Why cant i move on from my ex

Why You're Not Getting Over Your Ex, Even If They Were Wrong for You

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  • Walking away from a relationship is always difficult, but some factors make it even harder.
  • Old tensions, abusive and toxic behavior, and long-term unhappiness can all contribute. 
  • Here are 17 reasons it's so hard to let go, even if the relationship was totally wrong for you.
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Walking away from a meaningful relationship is always going to be difficult. When it wasn't your decision, a breakup can be even harder. Sometimes, people are oblivious that their partner is unhappy in their relationship, whereas in other cases, there are tensions bubbling under the surface for a long time before things reach a breaking point.

Breakups are one of the most traumatic things that can happen in our adult lives. But we still embark on new relationships, because the pay-off is worth it despite the risks. When something threatens our connections, primal feelings can fire up, and a breakup can feel so devastating thanks to how we're wired both biologically and psychologically.

Relationship experts spoke with Insider about the reasons it's so hard to let go, even if the relationship was totally wrong for you in the first place.

1. You're lonely and not used to being on our own.


Put simply, one of the main reasons you're not letting go of a past relationship is because you're lonely right now, said Erika Ettin, a relationship coach and founder of A Little Nudge.

"Rather than pining over someone who wasn't right for you, focus on yourself," she said. "Get back into hobbies you used to do, treat yourself to something that makes you happy, and get back in touch with friends who you haven't seen in a while."

It's much better to be single, she said, "than to be with the wrong person."

3. You lost confidence during the relationship.


If you were with someone who was bad for you, your confidence may have taken quite a knock while you were together.

"Sometimes in the wrong relationship, your confidence can be taken down a step, especially if your partner put you down or otherwise didn't appreciate the amazing person you are," said Ettin. "Then, after taking you down, getting their validation was even more special. So you're craving that validation. Now it's time to look inward for that validation."

Jessica Alderson, a relationship expert and cofounder of the dating app So Syncd told Insider deep psychological scars can be left if the relationship was toxic, because abusive behavior eats away at your self-esteem over time.

"This means that when you start the healing process after a toxic relationship, not only are you dealing with loss, but you're also tackling issues with self-confidence and trust," she said.

4. You ran out of energy during the relationship and now you're healing.


Alderson said toxic relationships also often require more energy and time than a healthy one, which can also make it harder to move on. The more effort you put into something, she said, the harder it is to accept that it's not working out.

"It can be painful and distressing to think that all the energy and time you have invested has been for nothing," she said. "Truly moving on from an abusive relationship can make you feel like you've wasted months or years of your life, which is a hard pill to swallow."

5. You feel guilty for not saving your ex.

Jamie Grill / Getty

Alderson said that for empathetic people, it can be particularly hard to let go of relationships when it feels like the other person would benefit from help.

"It can be hard to accept that you can't 'fix' someone and that change has to come from them," she said. "When you look back on a toxic relationship, you can end up viewing your ex as a victim rather than the perpetrator, particularly if they've had a tough upbringing or have suffered from mental-health issues."

In some cases, this can lead people to feel a sense of guilt for not being able to "save" their partner, she said, which can further complicate the healing process.

6. You miss the rollercoaster of unpredictability.


Alderson said toxic relationships are "like an addiction," which often means dealing with a lot drama and unpredictability.

"They are often characterized by extreme highs, during which relationships seem perfect and magical, followed by crashing lows, which are usually caused by a partner pulling away or acting out," she said. "This can make people feel alive."

After the breakup, it's normal to crave this unpredictability.

"The emotional rollercoaster can make it harder to move on and accept that the relationship wasn't meant to be," Alderson said.

7. You only remember the good times with your ex.


In the midst of a breakup, you're likely to only focus on the good times you and your ex had.

"Relationships are complicated, and sometimes when we're sad, we want to forget about all of the issues and see the relationship through rose-colored glasses," said Ettin, the relationship coach. "Assuming you broke up for valid reasons, it won't help to dwell on the good that was there."

8. You haven't learned to let go yet.

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Niels Eek, a physiologist and cofounder of the mental-wellbeing app Remente, said learning to let go is one of the most important steps to take in order to relieve yourself of a relationship, especially if it was toxic.

