Should I Take My Ex Back?

Last updated on : November 24 2020

Black paper heart handed from one couple to another

Taking An Ex Back

Today we're discussing breakups, specifically, the question, should I or should I not take my ex back?

We know you desperately need this question answered if your ex dumped you and now wants you back. Or you've done the dumping and are having severe regrets about your decision.

Because this is such an emotional decision, it helps to have a framework to guide you to the best outcome. And this article provides the exact framework you need.

In summary, feel free to take your ex back only if you can address the following assessments and their underlying detail positively.

Let's examine each of these assessments, in turn, to help you find the answers we know you so desperately want. 

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1. Is Your Ex A Good Long Term Partner?

We think your long-term partner should have certain qualities before accepting them into your life. 

And so it's worth taking the opportunity to reconsider whether your ex has the qualities you want in a partner for a long-term relationship. If your ex doesn't have the qualities you need, then it's time to put them behind you.  

Here's a checklist of the qualities we think are desirable for a long term partner. We believe they are the minimum requirements, and you might want to add more. 

  • Your ex is giving in nature - your ex did things for you without being asked or reminded. Little gestures like making the bed in the mornings or giving up some spare time for you are essential and telling considerations. 
  • Your ex is responsible - for instance, your ex has healthy habits and is respectful of right and wrong. 
  • Your ex is stable emotionally - there are no irrational moments or flying unnecessarily off the handle. You don't need to worry about violence or abuse.  
  • Your ex is agreeable - you like doing similar things, and your ex didn't throw up unnecessary roadblocks to the things you want to do.  
  • Your ex is trustworthy - this means you can trust your ex, and your ex has the strength to trust you. 
  • Your ex is self-sufficient - your ex is not dependent on you, and as a result, your ex is not needy or jealous. 
  • Your ex has manageable baggage - you must be able to deal with any baggage your ex has, like extensive debt or dependent kids. 
  • You are physically attracted to your ex - this might seem crass or shallow, but it is nevertheless essential and is often the basis for healthy and vital sex life. 
  • Your ex is available - if your ex is in a romantic relationship or married, they are not the right choice for reconnection.  

If your ex has all these qualities, as a minimum, then it might be worth trying to get back together with them - depending on the other factors below. People with all these qualities can be hard to find. 

If you don't know your ex well enough to decide, then given you or your ex had reason to end the relationship, it might be best to take the split as a sign to move on and not to get back together.  

2. Can Your New Relationship Be Happy And Healthy?

Happy and loving couple

Before deciding whether to take your ex back or not, you need to consider the nature of your relationship and whether it carries hope for the future. 

In other words, are you able to have a happy and healthy relationship with this person? 

We've listed out the cornerstones of a happy and healthy relationship to help you make the decision - the topic is vast, but as a minimum, look for the following. 

  • Respect, caring, love, and trust - form the emotional connection between the two of you. Ask yourself whether you can feel these emotions for your ex again or whether they are irreparably damaged. 
  • Sex and physical attraction - these form the basis of your physical connection. Are you and your ex still attracted to each other sexually? If you doubt whether this sexual attraction exists, you shouldn't proceed with reconciliation. Sex is an essential part of a happy and healthy relationship. 
  • Ambition and curiosity - are the intellectual connection between the two of you. Although you might find intellectual stimulation elsewhere, like at work, you do want the necessary compatibility with your partner. Think about whether your relationship is enough in this respect. You don't need to be intellectual equals, but the connection needs to work and be respectful.  
  • Tolerance and life beliefs - are your spiritual connection. For example, do you have similar views about wrong and right, cultivate good habits instead of bad ones, and tolerate healthy differences between the two of you? Ask these questions to understand whether you might have a healthy spiritual connection.  

If you're missing or are unsure about any of these relationship cornerstones - emotional, physical, intellectual, or spiritual - then it's probably best to move on and look for someone more capable of having a healthy and happy relationship with you. 

Note again that the longer your previous relationship was, the better you'll be at assessing these relationship cornerstones. 

3. What Are The Reasons For The Breakup? 

How you broke up is telling about whether you might ever be able to reconcile again successfully. 

Here are the factors for you to consider:

Did you break up because of issues that are personal to either of you? 

