Are We Never Ever Getting Back Together?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about couples that break up and get back together. My girl Taylor Swift’s new song is called “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and she seems really sure about ending it with this guy.

T. Swift is always timely with the relationship insights.

So Tay-Tay doesn’t want to get back together — ever ever never. So does getting back together just not work?

I had one relationship where all we did was break up and get back together for two years. During that time, we lived together and would just end it, still living in the same house by the way, and see other people — bringing them in and out of the yep, house we shared. Then, we’d have some big fight and end up sleeping together again. The last time we got back together, even we knew how ridiculous and awful we were being and so we hid our rekindling from our friends. They would have flipped out. Now, that’s an extenuating circumstance — we had to see each other in the house we shared all the time, so it was harder to actually break up for good.

Getting back together never solved any of our problems. It was like a band aid over a broken leg. It was like a Pavlovian reaction. I would never ever ever get back together with that guy.

Then, there was someone I dated freshman year. We were too immature then, and when we rekindled our love affair senior year — in what my friends jokingly called “The Year of the Comeback” — we were more ready to be with each other. It was way better than the first time around. We knew we had feelings for each other, but we weren’t ready to be together when we were 18. Second go around, at 22, didn’t end up being right either, but it was worth a shot, and it brought me closure on the whole thing. It was ultimately a healthier relationship with someone I still cared about. That’s sort of one of the best case scenarios of getting back together.

So let’s say you’re broken up and you want to get back together. What’s the best way to approach it? Right now it just feels awkward like a weird take-backsies in kindergarten. Should I email them a .gif of Will Arnett saying, “I’ve made a huge mistake” from Arrested Development? Will that get the message across?

The bigger question is: Does getting back together ever work out? It relies mostly on faith, right? Because while you were broken up, that other person probably slept with or at least flirted with other people. That sort of sucks. (Unless you are polyamorous, then it’s par for the course.) They were single, so obviously it’s okay, but still, now you have to think about what they did when you were broken up and they probably have some questions about what you got up to. Do you divulge that kind of thing? Do you just pretend it never happened and you were never broken up and everything’s perfect?

Doesn’t that sort of rewrite the narrative of your love story into this weird denial zone? Like, “We always knew we were meant for each other.” Did you though? Because one of you banged that bartender she always thought was cute and the other had a drunken threeway in Bermuda. I guess part of getting back together is being mature enough to ignore that stuff, to realize it was what it was and that you were broken up and it had nothing to do with your relationship. That’s being a non-dramatic grown up. Okay. Doable.

Even bigger question: Have you both changed since you were last together? The problems you had that caused this break up will still be there even if you realize you’re super duper meant to be. He’ll still have trouble communicating his feelings, or she’ll still be mayor of Jump To Conclusion-Town. You can’t really expect getting back together to work out if neither of you have worked on your issues. The point of being apart is to better yourself so that when you do get back together, you’re more ready to be in a relationship with this person. You’ve got to figure out why it didn’t work the first time and go from there.

You’ve also got to forgive. You hurt each other. This isn’t like starting over with a fresh, unmarred person. This is someone with whom you have history and scar tissue. To get back together, you have to go into it without grudges or resentment. It all seems very difficult. What if you’re just falling into an easy pattern? What if you need to break the cycle? But also…what if they’re the person for you?

Is it worth the risk? TC Mark

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://gravatar.com/dakotaballard Jamie

    No. Never.

  • http://menarcheintheuk.tumblr.com Liz (@cheezliz)

    Jesus H. Christ. TC must keep a million cameras set on the lives of its readers. This is eerily timely.

    • Sheena

      ^—–Amen! They always post things that are very pertinent to me!

    • Jess

      agreed!

  • Azlyn

    What a poignant and insightful read: it couldn’t have come at a timelier moment when I’d just seen the ex earlier this evening. Whilst I was indeed contemplating the idea of getting back together again, I realised after so many thrashing sessions and tears that all the underlying fundamental issues could not be resolved. There was no point dwelling on it even if we’re “deeply meant to be.” it hurts alot definitely but I tell myself that I have to be ready to move on. And move on I will :)

  • H

    I have a friend who had a yo yo relationship with her “boyfriend” for about 5 years. She is sole reason that when I now hear “oh, blah and blah have broken up”, I immediately think …”yeah but they’ll get back together.” Sigh.

  • Sammy

    Yes. Do it.

  • Kristian Chesser

    it never works out…

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/08/are-we-never-ever-getting-back-together-2/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Love & Sex Add a comment […]

  • http://tiffanylui.wordpress.com Tiffany

    Loved it. It’s amazing (and weird) how so many of us are going through the same thing right now..

    • Sheena

      It is weird, but also comforting to know I’m not the only one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josephlamour Joseph Lamour

    Oddly, I know a couple that broke up once, we hated the guy and when he came to a party we threw him out (or basically stared at him until he realized we didnt want him there). But they got back together like a week later, and now they’re married. And they just celebrated their 1yr wedding anniversary, three years after the breakup. So… sometimes it works!