"You must accept that everyone makes mistakes and that these are now in the past," he said. "Think instead about what you can take away from the situation. While it may be difficult at first, the more you practice compassion and understanding, the easier this process will become. "

10. You're afraid of being alone.

eakkarat rangram/Shutterstock

Many people are scared of ever being alone, Eek said, which makes your attachment to a previous relationship even stronger.

"A study found that individuals who don't like to be single, think with far greater intensity about their ex-partner than people who are better at handling being one their own," he said.

11. You didn't get closure.

Yummy pic/Shutterstock

People can obsess over their exes for various reasons, Eek said, including the fact you're unlikely to ever get closure. This can give people "an inability to understand a situation, and the feeling of helplessness in not having any power to change it," he said.

The truth is, when someone hurts you, you're not going to like any of the reasons why it happened. So racking your mind for explanations isn't going to help you in the long run. It's best to try and let it go.

12. You can't stop ruminating over what happened.

John Moore/Getty Images

On a similar note, sometimes it's hard not to replay the past over and over in your head.

"People keep ruminating over a situation to try and find a solution, or might be seeking validation from people around them if they feel victimized," said Eek. "A study in 2008 found that rejection is often connected to rumination, or perpetually thinking about an ex-partner."

Rumination is often associated with anxiety disorders and depression, he said, and can prevent people from acknowledging and dealing with their emotions, as they fixate on the situation instead of trying to understand the feelings that the situation has caused.

13. You're grieving the potential that was in that relationship.

4 PM production / Shutterstock

Shannon Thomas, a licensed therapist and author of "Healing from Hidden Abuse," said people often grieve the potential that was in their past relationships.

"The unmet hopes we had for what could maybe have developed with that person," she said. "All the plans we had together that never went anywhere. Our daydreams are fueled by the lingering thoughts of 'if only...'"

This feeling takes place even if we are not consciously aware but the thoughts creep into our subconscious, she added.

14. You're mulling over regrets.

Pay attention to see if your touch becomes less intimate. WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

You might find yourself thinking about all the choices you made and things you said before the breakup, essentially regretting every tiny mistake you both made.

"People find themselves mulling over regrets like, if only the other person had learned to manage their anger instead of raging or being passive-aggressive," Thomas said. "If only we had wanted the same things out of the relationship. If only the good, fun times together had lasted longer."

Thomas said that unhealthy connections also include "great moments" that give you hope that everything would work out.

"After the breakup, it's very easy to allow our thoughts to drift to regrets and unmet wishes," she said.

15. You're going through repetition compulsion.

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Perpetua Neo, a therapist and psychologist, said your past relationships can affect your new ones because of something called "repetition compulsion. "

"You're trying to fix something from your past," she said. "Sometimes we feel compelled to fix a mistake in a relationship earlier in life."

The problem with this is you may have chosen someone who may not want to or cannot change.

Alderson, the dating-app founder, said we are all drawn to familiarity, and take comfort in what we know. This can even mean healthy relationship dynamics with genuine loving actions feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar.

"Essentially, some people run towards unhappiness and toxicity because that's what they're used to," she said. "This can make it incredibly hard to break the pattern and move on from toxic relationships."


16. Your ex feels familiar while strangers feel scary.


Being familiar and being comfortable in a relationship are two different things. If something feels familiar, it means you've probably been through a similar situation before, whereas feeling comfortable with someone means being able to be yourself without fearing repercussions for your views, opinions, or feelings.

"Our earliest relationships form a template of what's familiar for us," said Neo. "Even if it's hazardous to us. Familiarity can also mean we don't know how to deal with other sorts of people who may be good for us — instead we may dismiss them as dull."

Breaking up with someone who is familiar is hard because you don't only have a bond to them, but to all the other people who were like them who came before.

17. You haven't stopped talking to them yet.

Superb Images/Getty Images

You might be struggling to move on because you're still in contact with your ex. This is a particularly bad idea if you're trying to move on from a relationship that was abusive.

"You're in contact ... too much," Neo said. "Besides trauma bonding, where you only feel alive when abused, your toxic ex may be contacting you too much and destabilizing you. With that, it is impossible to have a sense of closure."

