Opinion–Never date your ex again

Two+shadows+holding+hands

“holding hands” by gem fountain is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Jesse Wiederhold

“We accept the love we think we deserve,” according to one of my favorite books, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. 

I think this stands especially true for me, my friends or even protagonists in the fictional literature I read. It’s the same, stupid, annoying, heart-sinking matter. The talk, the question you ask after things seem to be going fine for a couple of months or so with that special person. When your lust has grown up and you realize – wow, I’m so into this person. But what happens when the feeling is unrequited? How do you know if it’s really over, or if you’re just going to see each other again in a couple of weeks? What do you think you deserve?

Let me make one thing clear, I do believe that love exists. It has to because I have felt it and seen it. Unfortunately, for the romantics like me in the world, you’re probably not going to get to keep it the first time. 

Break-ups suck, but there are some things you can do to make yourself feel better when they happen. Go out with friends, catch up on your sleep and start working out more. 

All too common, however, people make a big and silly mistake. 

They go back to their ex. I get it – and I’ve done it myself. Perhaps the biggest reason people do this is the influence of nostalgia. It’s a powerful drug, nostalgia, and it causes hallucinations so to speak. For example, before returning to your ex you have to think about it, I’m sure. So, what comes to your mind? Most people will just think of the good times. You won’t remember how they cheated or were afraid to go public. You remember how great it was before it got worse. You want the goodness back.

Well, I am here to tell you that it’s likely not going to work. I won’t base that just off of my poor relationships in the past alone. Scientific studies agree as well.

There is a website called exbackpermanently.com, and its purpose is to be a source for people going through breakups, etc. The creator, Kevin Thompson has been a relationship coach for about ten years. An important part of the website’s aim, however, is to educate on the harsh reality of getting back together. It’s not going to happen. This website did a study with 3,512 participants, and the results were not shocking. Out of all those people, only a strikingly low 15% of people got back together and stayed back together. This study included both straight and gay people, just to be clear.

Interestingly, people aged in their 50s and up had the highest reconnection success rate. The second best was 18-20s, and oddly enough the 30-40 age range had the lowest success rate. But whatever your age, be honest with yourself. The rate of success was not good, even in the highest success rated group.

Why go back to something you’ve left before? Well, it’s because you’re comfortable with it. But comfort is not a good thing, necessarily. If you only did comfortable things for the rest of your life you would probably accomplish nothing. 

What you need to accomplish in your relationships, whether they last or not, is the constant development of yourself. People get too concerned about the other person in their relationship when they should really remember to just worry about themselves.

Trust me on this one, just try to love yourself for now. College is a crazy, fast-paced time. It’s full of unsure people and individuals who are still figuring out who they want to be. If you go looking for love, you may find it. But at the same time, you may not if you try too hard. Love has to find you, and likely in the most unexpected way. Don’t give up.