Leaving Love
& Coming Back

Nobody ever said that breaking up is easy. And it's easy to fall right back into "love" and to want to get back into your routine again. Who doesn't tend to remember the good times over the hard times. It doesn't hurt though to get back in to see why you both originally decided to move on in the first place.
One of the hardest tasks we face in a relationship is leaving. A more difficult undertaking is staying out. "Maybe it wasn't so bad," "Maybe I didn't try hard enough," "Maybe he/she could change after all," "Maybe I could put up with more than I thought, after all I do love him/her!

Finally done

When we leave our partner, we're relieved (at first, that is) because it's usually been a long time coming, and we're just glad it's over and done with. However, after some time passes, our doubts and loneliness creep in, and we start to think differently about the love we left behind. "After all, even though there were bad times, there were also good times." And "when we were together, it was – at one time - loving, comfortable and warm.

Jumping back in

But now that we're away from our partners, we often paint an unrealistic picture of how it used to be. Anything seems better than the scary, lonely, and helpless feelings that are often times experienced after a relationship ends. So back in we go to try again, usually against our better judgment and against the advice of our close friends. 

But take heart in knowing that each time we go back in and find ourselves in the same stuck place (which is usually inevitable), we have still learned something. Although this can be a painful realization, what we've experienced is more clarity about the relationship than we had before and what we've learned is why it still doesn't work.

Stronger every time

Each time we go back in and get back out, we are stronger in our conviction to leave once and for all. We've seen -- one more time -- the impossibility of the relationship and the necessity for it to end. Each time, the aftermath of doubt and fear can lessen by remembering the reality of why we're leaving and why the relationship doesn't work. 

It takes a long time to convince the heart and emotions that something really doesn't work, even though our head is telling us to leave and stay out. Repeated pain seems to get the message to our hearts that "I just can't do this anymore."

It's when we slip into our fantasy about the relationship that we have our doubts. The more reality-based we are, the less we doubt our decision, and the stronger we get. We may need to go back in several times to hold onto the reality that it's over when we leave. One day it just happens that we're done.

Taking off too soon

Sometimes we leave the relationship when we're not really done, and not allowing ourselves to go back in makes us hold onto the partnership much longer. You can't will yourself to be done. It's a process and it takes as long as it's going to take. 

There are no rules or time lines for ending a relationship.  It is by staying with your truth that the end will naturally come, without force or will. So if you've gotta go back in to get back out, do it with consciousness and choice, and to become clear about your decision. When you know deep inside it is time to leave for good, you will.

5 things to remember about going back in to get back out:

1. You are not stupid or crazy to go back in – just human.

2. Don't be hard on yourself - that just weakens you.

3. Go back in with consciousness, observing and learning again what doesn't work. 

4. There are no time lines about when you should be done

5. Sometimes if you don't go back in, it can take even longer to really let go.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article relate only to individuals in non-abusive relationships, and DO NOT apply to individuals in abusive relationships. I strongly advise that any individual, who is currently involved in an abusive relationship, or is contemplating leaving or returning to an abusive relationship, seek professional help immediately.  Please check the internet to locate domestic violence services available to you in your community.


Comments on "5 tips for breaking up... and getting back together"

DeAnn June 19, 2013 | 6:39 PM

Good article!!

Matt May 19, 2010 | 8:02 AM

Yo, thanks so much for writing this article. So much of the time people feel shame for getting back into things and going through the same crap. Their are things to learn though, and your right some times the heart needs reminded of the things that work or don't work. Sometimes a partner seems to change, and maybe they did! It is possible for you and your partner in limbo to see the light and make something work. Or perhaps in the big scheme of things you have other things to teach each other. Either way, the article was very helpful. Thanks!

Georgia April 14, 2009 | 4:49 PM

This is really dependent upon the individual relationship! Why would we relive/re-enter a bad relationship? "Red flags," our "gut" and observing behavior are "things" we really need to pay attention to when determining if the relationship is worth staying in. Love is wonderful, yet it is not a replacement for respect, kindness and trust. Never, ever stay in any relationship if there was/is any form of abuse (e.g., emotional,financial or physical): Leave and NEVER return. If that is too scary seek help at a local agency/counseling. Take care of yourself first, then you can look for and get involved with a "healthy" partner. Be good to yourself, first!

kim February 25, 2009 | 11:56 AM

this article is terrible. going back to a relationship so you can assure that you made the right decision to leave is terrible to the other person. it will create more hatred in the end when the person who left leaves again without feeling. it drags and prolongs healing and is unfair to the dumpee. when you get back together, it has to be because both of you love one another and are really trying to make it work. if you go in because you don't want to let go or prove to yourself it can't work, you are setting yourseld up for failure and perpetuating the negative behaviors and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. this is unhealthy and unfair for both people.

marie September 11, 2008 | 6:31 PM

Why would anyone want to encourage getting back into a relationship so you can get out of it again? My advice to any woman who is on her way out is to take a long look around and be sure you have exhaused all other options before walking through that door, because you should expect to never walk back through it again. Planning a rekindle so you can feel better about a break-up is unfair to the other person, as well as to you. If it's about the , remember, we are women, and we can get it whenever and wherever...for free! (Plz be safe) If you are considering a departure from your twosome, consider reading "The Walk-Out Woman" by Steve Stephens & Alice Gray. It's a little churchy - if you aren't religious, look beyond that to the message inside and you may just find the strength and epiphany you are looking for.

claire July 03, 2008 | 4:53 AM

i agree with what u are saying but how do u completely move on from a relationship u knew was real and the one for u when ur x has jumped in so quickly to another and you know hes going to get hurt do u forget what u had that u were best friends n leave him get on with it when u know one day he will be back or do u tell yourself he is going to be happy and never coming back

tracie June 21, 2008 | 7:56 PM

I agree esp with the "you need to go back to let go" ..... and we cant do what others tell us,we must do what we want only when we are ready or we live with regrets,real friends will still be supportive.

madelin June 10, 2008 | 8:41 AM

Is always da truuuuuuh

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