Is Breaking Up And Getting Back Together A Good Idea?

Have you ever broken up with someone then later questioned if you made the right decision? Have you given someone a second chance because you missed them and really wanted the relationship to work?

Well, you aren't alone. Many couples who break up end up getting their exes back - it's surprisingly common!

While the reasons why couples break up and their reasons for getting back together vary based on a variety of factors, the fact remains that breaking up and getting back together does work for some couples. It all depends on why you broke up and why you've decided to get back together.

Things to know

  • People often get back together with their ex due to familiarity, regret/guilt, or realization that the old relationship was more fulfilling than they realized.
  • When deciding to get back with an ex, it's important to consider if it's for the right reasons, like mutual feelings or growth since the breakup, and to let go of past mistakes.
  • To make a rekindled relationship work, both partners must reflect on what went wrong in the past and make changes for a successful future.

Before you decide, ponder on these ideas to get an idea of what you're dealing with:

Why Some Couples Break Up And Get Back Together

Believe it or not, nearly half of all couples who break up eventually end up starting a new relationship together. For many, the familiarity of an old flame is appealing... but is that really all there is to it?

Actually, researchers have discovered a number of reasons why people give an ex-partner a second chance. As you'll see, some make more sense than others.


It turns out that the most common reason people rekindle a romantic relationship with an old flame is familiarity.

When we spend an extended amount of time with a person, we learn them inside and out. Their mannerisms, voice, and habits become familiar and comforting. This familiarity seems more appealing than finding someone new, so some choose to go back to what they know.

However, familiarity can be a double-edged sword for relationships because it can also equate to complacency. So, watch out for that if you're thinking about getting back with your ex.

Regret or Guilt

Depending on the specifics of your breakup, you may wonder if you made the right decision when you decided to split with your ex. For some, this questioning grows into regret or guilt, and these feelings push them to try again with their ex-partner. This is especially true in cases where people broke up during a heated fight or without getting all the facts first.

Sometimes, though, regret or guilt isn't fueled by our own feelings, but more out of pity for our ex. When people take their ex back because they feel bad for them, it doesn't always end well.


They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. For some, a breakup is a fresh perspective they need to realize that their old relationship was more fulfilling than they realized. When someone makes this realization, they do whatever they can to win their ex-partner back and make the relationship work.

This is one of the best reasons to get back together with someone.


The weeks and months after a breakup can be the loneliest time for a person. Sometimes, people get so lonely that they start checking out their ex's social media accounts to see if they are still available.

They may look to fill the void of their loneliness with a familiar face, even if they know their past relationship was an emotional roller coaster.

No Better Options

Sometimes people split up and jump back into the dating pool before they rekindle a romantic relationship with their ex. In these cases, one or both partners usually realize that there aren't really any better options out there so they decide to give each other a second chance.

Getting Back Together For The Right Reasons

Obviously, some of the reasons people decide to get back together with their ex make logical sense, while others are more of an emotional response in the heat of the moment. If you're thinking about getting back together with your ex, you need to decide if it's for the right reasons before you give them a second chance.

For example, if you only got back into a toxic relationship because you felt lonely, that may not be a recipe for success. However, if you ran back into your high school sweetheart at your 10-year class reunion and decided to try it again, that may work.

Sometimes it is hard to decipher what the motivation behind a second time relationship. If you aren't sure, try talking through the situation with your best friend or another close confidant. They can help you evaluate the situation from a rational space so you don't make the same mistake twice.

What Needs To Change If You Decide To Get Back Together

If you've worked out how to tell that your ex wants you back, and you feel the same, it's time to take your next steps.

Obviously, there are times when getting back together with your former partner makes sense. If you still have lingering feelings for your ex, then you may want to dive right back into where you left off.

Before you give your ex-partner a second chance, you need to really think about what went wrong the first time around and decide if you've both grown since the breakup. Then, you may want to consider some changes you both need to make if the relationship is going to work this time.

