How to Know if Getting Back Together after Breaking Up is the Right Thing to Do

Posted by on Mar 15, 2019 in Couples Counseling, Healthy Separation and/or Divorce Counseling | Comments Off on How to Know if Getting Back Together after Breaking Up is the Right Thing to Do

If you’ve found yourself breaking up with a partner but then getting back together again, you’re not alone. Research shows that one-half to two-thirds of adults have been in this kind of situation.  

It’s called relationship cycling.

Essentially, partners end a relationship but wind up getting back together again. In fact, relationship cycling can happen more than once with the same set of partners! However, getting back together isn’t always the romantic fairytale ending that we’d like it to be. If you find yourself in relationship cycling, it’s important to consider these thoughts:

Getting Back Together after a Breakup Isn’t Always Best

According to research, getting back together after breaking up doesn’t always work out well. This is particularly true compared to other relationships where the partners don’t break up. People who get back together may experience less satisfaction with both their partners and the relationship in general. They tend to struggle to feel loved and understood.

Also, there can be a lot of uncertainty about the future. This makes sense if you’ve already ended the relationship before. It can be hard to feel secure in the relationship going forward. Additionally, those who have multiple relationship cycles tend to experience less relationship satisfaction.

However, despite the research, there often tends to be a desire for one partner to try to reunite with the other. In my work, I have found that many couples do not talk enough about whether or not they can successfully reunite and, if they do, how to make the relationship better.

That’s why it’s important to consider these questions first:

Is it Possible for the Relationship to be Healthy?

When getting back together, you need to assess the reason for the breakup in the first place.

Sometimes couples end a relationship for logistical reasons. For instance, the work needed to make a long-distance relationship work often is the cause for the breakup. However, if things changed, such as one partner moving closer to the other, then it could be feasible to get back together again.

On the other hand, if the relationship ended because of infidelity, abuse, or toxic behavior, that’s different. It would make sense for one partner to permanently end the relationship.  In fact, getting out of a relationship where these things are taking place opens the door for a more satisfying relationship down the road.

Are You Going Back for the Right Reasons?

Some people stay with their partners for financial reasons, or because they believe it would be too hard to be on their own.

This doesn’t mean that the relationship will be emotionally satisfying. If you depend on your partner for your emotional well-being, that is not healthy either. In fact, the relationship is most likely not to be a healthy one at all. However, if you feel love for your partner and believe that you can each support one another positively, then getting back together can make sense.

Are You Truly Committed to Making it Work?

The biggest mistake that I see when working with couples is that they will want to get back together but continue to make the same mistakes. This doesn’t help these couples to move forward. In fact, it only sets them up for failure.

It can be hard to make the necessary changes for the relationship to work, especially without help. This is when a professional therapist can be very helpful to reuniting couples. They can each learn to identify those behaviors and then learn how to change them.

Is Your Partner on the Same Page?

Finally, getting back together will only work if you are both willing to do the necessary work. If your partner is not as dedicated as you are to the process, then it won’t be successful. Take the time to discuss your feelings with each other and don’t hold back. You need to be honest regarding your needs and wants.

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, then getting back together again might be the right choice for your relationship. However, if the answer is “no” you need to consider your reasoning and intention. In either case, a therapist can help you navigate this decision-making process so that you can make the best choice for you.

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