What to Do When an Ex Comes Back

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After a relationship has ended, there are times when your ex may come back into your life. And whether this person sends you a friendly text, wants to meet in person and/or tells you that he or she’d like to get back together, you may not be sure how to proceed. After all, are you interested in restarting a romance with this person? Or do you even want to see or talk to this person? When you’re struggling with these types of difficult questions, it’s important to recognize that you’re the one who gets to make the final decision regarding the role you’d like your ex to play in your life.

In fact, you have many different options when dealing with an ex who’s returned, and doing what’s best for you is the best decision that you can make.

Why do exes come back? Before you decide if and/or how you’d like to engage with an ex who’s returned, it’s important to understand the various reasons why this person may have come back in the first place. For instance, it’s common for an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend to reenter your life in order to try to rekindle the loving connection that you once shared with one another. In fact, there are times when exes return in order to show you that they’ve changed for the better, that they’re still in love with you and that things will be different this time around. In other words, many exes return a second time in hopes of getting a second chance.

There are also exes who come back in order to make things right between the two of you as well as to alleviate any hard feelings.

For example, perhaps the two of you ended on bad terms or you were completely blindsided by the breakup, and your ex may feel compelled to come back and apologize and/or set the record straight once and for all.

1. Be honest with yourself. When an ex reenters your life, it’s you who gets to decide what type of relationship (or lack thereof) that you want to have with this person.

And that means you need to be cautious as well as honest with yourself about whether you’d like to hear this person out or keep this person out. After all, because of the possible discrepancies between your own needs and desires and those of your ex, you should proceed in a way that's respectful of your own emotional health and well-being. For example, if talking to your ex is going to stir up past pain and feelings of disappointment and loss, it may not be in your best interest to indulge this person.

2. Ignore him or her. With this in mind, if you’re not ready or interested in conversing with your ex, you don’t have to engage with him or her. And while it may sound harsh, you can choose to block his or her number, unfriend him or her on Facebook and/or simply put off responding since you’re under no obligation to participate in a dialogue if you don’t want to. After all, things ended between the two of you, and one of the healthiest and most productive ways to get over someone is to focus on the future and leave him or her in the past.  

3. Listen to what he or she has to say. However, you also have the option of talking with your ex, whether on the phone or in person. And once you’re able to fully understand his or her intentions, explanations and possible mea culpas, you should openly communicate your needs and feelings with him or her as well.

And as soon as you have this honest conversation, you’ll be able to proceed in a way that’s right and healthy for you.

For instance, if your ex wants to get back together but you’re unsure that you’d like to make this kind of giant leap, perhaps the two of you can work together to rebuild a friendship before trying to enter into a committed relationship. Along these lines, if your ex has come back to discuss and even apologize for how things ended, you can use this as a cathartic moment for yourself and find the closure that’s been preventing you from moving on for good in every sense.