Let Go of Past Mistakes

Any type of breakup sticks with you for quite some time. Even after the dust of your past relationship settles, those mistakes and painful emotions may linger. However, no relationship will last if you're both focused on the past, so you have to let that stuff go.

If you and your ex decide to rekindle your romantic relationship, you need to both come to the table with a new perspective on the relationship. You must both be willing to admit your faults, accept your part in what went wrong last time, and agree to put the past in the past.

For some couples, this is the hardest part of starting over. However, your relationship will be doomed from the start this second time around if you aren't both willing to move on from your past mistakes and work towards being better versions of yourselves for the sake of your partner.

Improve Your Communication

Most of the time, poor communication skills play some sort of role in a breakup. Partners don't share their needs with each other, or they let resentment build over seemingly small things until it turns the situation into a toxic relationship filled with bitterness and anger.

You surely don't want that to happen again. So, you and your partner will need to work on improving your communication skills if you want your new relationship to last.

Open communication is hard work, and it takes a lot of effort from both partners. You will both need to practice active listening skills, get vulnerable with each other, and really share what's in your heart with each other. After all, no one is a mind reader, not even your partner.

Sometimes couples seek out professional help when they feel like their communication skills need work. In fact, some partners insist couples therapy is the perfect place to learn what open, honest communication looks like.

Either way, you must both commit to improving your communication skills if you really want the fairy tale ending you're both dreaming of.

Set Better Boundaries

"Boundaries" isn't a bad word. In fact, boundaries are what help us live out our values and remain true to ourselves throughout our lives. For this reason, clear boundaries are important in any type of romantic relationship.

Boundaries are what help you and your partner show mutual respect for each other. They create natural limits and help set the stage for expectations. In other words, healthy boundaries help you and your partner connect in a way that helps you both feel safe and loved.

If issues with expectations and boundaries is what got you and your ex-partner into trouble in the first place, then this is a must-do the second time around.

Commit To One Another

Most importantly, you and your partner must fully commit to each other if you expect your relationship to last a second time.  A healthy relationship requires a physical and emotional commitment. If you or your partner aren't willing to give that to each other, then your relationship will never last.

While this doesn't mean you have to be by each other's side 24/7, it does mean you both need to commit to working hard to make the relationship work.

This is especially important for relationships that didn't work the first time. You can't have one foot in and one foot out the door — you and your partner both deserve more than that.

When You Should Walk Away For Good

Sometimes, people can reconnect with their former partner and everything works out. However, that fairy tale ending doesn't happen for everyone. Some people get back together and soon realize they made the right choice by ending the relationship the first time, while others spend a long time wrestling with their decision because, well, it's never easy.

If you're weighing the pros and cons of whether this relationship is the right choice or if you should walk away for good, here are some guiding principles that may help you decide.

First and foremost, if your partner is abusive in any way (physically, verbally, or emotionally), then you should walk away for good. You deserve so much more than someone who intentionally hurts you — period.

Similarly, if your partner doesn't support your goals and dreams, then they aren't the one for you. Your partner should offer unconditional love and continuous support for you. If they don't, then it's time to go your separate ways and find the right man or woman for you.

If your partner isn't willing to let go of the past, then it's also time to say goodbye for good. This is especially true if you originally dated in high school or as young adults but you've now grown. Your partner should see you for who you are now, not who you were the first time around.

Similarly, if you and your partner aren't willing to do the work to make the most of your relationship this time, then head out the door. Your mental health and happiness matter more than staying with someone who isn't willing to focus on your relationship.

And, most importantly, if your relationship becomes on again off again at any point, then it's time to pull the plug.

Final Thoughts

Breaking up and getting back together definitely works for some couples. However, that doesn't mean it's what is best for everyone. After all, we can't all be Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, can we?

At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide if your ex is really the one for you and understand the stages of getting back together with an ex. If they make you happy, offer unconditional love, and are willing to put in the hard work to make your relationship work, then they're probably a winner. If not, well... you know what to do.

Remember, you deserve nothing less than the absolute best day in and day out. Don't settle for anything less than that.

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