Getting Back Together ? Good or Bad?

by Nancy Travers,LCSW

Sometimes getting back together with an ex-girlfriend or -boyfriend is the right thing to do and can be very advantageous; more often, it is not. Resuming a relationship that has failed once can be a very delicate pas de deux.

Before you decide on reconciling with your ex, think long and hard?especially about the following questions:

  • How long ago was the breakup? Sometimes the pain of a breakup can be confused with feelings of “can’t live without them.” How long should you wait before trying again? If the breakup was relatively recent, wait longer than you think you should and definitely longer than you’ll want to.
  • Why did the break up occur? Sometimes the answers to this question will show that getting back together is not a good idea. For example: is one more ready than the other for the next step? Did someone cheat? Is one mistreating the other? Did you just grow apart? Are you incompatible in general (different friends, different values, always arguing about something)? Can the reason for the original breakup be resolved? Both parties must be willing to work on these issues for the good of the relationship.
  • Why do you want to rekindle the relationship? Guilt? Remorse? Pregnancy? Or genuine feelings on which to build a genuine relationship? Has a change really occurred or are you seeking comfort from someone that’s more a habit than anything?
  • Is a reconciliation really what you want? We always want what we can’t have, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.
  • How will this time be different from last time? If any time has gone by, neither of you will be the same person that you used to be. Start fresh by discussing and dismissing past issues first. Avoid settling into old patterns. Trying to resume at the same place you finished before is NOT the way to begin. Examine this in-depth. Is your ex really good for you? Can they help and support you rather then you depending on them? Are there more pros and cons?
  • Does your ex want to reconcile, as well? They may have their own reasons. Will this be mutually beneficial to you both?

The answers to these questions must be considered, regardless of how long it has been since the breakup. Regardless, the ability to be open and honest with each other is the foundation of a good relationship. This is even more important when it relates to discussing problems. If the relationship never really was open and honest, it’s time for a true, deep discussion. All lingering negative thoughts and feelings must be dealt with. Both of you should be at peace with these issues before your relationship begins again.

If you’re currently in a relationship that’s headed for a split, your best course of action may be taking a break from each other. It’s difficult to gain perspective by remaining too close to the situation since perspective is best achieved from a distance.

If no positive changes have occurred in your former partner since the breakup or you’re just as miserable as before, end it sooner rather than later. If one of you experienced more emotional growth than the other, one of you may have just outgrown the relationship. But if you think after all this ruminating that it’s a good idea to get back together again, both of the involved parties must be on the same page, with the same amount of interest in starting again.

If there is no sense of balance or equal interest, or if you can convince yourself easily that it will likely result in another breakup, don’t do it.


Nancy Travers is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She specializes in all types of relationships; We all want them, We all need them; How to get em and Keep them. Nancy’s office is located at 2212 Dupont Dr., Suite I, Irvine, Ca. 92612.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 949-510- 9423 or contact us.
copyright a division of Counseling Corner, Inc.
As seen in The Blade magazine June 2005.

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