Ask Alice: Is it ever a good idea to get back with an ex?

Photo credit: Charlie Knights

By Alice Dent

We’ve all been there – your housemate breaks up with her shitty boyfriend, so you throw her a celebration night out and divulge to her the detailed reasons why you never truly liked him in the first place. You confess that you think he has a shit taste in shoes, and the fact that you just can’t bear his preoccupation for referring to every decision he makes as “so jokes”.

Sometimes, however, your friend will go against your wise advice. After your confessional outburst, she’ll decide to get back with him… great! Cue many awkward meetings with him while you’re waiting for the shower, and some even more awkward pre-drinks with the rest of his cronies. But, is getting back with an ex as outrageous as it may seem? The general consensus seems to be: yes, it is. “An ex is an ex for a reason” is a phrase that is often bandied about. If you’re in this predicament yourself with a former boyfriend or girlfriend, you should ask yourself a few crucial questions. Firstly, why was it that you broke up in the first place? Are you wearing rose tinted spectacles? It’s always easier to retrospectively isolate the good aspects of your previous relationship, but make sure you consider the reasons that caused you to part ways in the first place. Did your ex fail to recognise how brilliant you are? If so, do not think about going back there. A relationship should bring the best out of both parties, and should allow you to be the best possible version of yourself that you can be. If that’s not the case, seriously consider whether it’s worth reconciling. As awfully cliché as it sounds, there is someone out there for everyone! Don’t stop searching until you find someone who treats you like the God(dess) that you are. Secondly, are you tempted to go back there because it is comfortable? Once the excitement of your first “single night out” wears off and the hangover kicks in, it will undeniably be tempting to reach out to them. Stay strong, and have space. Very often, time is the biggest healer, and will allow you to assess your own situation more accurately.

Despite this, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. I do believe there are some exceptions to the rule that exes are bad news. Ask yourself, did you both want to make things work, but the circumstances didn’t allow it? Sometimes, two people can both be so preoccupied with their own separate endeavours that they don’t spend enough time working on the relationship, and so things fizzle out. Finally, if in doubt, ask your friends, housemates, and those closest around you. They will truly know what is best for you, as they are often the ones consoling you when things go wrong. Does the phrase “we weren’t really sure if they were great for you anyway” sound familiar? If so, abort mission. Your friends and family have your best interests at heart, and will often be brutally honest in their evaluation.

There is no doubt that there are success stories when it comes to rekindling things with your ex-lover. Did you know that Chrissy Teigan and John Legend had a break early on in their relationship? It’s virtually impossible to imagine, now that they’re married and the most goals couple in the business. Miley’s 2012 album Bangerz (the soundtrack to my sixth form experience) was an anthem for moving on up from your rubbish ex. Now she’s reportedly tied the knot with Liam Hemsworth… stranger things do happen! And where do I even start with the Selena, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber love triangle? Watch this space.

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