It’s a controversial subject getting back with your ex. They were your ex for a reason, right? Well, this was my ethos until I made the rather radical decision to go back to mine about a year ago. When I finally confessed my decision to my friends, I was met by raised eyebrows and tuts of disapproval.
“After all the things he did?!?”
They would exclaim.
This is the problem with outsiders looking in. It’s easy for them to remember all the tears and all the heartbreak. They are not privy to the emotions that bind two lovers together and as a result, don’t get blinded by the ecstasy of love. Instead, they are left with the damaging consequences that stay with them long after the relationship has ended. The names of the people that have hurt their friends, family members, and loved ones stay blackened in their minds. Hearing a couple get back together after all of this drama is hard to digest and always induces doubt and anxiety that the cycle will repeat itself. That they will, once again, be left to pick up the pieces.
Of course, every situation is different, and sometimes if the breakup ended on good terms or was a result of a lifestyle difference then getting back together may be the right thing to do and doesn’t cause so much concern.
However, this was not the case for me. When I got back with my ex, our previous breakup was messy and upsetting. My friends foresaw that it wouldn’t work out.
I was yet to come to that conclusion.
I romanticized the past too much
Despite all the arguments and all the hurt we caused each other, after a few months of being broken up I viewed my past relationship with deep regret. I wanted to go back and fix all the loose ends. I focused on those intimate moments that I would never get back.
The trouble was, I always reviewed the calm after the storm and never the storm itself. The ways he would look at me or a simple smile would somehow seem to outweigh all of the bad things that had ever been said or done. I would convince myself that I had cut a good thing short and that I was denying myself of what could have been.
Our hypothetical future relied on me to fix the past rather than come to terms with our breakup and finally let him go.
* * *
I missed being in a relationship
I had always called myself a “relationship person”. By doing this I made myself believe that I was a better person in a relationship than I was out of one. That I didn’t cope well by myself.
Being in a relationship became part of my identity causing me to miss the status of being in one, regardless of whether it was right for me at the time.
* * *
The loneliness of a breakup
Breakups are always hard but I always find that you feel worse before you start feeling better.
After going through several previous breakups before, I knew what was coming and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I didn’t want to have to go through the sadness just to start feeling good about myself again. It was so much easier to rely on someone else to make me happy and someone else to make me feel like I was worthy.
Therefore, I gave into my desires and went back to the one thing that felt familiar. The one person who would fill my void and give me back the security and companionship that I thought that I needed.
* * *
Getting back together
After getting back together we only lasted for three more months.
Of course, it started well. We both thought that we had changed and the scandal of getting back together brought us closer. It gave us a thrill that fuelled our love with adrenaline and excitement. It was us against the world. We had something to prove to all the outsiders who didn’t quite believe.
Alas, the cracks started to re-open with the same problems as before. Our second honeymoon phase was drawing to a close leaving us with the ugly and undeniable truth.
We just weren’t right for each other. Back then. Now. Or ever.
* * *
Whilst I look back at this relationship and sigh, I now use it to remind myself that going back to my ex wasn’t the right answer.
It didn’t provide me with the happiness that I thought it would and it didn’t solve my insecurities about being alone. Letting someone else define my worth meant that I needed them unnecessarily. As it was only me, myself and I that had the power to rebuild my confidence and move on, learning from my mistakes rather than choosing to re-live them.
By focusing too much on a romanticized past I tricked myself into chasing an ideal relationship that didn’t exist and never had existed in reality.
* * *
Thank you for reading.
Previously published on Medium.com.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.