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Would you take your ex back?

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 in Divorce, Happiness, Kat, Relationships

There was an emergency gals conclave last weekend; Rex had been calling and texting Mia, sending her flowers and all-round courting her. He clearly wants her back, and she was flattered — and confused — by his sudden attention. So Mia, Sara and I gathered at Sam’s to share some thoughts (and some fried calamari and Bloody Marys, too — thinking makes you hungry).

“Do you want to take him back?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Not if he hasn’t changed.”

“People don’t change,” Sara said. “Especially at midlife.”

“That’s not true; look at how we’ve changed since our divorces,” I observed as Mia nodded approvingly.  

“We’ve done a lot of work on ourselves,” Mia added.

“Right, and now we’re smart enough to know that we don’t go back to our exes. He had his chance, he blew it, goodbye.”

“Marie Osmond did,” Mia sniffed. “She just remarried her first husband.”

“I’m sure Marie is a very nice person; she’s just not too smart,” Sara snarked.

Unless she’s smarter than many of us.

Sometimes couples split up for no-brainer reasons — abuse, addictions and infidelity top the list. Hard to want to go back to that. Others split up for vaguer reasons — they stopped being “happy,” there were power struggles, they “grew apart.”

While that may tear away at a relationship, if you still genuinely like the person — if there’s a there there — shouldn’t you at least try to get back together? Or are you just asking for trouble?

Mia, Sara and I really did change after our divorces. We went through our journeys of self-discovery and self-awareness and now understand the patterns and bad behaviors we brought to the marital table. What if your ex does that too? Could it work again, or would you start to bring out the worst in each other?

There’s no way to know unless you try, and few of us do.

The funny thing is, we’re kind of drawn to the same kind of people anyway. The bad boy, the high-achiever, the comedian, the jock — same personality types, just with different names. That’s what keeps all those relationship “experts” in business — we tend to keep falling for the same types over and over again.

So even if we don’t get back together with an ex, we may end up with someone just like him or her! Unless, of course, you really did work on yourself and changed.

All that said, I couldn’t see myself reuniting with Rob — we get along fine and co-parent well, but so much damage was done that once I made the decision to leave (and it took a looong time) I knew it was the right thing to do and I’ve never looked back.

What about you?

  • Would you get back with an ex? Why/why not?
  • Have you ever gotten back with an ex? How did it work out?

Photo © Sophie –

Bring on the comments

  1. brian says:

    why did they break up?
    how long were they together?
    she wanted a committment and he didn’t now he’s come around?
    drug or alcohol use/abuse?

  2. QTMama says:

    Hmmm … depends on the ex! *laugh*

    Most of them no, but only ONE of them, yes. Yes I would. He’s just … that guy.

  3. terri says:

    Although I never wanted to get divorced, I think my heart changed the minute I removed the last piece of my stuff from our house.

    Now that he would like a second chance, I can’t change it back.

  4. Every time I interact with my Ex (not much, granted) I am reminded that I made a good decision 😉 I guess it depends on the situation, but like you said the damage has been done. Could both people really get over what had occurred?

  5. jim
    Twitter: mobilene

    My rule of thumb is once broken up, always broken up. I took one ex back. We then married and had kids and then it all fell apart for essentially the same reasons it all fell apart the first time.

  6. Steve says:

    “People don’t change,” Sara said. “Especially at midlife.”

    “That’s not true; look at how we’ve changed since our divorces,” I observed as Mia nodded approvingly.

    Best two sentences of the post.

  7. Kat Wilder says:

    Would you take your #ex back like Marie #Osmond did?

  8. Edgar says:

    An intriguing question, but since none of my ex’s are in my life now and I have no idea what they are like these days, it’s hard to answer. I have changed significantly, partly as a result of each of those relationships, and I would have no interest in being involved with any of them if they are the same now as they were then. I do have some snippets of information about the two most recent ex’s and they don’t sound like they have changed much, so – no thanks. The other ones were so long ago that I probably wouldn’t even recognize them now.

    Of course, none of them has contacted me to inquire if I am interested, so I have not had the opportunity to contemplate the option.

  9. Kat Wilder says:

    brian — good questions, all. The commitment one is interesting; if someone changes his/her mind about commitment — as in now wanting to — is that a good enough reason to try again?

    QTMama — it’s hard giving up “that guy.” Would you be so bold as to try to reconnect, or will he be “that guy” forever?

    Terri — have you explored why he’s had a change of heart, and why you’re not interested? Has he grown and you’re acting hurt, or have you both grown … but in different ways? Either way, good luck!

    lifebeginsat30ty — Could both people really get over what had occurred? Depends on what occurred. Abuse? Probably not. “Vague unhappiness?” Maybe …

    jin — had you both “done the work” first? Also, does that one bad experience mean that all potential future reunions won’t work? Probably not, but it is scary!

    Steve — I think every sentence is brilliant! 😉

    Edgar — I have changed significantly, partly as a result of each of those relationships — hopefully in positive ways. That’s what relationships should do — enable us to grow and be better people. Of course, that doesn’t always happen (just look at the Schwarzenegger-Shriver”love child” mess!)

  10. QTMama says:

    Oh Kat, if you only knew how many times we’ve “reconnected”. *Laugh*

    Something, usually fear or old habits seem to get in the way. Mine, his, no matter.

    Starting fresh, completely fresh and not looking at the past is a difficult thing to do.

  11. Edgar says:

    It does kind of make you wonder what Maria got out of her relationship with Hollywood’s Mr. Macho. I guess when you’re in the world of broadcasting, celebrity can be important. And the Gropinator did have some good tendencies – he made his name by being in the lead in the battle against global warming (even though he flew around in a private jet and a hulking Hummer). But, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, those in power who have penises often think their appendages are above the law.

  12. KC says:

    Hi Kat,
    Haven’t been here for a while but thought I would put in my two cents.
    When I was with my “ex” I did everything I could to make our relationship work but when it finally hit the mark of no return, that was it. NO, I wouldn’t ever take back a lover. Done, Over, GONE….. I’ve found that too much damage has been done and to go back would only bring those things back up again… Besides, there’s WAY to many fish in the sea!

    Love reading your blog

  13. Chopper Papa
    Twitter: chopperpapa

    If by ‘ex’ you mean ex wife that’s an emphatic NO! After my divorce, I was with a relationship for 18 months and we split for legitimate reasons, 6 months later we tried to get back together (at my urging). It didn’t work out almost immediatley.

    I think we are only in some relationships to learn from them and move on to something better.

    Never again will I attempt to reunite with an ex, no occasion no exception.

    One of the very first posts I ever wrote was about ‘hooking up with the ex’…

    Check it out if your interested, it’s find of funny and sad.

  14. bleu says:

    For me, I would say no. I left my ex because he was an addict and an addict doesn’t make a good husband.

    I’ve grown as a person and understand and see why I married him. I’m no longer that person, so it will never work.

    We will continue to co parent and keep our son the main interest.