5 Things to Think About Before You Reconcile With Your Ex

It may be tempting to get back together, but reconciliation may not be good for you. Here’s what to consider before you reconcile with your ex. These tips for reconciliation are from Sydney Taylor Thomas, a guest writer who has personal experience with relationships and breakups.

Should you reconcile with your ex? Sometimes the answer is immediately obvious.  If your ex was abusive, raided the joint banking accounts and left you with all the bills, or ran off with your best friend, you probably already know the answer to the question of whether or not to give them another chance.

However, few things in life are that simple! Deciding whether or not to reconcile and start over can be complicated and fraught with mixed emotions.

Listen to people who know you – and your ex

Matters of the heart are intensely personal. No one, no matter how well-meaning, can tell you whether you or not you should attempt to reconcile with your ex.  Of course that won’t stop many of them from trying! It’s probably not a bad idea to listen to the advice of people who know you well and whose opinion you trust.  Any advice or observations from people who know both of you and were witness to your relationship may be even more helpful.

Keep in mind, however, that as tempting as it is to seek advice from people that you believe will support the decision to start over with your ex, this is the time for honest assessments, even if they hurt.  The old “fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me” quip is often in play in these types of situations. The pain or humiliation of another failed relationship with the same person can be even greater the second time around. This is very important to think about before you consider reconcilation your ex after separation.

How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To by Janis A. Spring is an extremely valuable book to read if your breakup involved a betrayal (such as cheating). Whether or not you reconcile with your ex, you need to forgive. For your own sake.

Weigh the pros and cons of getting back together with your ex

When your ex wants you back, consider the “unfinished business.”  Are you still deeply in love with each other even though you’ve been apart for a while? If you’ve both realized that you still have deep feelings for each other and those feelings have impacted your ability to engage in meaningful relationships with other people, perhaps it’s worth considering another go of it.

Are you clear about the reasons you broke up and reasonably confident that those circumstances or issues have been adequately resolved?  Is the possibility of reuniting with your ex based on healthy realism with a dose of optimism thrown in, or is it based on something else?

Consider the reasons couples get back together

There are many reasons that couples reunite for a successful second marriage, including fear of being alone, financial pressures, guilt or embarrassment, pity, pressure from family and friends, familiarity, and the belief that “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.”

Reconcilable Differences: Rebuild Your Relationship by Rediscovering the Partner You Love – Without Losing Yourself by Andrew Christensen, Brian D. Doss, and Neil S. Jacobson will help you avoid having the same fights over and over. You’ll also learn how to problem solve when you reconcile with your ex.

Consider the effect on the kids if you reconcile with your ex

Just as many unhappy couples stay together “for the sake of the children”, others separate and then reconcile for the same reason.  Undoubtedly there are circumstances in which this is indeed the best decision for the children, but the world is full of dysfunctional adults who were raised by parents who either stayed in or returned to dysfunctional relationships.  Many of these men and women are beginning to realize that the relationship lessons they learned growing up in dysfunctional households have negatively impacted their ability to have healthy relationships of their own.

Whether we like it or not, our children learn about life and love by watching the way us parents interact with them and each other.  If there are children involved, think carefully about the lessons you are teaching your children by your actions, whether you decide to stay apart or get back together.

The most important clue about whether you should reconcile with an ex is your gut feeling. Read How to Develop Intuition inYour Relationships.

Questions to Ask Before You Reconcile

Before deciding if you should start over, ask yourself some difficult questions. Be as honest with yourself as you can.  Take as much time as you need to carefully think things through.

  • Which one of you ended the relationship and why?  Have you been able to talk openly and honestly about what went wrong?
  • How have each of you changed since the relationship ended?  Do you think these changes have moved you closer together or further apart?
  • How are your wants and needs different now than they were when you were initially attracted to each other?  Is your current attraction to each other based on what you both wanted/needed when you first met or are you mutually attracted to the people that you’ve both grown to be?  Would you be as willing to consider a relationship with your ex if you were meeting him or her for the first time now?
  • Are you both aware of what’s been going on in the other’s life while you were apart?  Are there significant circumstances, unresolved relationships, major illnesses, spiritual issues, or any other important factors that might affect your relationship if you decide to reconcile?
  • Have each of you had the opportunity to explore relationships with other people? How were those relationships with other people similar to or different from the relationship you shared? What lessons might you learn from that information?  Have any romantic relationships been appropriately ended?
  • Do you believe that each of you did all that you could do to save the relationship when you were in it?  If not, why not?  If so, what is different now?  What new skills or resources do you have available to you, that you each are willing to use, to make the relationship work that you didn’t utilize before?

