JET Love

Love Advice: When to Try Again

There are people out there who never give exes a second chance. They have the philosophy of not falling prey to the “yo-yo syndrome,” i.e. breaking up and getting back together with your former mate. I understand it, mostly because I believe that constantly breaking up is not just emotionally damaging to both parties involved, but also weakens the relationship. While I tend to lean toward clean breaks, sometimes the second time around actually does turn out to be successful.

Having the desire to get back with your ex is a very normal thing. Even those who treated each other horribly for the duration of their relationship sometimes “miss” what once was. It’s dysfunctional on occasion, but very common. Someone who served as a romantic partner filled a void that family and loved ones just aren’t meant to. When a relationship ends, you feel your former mate’s absence physically, mentally and/or emotionally.

But how do you know when/if you should get back with your ex?

Many fall prey to the grasp of emotionalism, blindly making decisions based on how they feel alone. Not everyone should be granted the privilege of another chance at love with you. Here are some things to consider before hitting up your former boo.

Why You Want Them Back 

The first step in determining whether or not you should get back with your ex is to truthfully answer the question of why you want them back in the first place. What is it that is making you hold on to them? Is it because you’re afraid of being alone? Or maybe it’s a fear of actually starting over again. Or maybe it’s that you see the relationship’s “potential.” Either way, your answers provide a much-needed compass for what direction you should go. If you’ve determined that the relationship isn’t based on the notion of fear, settling or a lack of confidence, then you’re on track for solidly affirming your feeling of a reunion. And remember: never fall in love with the idea of what “could be.” It’s best to deal with what is when it comes to matters of the heart. Easier said than done, but well worth it in the end.

Why You Broke Up in the First Place

Take a cold hard look at your problems. What caused the relationship to end? Was it you? Or was your partner the one who was selfish, deceitful, hurtful, etc.? Whenever you decide to get back in a relationship with an ex, you must be ready for the possibility of returning to the same exact issues that made you leave. People don’t change unless they feel they need to, or some instance that is out of their control forces them to. Which brings me to my next point: the willingness to admit fault and change.

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Your Willingness to Evolve

Another key factor that will help you figure out if getting back with your ex is a smart move is your (and their) willingness to evolve and change behaviors/practices that caused confusion in the relationship to begin with. Often, promises of changing are made and vows to “do better” during the make-up stage are overflowing. But the reality is that nothing will change without a clear understanding of the problems that exist in your relationship, and your willingness to admit your role in its demise.

Sure, you can love certain qualities about someone, but those qualities will not be enough to sustain the relationship without compromise. Saying you’ll change isn’t enough. You have to believe that you and your ex have a full understanding of why you both may need to evolve and a commitment to doing so regardless of the outcome of the relationship. Change is rarely effective unless the individual who needs to change believes that they do.

How Much They Respected the Relationship 

While it shouldn’t take someone to lose something valuable to discover its worth, sometimes that’s the best way for people to realize what they had. With that being said, realistically determine how much you and your mate respected your relationship. Did you both take time to love and appreciate each other? When you were together, did you feel valued, cherished and part of his/her world? If you felt like a discarded rag after use, then chances are you need to reevaluate thoughts of reconnecting.

For Better, For Worse…

A genuine acceptance of who a person is, is present in every successful relationship. It isn’t pretending to like everything about someone. In fact, real relationships possess a level of honesty where you tell each other about yourselves. While you may not like every single thing about a person’s essence, you must be able to deal with all of them (good and bad) when you’re romantically involved. When thinking about reconnecting with your former bae, ask yourself whether or not you can handle them at their worst… or if you even want to.

Too often, we lead with our emotions when making decisions. While emotions are great, you can spare yourself a lot of heartache and pain if you recognize that rationale is equally important when it comes to matters of the heart. Thinking clearly isn’t as easy as it could be for many, but like any major decision you make, time, patience and careful consideration will often lead you to a more sound conclusion.

Whatever you decide, go all in and be secure with your choice. Love is and always will be a gamble, but you can certainly tip the odds in your favor with a little thought behind your actions.

Your turn: What’s your process for determining when to get back with an ex? Email us at or simply comment in the section below! And don’t forget to join us on Twitter every Wednesday at 3PM CST for a live discussion on love and relationships. Keep up with the conversation via the #AskShanTellem hashtag. 

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Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET Magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, “The Monique Caradine Show,” Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister.” Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at