My Ex Wants Me Back But Should I Take Them Back?

Updated October 05, 2021

It's over. At least, that's what you believed. Behind the anger and pain is shock and dismay—and even a little relief, like drawing a giant splinter from your foot. Now you're thinking, “My ex wants me back, but should I take them back…was it worth the conflict? I miss them. But will anything be different? Could it really be better? What do I risk going back?”

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All relationships take an adjustment period. Everything about you as an individual has to be adjusted to include one other: your habits, your work, your play, you're eating and sleeping schedule, even your social life. Ideally, your partner is making adjustments as well, and you may not know for sure until you live together as a harmonious unit.

Those adjustments can be very difficult in the beginning. The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years. Because of the high divorce rates in the 1970's, couples counseling, once reserved for troubled marriages, is now a common resource for couples with more minor conflicts. It is even recommended for couples who just want to strengthen their bond or learn how to better communicate. Those first few years as a couple are the ideal time for seeking couples therapy. It is a time where each can really learn how the other expresses and receives love. A counselor can help the couple address any underlying problems before they grow into big issues and resentments. Unfortunately, most couples wait until things are on the brink of collapse before attempting counseling. Many counselors will agree that a common phrase in the first session of couples counseling is, "we want to know we tried everything.” But in reality, one or both partners has likely been emotionally through with the marriage for some period of time.

My Ex Wants Me Back But I'm Not Sure

Sometimes couples opt for separation after things have been difficult in the relationship or marriage. However, cohabitation might not have been the real problem.The problem might have been there from the beginning, and living together exacerbated what was already there. Sharing your life with another had become pretty comfortable until the relationship reached a point where you and your partner were not able to resolve conflict on your own and communicate effectively. This breakdown in communication isn't going to resolve itself simply by being separated for a while. One of the main functions of couples therapy is teaching the two partners to truly listen to each other and build on the relationship through mutual understanding. A specialist can teach a couple how to connect through empathy by revealing their emotional attachments.

Some couples manage to stay together for a lifetime. Some divorce and never get back together. But roughly half agree to give it another try. For many couples, break-ups follow a cyclic pattern. They fight, they split, they come back together, and the cycle starts over.

The repeated ending and renewal of a relationship can threaten the health and well-being of the two parties involved. People in an on-again-off-again cycle are often uncertain about the future of their relationship and may be even less satisfied with their relationship with others. Their challenge is to learn new ways of addressing each others’ needs and to elevate the benefits of their relationship over the costs.

You've heard it over and over: you're thinking that your "ex wants me back" but your ex isn't going to change. But the truth is that we all go through changes throughout our lives. We become less impulsive and more serious about what we want out of life as we grow older. We learn from our mistakes. With each social contact we have with others, we learn more about how to get along and develop rewarding relationships. We learn how to temper bad habits and how to nurture good ones. So, try to not get caught up in the idea that people cannot change. There are some personality traits that are unlikely to be changed. But a couple can learn how to be flexible, gain understanding, and make adjustments to the relationship to make it work IF both are invested. It is crucial that both partners understand that a relationship will not be salvaged simply by attending the weekly counseling sessions. The work outside the office is just as important. The counseling sessions will be what teach you what to work on: new skills, techniques, feedback, and suggestions to implement and practice.

When You Should Never Take Back Your Ex

When the heart is willing, there are many things it can accept. Even if you are thinking "my ex wants me back," you might be able to resign yourself to the fact that your ex lied or cheated. You might acknowledge that neither one of you is good with money and that you need to just take the economic lumps as they come. You might agree that your next vacation is going to be rock climbing in Colorado, but the one after that will be your own choosing. What you should never agree to is taking back an abusive ex.

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Once you have spent time in an abusive relationship, the abusive partner may not be ready to change, no matter how many times you break up and get back together. At the end of the day, you need to look out for priority #1: yourself. The risk of further physical or emotional harm is likely not worth the potential outcome. What's more, if you have been in an abusive relationship, you have already set a precedence for acceptance. The longer you stay and the more chances you give your abusive partner, the greater the potential escalation of violence. What can start out as verbal arguments can escalate to throwing things, which can escalate to hitting, which can escalate further and further. The results can be disastrous. It is important to remember too that not all abuse is verbal or physical. Financial abuse can be devastating. There are emotionally unhealthy relationships in which you may feel unsafe and unsettled. Maybe you cannot be yourself for fear of being made fun of or disrespected. These can lead to the breakdown of a relationship. Couples counseling can be enormously helpful with two willing partners.

If you are experiencing abuse in your relationship and need immediate help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233.

Now, as mentioned above, it is not impossible for an abusive partner to change. If they takes initiative, follows through with a program, gets help, and slowly gains your trust back, it might be worth a cautious second chance. This is a time where it is important for you to also talk to a counselor and listen to those in your support network to help you make such a big decision.

There is only one person who can truly answer the question of whether or not it is a good idea to get back with your ex: you. Contacting licensed mental health professionals atBetterHelp can aid you if there are lingering doubts. The helpful thing about getting a counselor is they will be able to provide you with an unbiased perspective. They don't know your ex and can offer objective feedback. They can also give you information as needed about how to maintain a healthy relationship. If you and your ex do decide to give it another chance, this counselor can be there with you to help guide and offer support. If you unsure about what to do, don't hesitate. Reach out to a trained professional and get help so that you can make an informed decision that will be best for you.

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Maybe you are currently deciding whether it is a good idea to take your ex back. Or perhaps you have already made the decision. Regardless, you should be aware of the help that is available via online couples therapy. It is growing quickly in popularity. Over half of Millennial couples have sought out couples therapy online, according to a recent study. What’s more, they are seeking this treatment out earlier, before issues arise in the first place.

With online therapy from platforms like BetterHelp, you can create a situation in which couples therapy is less of an ordeal. You can get in touch with your therapist comfortably from your own home and at a time that works for everyone. You can also control how you contact your therapist. Sessions are available via chat, phone call, and video conferencing. Don’t take our word for it. Read what others have to say about their experiences with BetterHelp below.

“Joseph has been really helpful during this time. From helping me work through setting my boundaries to keep healthy relationships with my family, to doing some conflict resolution with my partner. I feel like I've greatly benefitted from having Joseph to talk to during this hard time.”

“Michael was a huge help and easy to talk to about working through issues between my partner and myself. He broke things down into examples I could understand.”

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.