I was grateful to be asked to comment on an article for GQ magazine on the topic of getting back together with an ex-partner.
I’d recommend giving it a read, but I wanted to add a little more to this because the questions I hear are either along the lines of:
Why do I keep going back to them? Or Should I just stay with them as it’s easier?
To this, I’ll always want to hear a little more. Having an easy life is actually a complex journey.
A partnership should involve growth, challenges, and new experiences. We’re programmed to want a predictable life. Predictability means everything is in your full control and life can continue as ‘normal’.
Yet, a ex-partner can actually have the opposite effect.
Abusive relationships aside (these deserve a more detailed explanation and you can find out more here on therapy for abuse), when you look for a partner, most will have a specific checklist in mind.
A checklist of expectations and traits can only go so far when it comes to an ex because once that person lives in your memory, the bad times become less bad and the good times start to move to the forefront.
Because of this, an ex can tick all the boxes in your head, but no matter how many times you go back, it doesn’t work, and you’re constantly left wondering what is wrong with you? What is wrong with your checklist?
What’s important to understand is that we all deserve the best of another person.
What you want from a relationship doesn’t have to distract from the worst of someone if it is making you unhappy.
It’s silly to feel grateful to have someone because they take the bins out, but they don’t make you feel loved and appreciated every day.
There has to be a balance in all relationships, but that doesn’t mean a sacrifice of what truly makes you happy.
When you take all this into account, an ex will have the veneer of what you want – after all, that is why you liked them the first time – but that doesn’t mean they are moving in the same direction as you.
So, when it comes to what you want in a relationship, do not lower your expectations. We have one life, and the person you choose should heighten what you want for that one life.
Your constant growth is why there can be another side to going back to an ex partner.
When a couple part ways, it can be because they found themselves both taking a diversion in their lives. Who is to say that after your separate journey’s you both end up on the same path again?
I’ve seen this too, where ex-couples meet again and find that all of those reasons they split up either aren’t relevant anymore, or they’re at a point where one person has changed their mind.
This is why discussion is so vital in any situation where you find yourself back with an ex. An ex-partner will always have questions and so will you. These questions have to be clear – because you’ve been there before – and it’s down to you to decide what is important for both of your lives and whether it is the right time.
Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But why make assumptions when you both know each other already?