He Said/She Said: Is It Smart To Get Back With An Ex?

Let’s talk about getting back together with an ex, shall we? That wonderful, slippery slope I’m sure we’ve all tried to traverse at least once before. I’d ideally like to be writing this with a glass bottle of wine next to me, but — alas — I’m at my office desk and it’s only 11:20AM. Not the best of circumstances for day drinking and advice dispensing. But I do have an opinion on this matter, one that was honed through both observation and personal experience.

First things first, please understand that I am a glutton for punishment. My feelings don’t really get hurt. I’m stubborn. I think I know what’s best for myself and everyone else. I like to fix things. I’m a huge fan of sleepovers that end with brunch. What am I saying here? Basically, reentering a very broken relationship sounds, to me, like a fun adventure full of personal challenges, great make-up sex and guaranteed eggs benedict. What’s not to love!? Well, as I’ve learned the hard way (twice), a bunch of things.

Don’t forget that you broke up for a reason.

It is so, so easy to look back on a past relationship with rose-colored glasses. You romanticize your fights (“We were both just so young and passionate!”), his faults (“The drunk tirades were charming!”) and the way he drove you completely insane (“He was just trying to add spontaneity to the relationship!”). The truth is, sadly, this is not the case. The old problems will likely still exist, it’s now a question of whether or not you’ve both had enough time apart to manage your issues better than the last time.

People change. And not always in the way you’d like them to.

You won’t be picking up right where you left off. You’ve both had some time to yourselves to experience life separately and grow as individuals and date around and sleep with strangers and do all those things single people do. As you grow up, you change. And it’s wonderful! There’s no one holding a gun to your head saying you must always love bubble gum ice cream, Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ boyish grin and the gentle melodies of Nick Lachey’s solo career. Your tastes and needs and wants evolve. Same goes for your ex-boyfriend. (Though I hope for your sake he was never into any of the aforementioned.)

It’s easy to fall back into old fights, insecurities and bad habits.

It should really go without saying, but if your ex cheated on you last time, you shouldn’t take a chance on him again. Not necessarily because he’ll cheat a second time (though he might), but rather because your old suspicions will bubble up as new insecurities. The clean slate that typically comes with a new boyfriend isn’t really applicable when you get back together with your ex. Bro still chews his food too loudly and kisses with too much tongue. And you’ll still hate it. If you want new habits to deal with, go find a new man.

But sometimes, it really does work.

Now that I’ve convinced you that getting back together with an ex will never work, I’m going to be super contradictory tell you that in some instances it actually can work. One great example is if a neutral outside force caused you guys to break up. For instance if you broke up because it became a long distance relationship, if one of you graduated or someone was dealing with too much on their plate like school and sports and 100 other things. In these cases it wasn’t necessarily anything that someone outright did that caused the split. It was just bad timing and inconvenient logistics.

Another really good reason to get back with someone: because you both want to, and you’ll forever wonder “What If” if you don’t just go and freakin’ find out for yourself. Not everything you do needs to be a good idea. Can we all just embrace that mistakes are okay? I’ve entered situations so many times where I was 99% sure things would end badly. But I was curious about that mystery 1% and I just needed to be sure before writing someone or something off for good.

So here’s what I’ll leave you with. No, it’s probably not a good idea to get back with your ex. But who cares? Before you set that bridge ablaze, go ahead and test it out one last time. What have you got to lose?

What’s your advice for getting back with an ex? Do you think it’s worth even trying to repair a relationship and start over? Can it ever work out? Let me know in the comments and be sure to check out what He Said over at!

[Lead image via auremar/Shutterstock]

lex loves rainbow sprinkles, retro bromances, and cultivating an iTunes library superior to yours. Most days, though, she just wishes she was Courtney Stodden. Got something to say or a good conspiracy theory you’re just dying to share with someone? Follow her on twitter @AlexandraRane or on Tumblr.



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    2. Confessions of a Single Blonde says:

      Never resurrect a relationship for a second, third, fourth time. If it didn’t work out the first time, it’s definitely a sign. This is the one time where recycling is bad.

    3. streaming says:

      It is never a good idea to get back with an ex. A dead love story can't be ressurected.

      1. Confusedx10 says:

        What if you have been apart long enough to understand that you don't want to resurrect what you had, but realize it is him that you actually miss? Mean we didn't have a pretty break up, but it was clean. I know I have changed due to life altering events that made me realize what in life is important, forcing me to grow up. He was not perfect at relationships but it was definitely me who drove him away in the first place….idk, it does sound like a lot of work when logically looking at it, but I just don't think my heart will let me move on until I at least try….comments?

    4. Katie Garrity - North Central College says:

      It can definitely work. My parents broke up for a period of time and now they've been married for 30 years. In some cases it CAN work, but that "some" is a very very limited number. Usually, if it's broken, it's not worth fixing and all the same problems will soon arise. I think you took a good stance, Alex.

    5. Garnet – Columbia University says:

      I think that sometimes getting back together is what it takes to stop asking those "what-if" questions. It might not be the best thing to do, but if it's a total failure, at least you know it definitely wasn't meant to be.

    6. Jill says:

      I got back with my ex. However, we dated in high school, ( a time in which none of your decisions make any sense and every feeling you have is amplified 10 times over) and we needed to grow up and see what was out there to truly appreciate each other. We have been married for four years now and I have to say we are much more compatible now than we were then.

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