Getting Back With An Ex Is Totally Okay
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Getting Back With An Ex Is Totally Okay

Knowing when to stay is just as important as knowing when to leave.

Getting Back With An Ex Is Totally Okay
Serving Joy

Two years to the date after we began talking, I took my ex to my therapy session with me.

Or is he my boyfriend? I'm really not sure what to call him right now, but we're trying to work things out.

On July 28, 2014, he sent me a message on Facebook, saying he noticed my posts about the TV series "Chopped," and that he watched the show regularly as well. We hit it off quickly, and less than two months later, we were dating.

We broke up on May 24, 2016. I'd been thinking about doing it for about a month, but he beat me to the punch. But for the next month, the two of us went back and forth over whether it was the right decision. We still texted every day and even saw each other on occasion. We both wanted to try to be friends. I cried daily, even at my desk at work. He spent his days wondering whether he should still confide in me the way he did when I was his girlfriend.

I don't fully know what went on in his mind, but as more time passed, the more accepting I was of the breakup. Despite our many conversations about spending our lives together (including marriage), I had come to terms with the idea that my life went on without the romantic relationship.

By the end of June, I felt like the person I was before I met him. I'd moved out of my apartment and into a townhouse down the street with a friend. I was back into working out four days a week and writing, just like I had done regularly back in 2014, both of which were things I'd neglected when I met him and struggled to get back into the longer we were together.

Then on July 4, he called me late that night after the fireworks. He said he wanted to talk to me about getting back together.

My first reaction was fear. What would my parents think? My friends? His friends and family?

My friends made comments that I was happier now. So did my mom. His sister was glad we were trying. I didn't know what his parents thought.

I recently read another Odyssey article about the importance of speaking up when a friend is in a bad relationship. The writer advised individuals to get out of that relationship if it's abusive, interfering with your life, making you unhappy, etc. I feel the need to write this in response.

Let me clarify by saying I never in a million years condone staying in an abusive relationship. Ever. If you are in a physically, sexually or emotionally abusive relationship, get out.

But we live in a culture today where leaving is the norm for any problem. The answer from friends, parents, coworkers, random people on the Internet seems to always be to "break up with him/her." Communication is low. Divorce rates are high. My nearly-two-year relationship seems "long" to some of my friends. So it made sense to me that I was afraid of what people would think of us trying to work things out.

My own parents broke up and got back together back when they were still dating. Their break only lasted two weeks. And they celebrated their 30th anniversary last December. How? By working together. Understanding each other. Communication.

As I sat there on the phone with him, I realized that no matter what changes I had undergone during our break, I couldn't erase him. He had really helped me understand who I was as a person; before I met him, I'd had the plan to apply to film school at New York University and try to be a movie director. But he helped me realize I hated the video classes in my curriculum at Briar Cliff, so why would film school be a good idea?

He also helped me recognize and treat my deep-rooted anxiety that finally surfaced after moving across Iowa upon graduation from college - in fact, he was the one who referred me to my therapist, who has helped me enjoy the things I love again, like attending the group exercise classes at the YMCA network in the Quad Cities, where I now live.

And now, in breaking up with me (and wanting me back), he helped me realize that a relationship does not have to be all-consuming, but just because you and your significant other are having problems, that does not mean you have to break up. And even though we talked to each other less, we actually communicated way more in the days that we were broken up than we had in the last two months of our relationship.

So that's why I decided to ask my ex (or boyfriend, or whatever he is right now) to come to my next therapy session with me. I hope that the advice my therapist, a disinterested third party without emotional biases toward either of us, can help us decide whether or not to stay together, and if we do, have a healthier relationship this time around.

And maybe we won't. And maybe if you're having problems with your significant other, you won't. But you're not prohibited from trying to rekindle if you're both willing to do what is necessary. It doesn't matter what your friends think - they don't know what will make your relationship work because they are not you.

So while it's important to know when to walk away from a relationship, it's equally important to know when it's okay to stay... or to return.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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