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“Should I get back with my ex”? 19 questions to ask

Has your relationship with your ex ended, but you’re wondering if you should get back together?

There’s no doubt that relationships are complicated enough to begin with. But they are even more complicated when you are trying to figure out whether or not to get back with an ex.

One thing is for certain though – if the reason you are wondering if you should get back with your ex is simply that you miss your ex, even to the point where it hurts, that’s not a healthy reason to be rekindling the relationship.

Ouch.

That may not be what you want to hear. But I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. I’m here to help you truly figure out whether it’s a good idea to get back with your ex or not.

So that’s exactly what I’m going to walk you through in this ultimate guide to determining if you should get back with your ex.

But before we dive into the seventeen questions, let’s first take a look at where you’re desire to get back with your ex may be coming from.

Being in love vs. being lovesick

When we break up, it’s easy to feel like we’re still in love. But it’s very important to distinguish being in love from being lovesick.

Suzie Pileggi Pawelski and James Pawelski authors of Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love that Lasts, explain that there is a very important difference between being in love and being “lovesick.”

They write:

“Many of us equate desperate and yearning lyrics like ‘I can’t live without you’ and ‘you’re my everything’ with an ideal form of romantic love. And why wouldn’t we when it’s advertised everywhere? From Billboard music charts to blockbuster films, popular culture perpetuates this notion of healthy passion as an uncontrollable, ‘swept away’ feeling. However, while an unbridled passion may be what we desire, it can be harmful to our well-being and relationship.”

So in a world where being “lovesick” is glorified as a reason to be together, how do you tell whether you’re pining after your ex for the right reasons?

These 19 questions will help you figure it out and if you should truly get back together with your ex after a breakup.

Here we go.

1. Are there any red flags for the relationship?

There are things that are just deal breakers for all relationships.

Period.

These are your run of the mill stop, don’t-pass-go red flags.

They are…

  • Addiction – this includes a dependency on alcohol, drugs, excessive shopping, excessive spending, and sex addiction
  • Abuse – this includes emotional abuse, physical abuse, manipulative and controlling behavior, unresolved major rage and anger issues
  • Untreated personality disorders – this includes compulsive lying, extreme narcissism, and any other mental health issues where it makes it impossible to resolve issues within the relationship

If any of these are showing up in your relationship, those are definite deal breakers and it will take some professional help to get to the point where fanning the flames of a relationship is a good idea. So first seek professional help.

But if your relationship is all clear of those these, continue on.

2. Why didn’t it work out to begin with?

We all know that no two people are perfectly compatible in every single way. As John Mayer puts it, “Love is a verb.” So love isn’t something that just sustains itself; it takes work

This is why when two people are considering getting back together, you’ll often hear them say things like “We need to work on our relationship.”

And while this is often true, there are some things that you can’t simply work on that aren’t the major red flags above.

For instance, if owning a home and having children is extremely important to you, but your partner prefers a nomadic, childless lifestyle, this isn’t something that you can work on.

These are examples of fundamental differences about values and life goals.

If you don’t share the same (or at least, very similar) vision for your future, then that’s a sign a second chance may not help you make much progress as a couple.

But if, however, your visions are compatible (whether it be shopping for picket fences at Home Depot or renovating an old Airstream camper together), then that’s an indicator that getting back together could be a good idea.

3. Are you still talking to your ex?

It’s hard to cut off contact completely with your ex, especially if you guys still have feelings for each other.

Initiating and keeping in contact is a big sign that your ex wants you back.

And one of the easiest ways to get back with your ex is by simply sending them the right text messages.

Yes, it’s entirely possible to effectively “text your ex back”. Even if you thought that it was impossible to ever rekindle any sort of romance with them.

There’s literally dozens of text messages you can send your ex that will compel them to keep texting you. And ultimately lead you guys back together.

But you need to send these messages right when they’re most likely to take them seriously. Only then do you induce the “fear of loss”in your ex.

Pro tip:

Try this “Jealousy” text

“I think it was a great idea that we decided to start dating other people. I do just want to be friends right now!”

By saying this, you’re telling them that you’re actually dating other people right now… which will in turn make them jealous.

This is a good thing.

