Don't. Call. Me. Ever. Again. Who among us hasn't uttered these five words to a boyfriend in the heat of a breakup? But you may find yourself missing the guy and wondering if things could have been different. Your ex is familiar territory, but is it a country that you should consider revisiting?
Should You Get Back Together?
"Start with an honest review of why the relationship ended," suggests Lou Paget, AASECT Certified Sex Educator and best-selling author of The Great Lover Playbook. "Behavior speaks louder than words."
There are some circumstances under which you should never try and reunite with an ex. If he was abusive toward you, either physically or verbally, it's a no-brainer: don't get back together.
If there was cheating involved, ask yourself if you can truly trust him again. If you can put the incident in the past—fine. But if you'll be checking his e-mail and searching his coat pockets for credit card receipts, that's a big red flag that you shouldn't rekindle things. Read: 12 Relationship Red Flags
Sometimes a relationship ends due to circumstances. Maybe one of you had to take a job in a different city or the timing just wasn't right. "Ask yourself if there are more benefits to trying than not trying," says Paget. "But don't let regret be the sole driving force."
Angela, 22, had been dating her boyfriend Chris for two years when things started to go downhill. She decided to break things off. But then a few months later, she had a change of heart. "I realized he had a great personality, was good-looking, ambitious—unlike many men I had met during our time apart. It's hard to find a good guy in New York, or anywhere for that matter, so I decided to get back with him." While getting back together with an ex just because you realize that the other fish in the sea are all scrod isn't a great idea, recognizing that you had unrealistic expectations of your partner can make for a successful reunion.
For some women, getting back together with an ex is like slipping on a pair of sweat pants—it's easy and feels natural. But that doesn't mean getting back together is the right thing to do.
With months or years of distance since you broke up, it's easy to see the relationship through rose-colored glasses. Make sure that you remind yourself not just about the good things, but also of the reasons things turned rocky.
"Take responsibility for your role in the break up. Think about how you have evolved and [if you're considering renewing the relationship] how you can now be a better partner," suggests Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD and author of Sex with Your Ex & 69 Other Things You Should Never Do Again.
Six Steps To Winning Him Back
Once you've decided that your reasons for getting back together are sound, here's how to proceed.
1. Run it by the girls.
"Ask your closest friends if they think it's a good idea," says Paget. "They have only your best interests in mind and will tell you if this partner treated you the way you should be treated."
2. Listen to your instincts.
Paget says to "Pay attention to your little voice warnings and your reactions—they don't lie." Getting back together with your ex might feel like an easy solution in the moment, but if your heart and head are not in it, you're just prolonging disaster.