Why Getting Back With An Ex Is A Terrible Idea

We’ve all had moments of weakness when we let our guards down and started fantasizing about getting back together with an ex. Sometimes this insanity is temporary, but sometimes it takes hold and becomes a real-life objective. If you’re finding it hard to see a downside to getting back together with your ex, read this and please think again.

  1. There’s a reason you broke up. Do not ignore the elephant in the room: you broke up. Either one of you betrayed the other or decided that you were not right for each other. Even if you broke up for a circumstantial reason, such as living far apart, you still decided that your love for each other did not outweigh the obstacles you faced. You understood the viability of your relationship (or lack thereof) when you decided to break up. Don’t second guess yourself.
  2. You are different people now. Things can never go back to how they were. The memories you have of being a couple cannot be recreated. You both made that a certainty when you separated. Getting back together would not make everything fall back into place. It would feel new and strange and probably pretty awkward. There is no going back. You have changed and you cannot predict what a relationship with each other would be like.
  3. …But some things don’t change. No matter how long it’s been since you broke up or how much you both have changed, fundamental things are always the same. If your ex didn’t change for you while you were together, he/she will not change now. The underlying issues that you had with each other will always be there, and unless your breakup was based on a complete misunderstanding, you weren’t right for each other. Because of this, it will never work. The number one criteria that must be met is that something has changed,” psychologist Cortney Warren, PhD, told Oprah Daily. “There is a reason that the relationship didn’t work the last time you dated—maybe many reasons. Whatever they were contributed to your previous breakup. So, if it’s going to work this time, one or both of you must have evolved.
  4. You’re preventing yourself from meeting someone new. Your desire to get back with your ex may be a simple case of lack of imagination. Your brain is defaulting to your ex when thinking of a potential partner, but that isn’t because he/she is the only person who can make you happy. There are seven billion people in the world. It is statistically impossible that your ex is the only person for you.
  5. Hindsight is not 20/20. There is a cliché that you can only see things clearly in hindsight, but when it comes to relationships, this is false. Most of us have selective memories about our exes, especially when we’re feeling lonely. If you remember only the good times in your relationship, it’s no wonder you want to get back together with him/her. But guess what? Things weren’t that great. That’s why you broke up.
  6. You’d never feel secure with that person. Your breakup, no matter how amicable, damaged the trust you had in each other. You would never be able to have a relationship again without having lingering doubts. You would either feel worried about being dumped by that person or question whether you made the right decision by getting back together with them. Why should you trust a relationship that already failed once?
  7. Wanting to get back with your ex is a red flag. Either you haven’t moved on, or you were in a toxic cycle with your ex that you can’t break free of. Both of these scenarios signal that, contrary to what you think, you need to get as far away from your ex as possible. Don’t let yourself relapse just because your heart is still broken. Don’t let yourself get pulled back into a codependent relationship just because you haven’t healed. Do whatever you have to do to resist, and one day, you will have zero interest in that person.
  8. You’re fantasizing about the past with them, not the future. Everything you imagine about getting back with your ex is based on the past. With this mindset, you are bound to be disappointed. Your happiness lies in the future. If you approach a relationship hoping it will live up to your memories, you are grasping at shadows. Find someone you can build a future with. The fantasies you have about your ex do not exist in the present.
  9. There is no such thing as “The One.” Maybe there’s a world in which you and your ex would actually have a great second relationship. But that is still not a good reason to get back together with them. There is no such thing as a “True Love” or one soulmate. You don’t have to retrace your steps to find the person of your dreams. You can find someone just as wonderful (and more) elsewhere. You can have the second chance you’re looking for, but with someone new.
  10. It’s okay to have regrets. Life is messy. The perfectionist in you may want to get back with your ex to redo the relationship and avoid the mistakes you made before, but there will always be mistakes, and you will always have things that you wish you’d done better. Accept that life, and relationships, in particular, are complicated. The best you can do is use your past to inform a better present.
  11. There are rare occasions when it can work out. While most of the time, getting back with an ex is a terrible idea, there are rare occasions when it can work under the right circumstances. As clinical psychologist Dr. Sherrie Campbell told UpJourney: “There are rare cases where two people can be apart and work hard on the parts of themselves that contributed to the relationship failing and if their ex is still available things can sometimes work out,” she said. “In most cases, there is a breakup because something was broken and not working in the relationship. The more people break up and get back together without truly fixing the problem, the breakups only become more and more painful each time, which makes it even more difficult to heal and move on.” In other words, the likelihood of breaking up and getting back together to form a healthy relationship is pretty low.

If you’re still pining after your ex and can’t move on

  1. Examine the root of your feelings. Is it really your ex you want to be back with, or is your longing stemming from more general loneliness? When you’ve been in a long-term relationship and things end, it makes sense that walking away from that and having to go through life on your own would be tough. Take time to do some real self-reflection and be honest with yourself about what’s really going on.
  2. Try going no contact if you haven’t already. The no contact rule means exactly that: you have zero contact with your ex. You don’t follow them on social media, you don’t text when you’re bored, you don’t keep their stuff all around the house, etc. Out of sight, out of mind. The less time you spend focusing on them, the easier it will be to move on from them.
  3. If necessary, consider seeking professional help. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that the methods you’re trying on your own aren’t working. When that’s the case, seeing a therapist to talk about your feelings and find some impartial feedback and coping mechanisms could be a total game-changer. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need it.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.