I think it’s one of the biggest lesbian stereotypes out there: Lesbians give their exes a few too many chances. I know it’s been true in my own life, and I know a lot of women who have gone back to their worst ex, time and time again, and then blow off the woman who would literally do anything for her. I almost lost my current girlfriend that way, before we were even together… Thankfully, she’s one of very few people I’ve ever met who are more stubborn than I am.
It can be extra difficult if your ex wants to give things another try, but you’re already ready to move on. It can be difficult to remember why you broke up, when at that exact moment, all you want to do is run back to the relative safety of your already-established relationship. (The single life is hard sometimes!) But, there are some ways you can keep yourself from making this mistake – just remember this little list when she tries to come crawling back.
1. Remember why you broke up.
People can change, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgive her for the way(s) she hurt you. If she royally screwed up the relationship, you don’t have to give her another chance just because she asks.
2. Remember who you are as a person.
Often, when we’re in a “big” relationship (whether it’s long-term or just has a huge impact on you), we tend to lose sight of who we are without a partner. If you can’t remember who you are without your ex, it’s definitely not time to be in a relationship yet – especially not with the same person it already went wrong with once.
3. Remember what you love about yourself.
The desire to go back to someone who treated you badly (or who you were simply not right for) can be overwhelming if you have personal insecurities. This is especially true if she ever told you that you’d never find anyone better. Just the fact that she says this means you definitely can. Focus on your positive qualities and the things you have to offer to the right person.
4. Remember what you liked about your ex.
Believe it or not, it is good to think of the positives – but remember that they’re just memories. If things were still like they were in the “good old days”, you wouldn’t have broken up. Instead of using her positive traits as an excuse to let her back into your life, use them to help define what you’re looking for out of your next partner. Keep in mind that you can’t force your new girlfriend to share your ex’s positive traits, and you shouldn’t compare her to your ex. Try to separate her qualities from her person as much as possible.
5. Remember what you didn’t like about her, too.
Just as important as the positive things you liked, it’s important to remember the things you didn’t like. Of course, recounting everything she ever did “wrong” won’t do either of you any good. Instead, focus on the things that you won’t put up with again – and remind yourself how many of these she was guilty of. You deserve to not feel the same type of pain twice.
6. Remember that you deserve some “you” time.
For those of us who have spent most of our “adult” lives (I’m including the teen years here) in a relationship, it can be really hard to be happy single. From a scientific standpoint, though, women aren’t actually happier when they’re in a relationship. A happy relationship will have no noticeable mental health improvements over being single, but an unhappy relationship has the potential to plummet your mental and physical health.
7. Remember that she needs time, too.
The urge to go back to our exes is, in short, a lazy move. People go back to their exes when they’re too lazy to move on and let themselves heal – it’s easier to fall back into old habits than to adapt to a new situation. If your ex is trying to come back into your life, you might need to be the voice of reason for her. Tell her that you’re focusing on yourself right now and that she should really do the same.
8. Remember everything you sacrificed to make the relationship work the first time.
Most of us make sacrifices in our relationships – it’s a healthy part of the relationship. But sometimes, we get drawn into making sacrifices that we didn’t actually want to make – and this isn’t a compromise as much as it is “pruning”. If you can identify at least one thing that you gave up for your ex that you really want to get back, work on that instead of letting her back into your life. Most of the time, relationships fall apart when one person feels that they’re giving up more than their partner. If you’re the one who gave up more, use this to strengthen your resolve.
9. Remember your faults, too.
Guess what – most relationships don’t fall entirely on one person or the other. Most likely, you both made mistakes, and if you’ve got some big ones, you need to remember how they impacted your ex. Chances are, if she’s trying to come back into your life, she’s not remembering these things. You probably don’t need to list everything you did wrong – chances are, that’ll just cause unnecessary drama – but you should remind her that you two are wrong for each other.
10. Remember that you can’t be friends with someone you’re in love with.
If your ex tries to get back together, and your compromise is to just be friends, stop. You’re not doing her any favors – you’re only giving her false hope. As humans, we are incapable of being “just friends” with someone we’re in love with. It’s torture, and it’ll only prolong the pain. If either of you is still holding onto feelings for the other, it’s too soon to be friends.
11. Remember that you don’t have to reply.
For a long time, I believed that every text message needed a response. I was actually the type of person to apologize if someone messaged me when I was busy – like it was my fault that they messaged me at a bad time. Not everything needs a response – sometimes, the strongest answer is no answer at all.
12. Remember that no one can tell you what’s right – except you.
There are going to be situations where you’re the only one who thinks you’re making the right choice. That’s okay. You don’t need to validate yourself. If you think that going back to your ex is the right move, after you’ve gone through all these steps, then by all means – give it another chance. Only you and your ex know what the situation is really like – everyone else can only speculate. Just remember to address the issues that you found in the previous steps.