Your relationship has ended. You suffer through all that comes along with a breakup--the tears, the eating your feelings, the Facebook stalking your ex to see who they're talking to. But slowly, the cloud lifts, and you're ready to move on with your life, maybe you've signed up for an online dating site and are in the midst of asking your friends what photos you should upload. Perhaps you've accepted a date invitation with that cute guy from the gym. And then, just like clockwork, as if they can smell the scent of you getting over them, your ex asks if you can meet for coffee, or brings you flowers at work...and it can only mean one thing.
They want to get back together.
It's tempting, to be sure, and an offer that is almost impossible to resist. Think about it! You won't have to deal with the annoyance and frustration of being single and the lonely nights and terrible dates that come along with it. You can fall right back into your old patterns and habits; it will be so comfortable to be back together with your ex...just like things used to be. Nothing has changed! How perfect, right?
Nothing has changed. Which means that the exact same things that caused your relationship to end the first time will still be there. Once the bliss of getting back together has worn off, the same issues and problems will rise to the surface, and your relationship will be exactly like it used to be. The good...and the very bad. You'll fight about the same things and have the same resentments as you did before, and chances are, your relationship will meet the same fate as it did the first go around. Remember how you'd already gone through the crying, and the depression, and the eating-all-the-ice cream-in-the-land phase? Well, welcome back to breakup-ville. You've just set yourself back a few weeks.
What is the point in investing in something you already know is irreparably broken? If you love something, but it doesn't work, would you still buy it? No relationship is perfect, but if you fall into a cycle of breaking up and making up, soon the lines between what is acceptable and what is a deal-breaker become blurred because you both know that you can treat each other any which way you please without consequence. For example, your boyfriend of three years cheats on you. You end the relationship but ultimately agree to get back together. What is truly holding him back from cheating on you again? Not fear of losing you or breaking your heart because you've set the precedence that you'll take him back, no matter what.
Of course, there are plenty of people reading this right now who are thinking well, I know someone who got back together with their ex and they ended up happily ever after, so you're wrong! There are always going to be exceptions to the rule, and it is definitely possible to have a successful relationship the second time around. The key? Striking the perfect balance between starting fresh while not turning a blind eye to the problems that plagued your romance in the past. If you can do that, you may find that the second time is the charm!
Not the third time though. If you breakup that many times, it's safe to say you're better off single.
Elizabeth Marie is the social media manager at We Love Dates, a worldwide online dating site. She does not enjoy long walks on the beach.