Regardless of how a relationship ends, breakups are hard to deal with at first. You might find yourself juggling with so many emotions during the first few weeks (maybe even months) such as wanting to call your ex and then remembering you aren’t together anymore or constantly wondering whether they’ve moved on and who they might have moved on with.
On a positive note, having some time to reflect on the relationship as a whole or simply giving yourself some space can change your perspective and maybe lead to you deciding to get back with your ex. According to research, 40% of young adults get back with an ex-partner at least once in their lifetime, and many people are in ‘on again, off again’ relationships. Getting back with an ex has become a much talked about topic over the past year, so we’ve asked Certified Psychology Expert and Life Coach Bayu Prihandito to share some insight on the topic.
Why might some people want to get back with an ex?
Being emotionally ready – The end of a relationship is always a time to reflect. Some people do those work by themselves or seek therapy. Both of these things as well as life changes may influence a person’s decision to get back with their ex. Emotional readiness is really important when giving a relationship another try as it can serve as a strong foundation for starting over. Wanting to get back with an ex shouldn’t be just about missing the person – recognizing that you have reached a stage where you and your partner can have a healthier and more fulfilling relationship is just as important.
Growth – While growth can be linked to emotional readiness, it’s possible to separate the two during your time apart from your ex. Personal growth is all about new experiences and challenges that offer new perspectives on life and who you are as a person. Regardless of how your relationship has ended, reflecting on how you’ve grown and can continue to grow will help you get to know yourself better. It can also help resolve any issues you may have had in your relationship in the past or provide new ways to navigate these issues.
Life changes – We tend to associate the end of a relationship with something bad happening, but not all relationships end badly. There are so many more reasons why a relationship could have come to an end. External factors that are out of one or both parties’ control like career pressures or long-distance challenges can also have a part to play. If things change, let’s say, both of you are where you want to be in your respective careers or you live closer to each other, then it might be worth giving the relationship another try.
Shared goals and values – It’s important to have shared goals and values in a relationship. If you find that you and your ex share more aligned aspirations and goals than you did when you were together, then this could serve as a strong basis for getting back together. Additionally, some people start to appreciate the unique qualities that their ex possessed and start wondering if such compatibility and connection could be hard to find again.
What should someone consider if they want to get back with their ex?
Why your relationship ended the first time around – Understanding why your relationship ended the first time around is a must. Be open and honest with each other about what you’d like to be different if you decide to get back together. However, if the issues that drove you apart are still present and neither of you is willing to work on them, the likelihood of things working out is very low. Before you reach out to your ex, take some time to think about whether you are actually ready for a reconciliation? Don’t let loneliness or fear drive you into the arms of someone who might not even deserve the time of day, let alone another chance at a relationship.
Have you grown? – Reflect honestly on how both of you have changed since the breakup and whether the changes have resolved the initial reasons for the breakup. If they haven’t, then they’re likely to bring new complications. It’s also worth assessing whether the issues that led to the breakup have improved and changed for the better.
Are you communicating clearly? – Before getting back together, have a clear, open and genuine conversation about why things didn’t work out the first time around and focus on what has changed since then as well as what both of you are willing to do differently this time. It’s also worth discussing your long-term goals and values to ensure they are aligned. If there’s still a significant difference in what each of you wants from life, it’s definitely a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.
Is there anything else you should consider before you get back with an ex?
Before getting back together, it’s important to reflect on whether both of you have maintained your sense of independence while apart. A healthy relationship thrives when both sides have a strong sense of self and autonomy. Additionally, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotions that arise when you reconcile with an ex, but remember to take things slowly because issues that need your attention can be overlooked when you rush back into things. Lastly, be aware of external influences when making your decision. While friends and family can offer valuable insights that you might be too emotionally involved to see, always remember that the decision is yours to make.