The Real Reason Reuniting With Your Ex Is a Huge Mistake

Love & Learn 14

ross rachel on friends nbcRoss and Rachel, Finn and Rachel, Luke and Lorelai, Joey and Pacey, Noah and Allie ... All classic Hollywood stories of lovers who broke up but somehow (likely by or during a series finale) found their way back to one another. It's the glue that holds our most classic romantic movies and TV shows together. But these fave on-screen couples aren't just fictional characters ... Their happily-ever-after love stories are false, too! At least according to preliminary new research that says "second chance romances" -- aka getting back with an ex -- rarely work!

Study author Amber Vennum from Kansas State University looked at couples who had broken up and gotten back together again (called "cyclical" couples) and couples who had never broken up, and the results really shouldn't be all that shocking. But considering the fantasies about reuniting with an ex that we've been spoon-fed since we were read our first fairy tale, it seems like we could use a wake-up call.

Here are the facts: Cyclical couples were generally more impulsive than noncyclical couples about major relationship decisions, like moving in together, buying a pet, or having a child. As a result, the "off again-on again" pairs tended to be less satisfied with their partner, had worse communication, had lower self-esteem, made more decisions that harmed their relationship, and were less certain about their future together. Ugh, sounds positively nightmarish.

Furthermore, cyclical couples were more likely to experience a decline in satisfaction with marriage over time and were more likely to have a trial separation within the first three years of marriage. Vennum says that's because if you were breaking up and getting back together again while dating, that same kind of "cyclical" behavior perpetuates into marriage. And it creates a lack of trust, uncertainty about the future of the relationship, etc. Sad, but makes a lot of sense!

Still, some couples can't resist the thrill of trying to make it work for a second, third, fourth time. Maybe this time, maybe he/she's changed, maybe this, maybe that ... but I really feel like once you break up, no matter what, irreparable damage has been inflicted on the relationship. It's broken -- permanently. Vennum has a plain as day recommendation for busted-up couples: Don't get back together.

The thing is ... what's in our hearts isn't as black and white as this research, and sometimes we'd much rather go with how we feel over what's logical. In that case, the researcher advises making sure "the decision is carefully considered by both people and that specific efforts are made to establish clarity." And also know: You've been warned.

Have you ever gotten back together with an ex? Do you agree it leads to sadness?


Image via NBC


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Kwiat2 Kwiat2

I have never gone back to an ex, and I couldn't imagine it. Sometimes I think back longingly about past relationships, and then I think about the reasons why we broke up, the parts I didn't like about him, and the probability that nothing about that has changed. So I could never imagine going back to an ex and most of my friends who do eventually break up for good anyway.

nonmember avatar justme

I am married to my ex =) we dated for a year, broke up for two years , got back together and got married 9 mths later, had our first child a year after we got married and had our second two years later. Fast forward 13 years this week and you have us still very happily married. I know we are the exception but it can and does happen =)

orang... orangetree

I'm renewing a relationship with an ex. We are not picking up where we left off but starting over

nonmember avatar Kelli

My now-husband and I broke up for a year, dated other people, then got back together. That was 20 years ago. We'll celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary this summer, along with the birth of our third child.

rayeo... rayeofmoonlight

My grandparents divorced when my mom and her sisters growing up, then remarried each other a few years later. They're still happily married now. I'd say it's usually not a good idea, but sometimes it works out.

angie... angiea2105

I'm with the ones who married an ex. We were In high school, first loves. Broke up then got back together after graduation. Married, had kids, bought house and been happy since, never had problems actually. That was 7 years ago.

Alma45 Alma45

I got back w/an ex...over...and over...and over again. I finally had to realize that this was going nowhere fast and I could do bad all by myself!!!

nonmember avatar Teresa

I am married to my ex from high school. We dated for almost 2 years, broke up, married other people (16 years) had children, got divorced and reconnected. We have been married for 9 years now.

jessi... jessicasmom1

I never go back ... always think of the reasons you split in the first place

Onixx Onixx

It isn't always a mistake- my husband and I actually broke up something like three times before we got married and now we're expecting our first baby! I think that one of our mistakes was bad timing- he has a son with an ex and we started dating before he had "officially" broken up with her and settled custody issues so she threatened him saying if he didn't dump me she wouldn't let him see their son. Hey, what's done is done and we've been married for a little over a year now!

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