When your ex wants you back… Before I even begin, I want to stress that this post does not just apply to romantic relationships. This can apply to your friendships, familial relationships, and professional relationships as well. It applies to any and everyone who was on the receiving end of toxicity, betrayal, disrespect, selfishness, etc., and is now faced with the other person wanting to get back into a relationship with you as a supposed changed, non-toxic, and remorseful person.
This is something that I’ve dealt with many times; something that I’ve failed miserably at handling in a healthy/dignified manner, and something that on so many levels, I am dealing with in my life right now. It feels impossible to navigate because it is an all-out war between your gut, your head, and your heart.
There’s so much material out there on “how to know if your ex wants you back,” “signs that your ex wants you back,” “does he/she want you back? – take the quiz,” etc. I’m not going into any of that.
If it gets to the point where you have to take a quiz or become Inspector Gadget to figure out whether or not someone wants you in their life…
It’s not cute, it’s not flattering, and it’s definitely not worth your time. It’s a red flag.
But what do you do when your ex wants you back for real (and makes it very clear)?
How are you supposed to proceed with the one person, who’s now assuring you, that they won’t break your heart in the same way they ALREADY have?
You’re suddenly hearing everything that you wanted to hear and seeing everything that you wish you could have seen before the tornado hit. Or maybe, you’re just getting more crumbs. But because there are so much more than the few you got in the past… it stops you in your tracks.
Because these crumbs are substantial enough for YOU to construct a loaf out of. So… Is it still a loaf if you’re the one constructing it?
Whatever the case may be, the other party has either done or said enough for you to at the very least, stop and think about what to do and how to proceed. And because we are energetic beings, this usually happens right at the moment when you’ve made the decision to surrender to what is, accept, let go, and do your best to move on with the picked up pieces of your broken heart in tow.
Here’s what to do when your ex wants you back and also, what you need to know so you can make the best decision for YOU…
When the offending party returns with their emotional hat in hand, it’s really easy to get swept up in the mere fact that they’re back and because of that, feel like we don’t need to remain kindly inquisitive and keep ourselves at an emotional arms length. So… We prematurely open our hearts, ears, and legs to ASSUMPTIONS. These assumptions cater to our desire to be chased, needed (as opposed to being wanted), and fought for.
When your ex wants you back, make sure that you’ve taken time for yourself to process and digest the pain before engaging in communication – on any level. The moment that someone hurts you, even though it may have been completely unintentional, they forfeit the right to critique how you choose to process your pain (as long as you’re not being petty, abusive, and seeking a reaction/revenge).
If they have that much of a problem with you backing off and needing time to heal, maybe they should have been more mindful when they did what they did to cause you pain and sever the relationship (in some cases, more than once).
Whatever you decide to do, here’s what to keep in mind when your ex wants you back:
- The reason. Chances are, you won’t need to dig very deep or refresh your memory much to pinpoint the reason why you broke up. First, you need to ask yourself, “Has the reason that we broke up changed?” – not changed a little, not selectively changed, not changed because there’s the potential of getting laid, not changed here and there, but CHANGED. Yes, this can take time to figure out, but if they haven’t changed (which takes something called time, commitment, and a desire to change independent of selfish needs + the ability to view themselves and their actions in a not so positive light), you’ll still be able to see the little pink/red flag remnants of selfish behavior once they feel like they’ve secured a friendship (at a very minimum) with you. Remember, you broke up for a reason. Make sure that reason, and any “symptoms” of it, are no longer intact. You need to identify what it is that you’re going back to and determine whether substance outweighs their empty promises (because until they’re backed up with actions, that’s all they are – empty).
- Who are you dealing with? Bottom line: If this is someone who is emotionally unavailable, empathetically bankrupt, narcissistic, sociopathic or has gaslighted and lied to you in any way, at any time… that’s a hard NO. There is no point in tying your worth to the hope that your ex has undergone a personality transplant in a matter of a hot minute. If you don’t speak with your actions and remain on your white horse, you’ll end up reclaiming your role as the resident doormat. You’ll be their on-call therapist/cheerleader/emotional training wheels and down the line, they’ll end up resenting you/being jealous of you for the very reason that they fell for you. At the end of the day, no one wants to be in a relationship with Mommy. They want to be in a relationship with the girl who is anything but needy. The girl who has limits, standards, values her time, and knows her worth.
- What are you doing? Get real with yourself and stop fronting. It’s the ultimate freedom. The truth really does set you free and your gut always knows what up – no matter how much your triggers and insecurities distract you. Are you ignoring pink and red flags? Are you kindly communicating with your actions and upholding your boundaries? Or, are you betting on three of the most f*cked up things to ever bet on: words, what-ifs, and potential? Are you having an emotional jerk off session with yourself? Once again, shining YOUR light on your ex and then marveling at their illumination? Are you talking too much? Seriously. Are you hashing and rehashing the daylights out of things or are you being the quiet and classy observer who realizes that she’ll never be able to control others (nor does she care to), and understands that the only thing she can control is her reactivity? You can choose to either stir the sh*t in the toilet or flush. You can’t control the fact that it’s in the bowl.
- What’s driving you? For me, it was always fear. Fear was triggered by my un-dealt with abandonment issues, which made me starving for any little crumb of security. Because past relationships had depleted my self-esteem to the point of no return, I wasted so.much.time on exes (and people in general), that weren’t worthy of it. As humans, we will sacrifice our own health, happiness, sanity, and self-worth just to feel one drop of the security that predictability provides. Even if it’s the predictability of our own misery, embarrassment, and “not enough-ness.” EVEN IF it’s the predictability of a toxic ex.
- GETTING BACK TOGETHER when your ex wants you back… When your ex wants you back… If you’re going to get back together, it needs to be a positive (not a painful or anxiety-inducing), decision that enables both of you to continue evolving (not just the other party while you, yet again, get reduced to their emotional grade school teacher). When I’ve gotten back together with exes, it’s often because I chose to turn my back on the pain of reality and the truth. I avoided acceptance so I could be justified in my pink and red flag blindness. I failed to acknowledge that these issues still existed with my ex, and so “getting back together,” became nothing more than a very lame and watered down attempt at recreating a long lost honeymoon period that didn’t last. When you’re ex wants you back, you first need to see what specifically there is to go back to. I used to think that the level of heartbreak I felt was an indicator of the irreplaceability of the other person and the quality of what we had. It’s not. Their patterns are; their character is. YES – there are couples who get back together and are better than ever. But before this can happen, you need to refrain from acting on impulse and make sure you have a relational foundation that’s conducive to health and happiness on BOTH ends. If one person emotionally and empathetically eclipses the other, it’s not going to work.
When your ex wants you back – The reason why they want to get back together may very well, be rooted in selfishness. Remember, your heart will always want to see “genuine,” but your gut will always know bullsh*t. Trust your gut.
When your ex wants you back – It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not okay with their past behavior. It can mean that they reached a level of discomfort that initiated contacting you because they are just as validation dependent as you once *were.* Don’t get into the habit of finishing people’s emotional sentences. That’s their job.
If your ex broke your heart on more than one occasion, this doesn’t mean you need to vilify him/her and think he/she a bad person. They’re just not your person.
When you struggle with self-esteem and are in a toxic relationship, inconsistency (and the intensity it breeds) will always be mistaken for passion, connection, chemistry, and true love.
And lastly, remember this…
Just because you love someone with all your heart, that does not automatically mean that they’ll have the capacity to appreciate, acknowledge, and reciprocate the love that they so willingly consume (and enjoy the benefits of), in the way that you deserve.
You deserve so much more than going back on a crumb diet.
Written by: Natasha Adamo