You break up with your ex — or worse, he or she breaks up with you. A million thoughts are running through your head, and you feel like a part of you is incomplete without the other person. Then, after some time apart, your ex calls, and says he misses you and wants to get back together.
It's the dream call you've been waiting to hear for the last couple of months, but now that it's happening, you can't decide if you even want to give the person who hurt you another shot.
Since your break-up, you've already started to make a long list of the reasons he wasn't for you. You may have even started to move on. But something in your heart is making you want to get back together. You think maybe this time around, it will work — and the two of you will spend the rest of your lives together.
Old Loves, New Wishes?
Sometimes, we return to old loves hoping they have become the person of our dreams. We assume they have changed or that now they really will change.
My friend, "Paula" and her ex-husband broke up three times: twice while dating, and then the third time, which ended their marriage.
"The second time (we got back together), my mind knew it was a foolish thing to do, but my heart and desire said otherwise," she said.
She thought he would change. She hoped it would work, but now she knows that it was a huge mistake.
"All the problems I identified when I knew him for six weeks were ultimately the reasons we broke up," she said.
Therapy before their engagement did not make them compatible and failed to change the inevitable.
Today, Paula is thankful he ended their marriage because she said he lacked integrity and was not trustworthy. But at the time, she didn't have the ability to break away from him.
The whole ordeal was a blow to her self-esteem. Paula is now remarried with two beautiful babies, and she knows that she wouldn't be the person she is today if she hadn't gone through that other experience.
Is the Problem Solved?
When you are debating getting back with an ex, the most important question you have to ask yourself is: "Is the problem that caused you two to break up in the first place solved?"
If you broke up with someone because he cheated, what has changed so that you are going to be able to trust him now? If you broke up with her because she had a problem with drugs or alcohol, did she participate in a rehabilitation program that you believed really worked?
If he practices a different religion and you don't agree on the way you want to raise your children, did either of you compromise your beliefs?
If you break up with someone for such serious reasons as these, either the person has to change or your value system has to. If you broke up with your ex because he is not Jewish — and you are debating getting back together with him — did he say he would convert? Did he say he has no problem sending your future children to Hebrew school? Cut to the chase: He's either changed or he hasn't.
Those who get back together after such serious problems — problems that were never solved — and go on to a long, successful and happy marriage just don't exist. If the problem is still there, the relationship isn't going to work. It's that simple. I'm not saying the problem can't be resolved, but it won't go away on its own.
However, the people who get back together because the timing wasn't right initially, or who met during a pivotal changing point in their lives, do have a chance. For instance, maybe they met while too young.
My sister's friend dated her current husband in high school at age 14 for a year. They broke up, went on to college, dated multiple other people, and after 10 years ran into each other again and fell in love again. These two are truly lucky, but for many of us — myself included — that type of ending only happens in Hollywood, or a fairytale.
When someone ends a relationship, it's obvious that it just isn't working for one or both of the people involved. If the decision to break up is one-sided and the two of you choose to get back together, there is a huge chance that the person who was dumped will resent the other person. It's important to be aware that the other person may still be angry or bitter. Re-entering a relationship burned can leave you feeling scared that it's only going to happen again.
Listen to the Voice
Most of the time, you break up with someone simply because you just know he's not the one. Don't get back together with him just because you're lonely. It's normal to feel vulnerable, and although it may be easier to rekindle an old love than move on, it's important to evaluate the true potential of another try. There is someone else out there for you who is just right.
If your inner voice — or family and close friends — is advising you against trying again, then just maybe it's a good idea to listen to it.