When you first broke up, you may have never thought you’d consider getting back together with an ex — or maybe you did.
If you’re now wondering, “Should I get back with my ex-boyfriend?” there’s a lot you should consider before rekindling a prior relationship.
While some say revisiting the past is never a good idea, that it must have ended for a reason, or that the two of you broke up because you were broken as a couple, it might be time to re-think all that.
In some cases, getting back with your ex can work, so understanding the stages of getting back together with an ex is crucial before you go for it.
For example, Justin Bieber got engaged to his then-ex and now-wife Hailey Baldwin Bieber after they’d broken up and dated other people. And their history was likely part of the reason they were almost instantly engaged once they got back together.
And they were far from the first couple to realize they’d already found true love when they got back together with their ex.
Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine and model Behati Prinsloo were also exes before eventually getting married. Levine dated other Victoria’s Secret models but couldn’t get his mind off Behati, even ghosting one of his other model flames. The two suddenly got engaged and now they have two children, are still completely in love, and dedicated to each other and their family.
Like these celebrity couples, should you get back with your ex, or would your own “re-relationship” be doomed?
The stats say about 50% of couples get back together after breaking up. So your odds are fairly decent but remember that each couple is unique and love is not a probability game.
There is no way to know how long it takes for exes to get back together because every set of circumstances will require a different period of time.
If you want to know how you can happily and successfully get back together with your ex, what it really comes down to is the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Those reasons could be signs you’ll get back together.
Here are some good reasons to get back with an ex.
1. You met while you were with someone else.
And though you thought you were ready when you finally got together, the fact is that you still had some serious healing to do. You simply weren’t in a healthy place to pursue this new relationship.
Regardless of how “right” he was for you in general, the time was wrong.
2. You were in a time of transition with your career.
Leaving little time or energy to focus on the relationship.
3. You didn’t realize what you had.
Or how much you loved them until they were gone.
4. You weren’t ready for something so real, intense, and consuming.
At least, not yet.
5. You were still emotionally tied to an unhealthy ex.
You weren’t ready to open your heart to someone else yet, regardless of the fact that your ex was awful and the person in front of you was pretty great.
6. You still had some growing, learning, exploring, and self-discovery to do.
And you’ve used your time apart to do that.
7. You tried imposing a timeframe on the relationship.
You were ready for a proposal, marriage, and kids, but he wasn’t ready to move at your speed. So, you were more interested in finding someone else who was on your schedule.
8. You had some issues that you needed to come to terms with and heal from.
And you have done so.
9. You were still in the “fun” phase of dating.
You weren’t ready to “settle down” with the one. Now you are.
10. You confused what you wanted with what you needed.
You thought finding a hot guy with lots of money who’s tons of fun was more important than one who is emotionally and financially supportive, nurturing, and understanding. Your priorities were off, and you’ve straightened them out.
11. You weren’t happy with yourself.
You were looking outside of yourself for someone to make you happy and didn’t understand that no matter whose arms you were in, you would still felt empty and alone if you didn’t make some key changes.
If any of these situations apply to you, you then need to look at how the two of you spent this time apart.
It’s important that you’ve learned what it takes to be in a healthy, lasting relationship. That you’ve changed and gotten clear about who you are and what your needs are. That you aren’t a fool rushing in with just anyone anymore.
It should be plain to you that being with “someone” or “anyone” will no longer cut it, and that you’re ready for “the one.” You also should be happy and fulfilled just as you are, knowing that having a partner to share this life with will simply make it that much sweeter.
And, you should have realized that the person you’ve been looking for in everyone else is the person who’s been in the back of your mind the entire time: your ex.
Every relationship leaves its mark, and every experience has a lesson to teach.
You may have needed to gather more insight through the lens of other relationships in order to move into the emotional maturity to be ready for the right person, that person who came into your life too soon — your ex.
It may be easier now to move the relationship forward, even if you haven’t spoken in months or even years. There is a comfort level since you know each other, so it might be easier to get into real conversations quickly and dig into the core of the issues that broke you up in the first place
Oftentimes, when you break up with one person to find someone else, you are trading your ex’s known issues for your new beau’s unknown new issues.
But if you get back with an ex, you already know the issues. You know what you are signing up for and what it will take in order to make it work this time around.
If those issues contributed to the end of your relationship the last time around, they must be either accepted or addressed.
Maybe the time away gave you a new perspective. Maybe you did some work, had some therapy or coaching, did some soul searching, redefined your priorities.
Maybe you grew up and realized that you are actually OK with your ex’s baggage, idiosyncrasies, weirdness, problems, weaknesses, personality differences, and lifestyle disagreements.
Or, maybe the time away gave them the opportunity to reevaluate themselves, do the work, re-prioritize, change, grow up, evolve, and get to a better place, as well as accept your issues.
Regardless, something has to give — either the issues or your attitude around them. The damage that remains after the breakup of a relationship doesn’t just disappear because you decide to reappear. You must first fix the distrust and issues that tore you apart in the first place.
You need to go backward before you can move forward.
Depending on the circumstances of who left whom, why, and how long ago it happened, there are crucial things that must happen in order to establish a solid foundation for the relationship. There are some general rules for getting back together with an ex.
Here are the stages of getting back together with an ex:
1. Acknowledge and attempt to first fix the root of the problem
2. Acknowledge the damage that leaving may have caused
3. Be empathetic with one another, and try to put yourself in each other’s shoes
4. Re-build trust
5. Create new healthy habits as a couple
These stages of reconnecting with an ex cannot be skipped.
Getting back with your ex can be healthy if it’s for the right reasons and you have a game plan for changes you want to make moving forward.
But just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean everything will be smooth sailing. It’s normal to have doubts after getting back together. It’s also totally normal to feel a bit awkward after getting back together. You might be worried about falling back into old patterns or repeating previous mistakes.
Being aware of each of your communication styles, love languages, and needs will help you navigate your re-relationship.
When getting back with your ex, it’s important to remember that this is not a new rosy relationship.
You’re going to have to put in a lot of work and engage in honest communication. Own your mistakes, address past issues, seek counseling or relationship coaching if you feel it is necessary, and focus on the positives from your prior relationship.
There are reasons you are getting back together; something drew you to one another when you started dating and both of you have something positive to contribute to the relationship and each other’s lives. There are also reasons your previous relationship worked, and you can’t write those off if you want to get off to a good start.
Whether the issue that broke you up was cheating, losing interest, bad timing, or something else, you broke up because you were broken, not bent, and you need to take a hard look at whether or not there’s enough glue in the world to repair you as a couple.
You should never get back with an ex if you broke up due to abuse of any kind. The abuser might make excuses and promises to change, but abuse breaks trust and the sense of safety you should feel in a relationship and creates an unhealthy dynamic. Some red flags just cannot be sorted out.
You may also have personal deal-breakers that you need to honor by staying away. In such cases, it may be best to establish a no contact rule.
Before you can move forward, you have to address the issues, fix the break, and regain trust.
Now, get back with that ex and what your “new” relationship has to offer!
Laurel House is an international celebrity dating and relationship coach, a dating coach on E!’s “Famously Single,” and writer who has appeared in Oprah, Vogue, The Washington Post, and 500 other media outlets. Find out more about her new dating course, Love Actually Academy.