The desire to rekindle an old relationship is deeply rooted in human minds. So, even though some people never wish to see their exes again, many others still have a soft spot for their old flames and are willing to give the relationship another chance. But why is this so? What is the psychology behind getting back together with a previous partner? Let us explore.
An old flame is familiar to you. So, being back with someone you know is quite comforting and can look very appealing, especially when you’ve shared a long relationship with the person.
Even when the relationship with an ex ended unpleasantly, there is some comfort there that can make you feel good.
2. Emotional Intimacy & Dependence:
Some of the key reasons cited by people for getting back with their exes were the emotional intimacy and dependence they had with their old partner.
Men are more dependent on their partners for social and emotional support. So, when a relationship breaks up, they lose the one person they felt comfortable opening up to. This emotional dependence pushes people to want their exes back.
3. Fear of the Unknown:
Some people prefer an ex to an unknown person because they get very uncomfortable with the change and fear the unknown.
People believe that the devil they know is much better than the devil they don’t know at all.
4. Fear of Being Alone:
Another reason why you may want to return to an ex is that you don’t like being alone.
Psychologists say that the desire to avoid loneliness at all costs can drive people to get back with their ex-partners. However, one must understand that getting together with an ex just out of avoidance of being alone isn’t a good reason, and so, the relationship is not likely to last.
People with a stronger fear of being single and alone experience a greater longing for their ex-partners and a stronger desire to renew the relationship.
Even during the coronavirus outbreak, the feeling of loneliness experienced by locked-down single people prompted them to reach out to their former lovers and make an attempt to mend their previous relationship.
5. Missing the Partner:
Couples may also reunite because both partners genuinely miss each other. They miss the positive things about their relationship. Such couples are optimistic and hopeful that it will work out this time.
6. Happy Memories:
People may get hugely drawn to the warmth and tenderness offered by their exes. They think of the sentiment that when the relationship was good, it was really good, and they were happy being together.
They tend to continually replay happy memories in their minds. The nostalgia for their happier times soon gets the better of them, so they go back to their exes again and again.
The nostalgia for past relationships often emerges when the quality of the current relationship begins to suffer.
7. Sense of Unresolvedness:
A sense of unresolvedness or ambiguity in a romantic relationship could induce the partners to make positive changes in their relationship and try it out again.
These couples might experience a lot of conflict during the break-up but still have a love for their partners and feel emotionally connected to them. So, the break-up could be more about not being able to manage or resolve the conflict than any other reason. That is why couples in ambiguous relationships feel like trying out again.
Psychology Behind Reuniting with an Ex:
Studies done by neurologists indicate that when the break-up first happens, people tend to go through a “protest” phase, during which the rejected partner becomes obsessed with winning back the person who has decided to quit.
Obsession & Craving:
In another study, a group of scientists conducted a brain scan, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), on a few people who were recently rejected by a romantic partner. When they were told to look at the image of their former beloved, their brain regions associated with gains and losses and emotions of romantic love and attachment were activated. They looked at their rejecters “obsessively” and craved emotional union with them.
After the rejection, the rejected lovers don’t stop loving their exes but start loving them even more than before. Their major brain region, “nucleus accumbens,” associated with addiction and craving, becomes highly active. The rejected lovers also experience increased levels of dopamine and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which link to raised stress levels and the urge to call for help. This is known as the “frustration attraction.” This is why some highly-emotional rejected lovers resort to dramatic means to get back together with their former lovers – the main objects of their desire.
In some cases, separation anxiety makes ex-partners run around in circles, cry, and whine. Such couples break up and get back together multiple times and are still chemically addicted to each other. So, they are not able to permanently split until they get over their addiction.
Points to Consider Before Getting Back Together with an Ex:
While it may be easy and convenient for you to get back together with your ex, you may first want to look at the psychology behind it, your reasons for doing so, and what has changed since you two were together last time. Once you have thought through, your decision to reunite will be much easier.
1. Before you decide to get together with your ex-partner again, you both need to think long and hard and analyze why the relationship broke the first time and what is different this time around.
2. Most relationships end for one of three main reasons
Mental Health Issues like addiction or a major mental illness
Emotional reasons like how you handle conflict
Fitness reasons, such as having different and unaligned lifestyle goals that make you unfit for each other
While any of the above situations can change, some of them are harder to fix than others. So, you should not just blindly assume that the situation has really changed. You may want to be optimistic, but it’s much wiser to be realistic.
3. If the situation had been toxic or abusive (physically or emotionally), then you need to proceed with great caution. Be realistic about the possibility of change, and don’t risk yourself returning to a situation that is dangerous or toxic yet again. So, if there was violence or substance use in your previous relationship, it can be more challenging to change the situation without professional help.
4. Psychologists warn that getting back together with an ex can be successful only if both partners take time out to work on themselves and their issues while they are apart. The main reason for the breakup needs to be worked on each side.
5. For the relationship to work, you also have to be willing to forgive the other person for the past. There has to be a willingness on their part to forgive, grow, and evolve. If the couple can look at their past relationship and use the pain point as a catalyst for change, then there is more potential for a positive experience.
How to Let Go?
Over time, a couple that broke may come to realize that being together is the best choice. But, even when getting back together with an ex looks enticing, some relationships are best left in the past.
There are no tricks to having a successful reconciliation other than talking about what went wrong in the failed relationship with complete honesty. But for those who cannot reconcile with their former lovers, they should just let go of their past. You need to get past your “protest” stage, after which your brain can go into a stage of “resignation” or “despair” and then finally, the stage of “acceptance,” “indifference,” and “growth.”
During these phases, you may experience extreme pain and anxiety, but finally, there is recovery. You may never be able to forget your ex-partner who called it quits, but you can move on and love someone new!
Continually contemplating your romantic past could keep you from moving on. So, to heal yourself after a breakup, make a clean break with your ex and seek out emotional support from your social network.
A popular tactic to let go of your past is adopting a “no-contact rule,” ranging from 30 days to 60 days or more. Neurologists and anthropologists also agree that a “no-contact rule” can be extremely beneficial for couples to move on. They should stop looking at their ex’s social media and have no contact with them. They should use this “contactless” period to work on self-development. Eventually, the intensity of strong emotions, including grief, anger, and betrayal, tends to lessen with time, and there are no more ill-feelings.
Once you have entered into a new relationship, you are most likely to shed a negative attitude toward your ex because by now, you have convinced yourself what you have now is far better than what you had before. This conviction develops a healthy frame of mind for nurturing a new relationship.
An experienced and trained breakup coach like Poonam Dutta can offer tips and advice while you plan to reunite with your ex-partner and work on your re-attraction. She is the best coach to even guide you on how to let go of your past relationship and move on to an exciting new journey.
So, these were some major points on Why do People Want their Exes Back.