People change. We’re meant to. #YOLO.
There are countless reasons why people choose to revisit old relationships for a second or twentieth time, but is it ever a good idea? It depends on why you split in the first place and why you’re coming back for more.
If you rushed into things the first time in a passionate flurry of non-stop banging and hanging, breaking up might have given you a chance to step back and get to know your ex-sweetie with her clothes on. Especially if you stopped sleeping together but kept in touch as friends, you might suddenly find that you’ve accidentally “taken things slowly” and have gotten to see this person in a new light unclouded by sex goggles.
If you’re wanting to resuscitate this type of relationship, it means that you’re drawn to this person for who they are besides a hot piece of ass. That’s awesome, but it means that, entering round two, you need to reintroduce the physical piece intentionally and carefully so you don’t overdose on the sweet stuff again.
If someone cheated or otherwise violated your relationship boundaries, you need to be sure that they’ve learned from their mistakes and can actually recommit. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice and I once again have your mistress’ STD, and it sucks. Rekindling this romance takes a lot of space and observation; if you witness the person’s behavior change and can see that their infidelity is something they honestly regret and have learned from, it might be safe to try again. If they’re cheating on their new boyfriend in order to rekindle things with you...need I say more?
If you initially parted ways because you were feeling like a fidgety farmer who needed to sow wild oats, spending time apart may have given you the opportunity to flex your muscles by plowing other people’s fields. You might be able to return to your babe more committed and settled after this, especially if you realized that what appeared to be greener pastures were actually dried-out fields unsuitable for hoeing.
Successfully re-dating an ex has its perks. You get the excitement of a new relationship with the comforts of a familiar face; the sex will probably be that especially hot combination of make-up/break-up/I hate to love you sex specially reserved for exes; and all your dirty laundry has been aired, so you can start clean.
Especially if your initial breakup was of the nasty variety, you probably let out some mean-but-honest disclosures—from the banal (“I hate the way you chew cereal!”) to the more serious (“I slept with your best friend!”). With the cards on the table, you can come back to the relationship with a clear vision of what you need to work on.
However, make sure you both have an understanding of what you can/can’t change and what you can/can’t live with. Hate that he watches baseball when you bang? Changeable. Hate that her ex is your arch-nemesis? Gotta deal with it.
How to make dating your ex work:
Check your expectations: It didn’t work in the past, so it might not work again. Certain patterns are unchangeable; after all, what makes a pattern a pattern is that it’s unendingly repetitive.
Acknowledge your contribution to the initial split.
Be sure you utilized your breakup time wisely. Did you do some inner work, regain your independence and grow from it all?
Learn from old arguments, but don’t rehash them.
Accept the path your ex traveled during your time apart. If she busts out a hot new move in the sack upon your reconciliation, you could downward spiral into jealousy (“Where’d she learn that?”). Step away from the dark and learn to differentiate between your unique relationship and what happened when you were apart.
When it won’t work:
If your motives include being merely lonely or horny.
If you’re wrongly idealizing the relationship or justifying the reasons why you broke up. If your relationship was emotionally or physically abusive, do not resuscitate!
Finally, sometimes your ex is your ex for damn good reasons—you can’t change people, you were meant to flee and...#YOLO.