I broke up with an old boyfriend four times within two months.
I was a jerk, I’m very aware. Even if you’re not [yet] a jerk, some insight into what the experience taught me may be helpful to you later if you’re considering getting back with an ex-partner.
TLDR: Don’t get back with your ex. But sometimes there’s a happy ending.
The Relationship Is Already Irrevocably Damaged After The First Breakup
After the first breakup, there was a change. He walked on eggshells, worried about being left again.
I was worried he wouldn’t do enough to convince me to stay, and I’d break up with him again. Breakups are painful.
Note I said, “convince me.” I already knew it wasn’t working out, but enjoyed the security of being in a relationship, and wanted to mold it to my ideal, which wasn’t realistic.
You break up with someone for a reason. It happens after discussions and trying to fix things that end up not being fixed.
Breaking up with someone after your qualms aren’t addressed to motivate your ex to fix them will only work in the short term until it happens again.
You Are Being Selfish Taking Someone Back Over And Over Again
After each breakup, I felt so guilty for hurting him. I wanted to stop the hurt both of us were experiencing, so I’d ask him back each time.
It would’ve been less hurtful if I’d let us both heal after the first one, but I didn’t. I was selfish and driven by guilt.
I should’ve realized it’s not helpful to anyone to prolong the inevitable. Better to get the pain over with than to constantly worry about more pain.
There’s a misconception that the person instigating the breakup isn’t hurt by the breakup. Both parties are hurt — the only difference is one party definitely knows it’s coming.
It’s that person’s responsibility to make it as painless as possible and not draw it out.
I realize that now.
You Want Love, But Not With Them
Do you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you have to break up with to get them to do what you want?
It’s a highly unsustainable practice.
There are over 7.8 billion people in the world. Statistically, it’s fair to assume a good hundred of them would be a near-perfect match for you. Don't go for the first person who comes along, unless they're one of those near-perfect matches.
You want love, but don’t want to start over with someone else. Customizing your current partner into what you want is easier, right?
It may be easier, but ultimately it’s like fixing your car with duct tape. It works in the present, but breaks down in the future and fails. Get the equivalent of a sports car for free, no maintenance needed, by looking for someone new.
You’re wasting valuable time trying to re-shape the flaws and sometimes personality, of a person you’re dating when you could be searching for the person whose factory default has all those attractive features.
Do your ex a favor and let them move on. Then move on yourself and find what you actually want instead of staying out of guilt or for security.
Learn to love yourself, and being alone while you search for a better partner won’t bother you as much as being with an ex will.
It Limits Both of You From Finding The Right Partner
Staying with an ex doesn’t let either of you move on with your lives.
It’s clearly not working if there was a breakup in the first place. You are on borrowed time.
Being with an ex limits you [if you’re not a cheater] from dating a cute guy you meet at your local coffee shop. It limits your ex from asking out his coworker.
Staying together isn’t doing either of you favors in the romance department. Most of your energy will be spent trying to avoid another breakup, and never fully trusting the other person again.
You loved your ex at some point. Unless they were an absolutely terrible person, treat them with love. Let them find their “right” person that isn’t you.
Exes Can Be Great Friends [Sometimes]
I love my ex. Not in a romantic way anymore, but he’s my best friend. We broke up freshman year, and we graduated together in May 2020 [on Zoom, no less].
Aside from giving each other a month break immediately after our final, February 2017 breakup, we consistently hung out at least five times a week, every week until graduation.
In that time he had two other relationships, 1.5 years and 9 months. I met my boyfriend in junior year and moved in with him after hitting two years this summer.
We supported each other's relationship endeavors and helped each other make our Tinder and OkCupid accounts. We knew all the best [and worst] qualities about each other and knew what should go in those bios.
Having dated so young and grown together throughout college, we’re insanely comfortable talking about anything and everything. We talk about our bowel movements, dating advice, financials, you name it.
We’re kind of gross, R.
There are zero boundaries left. It’s rare to have a friend you can speak so frankly with, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.
If your ex is a good person and it’s not too painful to keep them around, keep them. You dated them for a reason — that reason doesn’t just fly out the window when you stop kissing.
Breaking up with someone isn’t fun. It’s painful for all parties involved.
Breakups have a cause. Breaking up with someone means you couldn’t fix your issues while being in your relationship with that other person.
If you couldn’t face your issues together that one time, you’re not going to be able to do it next time.
Save yourselves some time. Bite the bullet and you’ll both be better off in the long run.
Breakups are painful. I’m not suggesting you break up when issues arise. Work your issues out — while still in a relationship.
If the issues are too monumental to overcome and you can’t talk them out without breaking up with your partner, don’t get back with your partner — even if you manage to resolve the issues while single.