Regardless of how many times you’ve promised yourself to stop checking on your ex, you can’t help it — your finger is scrolling on your phone as quickly as your heart is sinking to your stomach. If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, you aren’t alone — breakups are hard, and there’s no clear reason for why you can’t truly get over yours.
The good news is that life moves on and feelings fade — but what happens if they don’t seem to? While reflecting on the past can help bring clarity to why the relationship ended, it might also cause the realization that you want another chance to start the relationship over. To help you decide how to handle your lingering feelings, here are four things to consider before getting back with an ex.
1. The issues that caused the break up
While the explanations for breakups vary, the reality is that people don’t change — unless they want to. Although the recurring problem of your ex forgetting to call when he or she promised to is something that can be fixed, the reality that he or she wants three kids while you want none is not as easily overlooked. Why? Because the behaviors and beliefs of your ex are traits that represent him or her — and it’s unfair to expect people to sacrifice who they are to fill the mold of who you want them to be. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide if the reasons for the breakup were details or deal breakers.
2. What the reunion means for the future
Sure, there’s magic in living in the moment — but the key to making it last is to acknowledge the potential impact it’ll have in the future. As tempting as reaching out to your ex may seem, remember to look at the bigger picture if the reunion were to occur. Will you have to commit to long-distance? Are you expected to change religion? Do you have to give up certain habits?
Before you commit to your decision, also remember to consider the reasons for why you want the reunion. In general, being lonely doesn’t mean being in love, and you owe it to yourself to know the difference between the two. The feelings you have are important — but the factors that play a part are just as crucial in deciding if the relationship will be sustainable.
3. The reactions of your loved ones… even if you think it shouldn’t matter
If the idea of telling your family about a reunion with your ex makes you not want to pick up your mom’s weekly phone call ever again (sorry), take a step back and contemplate why. Maybe your ex betrayed your trust in a way that wasn’t forgivable to those closest to you, or maybe they simply believe the two of you aren’t compatible.
Nevertheless, their lack of support stems from their abundance of love (for you). As common as this situation is confusing, be open to listening to the concerns of your loved ones. However, keep in mind that this is your life — and while you may care about the opinions of others, your choices should reflect the reasons you consider most important to you.
4. How willing you are to forgive
At this point, you’ve probably had many realizations about your past relationship — but the most essential one is whether or not you can forgive what happened during it. Not only is carrying old baggage to a new stage of a relationship toxic, but it’ll probably also result in the form of you consistently reminding your ex how he or she forgot about your birthday dinner in 2014. Be honest with yourself — although it’s hurtful to let someone go, it’s even more heartbreaking when you don’t and hold on to bitterness instead.