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 they may later regret.
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.
OK, so first —
No Happy Relationship Ends
No happy relationship ends, and no one says “this is working great, so let’s break up and go our separate ways!” And yet 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.
Sometimes you have to break up to appreciate what you had, even if some parts of the relationship were broke.
But, how can you tell when a breakup is right or wrong?
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 judgment making abilities.
The thought of being alone breeds fear which motivates you to try and get back what you’ve lost.
You may also be anxious your ex will move on and find someone else.
So, a fear of being alone AND of being left behind. You get the idea.
The problem is, this makes it difficult for you to be objective about things.
Beware: The fear of being alone or left behind is not a sound reason to pursue your ex.
Isolate your problems: these emotions need addressing 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 Get Back With My Ex? Answer These Questions to Get Clarity
We have to find a way not to let those fear-based thoughts cloud your judgment.
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 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. 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, 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.
- 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?
- Goals. You were both in alignment with each other’s goals in life. You wanted similar things and supported the other in their plans. Do you agree?
- Laughter. You shared a similar sense of humour. You would both laugh together, often, and able to take a joke. Do you agree?
- Sex. You both enjoyed a healthy sex life. It was fulfilling for both of you. Do you agree?
- Communication. You were both open to one another and able to share intimate thoughts and feelings. You would frequently show an interest in each other’s life. Do you agree?
Answer with either a YES, sort of or NO. Nothing more complicated 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. Instead, I’m helping 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 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 many products exist that tell you what to do and what not to do, to maximise your chances.
(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 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 cash persuade you to get back with your ex if you know —from proper contemplation— this is not the right route for you.
Consider carefully if 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 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 a bonus, though.