Love

Is there a right way to get back together with your ex?

We grilled a relationship expert on the age-old dilemma.

By Mahalia Chang
Bella Hadid and The Weeknd.

We don't know if we're reading too much into things, but it sure seems like getting back together with your ex is all the rage right now.

Between Bella Hadid and The Weeknd's Parisian dates after they split up last year, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's exhausting on-off again relationship and Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik's Insta-official cuddles, it's a definite mood.

Even Twilight couple of our dreams Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were spotted together again, proving exes are reconnecting left, right and centre.

And, of course, when we see celebrity couples rebooting like they're Charmed 2018, it makes you wonder: Should I get back together with my ex?

Let's be clear, there's no easy answer to that question. Breakups, personality traits, circumstances, and family issues are all factors in the ex-equation, and only you (and your couples' therapist, LBR) can know if it's the right thing to mend your fences.

If you've got rekindled love on the brain, there are some questions you should be asking yourself before taking that plunge.

We chatted to Rachel Voysey, principle psychologist at The Relationship Room, to talk pros, cons, and green lights.

Are there a set of signs that indicate getting back together is a capital-b Bad idea?

If you've been breaking up and making up regularly, Rachel says things may be a little bleaker on the 'happily ever after' front.

"There's quite a bit of research that shows that the more times you've broken up and gotten back together, the less chance there is of you having a satisfying, happy relationship," Rachel told Cosmo. "If the on-again, off-again thing has been a trend in your relationship, that would be a red flag."

And, of course, personality traits are a huge factor in the success of rekindled relationships.

"Trust issues, control issues, infidelity, emotional manipulation… These things are personality traits, not circumstantial problems, and should be thought twice about before jumping straight in.

"If the person's personality was something that you didn't like, it's unlikely that's going to change."

What about *my* current state? Are there situations where I should definitely cool it?

In this instance, thinking about the why and when you want to get back together is vital.

"If you got dumped quite unexpectedly, or there was a lot of grief associated with the breakup, you can feel like you just want them back to regain your power. That's when it's more about you than it is about how happy you two were as a couple, and that's a big red flag.

"If you've had a recent bad breakup and you're not feeling your best self, that's not really the best time to make a decision about going back into a relationship because you're coming out of your own issues.

"Any recent trauma, any big issues in life, career changes, you don't want to make those decisions when you're in that state."

What about the green lights I should be looking for to show it’s an option?

Rachel notes the key to a good reconnection is self-awareness. Having a conversation where both sides acknowledge the faults and their own shortcomings is a major step towards solving those problems in the future.

"The green light is when you both have insight into why it didn't work. If someone says, 'Maybe I was a little bit controlling, maybe I was a little bit busy with work, maybe I didn't make you a priority'.

"It's a really good sign if you can both recognise what went wrong. That's a good beginning."

"Both people need to have the insight to say 'this is why it didn't work for me' and listen to why it didn't work for you."

Should I be worried about going into it with emotions running high?

Yes! When you get back together with someone, Rachel says you can be blinded by a thing called 'limerence' (this includes those feelings of longing, obsession and fantasy, basically the rose-coloured glasses of a new relationship).

"When you break up and get back together, there's this big injection of limerence or, what you'd call lust, which gives you an invincible feeling. Like, 'We can conquer anything' and 'It's all going to be better'. The problem with that is, it is a bit of a trick to stop you from seeing the red flags.

"In the beginning, when you're in limerence, you don't have your best judgement. So you'd need to sit down and think through why you broke up. Was it really because of those 'big ticket' things? Like trust, personality, them letting you down?

"Ask yourself, 'Why is it that we broke up?' Think through it rather than feel through it."

Okay, so me and my partner are talking about getting back together – what steps should we take before we make it Insta-official?

It doesn't sound sexy, but having some serious conversations with bae before getting back together is of major importance. Rachel notes you should be talking about 'big ticket' stuff, and looking at the relationship long term.

"In a conversation about getting back together, you should check in on financial goals, commitment, marriage, living together…

"Does one believe in marriage and one doesn't? Does one never want to live with a partner and one wants to? What are your beliefs on commitment and what does that look like? Do one or both of you want kids? How much do you want your extended family in your life?

"Check in that you've got the same goals moving forward before you put in all the effort in getting back together. When people get back together for a second time, both of them normally assume this is a committed, long-term thing."

Rekindling the flame: The pro’s guide