He wants to get back together. Or maybe you want him back. Whatever the situation, there's a few things you need to ask yourself before you pull a T-Swift and rush straight back into his arms.
DO YOU BOTH HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO HAVE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP?
Annabelle, 17, reunited with her ex after they'd established a post-split platonic relationship. "It's funny because I don't think we were actually friends when we were going out. It took breaking up and learning to like each other as mates and talking heaps to realise we were falling for each other all over again this time for the right reasons," she says. In Annabelle's case it worked out because they didn't hurt each other when they amicably broke up. But DOLLY Counsellor Louise Remond says couples who had a bad break up due to betrayal, strong differences in personality or values find it very difficult to go back to a happy, healthy relationship.
DO YOU REALLY WANT HIM BACK (or are you just going through a tough time)?
It's totally normal to feel lonely and lost after a break up but it can leave you feeling vulnerable and more likely to want to go back to your ex for the wrong reasons. Louise says break-ups often make you feel completely alone. "This can bring up confronting issues about identity, like asking yourself, 'Who am I when I'm not in a relationship?'" she says. "Losing that day-to-day contact with someone who cares about you can be very hard on your confidence." If you're still adjusting to the break-up, sometimes it's best to give yourself some time to heal before you jump back on the first train to Couple Town with your ex in tow.
ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH HIM, OR JUST THE "IDEA" OF HIM?
When time has passed after a break-up it's easy to idealise the relationship in your mind. Often we remember the positives and brush aside the negatives. Amanda Booth*, author of The Breakup Survival Guide (Hardie Grant Books, rrp $24.95), says you need to think about the reality of what your relationship was like. "If you still love him and he treats you well and makes you feel good about yourself, then these are all very good reasons to give your ex another go," Amanda says. Consider the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Write a pros and cons list to really figure out if it’s him you love or just the idea of being in a relationship.
DO YOU NEED TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP TO BE HAPPY?
It may not feel like it at the time, but a break-up can be a positive thing if you embrace it as the start of a new independent you. It's very easy to rely on a relationship to make you feel good about yourself, so if it's this feeling you're craving, perhaps this is why you're considering going out with your ex again? Make sure you're happy with who you are before you dive back into an old relationship. "It's really important to learn to like spending time with yourself," Amanda says. "How can you expect other people to like spending time with you, if you don't enjoy spending time with you?"
IT WORKS... SOMETIMES
For all you romantics out there don't fret getting back with your ex isn't always bad news. "Set the boundaries. Communicate up front what needs to change for things to work out with your ex," Amanda says. "Work through what you're willing to compromise on and give the relationship space and time to heal. This way you enter the relationship again with your eyes wide open."
More questions to ask...
Were your friends and family happy when you broke up? Sometimes it's easier for friends and family to see him for what he really is as opposed to the view from your love goggles. If they were happy you broke up, ask them why.
Did you find him annoying? Chances are he probably hasn't changed that much. But if there's been a decent gap between the last time you were together, he could have grown up.
Did you trust him when you were together? If you didn't, ask yourself why, and if you're willing to give him a go, he'll need to work hard to gain your trust.
Did he treat you well first time around? If not, why are you even considering him? Some things are best left in the past.
YOUR SAY: Have you ever got back together with an ex? Let us know in the comments below.
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