Sometimes I am asked —
“Michael, should I get back with my ex?”
It is one of the most sensible questions I get to be honest. It shows the person wishes to contemplate their breakup for a moment, before taking any action which they may later regret.
Some people are bonkers to get back with their ex. But some are bonkers to give up. Knowing which is which is worth finding out.
OK, so first —
No happy relationship ends. No one says “this is working great, so let’s break up and go our separate ways!”
Yet unhappy relationships that end can be made happy. And usually the “end” — the breakup — part provides the springboard for that transformation to happen.
So… sometimes you have to break up in order to appreciate what you had, even if some parts of the relationship were broke.
But how do you know if what you had was recoverable, and can be made into something better?
It’s not always easy to know.
For one, your emotional state could be distorting your view and judgement making abilities.
I mean, after my last breakup, I wondered what to expect from life “now that I’m alone again.” And, just between you and me (and now Google ..) I honestly doubted I’d ever find love again. So guess what? Yeah .. I thought getting my ex girlfriend back wouldn’t be such a bad idea at all.
The thought of being alone filled me with fear which motivated me to try and get back what I’d lost.
Plus, I was anxious my ex would move on and find someone else while I vanish into the background.
So fear of being alone AND left behind. You get the idea. Normal kind of thoughts. We all have them.
Problem is, this made it difficult for me to be objective about things.
My fear of being alone or left behind were not good reasons to pursue my ex. They were just fears which needed addressing in and of themselves. No more.
But what about you?
Maybe you feel a little fear, too. Or anger. Then there’s anxiety … all of which can really screw with your head. They can make you choose differently than you would otherwise. So if you’re not prepared, it’s easy to lose perspective.
I’ve been there.
And I want to help.
How do you know if the decision you make is “right,” or simply one you arrive at out of fear?
OK. Deep breath.
Answer These Questions to Get Clarity About Your Ex
We have to find a way to not let those fear-based thoughts cloud your judgement.
One effective way to suspend such distracting thoughts, and cut through those emotions .. is to ask yourself direct questions, and answer them immediately.
Okay, so I’m about to spring 5 such questions at you. But don’t fret, they’re really simple. You don’t need to write down any answers. This is not a quiz.
The purpose of these questions is to help you get a reading of sorts on whether or not you and your ex are compatible. And therefore, whether or not they are worth pursuing. OK?
Compatibility is an obvious requirement of a healthy relationship. That’s why we’re starting there.
For these questions, just answer each with either:
- Yes, very much!
- Somewhat … or:
- No, not at all.
IMPORTANT: Go with your first immediate answer. Don’t sit and chew it over. Just answer in a snap.
This isn’t a time for debate. Just go with the first response you have.
1: Disagreements happen. After you both argued, you would find a resolution together. And could let the issue go as you found a friendly state of acceptance about the matter. Do you agree?
2: Goals. You were both in alignment about each others goals in life. You wanted similar things, and supported the other in their own goals. Do you agree?
3: Laughter. You shared a similar sense of humour. You would both laugh together, often, and able to take a joke. Do you agree?
4: Sex. You both enjoyed a healthy sex life. It was fulfilling for the both of you. Do you agree?
5: Communication. You were both open to one another, and able to share intimate thoughts and feelings. You would frequently show an interest in each others life. Do you agree?
Answer with either a YES, sorta, or NO. Nothing more complex than that.
And remember to answer each question quickly.
This is not a quiz. There is nothing to add up. I just wanted to give your brain some DIRECT questions about your relationship.
Because in doing so it forced you to take a closer look at your compatibility without embellishing the details.
We want to get as close to the truth here as we can. And that means bypassing emotions ..
So how did you answer mostly?
Did you agree with those statements, or did you find yourself strongly disagreeing?
To be clear, I’m not here to tell you what to do based on how you answered. As in, do THIS if you answered THAT …
No. Rather, I’m trying to help you get clearer about what to do by encouraging a little introspection, triggered by common relationship compatibility factors.
Understand, it’s possible to respond “not at all” to ALL of the above, and STILL have an ex who you may have a great future with. I know, what is that about? The thing is, you both may be able to resolve some of your issues, and “agree to disagree” on a few others, and put your relationship back on the straight and narrow.
But that’s going to require a lot of work from both of you.
There’s the consideration of whether or not you CAN resolve your differences ..
AND there’s the consideration of whether or not you WANT to, and are willing to put in the EFFORT in order to do so.
Right now, just use this opportunity to get an idea of your general compatibility and see how that weighs in on your decision.
This will help give you an idea of how much work there is to do, and you might already know whether or not you actually WANT to put in the work in the first place.
Update: I recently discovered the Sustainable Marriage Quiz which contains 10 questions to help rank the sustainability of a relationship.
This quiz (developed by Gary W. Lewandowski Jr, associate psychology professor at Monmouth University, New Jersey) aims to give a score based on how well your relationship created “opportunities that help expand your knowledge and make you feel better about yourself.”
Whether you are married or not, it may still be useful to see how you score. Though as with any quiz, it can not predict the future and is best served with a pinch of salt!
Changing topic slightly…
Many Relationship Authors Assume You Should Reunite — But Why?
Maybe I’m cynical. See …
There’s a lot of products out there that will tell you what to do, what not to do, why, and when … in order to maximise your chance of getting your ex back.
(I have such a program myself.)
Unfortunately, many people are all too quick to recommend them to you for a quick buck. They don’t consider if you should go that route in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have an issue with the idea of paying for help.
My contention is this: until you have given the decision itself enough thought … you should hold on before whipping out your credit card or punching in your PayPal password for an “ex back” guide.
Be careful you do not allow someone’s motivation to make cash… persuade you to learn how to get back your ex if deep down you know — from proper contemplation — that this is not the right route for you.
Consider carefully if you truly want to make the relationship work. Otherwise, if you don’t truly know, you’re in danger of acting hastily. And sadly that is likely due to the emotions you’re experiencing at this time.
So go back over those questions I asked you above. See what you can determine.
Hopefully you will get a little clearer on your situation. And you will be better able to determine if you should get back with your ex.
But do not fret too much. This is not life or death even if it can feel that way at times. You can always change tracks again down the line. Avoiding unnecessary grief is definitely a bonus, though!