5 Signs Not to Get Back Together.

Via Kimberly Lo
on Feb 14, 2014
get elephant's newsletter

Cartier Bresson, relationships, love, broken heart, sexy, vintage photo, break-up, rejection

Whenever a relationship ends, there is usually the chance of reconciliation.

This can be true even in cases of the most acrimonious break-ups. Very few of us can say we’ve never gotten back together with an ex.

Sometimes it is for the best—often, getting back together does not result in forever. (I personally know of one couple who married, divorced, re-married—and later divorced again. I also know a few who break-up only to reconcile with such regularity that you could set a clock by it.) While each situation is different and it’s ultimately up to each individual to decide if they want to get back together or not, there are some things to watch out for which may indicate that reuniting is only going to result in a repeat of history.

Pay particular attention if your ex exhibits one or more of the following:

1. They fail to contact you until they want to get back together.

This should be a huge red flag. While most people need a break immediately following a break-up, a person who professes to still care about you should reach out if only to see how you are doing. A quick email, a text that says, “I hope you’re okay”, etc.—there should be something to suggest that they still care even if you are no longer in their life. This is especially true if you were together for years.

If, however, you don’t hear from someone for months or more and all the sudden they want to get back together, then ask yourself (and them) why they are suggesting this now.

Be even more cautious if #2 occurs.

2. They immediately suggest having sex again.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with someone you thought was loved and lost. It may even be what you desire.

However, rushing right back into the sack with someone who (probably) hurt you is not a good idea.

In my experience, I have noticed that men are more likely to suggest this than women. It may be the case that your ex didn’t miss you, but missed the sex.

Generally speaking, women have a much harder time having sex with little to no emotion involved. Some men, though, can do this with ease.

If there are any doubts that your ex is more interested in a booty call than a relationship, then say no. Make them wait. Despite what we may forget sex can often temporarily forget certain things but it cannot make them stay away forever which brings me to #3.

3. They refuse to discuss or work on any past issues.

In most cases, people break up because there are problems present in the relationship. Unless these problems are discussed and worked on, they will keep appearing much like a bad rash does.

Also, acknowledging problems is not the same as trying to solve them. There are some problems that are so great that no amount of time, love, or talking about it will allow one to get over over it and move on.

If that’s the case, then do both of yourselves a favor and don’t get back together.

4. There was an abuse involved.

When most of us hear “abuse”, we immediately think of physical abuse. Shoving, hitting, shaking, etc. is pretty easy to spot. However, emotional abuse happens more than many of us realize and often, it can be more insidious because the scars it leaves are not visible.

Sometimes, though, it can even be hard to recognize because some people are masters are doling it out in the form of “help” or advice.

Many years ago, I was involved with a man who loved to tell me that I was “damaged” due to my dysfunctional upbringing. He claimed that there was even scientific evidence that proved “people like me” had different brain structures than so-called “normal” people and because of this, I was doomed to a life of unhappiness.

As absurd as it sounds, I believed him. Later on when we were no longer together, I could see that this was just an attempt to put me down and send my already low self-esteem even further to the ground. Sadly, for a long time at least, it worked. Later on when I decided I could not be in contact with this man-not even as email friends-my only regret is that it took me so long to cut all ties.

This brings me to my last one.

5. This has happened before.

It may not have been you, but some people have a habit of treating others like rest stops. That is, they emotionally or physically withdraw, cheat, or do some combo of those things only to return to their former partner and do it all over again.

In most cases, this will happen again and again unless there is a sincere desire to end this pattern and even then, it may take the help of the professional.

Chances are if you feel like you are being used like this, you probably are.

If that’s the case, then you have the option of either continuing or putting an end to it.

This leads me to my final point: at the end of the day, only the two of you know if it’s best to get back together. In fact, some people even seem to thrive on the highs and lows that come with constantly breaking up and reconciling. If you happen to be one, then it’s your life.

Those who wish to avoid that should at least think about it  before reuniting with an ex.

While sometimes these things ends up happily ever after, many times they do not.

In either case, may all of us eventually find love whether it’s with someone who was previously in our lives or someone we haven’t yet met.


Your Soulmate Isn’t Who You Think It Is.

Relationships: Union with the Divine.

What To Do When A Relationship Makes You Cry.



Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives






About Kimberly Lo

Kimberly Lo is a yoga instructor and freelance editor & writer based in Charlottesville, VA. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework, travel, and photography. Connect with her on Facebook.


18 Responses to “5 Signs Not to Get Back Together.”

  1. Meg says:

    Dear Kimberly,
    I would like to say, I love all of your articles. Your writing speaks very close to my heart, and I am always eager to read whatever new piece you submit. Thank you so much for this one in particular. My first boyfriend and I broke up 5 months ago. Sometimes, the thought of us getting back together again fills me with hope. However, many of the above bullets ring slightly true. I know in my head it wouldn't work, but the heart wants what it wants, right?

