Is it the feeling of familiarity, the comfort zone or something abstract and mushy like true love’s call, that makes one get back with the ex?
Why is it that the one person you could not stand at all some time ago and eventually broke up with, begins looking different to you all of a sudden? So much so, that you are ready to get back with him/her? Do the fault lines disappear or do you just learn to live with them?
Cricketer Zaheer Khan and Isha Sharvani, Harbhajan Singh and Geeta Basra and Jude Law and Sienna Miller are back together after being separated for a while. Film-maker Sanjay Gupta divorced his wife Anu Lekhi after seven years of marriage. Then after five years of staying apart they got back together and tied the knot again. He is reported to have said, "The first time you marry, you are in a dark area. But the second time around, you are more comfortable. And that is why I am enjoying my second marriage with Anu more than the first one."
Second innings work better
Experts say that it is not uncommon for people to get back with an ex. And the second time, it most often works out better between the couple.
Clinical psychologist Dr Kanan Khatau Chikhal says, "When people break up, it is at a point in the relationship when there is no unconditional acceptance of the person and there is a strong desire to change him/her. It may be that you are hurt and are unable to forgive and let go, because there is no acceptance. It is like tunnel vision,wherein you do not get the whole picture." And while this is the most common reason for couples to beak-up, over time they begin to see the bigger picture and their perspective changes. That’s when chances of them getting back together arise.
Dr Kanan explains that after a break-up, the couple tends to examine the whole relationship, than just parts of it. "As the pain of the break-up begins to fade out, you zoom out and go into observer mode to scrutinise your relationship, rather than remain in the doer mode. When you are in the doer mode, there is an attachment to the pain, while in the observer mode you are unattached, so the pain goes. As an observer, you are more accepting of situations and there is no desire to change anything anymore," she says.
This explains why a second innings is better for a couple.
Why do feelings towards the ex change?
After a break-up or a divorce, the loneliness sometimes gets too much to bear. Psychologist Seema Hingorrany says, "When patching up with an ex, deciding to accept the partner’s faults may seem to be a better option than going through life with a string of failed relationships and being lonely."
Age is another factor why feelings towards the ex change, say experts. As one grows older, expectations and priorities change. Stability, comfort level and security are higher up on the list. Couples who separated young, look back and realise that they need to revisit the relationship and readjust their expectations. This open acceptance energises the relationship.
Seema says, "A lot of patience and tolerance is required to sustain a relationship. These days, people jump from one relationship to the other. If a guy tells a girl not to wear revealing clothes, she feels he is suffocating her and dumps him. After getting married or dating another guy she realises that her ex was better and probably more tolerant than her current date or husband. As she begins to long to get back with her ex, chances are she may even embark on an extra-marital affair with him." Seema adds that most people who’ve gone on to have a relationship with an ex, reason that they believe the ex knows him/her better and hence, chances of the relationship working out this time are also better.
Most often, men and women tend to rely on an ex for emotional support after a more recent break-up. "Going back to the ex for comfort seems easy, and while looking for friendly support you end up falling for the ex all over again, instead of dealing with the problems in your present relationship," adds Dr Kanan.