You’re sub-communicating to them that you’re actually wanted by other people. We’re all attracted to people who are wanted by others, so by saying that you’re dating around already, you’re pretty much saying that “it’s your loss!”.

After sending this text they’ll begin to feel attraction for you again, and that “fear of loss” will be triggered.

I learned about this text from Brad Browning, who has helped thousands of men and women get their ex back. He goes by the moniker of “the relationship geek”, for good reason.

In this free video, he’ll show you exactly what you can do to make your ex want you again.

No matter what your situation is — or how badly you’ve messed up since the two of you broke up — he’ll give you a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately.

Here’s a link to his free video again.

If you really want your ex back, this video will help you do this.

4. Are you afraid you won’t find someone else?

Fear of not finding someone else is a common experience that happens during a breakup. But if it becomes the main driver and reason you want to get back together, then that’s problematic.

My recent article on “will I ever find love?” will help put things in perspective if you are feeling compelled to get back with your ex due to the fear of not finding anyone else.

Entering, or reentering, a relationship from a place of fear is never a good idea.

5. Is your ex open – and hopeful – about getting back together?

This seems like an obvious question, but it’s important to dig deeper on this one. Be honest with yourself – what’s your ex’s attitude like when you talk about getting back together?

Do you feel like he or she is saying, “Okay, let’s give it another go…”

Or are you hearing something more along the lines of “I believe we have a future together and want to put in the work because I love you and want you in my life?”

Starting a relationship shouldn’t be like deciding if you want a side of curly fries or sweet potato fries. It can’t be a take it or leave it kind of situation.

Getting back together is a huge emotional and, frankly, huge time commitment, too. The more energy and time you invest in this relationship, the more other opportunities for love you are turning down.

Make sure your ex isn’t dragging his or her feet in any way before you give more to the relationship.

And the same goes for you. Are you dragging your feet or thinking “I could give it one more chance…”? If so, take an honest, hard look at your hesitation.

It’s very tough to make it work again if one person is dragging their feet. It tends just to prolong the inevitable.

6. Why do you both want to get back together?

Though you’re contemplating if you want to get back together with your ex, it’s also essential to contemplate why your ex wants to get back together.

For example, here are some healthy reasons to get back together:

  • You complement each other in terms of your life goals
  • There has been a shift in perspective since breaking up
  • Priorities that were off balance previously but have been adjusted
  • The timing made things difficult, but now it’s not an issue

And here are some unhealthy reasons to get back together:

  • One or both of you are lonely without each other
  • One or both of you are afraid you won’t find love
  • One or both of you needs the other person to feel loved and emotionally okay
  • One or both of you is jealous when the other person starts to move one

Be honest with yourself and ask your ex specifically why they want to get back together.

If it’s for healthy reasons for both you and your ex, then that can be a great indicator that a reunion makes sense.

7. Have you reflected on your relationship?

Before you decide whether you want to get back with your ex, you need to reflect on the relationship you had.

What went right? What went wrong? And most importantly, if you do want to get back together, how can you show your ex that things will be better the second time around?

Because you can’t repeat the same mistakes from your past.

For women, I think it’s essential to take some time to reflect on what really drives men in relationships.

Because men see the world differently to you and are motivated by different things when it comes to love.

Men have a built in desire for something “greater” that goes beyond love or sex. It’s why men who seemingly have the “perfect girlfriend” are still unhappy and find themselves constantly searching for something else —  or worst of all, someone else.

Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about.

Relationship psychologist James Bauer calls it the hero instinct. He created an excellent free video explaining the concept.

Click here to watch the video.

As James argues, male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood. Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.

How do you trigger this instinct in him? How do you give him a sense of meaning and purpose?

In an authentic way, you simply have to show your man what you need and allow him to step up to fulfill it.

In his video, James Bauer outlines several things you can do. He reveals phrases, texts and little requests that you can use right now to make him feel more essential to you.

Here’s a link to the video again.

By triggering this very natural male instinct, you’ll not only supercharge his confidence but it will help you guys to get back together – for good.

8. What makes getting back together different than before?

We all know Einstein’s definition of “insanity” which is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So if you are entering back into a relationship that didn’t work out once (or multiple times), something has to be different this time to make it work.

A study about on-again, off-again relationships published in the journal Family Relationships found a correlation between the pattern of breaking up and getting back together with the same partner (which is called “relationship cycling”) and the overall well-being of participants.