  2. Heather says:

    I enjoyed reading this and your sharing of knowledge – and I completely agree. I'm happily married (2.5 years) and about to have our first child, and my husband and I went "3 rounds" as we jokingly call it before we committed and understood our relationship was meant to be. However, I will say that none of your first 4 signs applied to us, at all, so perhaps your theory about those common sense items are spot on. I think your point at the end that every relationship is different and only the two people involved know what's best for them. I've never provided relationship advice to anyone who asked (the key being "asked!") without first saying "only you know what's best for you." Cheers

  3. arrogant hippie says:

    Is there anyway an ex could be worth getting back together with even if they had all 5 of those red flags?

  4. kimberlylowriter says:

    Thanks for the comments. I am deeply flattered.

    Yeah, the heart wants what the heart wants. It's easy to sit back from a distance and say don't do this or don't do that.

    Best of luck to you no matter how things pan out.

  5. kimberlylowriter says:

    Congratulations of being married for 2.5 years and the baby.

    Yes, each relationship is different. If the two parties feel it is working, then it is working-outside comments do not matter.

    However, I wish I had kept my eye open for these signs when I was in the situation I describe. Sigh! Oh well. . . learning experience I suppose.

  6. Mink says:

    I recently met up with my ex and all the above points applied – although he would say #3 applied to me. He was pushing to see me and wanted sex pretty much straight away. Fifteen months ago he moved on without telling me which hurt me incredibly – he has apologised but in the same breath said that we had broken up and he found someone else, so in his eyes he had done nothing wrong. We got along ok but for me the trust and the good feelings I had for him have gone. Sleeping with him was definitely the wrong thing to do. At the airport when we were leaving on our respective planes he put me down in public and walked off to catch his plan. That was six weeks ago and there has been no contact since. I wish I had followed my gut instinct and had never gone. Never again.

  7. Nicole says:

    I loved your article. I especially love the part where you point out the different forms of abuse. i was physically abused as a child and always prided myself on not dating a guy like that, but I recently realized I had a string of men that were emotionally abusive. They didn't do it outright with words of telling me I was ugly or worthless, but they used backdoor methods. I realized after the latest one what was going on; he would make little comments like asking me why my shorts weren't shorter and telling me my panties were too big and i need to wear thongs because he was tired of seeing them under my shorts. Mind you, my panties were quite tiny and these words really bothered me as I was intimidated by the fact that he spent his entire day on a college campus with barely legals that wore itty bitty clothes and found an older man with a house way more impressive than I did. I even let the issue leak over into bed where he told me that having sex with me was like having sex with a virgin and he was no longer sexually attracted to me. I write this in hopes that another woman can read this and avoid the same situation I was in or a woman in that situation can recognize and leave it.

  8. orchidblossomraindrops says:

    My ex and I broke things up completely on October of last year. After that he only seemed to contact me during holidays and he would cause drama. Recently, I had to deal with his bad side once again and that's when it finally hit me that this was only going to get worse. He was harrassing my family and I that I could not take it anymore and on top of that he was physically abusive. I was willing to hang out with him but then someone gave me back an old phone I had with text messages from him right before we started dating. In those text messages there were threatening messages telling me that he wanted to kill a friend of mine and also messages where he says he's angry at me and never wants to speak to me again to apologizing and then cursing. I stopped looking at those messages at that time and just focused on our interaction between us in person. I spoke with someone about him and showed them the messages and as we talked, she made me realize that he is an abusive person. His father had been abusive to him and his family which is something he always said he didn't want to be. It turns out that he too became that way. I had seen your article before my situation got out of hand but I think that people also need to be aware about the other sides of an abusive relationship. The controlling part of it. I always thought that abuse had to be physical which it was in my case but because he didn't do it all the time, I never caught on until later. Once I started to think back to how he treated me, his jealousy, his controlling nature, and how he forced me to push away so many people and give up on so many opportunities. Not only that but he also made my friends feel unwelcome and sometimes it showed. As I read your article once again, I realize that I should have never gotten back together with him after he broke my heart. When I started to look at things differently and standing up for what was right and felt right to me, he started to push me away. He didn't like me wanting to do more things in life and telling him what I thought was wrong. He tried to get me to file a police report against someone who was innocent and he broke it off over me saying no. I think this is a great article and it's nice to look at it and realize that I really need to keep going.

  9. socaleditor says:

    orchidblossomraindrops: sounds like you and i have a lot in common. would love to compare stories somehow.

