Why Do I Want To Return To My Ex?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I was with my boyfriend for 5 years, and together we regularly abused drugs and alcohol, and fought constantly. We called each other names, even got physically violent sometimes. he would get angry out of the blue, and just start being mean to me, etc. About a year ago, i got arrested for DUI and took it as a wakeup call to get my life together. We ended up breaking up, because he couldn’t get sober, and i couldn’t be around it if i didn’t want to do it. We broke up, and i immediately started hanging out with another guy to keep my mind of it. Turns out the new guy was a really great boyfriend to me, so different, caring and loving. We dated for the next 10 months, but during that time, the same issue came up many times…that i hadn’t gotten over my ex. so he eventually ended our relationship because of it. i then got back in touch with my ex, to see if he’d changed, not at all…still drinking/drugging/angry. Why can’t i get over him??? I don’t want this to affect all my future relationships. i have no energy to put up with the negativity. I want someone who loves life and loves me and acts like it. Help!!!

A. Therapy might benefit you for this problem. You say you want a change from all of the negativity in your life but when you were dating a “nice” guy you couldn’t stop thinking about your ex. There are some people that are attracted to drama-filled relationships. For some individuals it makes their lives seem more interesting. Some people claim that it makes them feel “alive.” They become addicted to fighting and stormy relationships. This may not be why you want to return to your ex but perhaps it’s a possibility.

Maybe you’re not fully aware of the damage and harm you could do to yourself by returning to your ex. When you and he were together you fought constantly and got into trouble. Are you a glutton for punishment? If you and he got back together you’d likely pick up right where you left off. That only means more trouble for you. What if this time around instead of only a DUI you and he drove drunk and killed innocent pedestrians? You and he might then be charged with negligent homicide and sentenced to a life in prison. That’s not such a farfetched outcome. Is that really a life you wish to return to? Do you really want a return to drinking, drugs, fighting and trouble with the law?

My point here is that if you return to the relationship things could be much worse for you. The quality of your life may greatly diminish if you and he reconnected. You don’t want to learn the “hard way” after making many more mistakes that you deserve a better relationship with someone who is healthy enough to engage in one. Every mistake that you make in life you have to pay for. The goal is to make the least amount of mistakes so you do not have to learn the “hard way.” Quit while you are ahead.

To know why you’d want to return to your old relationship would require us to meet in person and analyze your life and history of relationships. I’d have to gather much more information from you to answer the “why” question. If you do not want to return to the relationship but feel that you can’t stop yourself then I would suggest counseling. You already have one DUI and you do not want another or something much worse. You do not want to repeatedly make the same mistakes. Counseling can help you find a way to stop your unwanted behavior. I hope you consider it.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Mar 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Why Do I Want To Return To My Ex?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/03/02/why-do-i-want-to-return-to-my-ex/