The signs are everywhere and they’re asking the same question: is it finally time to get back with your ex? Take one look at pop culture for a firm nod.
After spending three dreary years apart, Stormzy and Maya Jama are reportedly back together, having been papped looking cosier than ever on a recent holiday in Greece. Meanwhile, in her new song bad idea right?, pop queen Olivia Rodrigo anticipates the chaos that will ensue if she “tripped and fell” into her ex’s bed, only to end with “fuck it, it’s fine”. Even the pioneer of cheesy Y2K romcoms Meg Ryan is promoting the merits of reigniting an old flame, waving the banner in her upcoming film What Happens Later, which sees exes rekindle their love while snowed in at an airport.
Add to that the impending pining mood of cuffing season and a perpetual flow of dating horror stories online (we’re looking at you, Tabi swiper), and you can see the appeal. Returning to partners who already know about your drunk kinks and how you like your cuppa sounds like a safer bet. But it’s a sticky one to navigate: for every happily-ever-after Hailey and Justin, there’s a did-you-cheat-again Khloe and Tristan.
So, we pulled out the big guns and brought in seven experts (in their own right) to advise on whether you should unblock your ex. Sure, there’s a professional relationship expert, but there’s also a bartender, a tattoo artist, a tarot reader, the TikToker whose breakup took over the internet and, of course, ChatGPT, each sharing wisdom from behind the bar, deep in the cards and inside the algorithm. Take notes.
Alice Green, tattoo artist
One of my favourite things is talking to clients about their relationships. People make jokes about tattoo artists being therapists and there’s a lot of truth behind that. Recently, a client told me she got back together with a partner she had when she was 18, after 10 years. It makes sense: you have to go off and live life for a bit to realise what’s right for you. There will always be situations where people break up and get back together. Sometimes people need time and space to realise what’s actually right for them.
I think there are many reasons why someone should or shouldn’t get back with their ex. Every situation will be very different, and that’s what you have to base your decision on. I strongly believe you have to look at the reasons for breaking up in the first place. For example, if you broke up because you weren’t getting what you wanted out of the relationship, the only reason you should consider going back there is if you believe it will change the second time around. If you broke up because you were betrayed, that would be a case of rebuilding trust, which is not easy and would take a lot of hard work from both sides. Some people break up because they want different futures or have different outlooks on life. Some because they simply fall out of love. There’s not really just one answer to the question.
Marieke Lexmond, tarot reader and author
I love it when the cards are loud and clear. Getting back with your ex is a bad idea! For this question, I did a quick three card draw: the Page of Cups, the Lovers reversed and the Eight of Swords. You can still see the good qualities of your partner and it tempts you to give it another try. But it’s a bad choice. If you go through with it, you will feel stuck soon. The Page shows that the idea appeals to that tiny piece in your heart that still yearns for your ex and remembers the good times. However, the Lovers reversed is an obvious “DON’T DO IT”. The Lovers card is as its title suggests, but when a card is reversed it brings out the negative aspects. Need I say more? If you were still in doubt, the Eight of Swords is all about feeling trapped and not being able to see your way out. Remember why it didn’t work the first time around and don’t fall for it again.
Callisto Adams, dating and relationship expert
Getting back with your ex is considered as something forbidden that will always impact you negatively. On the contrary, many of my clients have had a wonderful relationship after getting together with their ex. The reconciliation was and is always successful if both partners worked on themselves and chose to reflect on their issues as individuals and as a couple.
I always recommend them to ask themselves three crucial questions: Why do I want to reconcile? Have I healed and worked on myself? Has my ex reflected on his mistakes and how does that benefit me?
However, if you want to get back with your ex because of romanticising an idea of them, or just because you’re lonely and crave sex, you’ll put salt in your wounds. Go on your soul-searching journey before you decide what to do.
Luke Slater, bar manager and founder of The Cask Connoisseur
Working behind the bar, I’ve had a front row seat to countless relationships, and whether someone should get back with their ex is a question that often arises amid clinking glasses and hushed conversations. In my experience, there’s no one size fits all answer. It depends on various factors. First and foremost, communication is key. Have the issues that led to the breakup been addressed, or are they likely to resurface? Time apart can provide clarity, allowing individuals to grow and assess whether they genuinely miss their former partner or are simply feeling lonely.
My role working with drinks has taught me that emotions can run high, and people might make impulsive decisions that are influenced by alcohol. I’ve seen both successful reconciliations where couples have learned and grown from their past mistakes, and I’ve witnessed situations where old wounds were merely temporarily patched. Ultimately, it should be a personal choice based on open communication, reflection and a genuine desire for happiness. While my work has given me unique insights into relationships, the decision should be made outside the bar’s dimly lit ambiance, in the sober light of day, where emotions are clearer and your judgement is sound.
Amelia Samson, “professionally single” content creator
It’s so funny that today we just take our life choices and slap the word “trend” on them to absolve us of any responsibility. When I kept getting back together with my ex, I wish I’d had the option to tell my friends: “OK so listen, we’re back together but it’s for a TikTok trend so don’t yell at me.”
But in all seriousness, to each their own. I personally got back together with my long-term ex multiple times before ending it for good, and in hindsight, I don’t regret any of those times. I always say “everything is a lesson or a blessing”. I know some people who break up and realise pretty quickly how big of a mistake it was and I know some people who never look back.
It’s tough, though, because it’s so hard to not look back with rose-tinted glasses. We tend to forget all of the bad things about the relationship when we miss someone. I think my advice to anyone thinking about getting back with an ex is to look at the relationship for the forest and not the trees. Missing the comfort of someone makes it really easy to ignore what was negative about the relationship. Give yourself some grace while you’re going through a breakup, and similarly give yourself some grace if you’re wanting to give it another try. There is just no easy blanket answer for these things. Above all, respect yourself, your energy and your heart, because nobody else will ever do that like you can.
Coco Mocoe, trend forecaster and digital creator
Every situation is different when it comes to exes. When looking at the way trends work in relation to human behaviour, I think humans simply enjoy familiarity – that is why trends always come back. In pop culture and art, I think the idea of going back to an ex is universal. It is a “canon event”, as TikTok would say. I think making art around exes comes up with every generation but to that “new”’ generation, it feels like they are the first to ever discover or experience it. Before Olivia Rodrigo, millennials had Taylor Swift singing about exes. And before Taylor Swift, I am sure there were many more. It is universal.
The decision to get back with an ex is deeply personal and depends on numerous factors. Here are some considerations:
Reasons for the breakup: Reflect on why you broke up in the first place. Was it due to external factors like distance, or more serious issues like incompatibility, infidelity, or emotional or physical abuse?
Growth and change: Have both of you grown and changed since the breakup? If the reasons for the breakup remain unaddressed, the problems might resurface.
External pressures: Ensure your desire to reconcile isn’t heavily influenced by external pressures, like family or mutual friends pushing for a reunion.
Communication: If you’re considering rekindling, have an open and honest conversation with your ex about what went wrong and what would be different this time.
Seek advice: Talk to trusted friends, family, or even a counsellor about your feelings and get their perspective.