  10. Destiny says:

    My name is Mrs. Jason Destiny,From USA ,and I’m
    happily married with a lovely husband and two
    children.I had a very big problem with my husband
    few months ago,to the extent that he even packed his
    things away from our house. He left I and and my kids
    for almost 5 months,and i tried all my possible best
    and effort to bring him back.I discussed it with a very
    good friend of mine,and he gave me an advice
    concerning a spell caster, that he is the only one that
    can handle my situations and problem,that he’s
    always ready and able to do anything related to spell
    casting and helping of the needy, Pls every every one i
    would like you all to contact him with his email
    address,which is as
    [email protected] I
    never believed in spell casting,but My friend
    convinced me and i had no choice than to follow my
    friend advice,because i never dreamed of loosing my
    lovely Husband. And i contacted him with his email
    address,and i discussed with him all my problems and
    worries and so surprisingly,he told me that I’ll get my
    husband back a day after. I didn't believed Him, until
    when i got home,the next day,my husband called me
    to inform me that he is coming back home…..So
    Amazing!! That’s how i got my husband back through spell
    casting and our relationship was stronger than ever.
    One of the price i was asked to pay was to tell it to the
    people around me that problems like this,can always
    be solved by Dr Paul. So! my advice to you out
    there is to visit this same E-mail address,and tell him
    your problems too,if you are in any condition related
    to love issue or getting your ex back or and problem
    at all, pls Contact him and have a happy life. you can
    contact him via email ([email protected])

  11. Yvonne says:

    Thank you for this. I was in an on and off again relationship for the past 7years. There were incidents of cheating that he explained away. We got back together 3 times during this time. This last time, he said that he had learned his lesson and he was there for the long haul. I kept having this haunting feeling that he was cheating on me, even though he kept reassuring me, by showing me text messages etc. We had a wonderful christmas eve, but he didn’t want to spend the night, which made me wonder a bit, but I shrugged it off. Then we were to spend new years eve together..he said that he wasn’t feeling well (he had had a cold a few days earlier) and even though I was dissappointed, I said that it’s fine and I will see him the next day. The next day came and I tried to reach him all day…and when I finally did he said that he had lost his phone. I was upset but didn’t really think anything of it..we were supposed to meet the morning of the 4th. I received a TEXT (yes, you read that correctly) message: “im really sorry, but we are breaking up”. I found out later that he had met some stupid little young one and was hooking up with her. Well, it ends up that we met to “talk” about what had happened and ended up having sex. He showed absolutely no regret, no remorse for cheating on this new “girlfriend”. It opened my eyes as to what type of man he is. It hurt all the way down to my core. I kept asking myself: How did I not see this (I did but he explained all my fears away)? How could I be so naive and so stupid to have believed him? He is smooth and will never be faithful to anyone, other than himself.

  12. Free at last says:

    I did the yo-yo relationship for 4 years and can finally say I freed myself from that unhealthy situation this year. These types of relationships can be intoxicating because of the extreme highs that tend to accompany them. Keep in mind that they may seem euphoric but that is only because you're comparing the peaks to the extreme lows that also come along with these situations. All I can say is don't mistake chemistry and emotional attachment with love. Looking back I can't believe I continued to return to someone that was so wrong for me just out of fear of not finding that emotional connection and attraction again. Don't ever compromise your values and deal breakers. This has been the most painful learning experience in my life so please keep this fact in the front of your mind if you're considering opening the door to the past – would you place a bet on something that has very low odds and a very small return or something that has higher odds and potentially a much higher return??? Fresh start/clean slate here I come 🙂

  13. amol says:

    we were in relationship past 2 or 3 months .we were in training together AMD she got job and i did not but her joing is late after that i came to my hometown because my pg exam and i feel changed her behaviour and i doubt her and asked questions but she got angry everytime and then we argue on the Chat….after some days she sad this not love and that was attraction between us and someTimes she did avoid me and i did not get good answers from her side ..i kiss her in the past then i went to meet with her and she said she dont want to stay in relationship and she said there is no feelings and broke up but after broke she said i dont love u but i care for u and i came back to my home and we talk on chat she said we r friends than i told her daily that come back and i love u…but she said no i dont love u and she said i want to live my life freely and dont want to stay in relationship….we talked every they and sometimes she did avoid me….i ask her again and agaim and she told me that no feelings for me….i start no contact for 5 days and she reply 2 day hi i did not reply the she sent a joke but i did not reply the she sent hi 5 day i did not relply and the she said ohhhh attitude again i din not reply after 6 day she block me and i was angry i called her the she did not pick my call and after so many call she said i dont love u now i am happy single i asked to her do u like someone elsee she said no i happy now…i feel free and again i talk on The Chat and ask everything and now she was angry and said to me u asked again and again this question and now i will never reply u….now she avoid me but I love her and she did not reply and i also dont message her now since the 3 days. she said to me r u maid u always call me and text me but i dont want to discuss that topic again…now she dont reply me and avoid me…but i love her thats why i asked too much…

    i Want her back she is my first girlfriend.

  14. Chiara W. says:

    Well… One should believe that she deserves much much better than somebody manifesting all those red flags! I can't think that he could be worth it to get back for any reason.

  15. pytofchitown says:

    This is so timely! Just "broke up" my situationship today…although it was really over awhile ago. Thanks.

  16. Morine says:

    It’s been over a month that my ex of 7 yrs and I separated. We still love each other but we were also each other’s first relationship. So we kind of want to explore while we are still young. I miss him, but even if he asked for me back I would so no since this is a time for us to start getting stuff out of our system. I can not predict the future, but this article keeps me hopeful. Thank you

  17. Cat says:

    Thank you 'Free at last' you just made me realise what I was doing with my ex.