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nikipedia's avatar

Does breaking up and getting back together ever work?

Asked by nikipedia (28049points) December 2nd, 2008
49 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

Carrie and Big, Charlotte and Harry, and Miranda and Steve all broke up and got back together at least once. But I have never seen this happen successfully in real life despite many attempts. Have you done it? What were the circumstances?

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trumi's avatar

My parents dated for 6 years, broke up for a year, got back together, and have been married 20 years.

But I’ve never seen it work for anyone else. Ever.

Supergirl's avatar

It has never worked out for me. I had a serious boyfriend for 3 years, that I lived with the last 1.5 years. We broke up like 3 times. Needless to say the same issues arose. My husband and I never broke up, and dated for 2 years.

I think it can work, but both sides need to be willing to make major changes. I think this usually involves outside help (like a counselor). Without that outside perspective and assistance, I think people go back to their “old ways.”

I guess the question is why did you break up in the first place and what has changed for you to desire getting back together? Are they healthy reasons?

tocutetolive90's avatar

My friends have broken up 2 times and gotten back together. They seem closer and better after they got back together the last time. The only reason they really broke up was do to the distances because the ones in fl for college and the ones at home, which takes about 24 hours to get here. So it works for some people, but ussually not all.

trumi's avatar

GQ for tags, especially oxford comma

jlm11f's avatar

I think this depends mainly on the reason for the breakup. Breaking up because you were just going to be too far away and didn’t believe in long distance relationships is a LOT different than breaking up because one of you cheated on the other. The former relationship will most likely work if they get back together while the latter won’t.

forestGeek's avatar

My parents broke-up twice before they got married and have now been together 20+ years. I also have good friends who broke-up for 5 years, got back together and now have been married for 8 years. In both cases they were unsure what they wanted when they when they broke-up, but while apart they realized they really wanted to be with those people.

susanc's avatar

I was married to an addict. We lived apart four times in 29 years. It was
very helpful to do that.

cak's avatar

Before my husband and I got married, we had dated – then broke up. We got back together and are happily married.

cak (15863points)“Great Answer” (1points)
clairedete's avatar

I think there’s a difference between breaking up and being apart for an extended amount of time and frequently breaking up and getting back together. If two people are having an issue and decide to break up but then get together farther down the road I think things may have changed in the relationship to allow them to stay together. If a couple decide to break up every time they get into a fight, I think this shows a level of immaturity in the relationship that is a sign that the relationship will not work.

hearkat's avatar

I agree with the others that the reason for the breakup makes a difference. What matters most is if both people are truly ready, willing, and able to “work at making this work” as my beau once said to me.

If either person is not happy with themselves, and does not truly love and accept themselves, then success for any relationship they attempt is unlikely.

nikipedia's avatar

@cak: Why did you break up while dating? And what made you decide to get back together?

srmorgan's avatar

My wife and I dated for 18 months, I broke it off mostly to see what life was like without her and (my hope) that she would see it the same way.

It worked a month or so later, we got back, began living together about three months later, married 26 years now.


DrasticDreamer's avatar

Many people said it already – it depends on why you break up. Personally speaking, I was with my now ex-boyfriend for about five years (multiple break-ups) and I’m to the point now that I don’t think I ever want to try to make it work again. The heartache of trying and failing, over and over, is just way too painful. It’s crippling, as a matter of fact, because the love is absolutely there but… It just doesn’t work. First time, second, third, fourth… It should work by then. If not, it just gets a little ridiculous. Which is the realization I came to. Sometimes… It really is best to give up.

Dunno. On the other hand, I can’t see him out of my life completely. It’s hard to imagine something like that after being around someone for so long.

cak's avatar

@nikipedia – it was a combination of things. He and I have very different careers, he struggled with the salary difference – mine significantly higher. I was a single mom and very independent. He was used to a more traditional role – understand we both had been married, before, so he was coming off of 10 years of a more traditional lifestyle.

I got scared. I didn’t want to lose myself and also wasn’t used to someone wanting to be a part of my daughter’s life. I pushed him away, a bit. He said I was never “rude” about it, he just realized that we were kind of far apart on what we wanted, at the time.

Several months later, we went to dinner. We missed each other and each agreed that we had to give up some control, if we wanted this to work. It took time, but worked. We have a lot in common, but a lot of differences, too. Where he’s weak, I’m strong and where I’m weak, he’s strong. He’s been my rock, since I’ve been sick and I can’t imagine life without him.

It wasn’t easy, but somehow, both of us knew that it was meant to be. We worked at it, we both had to learn to give and take more – and it came together.

cak (15863points)“Great Answer” (7points)
SuperMouse's avatar

Don’t forget Aidan. Aidan and Carrie broke up, got back together, and broke up again.

cak's avatar

I liked Aidan!

cak (15863points)“Great Answer” (2points)
SuperMouse's avatar

Me too!

funkdaddy's avatar

My wife and I dated for 5 years then broke up for 6 months due to a combination of distance, the feeling we were missing something being together so long when we were so young, people telling her I was never going to marry her, and probably a laundry list of other small things.

Obviously we got back together and dated for a while before getting married. We’ve been married 6 years now. She’s the coolest.

chelseababyy's avatar

Yep, I believe so. Sometimes you need to rekindle the flame. And hey , absence makes the heart grow fonder.

