You should NEVER go back to an ex: By Katie Glass, who tried to rekindle love with two boyfriends
As if it’s not enough that J. Lo and Ben Affleck have rekindled their 2000s relationship, now Angelina Jolie has been seen visiting her ex-husband Jonny Lee Miller’s New York home, more than two decades after they called time on their short-lived marriage.
As someone with a similar penchant for going back to exes, I’ve watched these reunions unfold unsurprised, optimistic, but also shaking my head.
I completely understand the lure of an ex. Some relationships still feel so full of promise, the end so unfair, that it’s impossible not to be tempted to have another crack at them.
I’ve reunited with two ex-boyfriends — and neither worked out.
Katie Glass reflected on reuniting with two of her former boyfriends, as Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck (pictured) rekindle their 2000s relationship
The first time, I was in my early 30s and I reignited a romance I’d had as a teenager. It had been my first love, my first serious relationship and, subsequently, my first serious break-up.
We met when I was 16, and got together three years later when we worked in the same restaurant (I was a waitress, he the chef).
We stayed together for almost four years, during which time I left home for university, and he came with me.
When we broke up, it was because we had become defeated by our growing differences. During our time together, I’d grown from a child into a young adult, and I needed to spread my wings and experience more than the relationship seemed able to offer me.
The break-up was so painful for us both that we barely spoke for years until, more than a decade later, I ran into him on a trip back home.
I knew as soon as I laid eyes on him that my feelings had never ended. Within weeks we were dating again. And within a few months I realised I’d made a mistake.
If I’m honest, I went back to that relationship at a point in my life when I was struggling. Things were tough at work and I had recently lost a friend to suicide. I craved the comfort of being with someone I knew well, and going back to him felt like coming home.
It was soothing how quickly we fell back into old patterns of nicknames and private jokes, of going to the same pubs and recreating old dates.
Katie said it was soothing how quickly she and her ex were able to fall back into nicknames and private jokes. Pictured: Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller in 1999
Perhaps dating an ex is lazy — but sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
In the same way that celebrities become stuck at the age when they became famous, with an ex you’re frozen in time at the moment you met. To the rest of the world, we may have aged a decade, but we saw each other with generous eyes. To me, he looked the same as he always had. And I think I still looked the same to him. At that time in my life, this was appealing. Nervous about entering my 30s, with my teenage boyfriend I got to revert to the carefree person I’d been when we met.
But that soon wore thin. One day I woke up and realised I was dating a fantasy of the past and it wasn’t doing either of us any favours. When I ended it, he was even more upset than he had been the first time around.
Going back to my other ex was probably an even worse idea. This time it was for almost the opposite reasons: instead of wanting to return to my past, this former love offered me a way to move forward.
He was a man I had met in my mid-30s. I’d fallen hard and fast, in the way you do when you’re at an age when you are looking for someone to settle down with.
We were mad about each other for three happy years until, reluctantly, I ended the relationship because he wasn’t ready to commit.
A year later, he came back to me brandishing a diamond ring, and bowled me over.
Katie said going back to her exes helped to give her the closure she needed. Pictured: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
Our engagement lasted almost three years, then it ruptured (although the fact we hadn’t tied the knot during that time tells you something).
I did not return to this ex because I wanted to resume some old version of myself — this time I was excited that we could quickly pick-up from where we’d left off, and was looking for something more certain than dating can offer.
I loved the way that going back to my ex meant skipping the uncertainty at the start of a relationship — wondering if they will call, playing The Rules — and going straight to the real bit.
There was no hanging about. Immediately we started trying to make up for lost time, moving in together and planning a wedding. Perhaps that’s the attraction for J. Lo and Affleck, who were once engaged.
Yet, caught up in the whirlwind of being back together, we never really dealt with our problems. Soon all the old fault-lines resurfaced and, try as we might, they couldn’t be smoothed over. Eventually we had to admit defeat.
It didn’t work out for me and my exes second time around, but I don’t regret either. I think both times it gave me the closure I’d needed.
So often when a relationship ends, you’re left wondering: ‘What if?’ By going back to my exes, I was able to put those thoughts to rest and move on.