should you get back with your ex?

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 you wish to think about the matter for a moment before taking any action you may later regret. and that’s smart.

some people are bonkers to get back with their ex. and some are bonkers to give up. knowing which one applies to you is worth finding out.

sound good?

let’s get to it.

no happy relationship ends

there’s an elephant in the room. shall we talk about it? see, no happy relationship ends. and no one says, “this is working great, so let’s break up and go our separate ways!” so, you had problems. and you need to keep that in mind. still, unhappy relationships that end can start again and become happy. after all, the “end” part —the breakup— can provide the springboard for a transformation to happen. so, it’s not all bad.

sometimes you have to break up to appreciate what you had, even if some parts of the relationship were broken.

but how can you tell when a breakup is right or wrong?

how do you know if what you had is recoverable and can be made into something better?

it’s not always easy to know.

for one, your feelings will be distorting your view and ability to make good decisions.

the thought of being alone breeds fear, which motivates you to try and get back what you’ve lost.

you may also worry that your ex will move on and find someone else.

so, a fear of being alone and of being left behind make you a poor judge. you get the idea.

beware: the fear of being alone or left behind is not a good reason to pursue your ex.

the solution? you need to isolate your problems; these emotions need to be addressed separately. if you mix them all together…

they can make you choose differently than you would otherwise.

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 just one you arrive at out of fear?

ok. deep breath.

should i go back to my ex? answer these questions to find out

we need a way to stop fearful thoughts from clouding your judgement. asking yourself direct questions and giving prompt answers to them is one way to achieve this because it cuts through distracting emotions.

okay, so i’m about to spring five such questions at you. but don’t fret; they’re simple. you don’t need to write down any answers. this is not a quiz.

the purpose of these questions is to help you clarify whether you and your ex are compatible enough to make this work. and therefore whether or not they are worth pursuing. ok?

“good enough” compatibility is an obvious requirement for a healthy relationship. that’s why we start there.

now, to keep things simple, answer every question with either:

  1. yeah
  2. meh
  3. nah

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.

let’s start:

  1. disagreements: is it true that when you had disagreements, you would both figure it out soon enough and let it drop?
  2. goals: would you say you were both in alignment with each other’s goals in life, wanting similar things?
  3. laughter: is it fair to say you shared a similar sense of humour and could take a joke?
  4. sex: is it true that you enjoyed a healthy sex life that was fulfilling for the both of you?
  5. communication: is it fair to say you shared intimate thoughts and feelings and showed interest in each other’s lives?

remember, answer with either a yeah, meh, or nah. nothing more complicated than that.

and remember to answer each question quickly.

now …

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 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. instead, i’m just helping you inject some objectivity into your decision.

understand that it’s possible to respond “nah” to all of the above and still have an ex with whom you have a future together. how? you could resolve some of your issues, “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.


  • whether or not you can resolve your differences;
  • whether or not you want to;
  • whether or not you are willing to put in the effort to do so.

for now, use this opportunity to get an idea of general compatibility and how that weighs on your decision. and remember, you could always remain friends with your ex and leave it at that. staying friends is not for everyone, but it works for some people.

update: i recently discovered the sustainable marriage quiz, which contains ten questions to help rank longevity.

this quiz was developed by gary w. lewandowski jr, an associate psychology professor at monmouth university, new jersey. it aims to give a score based on how well a relationship creates “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. however, as with any quiz, it can not predict the future and is best served with a salt pinch.

changing the topic slightly…

many relationship authors assume you should reunite —but why?

perhaps i’m cynical. but there are a lot of information products that promise to save your relationship.

(i have one myself, although i don’t promise to save your relationship —it’s more that i promise to improve your odds.)

still, many people are all too quick to recommend their product to you for a quick buck. they don’t stop to consider if you should go that route in the first place.

don’t get me wrong. i don’t have an issue with paying for help.

my advice is this: until you have given the decision enough thought, you should keep your credit card in your pocket and leave the “ex back” guide on the shelf.

do not let someone’s motivation to make a profit persuade you to get back with your ex if you know this is not the right path for you.

consider whether you truly want to make the relationship work. otherwise, if you don’t honestly 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 find out.

hopefully, you will get a little clearer on your situation. and you will be better able to answer 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 down the line. avoiding unnecessary grief is a bonus, though.

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.