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Should You Get Back With An Ex?

It can be tempting to get back together with an ex. Dating is so full of uncertainty, but with an ex, you know what’s your getting, more or less. For better and worse.

But how do you know when you’re just tired of looking for the real thing, and when your ex might actually be the real thing? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

1) Do I really like this person?

I don’t just mean, are you attracted to this person. I don’t even mean do you love this person. I’m talking about truly being “in like” with someone — valuing their company and their ideas, respecting who they are and how they live their life.

2) Does this person really like me?

Yep, just flip it around. Do you have the sense that you are truly valued and respected? If you weren’t dating, would you want to be around this person, and would they feel the same about you?

3) Are you feeling lonely and vulnerable?

Sometimes that’s when people can go in for the kill, especially if they have narcissistic tendencies or are just woefully unaware of others’ feelings and needs. They might sense an opportunity and prey on your weakened state, feeding you just what you want to hear at that moment, even though they have no real intention or maybe just no real ability to follow through on their promises.

Consider whether you’re in the right state of mind for making any big decisions. If you’re not, you can always just spend some time together casually — i.e. without bringing sex into the equation — and then check back in with yourself. There’s no rush. And if the other person is making you feel like there is, that’s a red flag.

Which brings me to…

4) Are there red flags?

It’s so easy to minimize when you want something to work out, when you’re perhaps being carried along by nostalgia or loneliness or genuine love for another person.

But think about why you broke up in the first place, and what’s really and truly changed, in you, in that other person, and in the dynamics between you.

5) Are there real and demonstrable reasons why this time around will be different?

Often, people are drawn to what’s familiar. That doesn’t mean that familiar is healthy. That familiar might be because of family-of-origin issues, or it might be that there are alluring aspects of your old relationship. You could be downplaying potential problems so that you can go headlong into what you want to do.

Think what you’ve learned about yourself since the split. See if this represents a step forward or a step back. Then heed your gut.

couples reunion photo
Photo by derriel street photography
Should You Get Back With An Ex?

Holly Brown, LMFT

Holly Brown is a marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay area. She has a private practice in Alameda ( ). She is also a novelist ( Her latest is HOW FAR SHE'S COME, a workplace thriller which received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly: "This provocative tale will resonate with many in the era of the #MeToo movement."

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APA Reference
Brown, H. (2017). Should You Get Back With An Ex?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Jun 2017
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