Put up healthy boundaries in place, she said, or you'll never rise above it and heal from the relationship.

This article was first published in August 2018 and has been updated to include more experts and examples.

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8 Reasons You Can't Get Over Your Ex & Can't Move On


You're focused solely on positive memories. 

It's called euphoric recall, explains Patrick Wanis, Ph.D., a human behavior expert and author of Get Over Your Ex Now! and it refers to the recalling of past events or people in a positive light while forgetting or ignoring the negative aspects. "Although it is referred to as 'recall,' it is actually an immediate reliving and re-experiencing of the positive aspects, the pleasure of the past event or person," Wanis tells mbg. 

Wanis explains that this same phenomenon occurs in addiction and is directly related to the pleasure or reward centers of the brain. 

Euphoric recall is kryptonite to being able to move on, says April Davis, owner and founder of LUMA-Luxury Matchmaking. If you only remember the good times you shared together, you'll have a very difficult time moving forward. "It's good to keep in mind that they're an ex for a reason, and it can be good to remember the times that were not so great as well," Davis advises.  


You truly think the ex was the best you could get.

A main reason some people struggle to move on from their ex is idealization, counselor Sheryl Paul, M.A., tells mbg. You idealize your ex, convincing yourself they were your "perfect" partner that no one else will match up to. But the reality is that there are many people in the world each person can be compatible with. We really do have many types of soul mates, not all of which are meant to be in our lives forever.

According to Cherlyn Chong, a transformational coach who specializes in breakup recovery, if you find yourself thinking that your ex was the best you could get and you'll never find someone after them, you've adopted a fixed mindset as opposed to a growth mindset. "This is when you've taken the relationship to mean much more about you than anything else," Chong explains, and your self-esteem is essentially reliant on your ex. In this mindset, "if the relationship fails, it's because you weren't good enough, and therefore, you're not good enough for other relationships either. "

Unfortunately, explains Chong, if you continue having this fated mindset, then that's precisely what you are going to get in life. Nothing is stopping you from finding new, perhaps even better love—except your own self-defeating attitude.


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You secretly think that you

should suffer.

If you have unresolved negative beliefs stemming from your past, whether those come from emotionally immature parents or other ex-partners, Chong says you may be stuck in the mindset that you deserve to suffer and are inadvertently prolonging your own healing process post-breakup. 

"Suffering might actually be so familiar to you that you might even be addicted to it, in the same way one becomes addicted to smoking," Chong tells mbg. And sometimes, suffering might be the only thing left from the relationship, and you're afraid that if you let it go, you won't have anything of the relationship left.

In other words, it feels good to feel bad.


You still follow your ex on social media or maintain contact with them.

"If you still maintain contact with your ex and/or follow them on social media, it can be a constant reminder of what you lost," licensed clinical psychologist Roxy Zarrabi, Psy.D., tells mbg. "Simultaneously, [this could] increase hope [of] one day reconciling."

Ultimately maintaining contact, being in the same social circle, and/or following your ex on social media can exacerbate your distress and prevent you from moving on. The no-contact rule is the best way to move on.


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You're still trying to make sense of what happened.

When you don't understand why you broke up, your mind will go into overdrive trying to analyze, piece together the events and evidence, and overall continue to ruminate over the breakup. Feeling like you understand what happened is part of getting closure, which is necessary to moving on.

That said, Paul adds that sometimes people can land on an explanation for the breakup and then become obsessed with it: "Because most people have a difficult time tolerating emotional pain, the ego steps in and turns to obsessing about why the breakup occurred, either blaming everything on your partner or yourself," she explains. "Neither of these negative mind maneuvers are productive toward the ultimate goal of a breakup, which is to grieve the loss to completion and learn whatever you can about yourself."

If you can't figure out the why, that's OK too. Not all breakups "make sense," and it's OK that sometimes people follow their feelings to make decisions rather than using any "logical" reason. Allow yourself to accept that you can't change what happened. Take the lessons you can from it, and then put the analyzing to rest.


You lost your identity in the relationship.

