While there have been plenty of celebrity reunions after a break up — Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, and now Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas — the truth is usually not a fairy tale ending. Getting back with an ex can be dicey. But if your heart is pounding away for an old flame, here are a few questions to think about before plunging back in:
1. Will it be different this time?
The general wisdom is this: the best way to predict someone’s future behavior is to look at their past behavior. That applies to your ex as well as you. My suggestion? Don’t get back with someone if you are going to be the same person and react to them in the same way.
2. Are there rules for getting back with an ex?
There are never any rules. However, all relationships stand the best chance of success if couples discuss their true feelings and have the “what are we” conversation BEFORE they begin to have sex. If you’re not sure, then don’t get entangled in a sexual relationship with an ex, who may be part of another sexual petrie dish.
3. How soon should I replace an old flame?
Some people try to get over someone by getting under someone else. This can be a temporary salve. We are meant to learn something from every relationship. If you’re just replacing your partner with someone you’re going to repeat your patterns with, then this isn’t a good thing.
4. Could it have been a timing thing?
YES! Men and women tend to be on different time schedules in their relationships. Women commit when they’ve met the one. Men commit when they’ve hit state of readiness (education, financial, peer/family trends) and then they take pretty much whoever is up at bat. Also, men tend to have short term relationships with really hot women, but research shows that they choose women with slightly more masculine faces when considering a long term mate. Who wants to do all that mate guarding needed with a super-model? The best way to find out if your ex is really ready to commit this time around is to ask him or her, BEFORE you get involved again.
5. Is getting back together settling?
Settling? That’s the word that keeps so many people out of good-enough relationships that could sustain them. ALL RELATIONSHIPS involve compromising. All relationships involve letting go of the idea that there is a “perfect” person out there. Settling may mean finally getting out of your dream state and being realistic.