How to Keep From Going Back to a Previous Relationship for the Wrong Reasons

icon of person thinkingWell, you say to yourself, you were young when you met. Or, one of you was going through hard times. And now you are both more mature, and no one else either of you has dated even comes close to being a good match.

Oh, there are lots of reasons! For one, statistics are really against you. Okay—I know that reliable statistical information is actually a risk assessment based on a large, representative sample, and that the findings may not apply to every individual. So, why not rekindle your previous relationship or marriage? Maybe you shouldn’t have broken up or gotten divorced.

But, still, the numbers show that the chances of breaking up or divorcing your second chance at love with the same person are higher than the percentage of second divorce with a different person.


But what if, despite all this information, you still want to try again?

After all, not every person who gets back into a previous relationship or remarries an ex-spouse ends up brokenhearted and broken up again.

In my three decades of counseling over 12,000 clients, I’ve seen the results of both good and bad reasons to get back with an ex—and both good and bad results. Here is a quick guide to help you sort out if your thoughts and feelings of getting back together are wise or not.

Guide to Getting Back Together—Or Not!

1. I haven’t met anyone else I like as much since my break up or divorce.

If this sentence describes you, perhaps you haven’t been dating enough people. Finding love—like finding a job—is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the greater your chances at finding a good love match.

Solution: Increase the number of people you meet. Yes, use dating sites, but you also need to tell friends you would like to meet someone. Increase your social contact with others in the real world. Go to events at your place of worship. Volunteer to help out a charitable organization. Take a class, go to lectures. In other words, make your social world bigger.

2. I am not pretty or buff or thin or just not special enough to attract someone.

Oh, don’t make excuses to protect you from getting hurt again. Go to your local mall and sit in one of those chairs and watch the couples that go by. See any “odd” pairings? The world is full of them! As Daisy, the woman who raised me always said, “There is a lid for every pot.”

Solution: Stop trying to fool yourself by believing in things that come from your fears. It’s okay to be scared, but don’t allow your fears to limit your life.

3. There aren’t any good people to date where I live.

No? Not even one? I mentioned in a previous article, a story about a friend who was unhappy that her first really great job was going to be in a rural town. She thought the experience would put her on the road to becoming an old maid.

I told her that if the town was large enough to hire someone in her marketing profession then there must be enough businesses that require her expertise. And sure enough, she met an attorney, and they have been happily married for a very long time!

Solution: Get in the groove of the small town ways. Go to the coffee shops, attend town meetings, volunteer for a charity. Small towns offer easy ways to be social and to learn from others quickly who is the town fool, the crazy one, and the good one who hasn’t found the right person yet. Introduce yourself to everyone. Sit down with them, take time in the grocery store to talk with them, and be sure to mention that you would like to get fixed up and start dating again.

4. I am going through a life crisis, and getting back with my ex is appealing because he or she is the only person who really understands me.

Don’t fall for that thinking! Remember, there was a reason you weren’t together.Life crises such as getting older, losing your job or home or a loved one, or becoming ill yourself can compel you to either hide out or reach out. And, you think, who else is better at understanding my situation?

Solution: Join a support group for your issue. If you don’t know what is available in our community, you can contact many different resources such as your religious leader, the YMCA, the hospital and the Chamber of Commerce. Also, read your local newspaper’s local section to learn about activities and services.

5. We were young and immature when we first got together, and we are different now since our divorce or break up.

Are you sure? Yes, immaturity brings out the worst in us. But we all have our own version of worst self. Usually, though, a person’s worst is an exaggeration and intensification of dormant personality and behavior characteristics.

Solution: Make a list of all the reasons you broke up or divorced. Think in terms of key relationship qualities. Here is a quick checklist of issues to consider and the chance that these issues are no longer issues. I wish I could give you a clear and strong message of “go back” or “don’t go back.”

Every relationship is different, every circumstance is different. But use this list as a cautionary guide:

  • Verbal, physical or sexual abuse or disrespect—high chance of reoccurring
  • Controlling or critical behavior—high chance of reoccurring
  • Substance abuse—high chance of reoccurring
  • Cheating and lying—high chance of reoccurring
  • Poor financial management—high chance of reoccurring
  • Poor relationship with his or her family—high chance of reoccurring
  • Lack of common values and goals—high chance of reoccurring
  • Too passive—high chance of reoccurring
  • Not established in his or her career—you’ve got some wiggle-room here!
  • Sexual problems—hmmm—maybe a 65% chance of reoccurring–it depends if the person sought help for it and is willing to talk about it!
  • Can’t be alone—high chance of reoccurring
  • Poor problem-solution abilities—maybe a 70% chance of reoccurring—but if the person is willing to get professional help and learn, you might have a better chance. Most couples are not good at resolving problems wisely.

I wish you wisdom, bravery and love!


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