What to Do When the Ex Wants You Back

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After interviewing so many people, I’ve heard stories about how getting back together was the best decision they ever made or the worst train wreck in history that ended with someone in jail. And everything in between. I suppose it really comes down to the two people involved and the motives at the heart of it all to figure out if its going to stick or not. But what do you do when that person is you and your ex is trying to get you back?

If you’ve been avidly following my blog, you may have seen my post about being friends with the ex. Its possible to have a great friendship, but what happens when your ex starts breaking the “friends only” rules? Here you are, in a good relationship/new relationship/exciting relationship/recovered your mojo phase/etc and up pops your ex with talk about how great the two of you were together, what if you tried one more time…

Oh great! What to do now?

  1. If you are in an ex’s cross-hairs, take a good look at your heart. Do you still have feelings for this person? We all know, at some level, that no current partner can stack up to a relationship ghost. So, it seems to me that taking the time you need to deal with your feelings may be a good idea. I’ll be honest here, if you’re dating a person who knows their own worth, they aren’t likely to wait around while you figure it all out… so think long and hard about this one. Did you really have a good thing worth going back to?
  2. If you don’t think its a good idea to try again, you’re going to have to be firm and stand your ground. It may mean losing someone you consider a “friend.” But in my honest opinion, a friend isn’t someone who steps in the way of you moving forward in life, tries to manipulate your heart or sabotages a good thing. Your ex may be acting with pure intentions (or not) but if you don’t think you have something worth salvaging, then you’re going to need to walk away. Not only for the sake of your heart and anyone’s heart you’re involved with… but for the sake of your ex who needs to move on.
  3. Or are you somewhere in the middle? Maybe its a good idea… maybe its not a good idea. Maybe you might still have feelings for your ex, maybe not… Ok, you are firmly in the quick drying cement about to get rolled over by K-k-k-ka-ken in his cement roller. Take a look at a few things before you make a decision.
  • Their Motives. What triggered this sudden desire for your ex to get back in? Are you in a new relationship that threatens your status as their “back up” Betty or Bill? Did they start making noises about getting back together after breaking up with a relationship in their own life or had some major events happen to change their world? Have they had time to “think” and realize that you are the one? Weigh the motives carefully, for that will determine how committed they are to this course of action.
  • Your Motives. How clean are your own motives? Are you reacting out of fear or loneliness or anger or lust or desire to prove something? Make sure your heart is clean before deciding to throw over the distance/closure/progress you’ve made for something that was too broken to work in the past.
  • Deal Breakers. Were there major deal breakers in the past like cheating, lying, abuse or addictions or attitudes about children, money, faith, family… those things are likely to have not really changed since they run deep. Really really really think twice about getting back together with someone who doesn’t share your moral compass or who you know you don’t trust.
  • If changes are being claimed, are they the kind of changes that reflect in actions? Its easy to talk about having changed, the question really is… have they actually done it?
  • Do you really love each other the way you want to be loved?

I know, I know… It’s flattering, in some ways, to have an ex want you back. And easy to get swept up in the moment of glorifying what you had in the past and dreaming that it might be worth resurrecting. I’m not here to say it never works out, because sometimes it really does. But most of the time you broke up because something was broken and if you throw over something great now for something that may or may not be fixable… well, love is risky. Beautifully risky anyway you slice it. Just consider your options carefully and make sure you’re dealing with reality and not wishful thinking.