You broke up, divorced, broke off the relationship… And there were good reasons for that. So why do so many couples converge again even years later? Why is the thought of reuniting with your ex so appealing?
Earlier this summer, 17 years after the breakup, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck came together again, which provoked an avalanche of nostalgic posts on social networks, a discussion of the turns of the life of glamorous stars, and the emergence of all sorts of near-cultural analytics.
Lopez and Affleck are a Hollywood star couple, so the tabloids and Twitter could not pass by and choked with delight.
But perhaps the most understandable reason why people are so excited about what happened is that the reunion of Lopez and Affleck was not just another story from the category of “star gossip”. It seems that Jennifer and Ben love each other again.
For many people, returning to old love, to a former hobby is one of the components of a relationship. This part can bring a negative result (there are many stories about such unsuccessful returns that all-knowing friends and friends will tell you on occasion), or even turn into a nightmare when your ex (or ex) begins to persistently pursue you, imposing himself with his idea to resume the relationship.
However, the restoration of previous relationships can look very tempting and for someone even turn into a goal of life – especially when we have examples of reunification, reminiscent of a story from a fairy tale.
In addition, there is an amazing statistic, according to which 50% of young couples separate, and then restore the relationship again.
Living during the pandemic has further accelerated this process for some: Amid the terrible news, alone lockdowns, many have reached out to their exes, hoping to ignite the flames of old love (or at least affection).
According to experts, if at the same time both exes are interested in restoring the relationship, this can have a positive effect – but provided that you are ready to act impartially, taking into account the life experience of the past years and on the wave of mutual understanding with your partner.
What’s so appealing about returning to your ex?
One of the most important benefits of restoring previous relationships: we know what to expect.
“There are many serious advantages to already knowing the person we want to try to build a lasting relationship with again,” said Michael McNally, a family counselor, and psychotherapist at the Gottman Institute in Chicago.
According to McNally, each couple has its own eternal disagreements – points of potential conflicts (such can be cohabitation, money, sex, children, friends, family, and so on).
Even happy couples have such points since two different people with different characters and different views on the environment are involved in the relationship.
© Getty Images A return to the ex may well have a fabulous ending, but only if both partners seriously consider what once led to the breakup and draw the right conclusions.
According to a study by the Gottman Institute, such “eternal disagreements” are responsible for 69% of the problems that arise in the couple, says McNally.
It is these problems, then flaring up, then fading, and not some single event or a separate loud conflict, – the real poison for relations.
“The cause of broken relationships or marriages in most cases is not fire, but icy cold,” McNally said.
Some couples find it simply difficult to talk to each other or resolve differences together on key issues in their relationship. They move away from each other farther and farther and begin to live not as lovers or husband and wife, but as flatmates.
And so they want a new relationship. Or restoring a relationship with an old love. However, for such people, Michael McNally has advice: “If you are in a relationship and thinking about a breakup, be careful: in fact, you are going to replace 69% of some “eternal disagreements” with 69% of others.”
But going back to your ex, you at least know what to expect and what those disagreements you had. So in this sense, restoring an old relationship can be much easier than building a completely new one with a person you don’t know very well yet.
“[In this case], you’re just continuing where you once broke up,” explains Judith Kurianski, a sexologist and family relations specialist and part-time psychology professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York.
For some, it looks like this: it’s better to go back to someone you know something about than to start with someone you know nothing about at all.
Change that brings joy
Here’s another positive thing about going back to a past relationship: You realize what’s changed since you broke up.
You don’t have that advantage when you start dating a new acquaintance – you just don’t know how they’ve changed over time, whether it’s been a change for the better, whether they’ve matured.
In the case of old love, you can compare “then” and “now.” Kurjanski says that one of the most common reasons for renewing a relationship is this: both partners feel that they have matured, become more mature as a person.
© Getty Images Igniting an old relationship isn’t for everyone, experts say, but knowing each other, albeit based on bitter experience, can provide some benefits.
Violette de Ayala of Miami, head of FemCity, an organization that helps women, has covered herself publicly about how she remarried her ex-husband in 2019.
“When we started dating again, it was very nice because we knew each other, but something about us had changed,” she says. “As long as we were living apart, we both worked on ourselves in areas that needed it, so in many ways, we appeared to each other renewed.”
“Certain elements of our personality, as we developed, made the reunification process beautiful, even though we had to overcome the pain of the past breakup,” she adds.
“He no longer takes our relationship for granted. He started giving me something that has a deep meaning. Now from time to time, he reminds me of how much he loves and appreciates me. It didn’t happen before.”
But even if you returned to your ex-partner after a long time and saw that nothing has changed, that all the toxicity of the previous relationship has not gone away – understanding this also gives you certain advantages, will help you avoid a repetition of the trouble.
“Sometimes, having gained life experience and wisdom in other respects, people think: Lord, now I may be able to overcome the obstacles that we once ran into,” says McNally.
However, as he emphasizes, the main thing here is that people are aware of what insoluble problems they had before, and are ready to honestly tell themselves whether something has changed since then.
“Love and sex against the background of the apocalypse”
Before you dive headlong into the pool of an old relationship, hoping that it will be new, ask yourself why you are doing this. Because so many things can go wrong.
A long-time acquaintance can certainly bring some comfort into our lives, but as Judith Kurianski notes, hopes for comfort can be unfounded — especially now that we live in the midst of the chaos of a pandemic.
In May last year, when the world was plunging into lockdowns, a study by Indiana University showed that one out of every five respondents, while in isolation, wrote in messenger to his ex or ex.© Getty Images Many tried to overcome the loneliness of lockdown by calling their ex
“I call it love and sex against the backdrop of an apocalypse,” says Kurianski, who studies love relationships between people in times of crisis – natural disasters or acts of terrorism.
She says it’s a common tendency to reconnect with your old love because of what seems like there’s no tomorrow.
Now it’s happening in Afghanistan, natural disasters, covid – people think that they live in the era of the coming Armageddon. And they want to go back to the man they once loved, who felt safe next to.
So, try to answer this question as honestly as possible: why do you want to return to your old love?
Do you really yearn for old relationships and want to make every effort to fix them? Or do you just want to calm the anxiety and anxiety that arises from frightening news headlines? If the latter – then take it as a warning bell about the danger.
Kurjanski recommends getting the opinion of friends and relatives about your desire to resume old relationships – even before you take the first step towards such a renewal.
Many will probably react negatively, especially if your relationship was broken scandalously.
However, your goal is not the opinion of your loved ones. Their reaction can bring you down to earth and remind you why your old relationship was so problematic.
“Be prepared to hear the opinions of others. And most will say what?! Will you be together again? Are you joking! Why?”© Getty Images First, remember why your old relationship was so problematic.
“They will return to you the memory of the old days, all those memories,” Kurianski argues.
You will have to somehow cope with these memories – and the most difficult thing will be to discuss this not with family and friends, but with your ex or ex.
“It was a pretty difficult moment that we had to overcome,” de Alaya recalls. – Leave all the past in the past. Relationships have so much history that pulls you back. But you have to agree that from now on your relationship will move forward through forgiveness, communication, and the feeling that everything is starting anew, with a clean slate.”
Probably, many of us sometimes think that we yearn for a past love lost once. If we approach this feeling realistically and intelligently, perhaps something good will come of it. But only if both people are on the same page if they have the same understanding of what it will take to return.