“Do you find that you’re spending a lot of time with you ex?”
“Have you started to have thoughts of getting back together?”
“Are you having sex with your ex again?”

“Do have new strong feelings of attraction for them?”
“Is it hard to remember why you broke up in the first place?”
“Do you find yourself mixing more with their friends and family?”

When you’ve experienced a break-up and had some time on your own, it’s often quite common to look back at what happened with your ex and consider if you could make it work a second time around. After all, you’ll have invested plenty of time into them, you’ll both know each other intimately, and you’ll have lots of common social networks. There’s a familiarity with them that’s comforting, you’ll have shared lots of special times together and the sex may’ve been the best you ever had!

At this time it’s very easy to simply jump back in to an old relationship and kick start it again. After all, it fits like a glove, and there’s no awkwardness. However, before you rekindle something with an old flame, you also need to remind yourself that something broke you up in the first place. If you don’t deal with this before re-committing, it’s only going to break you up again. Instead, you need to dissect what went wrong and create new ground rules in the relationship so it’s fresh and different. Only then is it wise to jump back in with an ex.

5 steps to getting back with your ex:

1) Identify what went wrong

If you’re going to re-unite with an ex, you must first identify exactly what went wrong in the first place so you don’t repeat the same patterns. It might be that your partner worked too much, was a heavy drinker, did drugs, or criticized you all the time. On the other hand, you may’ve avoided commitment, travelled too often, put your friends first or didn’t prioritise affection. Ask each other – “What did we do that contributed to us breaking down as a couple?” and “What didn’t we like about each others behaviours?”

2) Create new shared relationship expectations and goals

Once you know what went wrong, you need to turn you attention to how you’re going to run it from now on. You need to get specific on what behaviours have to change this time around for this relationship to be different. As well, you need to get clear about your values and goals as a couple in specific areas. For instance, having children, schooling, handling money, travel, living arrangements, religion, parenting styles, health and fitness, friends, dealing with family members, career and child care. You must be on the same page about all of this before you jump back in.

3) Spend time together and do things differently

Now it’s time to put your new blueprint into action. Keep in mind – if you do things the same then you’re going to get the same outcome. So make a point of trying out new activities and having new shared experiences. Go out to different restaurants, travel to new places, spend time with different friends, experiment sexually, wear different clothes, and communicate in a new way to each other. Say ‘yes’ to each others’ suggestions, be spontaneous and be prepared to get outside your comfort zone. As long as you’re doing things differently and breaking old habits together, then your relationship will stay fresh and keep growing.

4) Talk through issues and problem solve as a team

One of the reasons you broke up in the first place will be that you weren’t able to deal with issues affectively as a team. This time around, you need to make a commitment to bringing up issues when they arise, and then looking to solve them together rather than getting caught in the blame game and getting bogged down in the details. So instead of asking “Why or how did you do that? you turn your attention to “how can we do this differently the next time around?” or “what’s a better way of us handling this in the future?”

5) Take things slowly and don’t make rash decisions

You need to give yourself time to get to know each other again in this new relationship. It’s different now, and you’re both still finding your feet. Therefore take it slowly and don’t make any big time decisions. Give yourselves at least 12 months before launching into getting engaged, marriage, babies, buying houses together, taking on large debt etc. Instead, it’s time for having fun and re-establishing your relationship. Enjoy the ride and keep making sure that what you’ve got now is very different from what you had before.

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