I get this question a lot. Half the time it’s someone asking if they should reach out to an ex to reconnect. The other half of the time, an ex has reached out and you’re wondering if it’s wise to reconnect. Don’t worry, I’ve got answers, or a strategy for finding the answer, to each of these situations.
Let’s first define what I mean by an “ex”. I’m using the term in an extremely broad way to cover anyone who is a former partner of yours. A former casual sex partner, a former lover, a former significant other, spouse, etc. If you’ve had a romantic connection with someone in the past, I’d consider them an ex. Their significance to you aside, it’s just easier for me to use the term because the advice remains the same.
Before you decide to reconnect, you have to ask yourself a few questions. Your answers are going to determine what you do next. The questions are simple:
1. How did things end?
2. Why did things end?
3. Did things ended because of conflicting romantic goals?
a. If so, was the difference in goals that you wanted more, or that they wanted more?
b. Do you think that now your romantic goals have aligned?
4. Why do you/they want to reconnect?
Now, questions aside, here’s how the answers to those questions will inform what you should do.
If you had an amicable split, or at the very least a split that can be easily repaired, that’s a good start. If things ended acrimoniously, that’s a bad sign. If it just sort of ended, consider that a neutral end. Your ending doesn’t have to directly impact whether or not you reconnect, but if things ended with, let’s go the extreme route and say violence, abuse, etc., that’s 100% a do-not-reconnect scenario. If you both sort of drifted apart, keep asking yourself these questions.
Did things end because you wanted different things and you both agreed to part as friends, or did they cheat on you with your best friend? Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but both are equally possible. I’d be wary of reconnecting with someone who cheated on you, or hurt you in some way. Same goes if you’re the one who was guilty of bad behavior. Sometimes it’s better to not reconnect with someone who you’ve hurt. If the reason that things ended was just a mutual disinterest, or a natural end, you can consider reconnecting.
Going back to Question #2, if things ended because you wanted different things, i.e. one of you wanted monogamy, the other didn’t, keep that in mind. If it just ended because you were friends with benefits who drifted apart, no big deal. If things ended because of conflicting romantic goals, you have to ask yourself who wanted “more”, whatever “more” means to you. Commitment versus no commitment. Relationship versus “why put a label on it?”. Trust me, you’ll immediately know if you wanted more or if they did.
Continuing down this line of thinking, if the reason for your split was different romantic goals, do you think they’re the same now? You might not be able to speak for what they’re looking for, but you can speak for your own desires.
Last but not least, why reconnect? Why do you want to reconnect? Why do you think they want to reconnect?
Your answers to those questions should make it easy to figure out if you should even consider reconnecting, romantically or platonically.
How and why things ended, and whether or not you are both on the same page with romantic goals now should be the deciding factor as to whether or not you reconnect romantically. Not how great they are as a person, not how great your connection was, or anything else that isn’t those three things.
If things ended really poorly, and the reason why things ended is because they wanted to commit and you didn’t, and you still don’t want to commit to them, don’t reconnect. If things ended poorly, because you didn’t want to commit, but you’ve seen the error of your ways, you can probably try to reconnect (but don’t expect a warm welcome when you do). If things ended amicably, mostly because you just weren’t a good fit at the time, but you’ve grown and matured and think you both want the same things, reconnect.
If you’re not planning to reconnect with an ex for romantic reasons, how things ended is the biggest deciding factor.
Good Luck Out There.
Also published on Medium.