The many reasons people often get back together with an ex include, but are not limited to: the comfort of being around someone you’ve already gotten to know, toe-curling chemistry inside and outside the bedroom, and the fact that Nicholas Sparks has single-handedly convinced us that true love is a little painful.
While some people seek the thrills of first-date butterflies and the process of getting to know someone new, others just want to fast forward through the immediate awkwardness to the part of the relationship where you already know each other’s favorite colors and embarrassing habits. Getting to know someone often feels like an investment, so you justify getting back together with an ex as seeking a return on your investment of time and energy.
Ryan Ford, advertising senior and student advertising manager for Texas Student Media, said he believes couples that have broken up and get back together do so for two reasons: a mix of comfort and laziness.
“Meeting new people is hard and it’s a lot of work,” he said. “I’d rather fight sometimes instead of having to start all over with ‘okay, so tell me about you.’”
Ford related his experiences with getting back together with an ex-girlfriend to the simple concept of trial and error.
“It’s like you keep taking stabs at the same recipe but your skills as a chef get better and you’re hoping that one day you’ll get the recipe right,” he said.
Additionally, many people who are hung up on their exes believe that misery is just as much part of the relationship as love. Like author Nicholas Sparks has demonstrated in “The Notebook” (and pretty much every book he’s written), you have to hit your lowest point before you’re rewarded the bliss true love has to offer.
“What is love without the absence of pain?” Ford said. “In some ways the heartbreak you feel after a breakup only makes you realize how much you still care for an ex and why you should get back together with them. “
On the other hand, just because a memory of an ex brings you comfort doesn’t always mean it’s good for you.
Advertising senior Allison Hembd said she faced post-breakup challenges while trying to move on from an ex by avoiding places and social situations where she might run into him. Though she admitted to sometimes feeling cheated out of a potentially good time by avoiding a place she could run into an ex, she didn’t want to risk falling back into a pattern of her past.
“I have good memories of being with him but that’s all they are, just memories, and you shouldn’t let those stop you from moving on to new habits and new memories,” Hembd said.
Hembd believes the key to moving on from an ex once and for all is to appreciate what once was and to stop trying to relive the past. If you chase your dating past you’re bound to make the same mistakes over again, creating a vicious cycle that will only leave you alone and feeling painfully pathetic.
“Going back to an ex can work for some people but only if you can fix the mistakes. If you’re going to be in the same exact relationship but just at a later time, you’re missing out on the excitement of getting to know new people,” Hembd said.
The risks of getting back together with an ex are no different than those of getting together with someone new, except the stakes are higher. Reuniting with an ex places all your emotional attachments to them on the line when you realize that the person that makes you happiest also possesses the power to make you miserable.
Since every breakup carries with it unique circumstances, there is no such thing as right advice to give on whether or not you should get back together with someone. Keep in mind that reuniting should not translate to reliving the relationship the same way it used to be, but instead actively improving it to make it better than before.
Printed on Friday, April 20, 2012 as: Rethink dating exes, avoid rocky relationship repeats