Why You Want Your Ex Back: Especially When You Know it Won’t Work

Photo by Sam Rios on Unsplash

You were with someone that you thought was pretty wonderful. You had some good times, and then, some not so good times. For whatever reason, you decided to part ways. 

But you keep having this nagging feeling that makes you think you want your ex back. But why? The relationship is over.

If we were to generalize breakups, they could go one of 2 ways. Either, the breakup happens in the heat of the moment after some kind of hurt or disagreement. Or, it is after a thought out discussion that the relationship isn’t going in the direction that works for at least one of you. 

Either way, both yield a similar result. Hurt! 

Matthew Hussey confirms this in his presentation, Breakups are hard. Really hard. Especially if you didn’t do the breaking up. It hurts! In his presentation, he shares the sting left over of feeling like you were not enough, or that your ideal person is now with someone else. Here are a few deeper pieces that I have to offer.

Breaking up in the Heat of the Moment

Breaking up in the heat of the moment signifies that at least one of the parties involved gets quite emotional. Becoming heated in the moment is a sign that at least one person in the relationship struggles to manage their own emotions. Note: This is not always the person that appears the most emotional. 

A very emotional person can also be the one who is able to entice strong emotions from the other individual while they themself remain calm. This is a subconscious attempt to make the partner appear more emotional for the sake of finger pointing. This takes attention away from the individual who struggles to feel security within themself and within the relationship.

If you are in a relationship with someone who is intensely emotional, things won’t change unless that person makes attempts to grow from within. They have to do the work. You can not do it for them.

And vice versa. If you are the one that struggles to manage your emotions, your partner can not do that for you. You have to do the work.

Breaking Up Consciously

Things are a bit different if you came to a rational conclusion that the relationship was not going to continue. In this scenario, there is evidence of emotional maturity. Each party was able to assess what was needed going forward, and consequently mange the difficult emotions that come with a break-up.

Why You Can’t Get Over It

Regardless of the situation, the desire to get back together is fueled by the happy chemicals that were shared during the good times and the chemistry of desire that was produced when you were apart. That desire and fantasy about what you hope your relationship was, and what it would be like when you were together again. 

This is powerful biochemistry designed to bring you together. It is the chemistry that brought you together in the first place. In the beginning of a relationship, biochemistry plays a nasty trick. 

In the beginning stages of a relationship, the mind releases chemicals that blind you to what is really in front of you. This can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. This chemistry makes us see only the wonderful things in the other person. It helps us to create fantasies that support what we want or need in our own world. 

I often hear clients say, I just wish things can be the way they were in the beginning of our relationship. It just felt different then. 


It will always be like this in the early stages of any relationship. It is mother natures way of getting us together so we will make babies. The number one drive of our organism is for survival of the species. Reproduction is an essential player in that process.

Once you pass this milestone in a relationship, that so called honeymoon phase, the dynamic changes. The person that you thought was your partner, appears quite different. The person that you thought you were with is often a combination of the best parts of that person combined with the person that you want to fill your own needs and desires

If you have decided that your relationship is over, but you still pine to be with your ex, it may be a craving for that enticing biochemistry. 

And here is the deeper part. The biochemistry that you yearn for is very similar to the biochemistry that you are meant to experience at a very young age. 

The chemistry that bonds the mother to the child (or the next best option as a primary caregiver) is biology’s way to make sure that a child is clothed, fed, sheltered, essentially protected until the child can protect themself. That biochemistry is very similar to the biochemistry that is experienced in a romantic relationship. 

If you feel like you just can’t shake that desire to have your ex back, it may be more than the desire for your ex. There could be some deeper wounds that are feeding the pain. 

Your don’t have to have a terrible childhood to have childhood wounds. I am convinced we all have these. Deep emotional pain is a gift. A right of passage to get to know yourself. To connect to yourself on a very deep level. 

As adults, it is common to seek another to fill these voids. But that is impossible. That has to come from inside of you.

And, if that’s the case, then you don’t need the relationship, you need to heal the stuff that is driving this longing. Which may just be a sense of connection. As an adult, if we seek this type of connection from other adults, without healing what is inside of us, it will interfere with having a healthy relationship.

Building that strong relationship with yourself at a very deep level is the path to strength and confidence. Once you have this, all your other relationships will be a wonderful bonus. Something that compliments who you are and what you want for you in life.

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