven’t spoken since!

Hannah [4:51 p.m.]

what about it made things awkward?

Iman [4:51 p.m.]

i just felt like we left things sort of incomplete... as if we had closed the lid on things, randomly reopened it, then never spoke again

i wonder if i ruined any future friendship we could’ve had by doing that

now idk what i’d say if i were to run into him on the street, except for maybe, “sorry for writing about you so much”

i think maybe having a convo after about our relationship and why it ended — would’ve cleared the air

Hannah [4:53 p.m.]

but do you think your dynamic would be any less weird if you hadn’t hooked up one final time?

like… things could still be awkward

(not to be a downer)

Iman [4:53 p.m.]

no. there was no bad blood between us before we hooked up

but after, it was like… do we still like each other? why don’t we like each other enough to stay together?

idk. it just felt neat before, and then it felt messy

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Vero [4:55 p.m.]

i think the hookup messed with your closure

you had a clean break and then you hopped back into it, which can open the door to a lot of questions

why did we do that? do we still have feelings for each other? should we get back together?

Hannah [4:56 p.m.]

YES. hooking up with an ex makes it impossible to get closure

and when you’re in the mood to hook up and kind of sad… you’re not really in the best headspace to make big decisions about your love life

Vero [4:57 p.m.]

do you think hooking up could be part of getting closure?

like a “one last time” kind of thing?

Iman [4:57 p.m.]

i feel like that’s something i’d tell myself as an excuse to hook up when i wanted to

but afterwards i would just feel… sh*tty

Hannah [4:58 p.m.]

do you think maybe there’s a certain period of time that needs to pass so you can both heal and move on before opening that lid again? or is it always gonna be awkward?

Vero [4:59 p.m.]

experts say you should go at least 90 days no-contact with an ex before reconnecting

which in and of itself can be a real challenge because you’re fresh off the breakup

i can’t imagine hooking up before that 90-day period is over would do anything positive for the sake of closure

Iman [5:00 p.m.]

it’s also super easy to forget that like, you broke up for a reason, you know?

Hannah [5:00 p.m.]


say it louder for the people in the back

Iman [5:01 p.m.]

and it’s hard to hook up and then not have an awk dynamic after

like, impossible

Hannah [5:01 p.m.]

maybe not impossible, but hard, yes

i think if a civil, non-awk relationship is important to both people post-hookup, you can push through the awkwardness

Vero [5:02 p.m.]

mmmm idk

i think the only way to avoid awkwardness is to only hook up when you’re truly over it

when it’s a fun experience and not something that’s tied to alternate intentions

you’ve really got to check yourself

if your intentions are “i’m going to hook up with them because i’m still in love and maybe it’ll up the chances of us getting back together,” you’re not ready

but if there are truly no feelings involved, and you’re both single and just think it could be fun… why not?


Hannah [5:03 p.m.]

i also think an important thing to consider is if you just miss each other, or if you actually think you’d have a great relationship again at this point in your lives

because those are two verrrrry different things

Vero [5:03 p.m.]

yeah but, can you can miss an ex and not necessarily want to get back together?

Hannah [5:04 p.m.]

yes, but if you miss them, and you're lonely and/or horny, that's a bad combo

if you miss them and that’s the end of the story, that’s sad, but you’ll be OK

it’s when missing them crosses over into something more that it gets tricky

Iman [5:04 p.m.]

in other words

if you're reading a book in the sunshine at 3:00 p.m. and something triggers a wave of innocent fondness for what you once had, it's OK to feel a little nostalgic

on the other hand, if you're at a party and you've had three glasses of wine and there's no one cute around and a song comes on that reminds you of them, there's a chance that nostalgia could turn into an "i miss you" text that probably won't serve anyone

Hannah [5:05 p.m.]

there’s also the issue of familiarity

sometimes you just want to hook up with a person you feel safe with and have a history with

Vero [5:05 p.m.]

and that could just be because you crave closeness

not necessarily because you crave them

and that’s a normal thing to feel

Iman [5:06 p.m.]

oh, totally

Hannah [5:06 p.m.]

basically, hooking up with an ex is like, level-10 trickiness

so you’ve got to be extra self-aware and extra communicative

because there's so much potential for you and/or them to get hurt and/or confused

Iman [5:06 p.m.]

also (and i feel this in my core), if you are AT ALL thinking of getting back together with an ex, talk to them first about how you’re feeling

ask them to coffee

don’t hook up with them to see if you’re still interested

Vero [5:07 p.m.]

and if you go through with it and you feel weird about it after, best case scenario, you can talk to them about it and figure out a plan going forward

whether that’s getting back together, putting it behind you, or pretending it never happened

worst case scenario, you never talk to them again

and maybe

that’s OK

Hannah [5:08 p.m.]

they’re an ex for a reason

Iman [5:08 p.m.]


Elite Daily/Jenny Garbutt

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