Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware of Bennifer 2.0. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are not the only exes to give their romance a second shot – 44% of Americans have gotten back together with an ex after breaking up, according to a YouGov report.
This begs the question: Is rekindling things with an ex ever a good idea? The answer is yes, but with caveats. Here is the case for considering a romance with an ex.
1. External circumstances finally align
“People love the idea of holding a flame for someone stoically until destiny brings you together again,” says Chloe Ballatore, a relationship expert and the Founder, of Chloe’s Consciousness Training.
“Sometimes when you break up with someone because you have fallen out of love. But sometimes you break up with someone simply because of circumstances. If the latter is the case, it’s more likely you have a shot at a second time around. For example, if you two are suddenly in the same city again; or maybe one of you is newly single.”
In the case of Lopez and Affleck, they were both newly single at the same time for the first time in years. They decided to give their romance, which had crumbled under the pressure of public scrutiny and the media frenzy that surrounded the couple the first time around, a second chance. External circumstances played a role in their separation, but also their reconnection 18 years later.
You know what they say: Right person, wrong timing. If the timing is finally right, getting back together with that ex you were so compatible with and had such strong feelings for may be a good move.
2. Both of you have changed for the better
According to a study on on-again/off-again dating relationships published in The Journal of Social Psychology, lingering feelings are a predominant reason for renewing a relationship (duh!). There are nuances about what brings people back together though. Factors like uncertainty about the previous breakup and feeling like the break improved the dynamic of the relationship were related to an increased chance of relationship renewal.
In other words, if you never completely forgot about a former flame, and you feel that you’re both in a different place and that the dynamic could be better moving forward, it may be a good idea to revisit your connection. However, the reason you broke up is important, and you shouldn’t sweep things under the rug just because time has passed. “If the chemistry is still there, you may be tempted. Don’t jump in, however, unless you have reason to believe the issues you had the first time around will be resolved. Not everyone grows over time. Change is very obvious—you won’t have to struggle to find it if it’s there,” says Ballatore.
Lopez herself has said that both she and Affleck have put in work to better themselves emotionally over the years. “I feel like he’s at a place in his life where — just like how I feel about myself — it’s been a journey of learning yourself and figuring yourself out, getting to a place where you feel really good on your own and who you are so you can be in a happy, healthy relationship,” she told People.
In that sense, re-dating an ex can allow you to have a more conscious relationship than starting from scratch, provided that you have both invested in your growth and are both committed to nurturing your relationship from that healthier, more mature place.