If you’re still uncertain about whether you should reconcile with your ex, read 16 Questions to Ask Before You Try to Get Your Ex Back.

In the end, there are two fundamental questions that you owe yourself honest answers to before deciding to reconcile with your ex.

First, what is the REAL reason you’re thinking about getting back together?  Once you’re satisfied with your answer to that question, ask what has changed since you broke up that is likely to increase your chances of success the next time around?  If reconciliation is still a possibility, ask your ex the same questions and insist on emotionally honest answers.  At this point you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of what the right decision is for you.  Best wishes on whichever choice you make.

As an author once said, “I don’t miss him, I miss who I thought he was.”

Does your ex to reconcile? Are you struggling with the decision to get back together? Comments welcome below. If you’re the one who wants to reconcile, read How to Get Your Ex Back.

Written by Sydney Tyler Thomas, a writer and small business owner living in Virginia. She is author of The Joy of Soulful Knitting: Reflections on the Art of the Craft.


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8 thoughts on “5 Things to Think About Before You Reconcile With Your Ex”

  1. So I dumped my ex after some severe jealousy and control issues on her end. She has very bad anxiety in advent of smoking all the time also. The girl she became jealous of, she introduced to me and suggested she work for my band. So we employed her as a merch girl. We never spoke much after hiring her aside business.

    A time came along where she posted on my status offering cookies (the merch girl), and my ex got very upset about it. I wished to ignore it, but she insisted that I tell her no. I met halfway and messeged her saying “My girlfriend doesn’t appreciate those advances, friendly or not, and I’m going to have to ignore them. But if you could keep them to a minimal, we would both appreciate it.”

    Merch girl insisted there were no feelings, and that aspect hasn’t changed since.

    Yet, my ex continued to insist that I fire her and don’t talk to her, did all this creeping on social media to find information from my band mates, and the merch girl to provide dots to validate the story. And in that time frame did a lot of emotional abuse, manipulation through emotional exploits and talking bad about me publicly on the internet.

    We split up because all of it pissed me off, i asked for a day to calm down and she kept saying “You are ignoring my feelings”

    We talked a few times, and i discussed how all the things she was doing we hurtful, disrespectful, and showed me that she didn’t trust me. She insisted that it was merch girl that she didn’t trust. I said “You need to trust me, and no one else. The relationship is US, not us and her.”

    We got back together and reconciled some old differences. But I let her know that us spending 4 days together every week was more than enough time for us to have, and that I have other responsibilites to tend to that I’ve been putting off to appease her. She got mad about it, suggested that we work together. We tried it, and it worked out well. But I still felt my space was being invaded, though she told me to let her know if I needed it. (She doesn’t have very many close friends, she usually only hangs with people in social outings/non personal atmospheres, with the exclusion of one girl, who isn’t exactly the most mature :/ )

    After we got back together:
    I spent about a month assuring her that there was nothing to worry about (I’m a monogamous person at the core, I don’t do cheating or anything like that), and it worked in waves. I liked a picture and she got upset about it. It was literally nothing, seeing as merch girl was in it (literally half her face…..), and our mutual friends were in it. It took a few hours to calm her down, but i did eventually. And beyond that, things were looking up. We chose to spend a bit discussing our emotions. And hers were confronted, and I understood them fully. But when it came to discussing mine, i was fed justification after justification.

    I asked for space again, she insisted we meet that night to talk and “cuddle it out”. I said “I legitimately need space right now, i know how my temper gets, and I’m not letting it out on you.”

