I Went Back To My Ex & It’s The Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made

My relationship with my ex ended pretty explosively but I didn’t forget him for years. So when we reconnected on Facebook three years later, I couldn’t help but feel excited that we were getting a second chance to make things work. Ugh, famous last words. What really happened is that I learned that going back is never a good idea, along with these lessons:

  1. I can only change myself. This was a huge lesson for me! I hoped that dating for the second time around would mean that the guy had changed, that he was no longer a loser or cheat. Newsflash: people don’t change. I could only change myself and really, my taste in guys had to change because the bad boys were just hot air.
  2. I gave him too many chances. I got hurt the first time around because the guy dumped me. So what the hell was I doing taking him back? Was I just a sucker for punishment? Did I give too much of the benefit of the doubt? Yup. I always thought that people were basically good and not out to hurt others. Guess again.
  3. I should trust in the process. I thought that maybe the universe had got it wrong the first time and now we could make things right, but the universe had nothing to do with this. If things were supposed to have worked out, they would have the first time we dated. I learned that letting go is hard but so much more worth it than hanging onto a dead relationship.
  4. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. Getting hurt by the same guy again was horrible, an opening up of all the previous wounds. He had cheated on me again, just like during our first relationship. God, he was a jerk, but I managed to find the strength to leave — and this time, I was sure that it would be for good.
  5. I allowed myself to get hurt. Going back to an ex who treated me badly and then treated me badly again is total crap and I was angry at myself because I had made the same bad choices. Soon, my self-esteem was shot and I was depressed. It just wasn’t worth time-travelling to our relationship because we’d never be able to make things different than what they were destined to be. Maybe that hurt most of all.
  6. My head got in the way. Because my ex was charming and sweet (at least at the start of the relationship), I thought that maybe he’d always be that way the second time around. I spent a lot of time fantasizing about the relationship and what he’d be like… until I realized I had totally constructed him to be what I wanted. In reality, he wasn’t that at all!
  7. I don’t have to put up with BS. Yes, I got with the guy again and yes, he hurt me, but this time around I spent much less time putting up with his BS. The first time around, I wasted five months on him. This time, once I caught onto how he was lying to me and possibly cheating on me, I was out of there in two months.
  8. I can be quite nasty during a breakup. I’ll admit that if someone causes me to end things, like by cheating on me or treating me with disrespect, I don’t kindly walk out the door. I like to show them just what a jerk they are by disappearing (yes, I’ve ghosted guys before), cutting all contact and making them feel some of the confusion and shock that they’d sent my way. They deserve it!
  9. I like to spice things up sometimes, but this wasn’t the way to do it. A few weeks after my breakup, I realized that I hadn’t wanted the relationship to be revived just because I was so into the guy. I was really just bored with my life and hoping to add some excitement to it. But hell, a cheating bad boy who brings loads of drama to my life is not exciting. He’s frustrating AF.
  10. I have to stop putting my happiness in someone else’s hands. This relationship was really a huge wakeup call for me. I realized I had to stop expecting others to make me happy. I thought that this guy would roll into my life and make me happy, feel excited about my life again, and have hope for the future. Instead, he made me cry, sucked the happiness out of my life, and made me feel despair. I realized I’m the one who controls how I feel and at the end of the day, it’s really up to me to be happy.
  11. I’m not big on relationship recycling after all. This was the first and last time I ever went back to an ex. Although reviving the good times seems like fun, going back to a guy meant bringing all the old baggage and issues back to life too, which isn’t fun at all. There’s hope in a clean slate and not having to drag around a lifeless ex who kept me pinned to the past. After this guy, I made a big bonfire and burned all my ex files.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.