According to Zarrabi, if you lost your identity and/or your support system while in your prior relationship, it can be particularly difficult to move on because you may not know who you are anymore without your ex. Focusing on restoring your sense of self during the grieving process and building a new, strong support system that isn't dependent on a romantic partner could help you move past your ex and the successive traumatic feelings that are haunting you post-breakup.


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You haven't properly grieved. 

"When people experience a loss, there is a tendency to want to avoid or push those painful feelings away, but, ultimately, doing so will prolong the healing process," Zarrabi tells mbg.

On that note, drowning your feelings only lengthens the amount of time it takes to get over a breakup, says John Kahal, a mental health and addiction expert and founder of Capo by the Sea Rehab in San Juan Capistrano, California. "When dealing with a breakup, one of the most common ways people cope is by drowning their sorrows in alcohol or self-medicating in other ways," he tells mbg. "It can become a comfortable way to numb out and avoid feelings of sadness or loneliness while the pain of a split is fresh."

Instead of trying to push the feelings away, drowning them out with alcohol, or falsely pretending to be fine, both Kahal and Zarrabi emphasize the importance of processing and confronting post-breakup feelings. "Perhaps try a little detox from alcohol, and take some time to let yourself feel and process the emotions the breakup brought on," Kahal suggests. "This can bring about some much-needed closure and allow you to gain some fresh perspective, which is essential to the process of moving on."


Your breakup triggered old trauma. 

Emmy Crouter, LSW, a therapist at Emboldened Counseling in Denver, Colorado, notes that one's own history is a major part of the breakup process. 

"If you come from a childhood of abandonment, abuse, or even just feeling misunderstood, especially by one's parents or caretakers, you may be triggered by the loss of a relationship as it brings up old feelings regarding your most important attachment figures," Crouter tells mbg. "Sometimes the breakup [itself] is not what is bothering someone—it's the meaning behind the breakup and associated early memories that beg to be addressed."

In this case, Crouter suggests therapy as an effective way to explore one's patterns of relating to significant others and how they connect to our earliest relationships and experiences.


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What now?

Bringing awareness to why you might feel stuck in old feelings from a past relationship and unable to move on from your ex is already a considerable first step in moving forward. The next move, then, is to take action and regain autonomy over your own healing process.

In addition to addressing the specific reason you're stuck missing your ex, there are concrete methods that you can begin implementing in your routine such as setting boundaries on social media, beginning a daily meditation practice, or processing through your feelings via journaling. Counseling or therapy can also be really helpful, especially if you feel like being unable to move on from your ex is affecting the rest of your daily living.

All of these solutions can help provide you with the clarity you need to mollify the prolonged anxiety of your breakup and thus allow you to fall in love again after a breakup.

Attraction of Despair. Why it's so hard for us to let go and forgive our exes

  • Shermaine Lee
  • BBC Future

Image copyright, Getty Images

Breaking up with someone you love is hard, but why do some people try so hard to get their old love back, while others, on the contrary, bypass their exes the tenth way? The temptation to rekindle the fire of an old love is deeply rooted in human psychology, experts explain. nine0018

Tears rolled down the cheeks of 28-year-old Hong Kong resident Yance when she told George that their relationship was over. Then she walked home alone along the embankment, and her heart was broken. At the same time, a sigh of relief escaped her.

This was Jans' third breakup with George in the last two months, and this time she was sure there was no going back.

"I missed him very much, I was reminiscing about our best days," says Jans about how she went through previous spats. nine0011

Nostalgia for the best moments of their relationship eventually led her to return to her former partner again and again. "But our views on life were very different, and in the end, nothing changed every time. I deleted all reminders of him from social networks and I know only one thing: we will not be together anymore."

It seems that the desire to reunite with a former love is quite common and can haunt us throughout our lives.

Nearly two-thirds of college students have been in relationships that alternated between breakups and reconciliations, with half continuing sexual relationships after the breakup. nine0011

This can continue after marriage. More than a third of couples living together and one fifth of those living in marriage have experienced a breakup and subsequent resumption of relationships.

This phenomenon has spawned countless lyrical songs, novels, plays, films and reality shows. No wonder - breakups and the subsequent search for reconciliation are deeply rooted in human psychology.