    She asked why I wanted to break up. I told her what i said before and summated with “This is why i want to break up with you. I need time to gather myself and make this decision”

    That made her mad, so she went and tried to save face with people whom she upset that are close to me so she wouldn’t look like a b$#ch. Games were played by her for the 2 weeks following the break up, posting pictures with dudes she said i shouldn’t worry about. Being on the fence about talking. Wrecking work we had been contracted to work together on. Following and unfollowing me on social media. Sending me messages about not wanting to ignore me, but how things we’re broken beyond repair.

    I made it clear that we both made mistakes, and if we can swallow our pride and be honest with eachother, things could be better. She refused, said she was done being “mean.” Yet, the games continued.

    We have been out of contact for 2 weeks so i can get myself together after all the BS, and within this timeframe; i hung out with merch girl with a couple friends. I had nothing better going on that night, so I went…So here i sit thinking that the only reason my ex didn’t trust this girl is because she was going to expose my ex for who she really was.

    When everything was calm, it was awesome, and my ex did some of the nicest things any girl has ever done for me. Yet did some of the meanest things too. I did ALOT for this girl. A lot. Drove everywhere, paid for everything, spent as much time as i could without totally screwing myself, was there for her if she needed me emotionally and all that, kept her posted on things i did. And the conversations were great. I did get kind of harsh when I dumped her, but only because she demanded I discuss things I had an issue with (i feel she wanted an excuse to see me as an asshole)

    I’ve played through it in my head too much and i know i need to stop. But where i sit now is doing the crappy post break-up of googling if she was controlling, manipulative and all that. I know I did everything in my power to make this relationship the best it could be. I started getting less in return, and distance started growing. But I KNOW that my righteous indignation is justified.

    I feel so badly the need to talk to this girl, because it sucks to think all i did wasn’t good enough. But i just don’t think I’m the one who should break no contact. This girl helped push myself to be a better me in alot of aspects, but at the same time, tried to control what i do.


  2. My ex and I broke up when he called for cool off without any reason, at first he started not to talk to me and even decline my calls and messages, I asked him if he wants a space and he told me he needs one when I asked him why he just said that what he feels it isn’t right and he needs to figure things out. For two months he never speak to me not even a hi. After three months he said its over and we split up. He started to blocked me in facebook as well. A month later he wants us to get back together. I agree with it, after seeing him one night, he started not to talk to me again. Few months had past and I never heard of anything about him, after three months he wants us to get back together, I was warned by one of our friends and said that he might be just lonely. He asked me for another chance, I lied and told him that i am seeing someone else he started to say not to give up on him. I am really confused and don’t know what to do.

  3. My ex and I broke up after a domestic violence dispute because of a two week restraining order. I moved cities away because I wanted a fresh start. He did not contact me. Nine months after, I contacted him to get some closure. It was wonderful to talk to him after the separation. He had been working with an anger management group, and I was working with a therapist for my anger issues. We were able to acknowledge that we didn’t have any methods to handle conflict resolution in a healthy way. We had gotten resentful, and worse and worse behavior started occurring when we fought.
    I know reuniting with an ex is delicate to manage, and when there is an incident with the law, it only gets more delicate. However, we have been back together for ten months and just moved back in together. I’m glad we both saw our potential and had the chance to work on behavior issues with professionals without the involvement of the other.

    1. I would love to talk to you. I am going thru the same thing and it’s been 5 months. I realize that he has some borderline personality disorder issues and my behavior lead to his feelings of abandonment and rare rages. During one he grabbed and choked me. I really need some guidance. I also went the legal route. Could u have Rebecca contact me? Five oh nine three oh seven for one one for

  4. Terri,

    It sounds like you want to take your ex back, but it wasn’t a good relationship. I hope you stay strong, and keep reading these things to think about before you reconcile with him! Giving someone a second chance isn’t always the best idea, especially if he cheats and lies to you.


  5. I was with my ex for 3 years n 6 months and he cheated on me so we split. I loved him so much but I became tired of him lying to me every time he opens his mouth. Thank you for writing these things to think about before getting back with your ex. I really want him to give me a second chance – I mean I want to give him a second chance!! But I need to think things through first. Thank you.