Do You Really Want Your Ex Back?

August 24, 2012

One of the most interesting phenomenons is that of the men and women whose relationships have ended for very obvious reasons and after a while, they will decide they have made a mistake and will want to get back with their ex.

Do You Really Want Him Back?

Her story:

You have complained to everyone that he’s too demanding, too controlling, too sloppy or too neat, and you have no life of your own.  Every minute of your day is spent working, either at a job or being a stay-at-home Mom.  You don’t talk about anything anymore.  He comes in from work, eats dinner, and turns on the television for the rest of the night.  He’s always too tired to go out and too tired to take an interest in you or the kids.

You get a divorce and your friends are sympathetic.  For a while they invite you to dinner but not anywhere else.  They call you and see you occasionally for lunch but they don’t invite you to parties unless, by some miracle, there is going to be a single man at the party.  Now that you’re available, most of your friends see you as a threat and don’t want to take a chance that their husband may want to take up with you.

Most of the men who call you are creeps.  They just want to get you into bed and many of those men are the husbands of your friends.  You haven’t met anyone special and now you’re wondering if you made a mistake by divorcing your husband.  At least you know him; there are no surprises there.

Do you really want her back?

His story:

You have told everyone that you have outgrown her.  She can’t keep up, she’s gained a lot of weight, she isn’t interesting, she’s holding you back from realizing your full potential.

You get a divorce and then you hit the singles bars and everyone tries to fix you up with someone they know.  For a while, it’s exciting and you feel like you have been let out of prison.  You’re free.  You’re king of the hill.  

But you haven’t met anyone special.  All the women you’re meeting seem to be cut from the same cloth and you start to feel bored.  The conversations are the same.  If the women are in a career, some of them may want a no-strings affair.  Others may want to wait until they reach the top of the ladder before committing to marriage, and some of them may get tired of the rat race and want to marry a man who will take the pressure off her by sharing expenses or absorbing all the expenses.

Then one day, you run into your ex-wife and whoa!  She’s lost a lot of weight and looks fantastic.  In fact, she’s glowing.  She went back to school to get her degree and now she has a fulfilling career and has all kinds of interesting stories to tell about her new life.

Did you make a mistake by divorcing her?  Do you really want her back?

One of the factors that you will have to consider is that the roles and the rules will have changed.  If she has gone back to school and gotten her degree and is now in a fulfilling career, she will almost certainly never accept the old status quo.  She will not want to give up everything that she has worked so hard to attain.

With her weight loss will also be her new self-image and with her new fulfilling career will be her new level of self-confidence, and she will want to hang onto those accomplishments tenaciously.

She is glowing for a reason.  If she is in a career, rather than just working at a job, she is probably surrounded by people who appreciate her capabilities and who allow her to grow as a person and as a contributor to her team.  She is also probably encouraged to be an active participant in decision-making policies and thriving on the competition.

But one thing is clear: you will be expected to be an equal partner in the marriage.  You won’t be able to get away with coming home from work and plopping yourself down in front of the TV after dinner.  You will be expected to carry your own weight with household chores, the raising of the children, and carrying on full and meaningful conversations.  You will be expected to treat her as someone you value and not take her for granted.

Your ex will not want to go back to the unfulfilling life she had before the divorce and, unless the two of you can reach a compromise about how this new arrangement will play out, it won’t be long before major issues erupt.

For the most part, a couple’s ex-spouse is an ex-spouse for a reason and unless both parties have changed substantially, they will encounter the same problems that ultimately led to their divorce.

Occasionally, some of these couples can forgive and forget and get it right the second time around, but more often than not, the same issues that drove them apart will eventually resurface.  Sometimes, it’s better to know when to give up the fantasy; when it’s time to let go.

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