But why are we so tempted to stir up the past after the relationship has not worked out? nine0011

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Immediately after a breakup, people enter a phase that a neurologist from the Kinsey Institute (Kinsey Institute for the Study of Sex, Gender and Reproduction, USA) Helen Fisher calls the phase of protest, during which the rejected party becomes literally obsessed with the desire to re-win the heart of the one who initiated the break. nine0011

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Young people may be more likely to rekindle relationships after a breakup. And to a new break

Fisher and a group of other scientists used MRI scans to examine the brains of 15 people who had recently been rejected by a romantic partner.

When volunteers were asked to look at a picture of their former lover, areas of their brains normally associated with loss and gain, craving, and emotion regulation became active, along with areas associated with romantic love and attachment. nine0011

"After being rejected, you don't automatically stop loving a person. In fact, you may even love them more. The main area of ​​the brain associated with addiction is still active," Fischer says.

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At such moments, rejected lovers experience increased levels of dopamine and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which, according to Fisher, is explained by an increase in stress levels and a desire to call for help. She calls it "the attraction of desperation".

It is believed that this is why, at the moment of emotional stress, some rejected people resort to dramatic gestures and actions - only to return the object of their desire.

In the brains of outcasts (both men and women), the so-called nucleus accumbens, the main area of ​​the brain associated with addiction, is active. Participants in Fisher's study could not get rid of obsessive thoughts about their former partner and longed to re-establish an emotional connection with him. nine0011

"Anxiety after separation can be compared to the behavior of a puppy that was taken from its mother and locked in the kitchen alone: ​​he runs in circles, barks and whines," Fisher adds.

"Couples that alternate between breakups and reconciliations are still addicted to each other like a drug, they simply cannot part without problems until this addiction goes away."

In addition to brain chemistry, there are other reasons why people work so hard to bring a doomed relationship back to life. They lie in the behavioral realm. nine0011

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Breakup misbehavior is a phenomenon that has long been known, but has recently received special terminology get rid of old feelings for him and reduces the likelihood of resuming a relationship.

But some people experience perfectly synchronous feelings after a breakup, which increases the likelihood of forgiveness.

Feeling unresolved in a relationship can make it tempting to renew a relationship, pushing for an attempt to "try again," "start over," says René Daly, a professor at the University of Texas who studies this type of relationship. nine0011

"A couple may go through a lot of conflict during a breakup and still feel affection or love for each other," she explains.

"So it can all come down to the inability to cope with the conflict, to resolve it. If the gap is not clear, people may consider that they have changed something in themselves for the better, and try again."

According to Daly, attachment theory, which is popular in some areas of psychology and which is often attempted to explain the compatibility of people using online dating applications, does not explain the phenomenon of reconciliation after breakups. nine0011

According to this theory, the behavior of educators in relation to children forms the style of attachment of the latter in their subsequent adult life - they can belong to different types of attachment.

The safe type assumes a healthy emotional connection, the anxious type (ambivalent connection) doubts his value to a partner and may go to great lengths just to restore intimacy. The third group is those who avoid attachment, self-sufficient, rejecting intimacy. nine0011

According to this theory, the partners of the last two types are attracted to each other, and in the event of a quarrel it is difficult for them to completely break with each other. However, scientific research does not seem to support this assumption.

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Those who are afraid of being alone are more likely to return to their former relationship with an ex-partner

who are not subject to such fluctuations. Although the attachment theory looks like a good explanation, we have not found support for it, "Daley says. nine0011

As with Jans, nostalgia and loneliness play a significant role in seeking forgiveness.

"It's usually associated with the loss of all that was good in the relationship, with the feelings of loneliness, loss, and grief that come with a breakup," says Kristen Mark, a professor at the University of Kentucky.

According to her, nostalgia for former relationships often first arises when something does not work out in the current relationship.

Those who are afraid of being alone are more likely to return to their old relationship with an old partner, studies show. nine0011

This could also explain Jans' behavior in the current pandemic situation. According to her, she felt very lonely during the outbreak of the coronavirus, and because of this, she wanted to return to her old love, to mend relations again.