Researchers surveyed 545 people and found that people who were in a pattern of relationship cycling had increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. The more off cycles people reported, the larger increases in their anxiety and depression seemed to be.

And that was after accounting for other factors that can influence mental health, such as demographic information, marital and family status, sexual orientation, and other related stressors.

To make sure you’re not just relationship cycling, be 100% clear on what the difference is this time around.

9. Do you both agree on what the issues were?

Even if one person has the “issue” in a relationship, it takes both people to work through it together.

In a loving, long-term relationship, both partners play a role in resolving and healing challenges between them no matter what the issue is. Therefore, you must both be on the same page when it comes to where the breakdown was in the first place.

If there’s a discrepancy between why the relationship ended or ran into challenges, it will be nearly impossible to fix the issues that caused the break up in the first place.

But if you’re aligned in what you believe the issues were, then you can absolutely work on fixing them together.

10. Do you both take responsibility for your mistakes?

Similarly have you both taken ownership over where your relationship went astray? Have you both fessed up to your mistakes? Have you explored the root cause of these mistakes?

If anyone is still in denial, it will be very difficult to make the relationship work the next time around.

11. Have you grown as a person?

Have you experienced a shift in perspective? Have you worked on yourself? Have you spent time reflecting on what you really want out of the relationship? Have you come to some powerful realizations?

These are all indicators that you’re approaching getting back together from a growth mindset, which is essential to learning from the experience as a couple.

12. Have they grown as a person?

A common pattern in relationships is that one person is willing to do the inner work needed to grow and the other resists it. So what are signs that your ex is growing too?

  • Are they aware of their shortcomings?
  • Are they taking ownership and responsibility for their shortcomings?
  • Are they sharing insights that show they have been reflecting on their shortcomings?
  • Are they expressing a desire to work on their shortcomings?
  • Are they creating a solid plan to change?
  • Do their actions demonstrate that they are changing?

If your ex is doing these things, then it’s likely they are committed to growth, too, and entering back into the relationship from a healthy place.

13. Have you given each other enough space?

It should be clear by now that getting back together in a healthy way takes a fair amount of inner work, and both of you need space to do that work.

If it’s been ten hours or even ten days since you broke up, give it more time before making any decisions. Reign in your communication so you both can focus on yourselves individually right now.

There are a few good reasons why you need to give each other space.

First of all, you need to take some time to reflect on yourself and the things that went wrong in the relationship. To do this, it’s important to move from worrying about things to just simply reflecting on the good and the bad of the relationship.

If you’re going to see your ex soon, it will be too easy to slip into worry mode.

Secondly, by giving your ex space, you’re also giving him or her time to also reflect.

It may seem like your ex is just going to move on once they have some space. This is a risk you have to be comfortable taking.

I know giving your ex space seems hard and counter intuitive, but leaving them alone is one of the best ways of actually getting them back into your life.

However, you have to do it in a very specific way. You don’t want to simply cut off all communication. You have to talk to your ex’s subconscious and make it seem like you really and truly don’t want to talk to them right now.

Pro tip:

Send this “No Communication” text

“You’re right. It’s best that we don’t talk right now, but I would like to be friends eventually.”

This one needs to be sent to your ex at the right time for it to be truly effective.

But why I like it is that you’re communicating with them that you don’t really need to talk anymore. In essence, you’re saying that you don’t really need them to play any role in your life anymore.

Why is this so good?

You induce a “fear of loss” in your ex which will trigger their attraction for you again.

This is another text I learnt from relationship expert Brad Browning. I mentioned him above.

In this free video, he’ll show you exactly what you can do to make your ex want you again.

No matter what your situation is — or how badly you’ve messed up since the two of you broke up — he’ll give you a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately.

Here’s a link to his free video again.

14. Have you taken the time to figure out what makes you happy?

Focusing on yourself within the context of the relationship is hugely important, but guess what’s even more important? Focusing on you as an individual human being.

Have you reflected on your goals, needs, and desires independent from the relationship?

If you have determined the relationship does in fact line up with all your personal life goals, then it may make sense to rekindle the flame.

But you might find when you take your partner out of the equation that you have a better chance of accomplishing those life and relationship goals without that person in your life.

