Relationships have their ups and downs, and not every relationship ends happily ever after. Sometimes, when a relationship ends, it’s only the beginning. Many people (including myself) will fall into a deadly trap where they will leave their significant other, only to reunite. I’m here to implore you to reconsider. You know you have reservations and not all situations are little arguments or “cosmetic breakups” where you just said it to say it and you both know you’ll be back together. I’m talking about those common situations that have your friends asking “when will you wake up?” and have you as a person second guessing your moves. Exes should stay exes. Please allow me to present some specific circumstances which leverage my point:

#1: On Again, Off Again The on/off again relationship present a classic relationship situation. This occurs when a couple has certain irreconcilable differences that beckon them to “take a break” and put the lovefest on hold for an unspecified number of days. You would be delusional if you didn’t think this occurs normally in relationships. The successful relationships sort through this dirt to find that precious gold. Others go years without solving the core issues and the couples either end up miserably or end up miserably together. Break ups happen because of things like getting hung up on, that one bad argument, and other minor issues. We have to realize that if we don’t change the issue that’s truly at the root of the problem (or even attempt to look for it) then it’s time to chuck the deuces. If it’s minor, get over it. If you find yourself taking breaks every 3 months, then that should tell you something. Remember, ANYTHING can happen during a break, and those unknown variables can prove to be an issue down the line.

#2: History When you want to leave an ex, and even have other options, history becomes an excuse to make things work. “We’ve been together xx years” “we know each others families” and other phrases generate a sense of ownership and responsibility in the individual to stick it out. That SOUNDS good, but “History” is just another word for “comfort”. You want to get back with your ex because you’re already established in their world and vice versa. You know their good points, and their bad. You would rather deal with the devil you know than unknown demons. I used to subscribe to this as well, and soon saw the tragic flaw in my ways: If you know what you don’t like, and know the person WON’T change, returning to your ex will just complete the circle that encompasses the never ending cycle of a doomed relationship (See #1). Comfort is settling, and settling is dangerous. When you settle, you harbor ill feelings towards your significant other and it eventually leads to drama which neither one of you wants or needs. Sure you may have spent a good amount of time with that person, but you have to trust your intuition and remember: In life, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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#3: D.M.G – Defining Moments of Griminess Oh boy. This one is Killa. That one transgression or one mistake…or two or three that will destroy a happy home and end a couples run. Perhaps you cheated (or hit a chick when y’all were on a break, but she don’t want to hear that sh*t because she wasn’t doing that during her recess!)or maybe you lied about something major or even domestic violence. If this has happened to you, then you just experienced a DMG: Defining Moment of Griminess. A DMG is that one moment in a relationship, where no matter what’s said, you did something VERY wrong, and there’s really no going back. Now (I’m especially going to ride for the fellas) nobody’s perfect. We ALL make mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with giving a person a second chance. The problems begin when you an ex back who had a case of the DMG, and you HAVEN’T forgiven them completely. You won’t trust your ex ever, and this mistrust can and will cause you to act out of character (Snooping, change in physical interaction, etc). You do yourself a disservice and your ex by selling them a dream that you are “over it” and you no longer have an issue. You know yourself better than anyone. If your feelings change and you can’t get over it, let your ex go! Be real with yourself, and save yourself the trouble.

#4: Love This serves as one of the biggest reasons why exes reconcile. How many times have you heard your friends use the term “but I love him/her” when talking about an ex they can’t see themselves without. They fail to see the caveat with this statement, however: Many people don’t know the true meaning of love. Love is used as a crutch in relationships to settle for less and make excuses for behavior that’s either unacceptable in general or unacceptable to you. This word is passed around more freely than your favorite campus jumpoff. It’s used, reused, and recycled as justification for returning to a losing situation. Now, I don’t hate on this emotion at all. However, we need to realize that a lot of emotions disguise themselves as love and deceive us into discrediting our natural logic and judgment. Watch out for the following emotions which distribute impersonated love crazier than bootleg movies in Harlem:

  • Complacency – Complacency bootlegs love by allowing you to settle. You know there are certain things you don’t tolerate in relationships, yet you tolerated it with your ex. Your ex may not be ambitious, sexually capable, etc, yet you love them and want to be with them. This is not love, this is complacency. This is one of the less severely bootlegged love emotions, as when you grow to Love someone you accept them for them. This becomes an issue when major situations arise, and complacency can be the straw that broke the camels back. Understand that if you DON’T accept the person for who they are, there’s no reason to reconcile with your ex. You will be back in the same situation pissed off about the same things, and complacency won’t help the situation.
  • Caring – This love impostor packages itself as a classic phrase: “I love you but I’m not IN love with you” Like…WTF?! We all have heard this cop-out phrase at least once. I never knew what this meant. What…do you feel love yet don’t want to wife love up? Is that “love with benefits”? It’s like having a cell phone carrier yet not renewing your contract and still paying monthly. Here’s a newsflash: Your ex cares about you but doesn’t love you. If they loved you, they would never use that cliché line. If they’ve used that line, they don’t know what love is, or they refuse to tell you their true feelings. I believe it’s either one or both.
  • Fear– This emotion notoriously impersonates love. See, when people say that love keeps them coming back and love gives them the strength to stick the situation out, they need to take off the “love costume” and see it for what it is: Fear. Fear to lose the person that you’ve been with for all this time. Fear that your ex will find someone else and forget about you. Fear that you may not find another person on your ex’s level or above. Fear that you’ve been out of the game too long and forgot how to properly engage the single scene again. Fear preys on these insecurities, hides under the veil of loves, and powers individuals to fore go their morals and logical thinking to reconcile with the ex, because love is stronger than anything. Fear is a mind killer, and will hinder your judgment and personal growth. Yeah it may be rough out there, and you may have a tough time getting back in the game, but it then becomes a question of comfort and familiarity vs. peace of mind and an overall life upgrade. The damage to your heart and feelings
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As always, there are exceptions to the rule. The people who can go back to exes after crazy situations: I salute you. You have overcome comfort, fear, and insecurity, to make the relationship work. You made a commitment to get your life on track and it worked out. For the majority of us, that’s not the case. Breakups build character, and bad experiences show our true resolve and perseverance. This note serves as a warning and friendly advice from a dude who didn’t have these words of caution, had a few bad experiences, and whose stronger now because of them. My experiences taught me that when you know it’s over, you should let the past rest. Those excuses we make only serve to hurt us in the long run. Before you think about continuing a pointless cycle, be REAL with yourself, and have the strength and tenacity to see the situation from an unbiased, unclouded, unemotional eye. Make the right decision for you. Your thoughts?