A common belief is that an ex is an ex for a reason and that you’ll be met with the same problems if you ever got back together. But this doesn’t have to be the case. A breakup can be a catalyst to learn what you did great in the relationship and also where the ball was dropped and what improvements need to be made. When breakups are used as a learning tool like this, they can help you determine whether the relationship can be re-established into a healthier and happier union.
Should you get back together with your ex? Ask yourself:
Why did we break up? You probably broke up for a good reason so it’s important to remember what that reason was. Especially if the breakup isn’t fresh, it’s easy to forget or gloss over the reason. Time may heal wounds, but it also scrambles memory - you don’t want to meet up with your ex and have an “Oh ya… THIS is why we broke up” moment.
What would other people say about our relationship? Talk to people who knew you when you were with your ex. Ask them: “Did I shine brightly?”, “Was I happy?”, “What made me unhappy?”, “Do you think this person is good for me?”. As time goes by, it’s easy for our selective memory to recall only the positive memories. Polling people from the outside help you reflect back on your relationship more objectively.
What changed? Relationships are a dance that take two. How were you or your ex responsible for the patterns in the relationship? What have you or your ex changed that might prevent flopping the dance again? For example, have you learned to set boundaries and communicate your needs better? Or, are you and your ex still going through opposing life stages? Look for evidence that you or your ex have changed in a positive direction. You or your ex’s actions after the breakup will be much more revealing than your conjectures.
How do I want to feel in a relationship? Consider which feelings you prioritize over other. How much do you care about feeling loved? Excited? Respected? Protected? Get a clear idea on your needs and desires and ask yourself if a relationship with your ex can fulfill them.
If you haven’t reflected on these questions, then you can’t be sure whether you’re getting on the exact same ride.