  • http://gravatar.com/aryaharsono aryaharsono

    You make a strong point with the emotional conflicts behind break-ups. But what about situations where the break up was due to non-emotional issues, such as distance? Does your stance on getting back together after a break up apply to getting back together after those kinds of situations?

    To me, especially with reasons such as distance or relocation, it is possible and maybe even worth it to get back together. You get a second chance at something that was taken away from you, especially when the reason for getting back together is because you’re now living in the same place again. But, yes, it will be different. It won’t be the same as before, but that’s what makes it better. Like I said, a second chance.

    But as many comments have already mentioned, this piece was insightful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.raymond.3 Rebecca Raymond

    My girlfriend and I broke up but got back together…….a year later and no more break ups..

  • M

    Sigh. I have alot to say on this as i’ve gotten back together with 2 exes. Each time it was after letting a year+ pass and then we both got nostalgic, and had stayed some version of friends anyway and the timing just worked out. The first ex I realized after a rather tumultuos year that all the reasons we had broken up in the first place were still there so we walked. And now i’m still with the second ex on round 2. At first it seemed that the nearly 2 years apart had made both of us grow up but we had to get through a lot of pain over what happened those 2 years apart…and though we’re stil together now….i’m starting to be reminded of why we broke up the first time. How many painful times can you rip off that same band-aid? Good article. Just affirms the thoughts racing through my brain on how good of an idea it is to go back for seconds.

  • alexander arnaudov

    I like the end. So true. Currently broken up, but I don’t believe that after 1,2,3 years we could get together as she said. It’s the material geographical distance, the differences between us that we were blind to see. But it’s the truth. Maybe could work out for some people, but it’s fast so impossible as it sounds. I don’t know. Time is everything, or timing?

  • Ali O

    Totally reminded me of a question posed on Don’t Be Helena recently…http://dontbehelena.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/date-and-redate-go-into-a-bar/

    Man. (Or Woman.) I think the honest answer is it’s different for everyone. Sometimes it’s really really over forever for one person and not the other – and unfortunately the other person has to deal. Other times sometimes you go out in the world, grow and mature, and come back together (like you said). But, and maybe I’m ridiculous for tossing this reference out, perhaps we should heed a piece of advice from “He’s Just Not That Into You” and assume that getting back together happily is the exception, not the rule.

    Doesn’t mean I’m abstaining from certain wishful thinking. Though to be fair, I have an ex who refuses to abstain from certain wishful thinking and it drives me up a wall.

    Hm.

  • Jana

    Loved the article. I’d never get back together with an ex. For me, breaking up is very serious and not something i take lightly. If i break up with someone or they break up with me- for whatever reason, there’s no getting back together again. I figure theres so many people in the world, why try it again with someone who you’ll most likely have a flawed relationship with? If it was meant to be, you would have stayed together in the first place. I’d much rather try and start something new with a different person

  • Joanna

    My boyfriend and I broke up, got back together and we’re still together after 5 years.

  • http://demolitiondemo.wordpress.com msdemi

    I think making that choice to return to the same person means admitting you are willingly returning to the same problems. That other person doesn’t usually undergo a huge life change in the three months you were apart. It’s all very nostalgic to have that longing for someone. Especially when you do find that perfect .gif to send. Now, I just save the .gif or find a better one with Liz Lemon.

  • http://cmsaunders.wordpress.com cmsaunders

    IMO it depends on the circumstances. If one of you is just having a bad day and speaks out of turn, which causes an argument (for example) its not really a problem. But if the girl you lived with and supported for 2 years whilst working 4 jobs to take her on the holiday of a lifetime (her choice) cheats on you repeatedly with a Romanian short order chef, even going so far as to use your money to buy him gifts and pay for the meals and hotels they shared, then absolutely not. See ya.

    • Tk

      I know this comment wasn’t meant to be hilarious, but it was. Sounds like your story would make a great article.

      • http://cmsaunders.wordpress.com cmsaunders

        Haha, thanks! Maybe when the dust settles a little….

  • http://cmsaunders.wordpress.com cmsaunders

    P.S. Not that I am bitter. Er, much!

  • yeahright

    if it didnt work the first time , or the second time…

    jeez it must work the third…

    ..

  • http:/ihopetobebetter.wordpress.com aeslehc

    Reblogged this on Wandering Thoughts and commented:
    WTF. It’s like written for me. Hahaha!

  • Tina & Her Impossible Pursuits

    Reblogged this on Tina and Her Impossible Pursuits and commented:
    This helped me cope up with my breakup. I am still hopeful though but I still need to fix myself first and be the perfect person to the one I love.

  • http://duskromance.wordpress.com Richelle-Joy Chia

    Reblogged this on Happiness is a form of courage ♡ and commented:
    You’re worth so much more. I deserve one last chance. I’ll make it right, I will…. I really will…….

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    […] Don’t play Taylor Swift. The fact is, she GETS it. She really does. She’s whining on behalf of all of us and I swear to […]

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/10/5-things-you-shouldn%e2%80%99t-do-after-10-pm-for-people-with-unreliable-emotions/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Don’t play Taylor Swift. The fact is, she GETS it. She really does. She’s whining on behalf of all of us and I swear to […]

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