Love lost? When to give an ex-romance another shot

Still carrying a torch for your ex-lover? Here’s how to tell if you should reignite the flames.

You made the split — or maybe you were at the receiving end — went through the heartache and thought you were done. Life goes on, right?

Then you suddenly bump into your ex-lover who was once the answer to all of your “happy ever after” prayers, you start talking and there’s that … attraction. Uh oh!

If they’re determined to do anything to get you back, what should you do?

Say yes, or run for the hills?

Why getting back with your ex seems attractive

“That familiarity, comfort and returning to the known, rather than risking the unknown, can be an easy and attractive option,” conscious connection expert Karina Chapman says.

“After all, maybe your ex-lover went off and spent some time working on themselves.

“What if they had a personal growth epiphany and realised that you were the best thing they ever had in their life?”

Dating coach Renee Slansky says it’s about our brain craving what it already knows, “which influences the attachments in our heart”.

“When we break up with someone, the heartache makes us romanticise what we had with them, seeing them as a shiny object again and forgetting the reasons why we split with them in the first place,” Renee says.

And peeps, we have all been there!

Can you or your ex really change?

While there’s a chance an ex-lover has changed, change is hard to maintain, Karina warns, and even with best intentions, old behaviours sneak back in and the past starts repeating itself.

“A leopard can change their spots — but it takes time, practice and determination to effectively maintain new thought patterns and behaviours,” she says.

Renee agrees and says, unfortunately, feelings alone aren’t a strong enough foundation for a relationship to work out again, adding couples who’ve managed to heal and grow as individuals and then find each other again have the best chance of success.

“Which is because they’ve taken the space and time to work on the issues that caused the relationship to crumble,” she says.

Reuniting with an ex can work

To avoid going back for a possible second round of heartache, Karina suggests making a list with two columns.

“Label them ‘For’ and ‘Against’, and then get together with a best friend or two, and enlist their help to fill in the columns,” she says.

“Sometimes it’s better to recognise that every past relationship is a learning experience. “When we spend time gaining clarity on the lessons learnt from each relationship, we are less likely to have history repeated.”

And, adds Renee, if you are considering getting back together with an ex-lover don’t be tempted to base it off someone else’s success story.

“As someone who split with my now-husband for a month when we were engaged and then managed to work things out and get married, I can testify that it can work out!

“I’ve also worked with and known other couples who’ve managed to have a new and successful beginning with an ex-lover,” Renee says.

“But every relationship is different, and if a relationship ends it is always for a reason.”

Written by Liz McGrath.