“I know you have a boyfriend, but I’m going to say this anyway . . .”
I was pretty surprised to see my ex calling me after so many years. I was even more surprised to discover he was calling to tell me he wanted to get back together. Our relationship ended more than three years ago, and I was currently dating someone else. Needless to say, I left the conversation with both my head and heart spinning.
Do I dump my current boyfriend? Do I get back together with my ex? Do I ditch them both and just get a puppy instead?
You might not find yourself in the exact same situation (for the record, I hope you don’t because the whole thing was quite bizarre), but even after the messiest of breakups, we often find ourselves wondering: Did we do the right thing? Should we get back together?
You’re not alone. Studies show we’re attracted to what’s familiar to us, something known as the Law of Familiarity. There’s also something called the Mere Ownership Effect, which proves if you own something you inherently ascribe more value to it. Obviously you don't "own" your boyfriend, but UCLA psychological researchers Joann Peck and Suzanne B. Shu took the research a step farther to note that eventouching something causes us to feel more connected to it and more ownership of it. When you invest time, money, energy, and even physical contact into a person you tend to value their relationship more than another.
This theory goes a long way in explaining why we’re so drawn to our exes. Combine the physical contact, familiarity, and our desire to fix what’s broken, and it’s no wonder we often pine away for even the worst of our former flings.
And yet we also know better. Exes are exes for a reason…right? How do we know if it’s worth giving this person another chance?
While there’s no formula for success (this is a relationship after all), there are a few signs worth looking for and questions worth asking when considering whether or not we should pursue former relationships. Here are a few things I considered in the process.