  • Why people in quarantine started to apologize to their exes

The loneliness that people experienced in quarantine could also be intensified by the opportunities that social networks now offer - after all, with their help it is easy to monitor your "ex". nine0011

The desire to get rid of loneliness at any cost can bring a person back to an old partner.

"We tend to see past relationships in a rosier light than they really were, and we forget that people can change over time," says Gail Saltz, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Weill Cornell School of Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital. "Social networks make it difficult to break up, keep you from moving on in life. Tracking the posts of an ex-partner is a very unhealthy thing." nine0011

Because social media can delay the breakup process, it's no surprise that millennials and Gen Zers (those born after 1996) may be even more prone to negative breakup behaviors, says University of Miami professor Berit Brogaard.

"Ugly breakups have been known to us for as long as romantic love," Brogaard emphasizes. etc". nine0011

In addition, millennials and Gen Z may be much more vulnerable to depression and more dependent on public approval (primarily on social media), so they may well be prone to frequent breakups and reconciliations with the same partner, adds Brogaard.

If Millennials and Generation Z were born, as they say, with a laptop in their hands, then it is quite understandable that they will seek solace on dating sites and on the Internet in general.


Photo credit, Getty Images , as if you were kept in reserve, just in case.

  • Bradcrambing (from the English bread crumbs - "bread crumbs") - a type of benching, in which the partner occasionally renders active signs of attention, as if lure, throws bread crumbs. nine0004
  • Ghosting (from the English ghosting; ghost - "ghost") - a sharp termination of relations, complete disappearance without warning and explanation.
  • Mosting (from the English most - "most") - a tougher kind of ghosting, when the partner, before suddenly disappearing, manages to instill in the object of his attention that he is insanely in love with him.
  • Zombing (from the English zombie - "zombie") - when a partner who disappeared without a trace suddenly returns, as if having risen from the dead, and begins to remind you of himself in social networks, while ignoring your response messages. nine0004
  • Orbiting (from the English orbit - rotate in orbit) - when the "former" or "future" becomes a virtual satellite, constantly looming in orbit of social networks, but not approaching.
  • As a result, the personal growth coaching business is booming: in the US alone, the industry was valued at over $1 billion in 2018. The niche market for services for those with a broken heart is starting to turn into a serious player.

    Painful breakup coaches now promise their clients to help their ex get back or get on with life without him. nine0011

    Many offer advice and strategies on their blogs, YouTube videos and podcasts. They are read, watched and listened to by millions.

    Image copyright, Getty Images

    Image caption,

    Staying away from an ex after a breakup is always good, even if you want to win his/her heart back

    Among the most popular tips is the "no contact" rule (recommended) period from 30 to 60 days, and some even advise forever). This time should be devoted to self-development. nine0011

    Many people also advise you to text your "ex" in the messenger, reminding you how good you once were and showing how you have changed since then.

    Neurologist and anthropologist Helen Fisher agrees that the "no contact" rule can be useful in some ways. According to her, it has been proven that the 90-day period can be an effective means of getting rid of drug addiction. However, will it help in human relationships?

    "The way to heal a broken heart is a bit like treating addiction: you hide all the things that are associated with your ex, stop following him on social networks and avoid meeting him," Fisher says. nine0011

    Brogaard also points out that the above rule has some scientific basis. The intensity of strong emotions, including anger, feelings of betrayal, and so on, weakens over time.

    Another Hong Kong resident, Lilian, in her 30s, was one of those Internet users looking online for a way to reconcile with her ex just a couple of days after the breakup. She stumbled upon a video on social media by one of her dating coaches. nine0011

    According to Lillian, this coach offered tips and tricks to create distance between her and her ex and then get his attention back to her.

    "It calmed me down, but then I got even more worried. The breakup coach suggested waiting 30 days before getting in touch with my ex-boyfriend again, and then dressing better to show him that I had changed for the better ... But I couldn't wait that long," admits Lillian.

    The fact is that although such coaches can quickly calm those suffering from a breakup, their advice may not have any scientific basis.

    According to Brogaard, these coaches often do not have a full-fledged training, including academic, in areas such as neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, or social work.