You don’t really know what you got til it’s gone

chelseababyy's avatar

P.S. Aidan was the best

TitsMcGhee's avatar

My parents were high school sweethearts then broke up, moved to different places, married different people, got divorced from different people, and have been married for close to 30 years now.

So yeah.

augustlan's avatar

I think it’s most likely to work if the initial relationship occurred during a more immature time. After both parties grow and mature (read: change) it certainly can work. I know a couple that were married young, had a child, divorced. While they were divorced, the woman had a child with another man. A while later they got back together, remarried, had a third child and are quite happy. They both agree that they were just too young the first time around.

much2smile4's avatar

Well, i’ve been with my boyfriend since we were 15, now 22, and we broke up when we were 18 for a year, and got back together, and have been together happily ever since, so yes it can happen.

daisy's avatar

I know 2 couples who actually divorced and remarried. One couple was divorced for 3 yrs and the other for about a year. They remarried and are happily married today. They all say they learned and grew up while they were apart and now their marriage is stronger than ever before.

elchoopanebre's avatar

In my experience: no.

bythebay's avatar

In my experience:yes – dated 4 years, broke up, got back together, married 17 years.

elchoopanebre's avatar


Well that’s awesome! :-)

I’m glad it worked for someone because it didn’t work for me.

bythebay's avatar

@elcho – I’m sorry…

dlm812's avatar

In my personal view—an ex is an ex for a reason. Can a person change so much that the ‘reason’ is no longer present? And are there really no other people out there to date that you have to fish in the same pond repeatedly?

babygalll's avatar

Everyone deserves a second chance.

maybe_KB's avatar

try it and find out

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, it is possible. It is possible for people to diagnose and solve problems, to let go of old baggage, to mature in their understanding, and to discover new information. It is possible to negotiate and reach agreements, and it is possible to realign priorities. It is possible to compromise. If we didn’t believe these things of ourselves and one another, there would be no such thing as diplomacy among nations, and everything would be settled by war and conquest. How much more possible it must be between two people who have at some time loved one another above all others.

But there are also relationships that are not worth salvaging and hopeless combinations and no-fault incompatibilities, and there are some wrongs that must not be tolerated. It can take wisdom and judgment to know when it’s time to give up. Once you’ve reached that point, there is probably not going to be any real reconciliation.

And the answers may be very different when you’re 57 from what they were at 27.

IBERnineD's avatar

@augustlan I agree it helps if when the parties broke up it was a time when they were immature.
I dated my current boyfriend when each of us were 16 for about 8 months. He broke up with me twice during that time, and we (like clock work) hated each other every other 6 months. We recently got back together, and the relationship has totally changed. But it is also 5 and a half years later and we both understand what went wrong and have fixed it.

I have never been happier :)

TheFonz_is's avatar

yes!!!! i was with my girlfriend we had started arguing lots (gotten over the honeymoon) split up with her and it took me about a week to realise how stupid I had been. I then moved country flew back to see her with about 10 pounds in my pocket and 18 months later we are happily married with a beautiful baby boy!

casheroo's avatar

I think it depends on the individuals.
My husband and I broke up (before we were married) because I was a crazy hormonal mess while pregnant. I also felt extremely guilty for something I had done (it technically wasn’t cheating) so I kept pushing him away, thinking he’d leave me anyway. Well, he stuck by me, and now we’re happiliy married.

fullOFuselessINFO's avatar

sometimes people need a period of time appart to recognize what their life would be without the other.
but in my experience they just end up finding the same flaws and end up asking themselves why they thought it would work the 2nd time around.

Zen's avatar

Yes, it can work.

mirifique's avatar

This Tuesday, I found out that it doesn’t work.

Coloma's avatar

I’d say, like most things, it’s a 50/50 chance. However….ONE breakup may be a catalyst to change or renewed appriciation, multiple breakups usually means that there are just too many gaps in basic compatabilities. I wouldn’t return a 3rd, 4th, or 5th time….not healthy IMO and if something has not been settled by the 2nd go round it is unlikely it ever will be and both parties are just signing up for the circle jerk of power struggles…ugh!

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Coloma's avatar

^^^ Go away spamorama.

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bunsofaluminum's avatar

It isn’t working for me. We’ve been together for a couple of years, and have broken up five times. That is A LOT of breakups in that amount of time. He has broken it off every time, and within a week, wanted me back, and I’ve taken him. This, I assure you, is not healthy. It is my own weakness and inability to say no, not based on a mutual sweetness and goodness between us. We are tolerable companions at best, and TERRIFIC in the sack…but that isn’t enough…And the last time, I was feeling happy and contented and he sprung it on me, moved out, and then wanted back like two days later. It’s ridiculous, and this time I’m really sticking to the boundaries I set, and he is TICKED.

It IS NOT WORKING for me. That’s why I write here, just to convince myself. Five breakups in 20 months IS NOT SUCCESSFUL.

Coloma's avatar

@bunsofaluminum Welcome to Fluther and yeah, take it from a wise older women, the break up make up cycle is really bad, good for you, stick to your boundaries. Remember, we teach people how to treat us. Sounds more like dependency and addiction than anything close to real love.

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