Why you don’t get back with an ex

The months of December, January, and February are a magical time of year. Not because we’re basking in over indulgences of the gift giving or turkey and dressing kind, or that we feel a sense of renewal and revitalization with a new year and those resolutions, nor is it this is when annual bonuses usually get paid.  No, these three months are enchanting for one interesting reason.

The chances of getting back with an old flame are as high as they might possibly be all year long.

It’s well documented that depression hits an all time high, especially among singles, during and immediately after the holidays. When you stop to think about it for a moment it’s understandable. Who really wants to be alone on Christmas, New Year’s, and above all, Valentine’s Day? For the single man or women being alone then is reason enough to crawl in a bottle of Lexapro, or Jim Beam depending on your insurance.


It’s a common drill. In preparation for the ensuing spring and summer months with beach trips, weekends on the lake, and parties out the wazoo, couples hibernating together all winter long suddenly come out of their relationship caves and one of them usually decides it’s time for a change, because  what jerk breaks up over the holidays? No sooner has the weather reached margaritas-on-the-deck temperatures than an announcement is made, traditionally through an obscure Facebook feed, like “things happen for a reason,” or “you have to life your own life way”, telling everyone the relationship is over.

But should that return on investment in the spray tans, extra days at the gym, or the latest Dr. Laura Schlessinger book not turn out like you hoped and those dog days of summer give way to colors of brown and orange, football tailgating, and brisk fall mornings something within our DNA begins sending red alerts. Like the Wildebeest who must quickly walk or be devoured by the lion, our priority suddenly becomes obtaining a new love or taking the easier route and getting an old one back.

We all know how it goes, a random email or text gets sent worded in such a way that it doesn’t appear they’re fishing for anything. It’s usually a friendly ‘hello’ that’s just generic enough not to sound desperate but sincere enough to appear legitimate.

“Hey, was just thinking about you, hope you’re doing well”

One time I received an email from an ex who broke up with me a year earlier asking if I knew how to reprogram a garage door opener. Miraculously all of the reasons why that relationship ended in the first place such as a lack of attention, jealousy, or that obnoxious thing you do after one too many beers isn’t as bad as it used to be.

It’s so obvious what’s going on, but as you sit there looking at the email and your empty social calendar wondering if should respond or ignore it, you then realize it’s October and with limited prospects you decide why not. The door has now been opened enough to lead to meeting up for coffee or drinks just to ‘catch up’ and before you know it there’s a new yet still obscure Facebook reference like “great catching up with an old friend”, “set it free and if it comes back to you…”, or any of a hundred horrid quotes by Marilyn Monroe. Most of us have been there.


I know what you’re thinking and yes there are those rare – extremely rare – cases where the couple does get back together and it works out fine with the house, dog, and 1.5 kids. But really, how often does that happen? After they’ve gotten back together for a few months it usually dawns on one of them this was a mistake and they break up, again – often louder and nastier than the first time.

So here’s is my point to all of this, even if those reasons which initially led to the relationship going south have been fixed, and we know that is very unrealistic, the memories of the breakup (which rarely happens smoothly) aren’t forgotten. Things are said and done that you just can’t put back in the bottle. Feelings get decimated, egos are ransacked, and self-confidence is shattered. Not to mention him going out with your best friend and her sleeping with your brother. Is it even conceivable to think one simply forgets all the nasty business like it never happened?

Then there’s this.


Do you find it strange that in virtually every case the person who was the breaker upper is the one who comes crawling back? The one so bold and confident thinking they could do better suddenly realizes the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else and now wants a second chance. Don’t they know what will happen to the fung shui in the relationship? All the sudden the one that was dumped now has the hand in the relationship. In essence you’ve sold your soul and I can point to so many examples of this especially where the guy was the instigator of the original breakup asked to come back and the entire dynamics of the relationship are different, he is now quite literally  – her bitch.

Not to mention the friends who are thoroughly confused and who sense the thick awkwardness hanging in the air when the couple is around. “If she only knew what he used to say about her!” Everybody knows what was said and done in the breakup. We were there as you called him everything under the sun and slept with four other guys and now we’re expected to act like none of it ever happened?

And if it’s tough on the friends what if there are kids in the equation? Imagine how confused your little ones are to know that daddy’s girlfriend, who has been gone for six months, suddenly walks down stairs for breakfast Saturday morning.


I read something once that brilliantly summarizes this idea of getting back with an ex, I don’t know where it came from so you can give me credit for it.

“Getting back with an ex is like putting sour milk back in the refrigerator and hoping it will be better tomorrow”.

I don’t care, that’s funny.

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8 responses to Why you don’t get back with an ex

  1. God no. I’ve always said exes are exes for a reason. What I didn’t like about you; what you didn’t like about me; is still the same. I don’t mind the occasional hey was thinking of you text (get those often), just don’t get it twisted and start thinking we’re getting back together. Hadn’t realized December, January and February were get together times because of depression and stuff. I thought it was because I need someone with a truck to drive me through this snow. jk–I don’t do that.

  2. Hahaha I love, love, love Christina’s comment! Yeah, occasional courtasious hello is fine but getting back together? Hell to the no! Love that sour milk quote!

  3. I’ve never ever gotten back together with an ex. This is probably because I’m the worst breaker upper in the world. I can’t do it all at once so it becomes a long drawn out affair that is painful for everybody involved. When Seinfield talked about how breakups are like pushing over a soda machine he was talking about me.

    While I’m not proud of this personal failing of mine at least the bridge burning removes all possibility of retreating back across the river!

    ps. Am happily married now and will hopefully stay that way since I can’t go tweet up with any justifiably embittered exes 😉

  4. Edward

    Me and my ex got back together and happily live together now. Same counts for friends of us. Sometimes you break up because you are unsure about living together or just because you are afraid of losing freedom and opportunities. Making choices that change your life is always hard.

    My love and I made a huge leap of faith and it has been the best choice of my life. And hey, if it doesn’t work out in the long run, we can always break up again. It’s bitter, for sure, but it’s not necessarilly bad to follow your heart and take the risk.

  5. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Edward, you have more gumption than i do. I tried it with just dating someone and that didn’t go well. Screw me once, shame on you, screw me twice…shame on me.

  6. Edward

    I completely understand your point of view. It’s a matter of pride, not just ego. Maybe my lack of self-respect played an important part in me and my ex being together again. It worked out very well for us, but I could’ve been screwed over twice because of it. I think we are both right somehow – you just played safe and I, well, I guess I was lucky…

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