    Image copyright, Getty Images

    Image caption,

    One piece of advice coaches give when dealing with difficult relationships is this: try to look your best by the time you meet your ex again

    As the psychologist adds, some of them even try to appropriate the methods of those who have relevant training, but have little understanding of how to properly use this information.

    "Their services may be more expensive than a good psychotherapist, but there is no evidence that their advice will help you. You can just waste your time and money," she says. in practice they are mostly useless.

    Experts, in addition, point to the absence of standards and any kind of regulation in this area. As Daly points out, many of the coaches are not qualified to give advice. nine0011

    "Almost anyone can claim to be a coach, so I'd be very careful here," Saltz points out. what is the preparation?

    Instead of spending money on coaches, Brogaard advises those who are heartbroken to read the literature on breakups and interpersonal relationships from trusted sources, including research reviews on Google Scholar. nine0011

    But she warns against spending too much time and energy trying to get someone back: "If you have to go off the path of life to get your ex back, is it worth it?"

    Experts say there is no magic bullet to reconcile other than an honest conversation about what went wrong in your relationship.

    For those who can't accept that it's all over, a glimmer of hope is that after the protest phase, their brain will move into a phase of despair and defeat, and then acceptance, indifference and growth, Fisher emphasizes. nine0011

    "You are in terrible pain and anxiety, but in the end you get well," she concludes. "You will never forget the person who neglected you, but you move on in life and you will definitely fall in love with someone else."


    The original English version of this article can be read at BBC Future .

    Why sometimes you want to go back to your old love and when it makes sense

    • Brian Lufkin
    • BBC Worklife

    Sign up for our 'Context' newsletter to help you understand what's going on.

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    Image caption,

    Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are back together 17 years later

    You broke up, got divorced, ended your relationship... And there were good reasons for that. So why do so many couples get back together even years later? Why is the thought of reuniting with your ex so appealing? nine0018

    Early this summer, 17 years after their breakup, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck got back together, sparking a flurry of nostalgic social media posts, discussions of the twists and turns of glamor stars' lives, and all sorts of cross-cultural analytics.

    Lopez and Affleck are Hollywood's star couple, so the tabloids and Twitter couldn't pass by and choked with delight.

    But perhaps the most understandable reason why people are so excited about what happened is that Lopez and Affleck's reunion turned out to be more than just another "star gossip" story. Looks like Jennifer and Ben are in love again. nine0011

    For many people, returning to an old love, to a past passion is one of the components of a relationship. This part can bring a negative result (there are many stories about such unsuccessful returns that all-knowing girlfriends and friends will tell you on occasion), or even turn into a nightmare when your ex (or ex) begins to persistently pursue you, imposing with his idea to resume relationship.

    However, the restoration of former relationships can look very tempting and for some even become the goal of life - especially when we have before us examples of reunification, reminiscent of a story from a fairy tale. nine0011

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    In addition, there is an amazing statistic according to which 50% of young couples break up and then restore relationships again.

    Life during the pandemic has accelerated this process even more for some: in the midst of terrible news, in the loneliness of lockdowns, many have reached out to their exes, hoping to rekindle the flames of old love (or at least affection). nine0011

    According to experts, if at the same time both exes are interested in restoring the relationship, this can have a positive effect - but on the condition that you are ready to act with an open mind, taking into account the life experience of the past years and on a wave of mutual understanding with your partner.

    What is so attractive about returning to an ex?

    One of the most important advantages of restoring the old relationship is that we know what to expect.

    "There are many great benefits to already knowing someone with whom we want to try building a long-term relationship again," says Michael McNulty, family counselor and psychotherapist at the Gottman Institute in Chicago. nine0011

    According to McNulty, every couple has its own eternal disagreements - points of potential conflict (such as living together, money, sex, children, friends, family, and so on).

    Even happy couples have such points, because the relationship involves two different people with different characters and different views on the environment.

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    Image caption,

    A return to an ex may well have a fairy tale ending, but only if both partners seriously consider what led to the breakup and draw the right conclusions

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    According to a study by the Gottman Institute, these "perpetual disagreements" are responsible for 69% of a couple's problems, says McNulty.

    It is these problems, now flaring up, now fading, and not some separate event or separate high-profile conflict, that are the real poison for relationships. nine0011

    "The cause of broken relationships or marriages in most cases is not fire, but icy cold," McNulty emphasizes.

