Should I Get Back with My Ex?

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Reader’s Question

My ex-boyfriend and I dated for three years. We were like best friends, and I love being around him. We broke up because we fought all the time, and I got jealous way too easily. I’m with another boy now and he makes me happy, but it’s not the same as it was with my ex. I really miss him. Do you think it would work out if we got back together? I don’t know what to do.

Psychologist’s Reply

Only you can determine if your relationship with your ex is worth getting back together again, especially if it means losing the current boyfriend in the process. However, there are two questions I think could be helpful in making the decision. The first question is whether your ex-boyfriend is willing to give the relationship another try. The second question is whether one or both of you have changed. If the answer to either question is no, it probably is not worth it to try.

People frequently get stuck in relational patterns. This means that they end up making the same mistakes in different relationships. That is one huge reason why second marriages are 65% more likely to end in divorce: people haven’t learned what they did wrong the first time. Consequently, if you really want a second chance with the ex-boyfriend to work, you will need to discover what your role was in the failure of the relationship, and then take steps to fix that. While everyone has a part to play in relationships, you can only control what you do, so start there.

You mentioned that you fought all the time, so I would analyze what contributed to the fighting. Communication is one of the top five difficult issues for couples, and I’m guessing you were no exception. Whenever I work with couples on communication, I encourage them to “break down” one of their fights and discover where exactly it started to go wrong. They then look at other fights to see if the “break down” has a pattern (it usually does). Once a pattern is detected, you can look for ways to change it so that future conversations can go better. Ways to get help with this process include reading some good books on communication and/or attending a few counseling sessions to get some insight.

You also mentioned that you were frequently jealous. That too is something you can work to change. Jealousy usually stems from low self-esteem and/or feelings of insecurity. Consequently, it may be helpful for all of your relationships if you start challenging your negative thoughts and begin feeling better about yourself. Again, there are a number of helpful books out there on building self-esteem, and counseling can help with this as well.

Once you figure out what needed to change in the relationship in order to make it work, if both of you decide to give the relationship a second chance, it just might succeed. Just keep in mind that while all relationships take work, they shouldn’t be constant work. When that happens, people just get tired.

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