It takes some radical honesty to have this tough conversation with yourself, but only by having it, will you truly find the answers you need when it comes to this relationship.

15. Can you have open conversations about tough topics?

And speaking of tough conversations, are you and your partner having respectful conversations about difficult topics?

You want to make sure you’re having meaningful discussions about your relationship and what getting back together would look like.

You can ask questions like:

  • Why do you think we broke up?
  • What about you do you think contributed to the breakup?
  • What about me contributed to the breakup?
  • What changes do you think I need to make?
  • What changes are you going to make?
  • What lessons have you learned from this experience?
  • Why do you think it will work this time around?

When it comes to getting back together, it is not the time for endless pleasantries and flatteries that may have kicked off the relationship the first time around.

Those are nice, but right now it’s essential for your relationship that you are honest, transparent, and vulnerable.

16. Do you accept each other as you are?

When you’ve broken up with someone, you’ve likely had a front-row seat to some – if not, all – of the most unflattering parts of that person.

And while you both will be working on growing if you get back together, most people don’t change drastically.

Can you accept your ex as they are?

I know a couple who instead of engraving a romantic phrase like “Always and forever” in their wedding bands, actually engraved the characteristic that most annoyed them about the other person.

It was their way of committing to loving each other’s whole selves – annoying traits and all.

In The Mindful Couple Robyn D. Walser and Darrah Westrup, both clinical psychologists, explain that the very things that annoy us most about our partners exist on a continuum.

For instance, you may love that your partner is very loyal, but at the same time, it may drive you crazy that your partner is so stubborn. Those two traits are driven by the same thing – being dependable, reliable, and consistent.

So remember, the things that drive you crazy, in some regard, may also be the very things you love most. Then the question is “Can you live with and accept those things that annoy you?”

17. Can you both truly forgive each other for your mistakes?

We often think of forgiveness as being a generous act, but if your relationship is to survive and thrive, forgiveness is an essential step to getting back together.

As Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking a poison and then waiting for the other person to die.”

Ultimately, forgiveness is realizing that if you continue to be resentful, you are only further hurting the relationship and really yourself.

So have you truly forgiven your ex? Has your ex truly forgiven you?

If not, it doesn’t mean you can’t get back together, but your relationship will fare better if you both spend the time getting to a place of true forgiveness first.

18. How will you prevent falling back into old habits?

We all know the saying “Old habits die hard.” That’s true when it comes to our personal habits, and it’s also true when it comes to our habits as a couple.

What’s your plan for making sure that you are ending old habits? It will be most challenging at first to break bad habits you’ve established (maybe things like criticizing, getting jealous, etc.), so put a plan in place to address them when they come up.

No matter how much inner work you do, trust me, they will crop back up. Anticipate them. Expect them. And decide in advance how you will handle them.

Once you’ve overcome and worked through the bad habits a handful of times, it typically gets easier from there on out.

19. Do your family and friends think you should get back together?

I left this one for last because family and friends aren’t always the best resources when it comes to relationships – it definitely depends on who is in your life. So I’m not going to tell you that your family and friends must agree that you and your ex should get back together.

But sometimes our loved ones can help us see things that we may be missing.

What do the people who you trust the very most say? Do they have any major concerns about your well-being by getting back together with your ex? Do they simply express a preference about whether you’re a good match? Or better yet, are they excited by the prospect of you getting back together?

In some cases, you will certainly want to take people’s opinions with a grain of salt, but if anyone who you trust is expressing major concerns, hear them out and see if there is any truth to what they are saying.

Those who truly love you and who you truly trust only will have your best interest at heart.

Choosing vs. Needing

We started by discussing the difference between simply missing your ex and making a healthy, well-thought-out choice of getting back together.

I hope that this article has given you some serious food for thought and triggered some ideas about whether getting back with your ex is the right choice for you.

It’s a decision that ultimately only you can make, but these questions are designed to help you get in touch with that knowing inside of you about whether this relationship is worth investing more time and energy into.

I want to leave you with this quote from M. Scott Peck that I think sums it all up best:

“Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.”

If you can live without your ex but are choosing to get back together for the many healthy reasons listed above and because you know that you will continue to grow together, then no doubt you are on the right track and making the choice for all the right reasons.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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