    Some couples simply find it difficult to talk to each other or resolve conflicts together on key issues in their relationship. They move further and further away from each other and begin to live not as lovers or husband and wife, but as roommates.

    And that's why they want new relationships. Or reconnecting with an old love. However, for such people, Michael McNulty has advice: "If you are in a relationship and thinking about breaking up, be careful: in essence, you are going to replace 69

    But going back to your ex, at least you know what to expect and what your disagreements were like. much easier than building brand new ones with someone you don't know very well yet. in Family Relations, Adjunct Lecturer in Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.

    For some, it looks like this: it's better to go back to someone you know something about than to start with someone you don't know anything about.

    Change brings joy

    And here's another positive thing about returning to past relationships: you understand what has changed since you broke up.

    You don't have such an advantage when you start dating a new acquaintance - you just don't know how he has changed over time, whether these were changes for the better, whether he has matured. nine0011

    In the case of an old love, you can compare "then" and "now". Kuriansky says one of the most common reasons for rekindling a relationship is that both partners feel like they've matured, more mature as a person.

    Image copyright, Getty Images

    Image caption,

    Rekindling the flames of an old relationship isn't for everyone, experts say, but knowing each other, albeit based on bitter experience, can bring benefits

    Violette de Ayala from Miami, the head of FemCity, an organization that helps women, spoke publicly about how in 2019she remarried her ex-husband.

    "When we started dating again, it was very sweet because we knew each other, but something about us changed," she says. "While we lived apart, we both worked on ourselves in areas that needed, so that in many ways we appeared to each other renewed."

    "Certain elements of our personality evolved to make the reunion process wonderful, even though we had to overcome the pain of a past breakup," she adds. nine0011

    "He doesn't take our relationship for granted anymore. He started to give me things that have a deep meaning. Now from time to time he reminds me how much he loves and appreciates me. Before, all this was not."

    But even if after a long time you returned to your former partner and saw that nothing had changed, that all the toxicity of the previous relationship had not gone away - understanding this also gives you certain advantages and will help you avoid repeating the trouble. nine0011

    "Sometimes, having gained life experience and wisdom in other ways, people think, my God, now I can maybe overcome the obstacles that we once ran into," says McNulty.

    However, as he emphasizes, the main thing here is that people should be aware of what insoluble problems they had before, and be ready to honestly tell themselves if something has changed since then.

    "Love and sex against the backdrop of the apocalypse"

    Before diving headlong into an old relationship, hoping that it will be new, ask yourself why you are doing this. Because a lot of things can go wrong. nine0011

    A long-time acquaintance can certainly bring some comfort to our lives, but as Judith Kuriansky points out, hopes for comfort can be unfounded - especially now that we live in the midst of the chaos of a pandemic.

    Last May, as the world plunged into lockdowns, an Indiana University study found that one in five of those surveyed, while in isolation, texted their ex on messenger.

    Image copyright, Getty Images

    Image caption,

    Many have tried to overcome the loneliness of the lockdown by calling their ex on

    "I call it love and sex amid the apocalypse," says Kuriansky, who studies love relationships between people during times of crisis - natural disasters or acts of terrorism.

    She says it's a common tendency to reconnect with her old love because there seems to be no tomorrow.

    Now this is happening in Afghanistan, natural disasters, covid - it seems to people that they are living in the era of the coming Armageddon. And they want to return to the person they once loved, next to whom they felt safe. nine0011

    So, try to answer this question as honestly as possible: why do you want to go back to your old love?

    Do you really yearn for old relationships and want to do your best to fix them? Or do you just want to ease the anxiety and anxiety that comes from scary news headlines? If the latter, then take it as a warning bell about the danger.

    Kuryansky recommends that you seek the opinion of friends and relatives about your desire to resume old relationships - even before you take the first step towards such a resumption. nine0011

    Many people will certainly react negatively, especially if your relationship ended scandalously.

    However, your goal is not the very opinion of your loved ones. Their reaction can bring you down to earth and remind you why your old relationship was so troubled.

    "Be prepared to hear the opinions of others.

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