In other words, did you or your ex cheat, or did either of you lose respect, sexual desire, attraction, trust, or love for the other? Or do you feel unsafe with your ex because of abuse? 

If you broke up because of these personal factors, you shouldn't get back together, especially if your ex cheated on you or abused you. Working through these issues will be much more challenging than starting again.

Did you break up because of factors external to the relationship? 

In this scenario, your relationship was otherwise happy and healthy. However, you struggled with issues like the physical distance between the two of you or cultural differences that forced you apart.  

These factors do not necessarily preclude you and your ex from getting back together if your relationship is otherwise happy and healthy. 

For instance, if you broke up because one of you had to move away (to another city or country) but still have strong feelings for each other, then it might be right to find a way to reconcile. 

4. Are The Reasons For Reconciliation Valid?

It might be that your ex want's to get back with you for the wrong reasons. 

For instance, they've fallen on some hardship and see you as a knight in shining armor, or you've become a better version of yourself, but they haven't changed at all. 

So it's vital that you critically assess why your ex wants to get back together with you (or why you want to reconcile with them), and as a minimum, ensure:

  • That the reasons are good and reliable reasons for reconciliation.
  • That your ex has changed significantly and is not carrying the same issues that contributed to the breakup before. 
  • That you both mutually want reconciliation and are on an equal power footing. 

For this last point, ensure that you don't want the reconciliation more than your ex does. 

If you are anxious and unsure about the new relationship, then do not go ahead with it - wait until your head clears, then make a better assessment or move on with someone else.

5. Are You The Dumper Or The Dumpee?

The final consideration is whether you did the dumping or were the one dumped.  

I'm The Dumper, and I'm Having Regrets About The Breakup

You did the dumping, you've been through the assessments above, and you want your ex back. 

In other words, you're not just missing your ex, but genuinely believe you made a mistake and regret your decision. 

Then, under these circumstances, if your ex is quiet about reconciliation, you should consider approaching your ex politely, apologizing for what you did, and ask them to reconsider a relationship with you. 

Be prepared to discuss how you have changed and why you want to reconnect. 

You can only make this approach once, and then you need to wait for your ex to respond. You cannot badger or expect your ex to drop everything for you, so you should also prepare for rejection. 

If your ex agrees to get back together, don't take the decision lightly, and work hard as a team, to build a lasting and prosperous relationship. 

I'm The Dumpee, And My Ex Wants Me Back

In addition to coming up positive on all the assessments above, double-check the following:

  • Question your ex about the reasons for them returning to you. If they're going through a life crisis and see you like a safety blanket, consider this not a sound reason to return to you.
  • Critically look at where you are in your breakup recovery. If you're desperate for a reconciliation, you should probably not get back with your ex. Simply because your ex will hold more power in these circumstances, leaving you anxious, needy, jealous, and emotional, all relationship killers. Instead, go back into no-contact and wait for a more suitable time.

Bonus Section - I'm The Dumpee, And I Want My Ex Back

If you're the dumpee still suffering through the stages of breakup grief, then know that rejection will have hardwired you into wanting your ex back. 

You'll likely be a drug addict for your ex, and no matter what anyone says, you'll want your ex back. This behavior is nature protecting you from isolation and the risk of death you might have faced as an early human - so it's unlikely you'll be able to avoid the desire of wanting your ex back. 

Of course, you won't die from rejection today, so you need to concentrate on recovering from the breakup fast while still giving yourself the best chance to get your ex back, just in case they are still worthy of you.    

Because of this mental instability, you cannot approach your ex under any circumstances. Instead, you need to go into a period of strict no contact and wait for your ex to come to you.

During this period of no contact, you can run through the assessments above to understand whether it's worth pining for your ex or not. 

But whatever the outcome, for your mental health, self-respect, and worth, you cannot approach your ex and ask for reconciliation - this approach needs to come from them, and you cannot try to get your ex back. 

Conclusion

Pink heart shaped lights

Reconciling with your ex is complicated and should not be taken lightly. You don't want to make the same mistake twice. 

As a result, ensure you critically assess your ex's readiness and the likelihood of a successful reunion before you decide to get back together. 

If you have any doubts, then it's better not to reconcile. You broke up for a reason, and more often than not, it will be better for you to look forward rather than back into a reconciliation. 

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