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Before You Lie to Yourself, Look at These 5 Reasons to Stay Away From Your Ex

You (or your ex) had your reasons for ending the relationship. But time changes everything: circumstances, attitudes, even feelings. If you’re considering getting back together with your ex, ask yourself these five questions first.

Emotional abuse. Feeling neglected for too long. Cheating. Having to move away for school, or a job offer. Experiencing grief or depression. Drifting apart.

There are hundreds of reasons why people break up—and none is a better reason than another. What you might put up with might be a deal-breaker for someone else. But throwing in the towel doesn’t always mean the relationship is over for good.

Whether the suggestion comes from you or your ex, deciding to resurrect a dead relationship shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are five questions to ask yourself before you make your choice.

1. Why did you break up?

For most people, the decision to end a relationship is a tough one. Usually, the choice is far from black and white. Instead, it’s about weighing the good and the bad and deciding what you can live with and what you can’t.

If you were the one doing the dumping, what led you to that choice? If your partner left you, what did you learn from the experience? Finally, what has changed? Remember that there are no guarantees that things will be different if you get back together.

2. Why do you want to get back together?

Getting back together is a decision that has to come from both parties. Giving in to pressure from family, friends, or your ex isn't likely to lead to a happy ending. Other factors—such as loneliness, financial security, or having to navigate the dating world—can make it seem easier to return to an ex. But if everything else in your life was going well, would you feel the same way?

3. Are you remembering the good, the bad, and the ugly?

If the thought of getting back together has you remembering only the good times (or only the bad times), try to look at your relationship from an objective perspective.

When you’re in the thick of a relationship, trivial things—like divvying up housework, or jealousy and suspicion over your ex’s relationship with a co-worker—can seem more important than they actually are. What were the real issues that led to your breakup, and is it something that both parties are willing to work on?

4. Will the problem keep happening?

It’s easy to make promises when faced with the possibility of starting afresh. It’s much harder to know that things will actually change—for good. If you’ve already given your ex a bunch of chances, it’s probably not worth getting back together. And if your ex is asking you to change, will you? Can you? Personality traits and habits don’t just disappear.

5. Can you forgive and forget?

Breakups can cause even the sanest among us to behave badly. In all likelihood, both of you aren’t proud of the way things turned out. But can you put whatever happened aside, and view the relationship as a blank slate? If your ex’s behavior still makes you bristle, or if your ex still brings up things you did, it might be hard to keep the past in the past.

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