8 Reasons People Fall for Their Exes

Ever been in one of those never-ending on-again-off-again relationships? Here's why.

man and woman laughing
(Image credit: Joshua Sheldon)

On Halloween, I met up with a couple of friends: (opens in new tab) Vanessa (the lumberjack) and Melissa (the Lederhosen girl). I have an on-again-off-again crush on Melissa, and she looked cute Halloween night. (opens in new tab)

I'm not sure if I would have tried anything, but I was relieved

for the first time in a long time Melissa was single. (opens in new tab)

However, things shifted in another direction when Melissa informed us that the guy she was recently dating, who dumped her, (opens in new tab) was stopping by. Vanessa and I were concerned, but we gave Melissa the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully, Melissa would keep her wits about her and be strong.

I left, though, after Melissa and her ex were in their own bubble. And I learned later that Vanessa left alone, too. I guess Melissa fell back in with the ex.

I've highlighted reasons why hooking up with an ex is risky (opens in new tab) in the past. This time around, I'm listing reasons people fall for their exes, based on a conversation Vanessa and I had after Melissa and her ex built a walled city around themselves at the bar:

The Thrill of Victory

Relationships get unhealthy when they become a competition. I've fallen in to this trap before: The desire to "win" becomes more important than the desire to co-exist in the best way possible. So, I've rejected girls who come back around just to compete. (opens in new tab)

Melissa likes to "win." So, because he dumped her, she is all about winning him over.

The Desire to Change Them

Perhaps, when confronted with the chance to get back together with an ex, we see a chance to change or fix them (opens in new tab) — rescue them from their terrible behavior and habits of the past.

But the change is not always a given. People can help others change, but most of the time change comes from within the person. And if you take back an ex, you might be reinforcing their bad behavior, and they won't think they have to change at all.

Comfort Level

It's too easy to fall back in to something because it's comfortable. It's rare for a person to find another person they can confide in, get close to, and trust, so if there's a chance to get that back with someone from the past, it's intriguing.


After working so hard on relationships, and building trust and spending time,it's tough to know when to walk away from it all (opens in new tab). You might think: "I've worked on this for so long and invested so much time and energy. I should take another shot at it."

Also, on-again-off-again exes who disappear and re-appear in your life are tough to figure out. (opens in new tab) Unsolved riddles drive us crazy, so re-engaging with an ex is an attempt to understand the situation and their behavior.


Sometimes you get back together with someone because you don't want anyone else to have them. Sure,it's sick and twisted (opens in new tab), but sadly, dating is sick and twisted now and then.


Thinking about the good times (opens in new tab), or even talking about them, can lure you in to taking another chance with an ex.

I remember when my little sister and I went back to Disney World in high school (opens in new tab), we discussed how it just didn't feel the same as it did when we were little. That magic feeling wears off, based on changes in your life and your personal evolution. It never feels like the first time as (I can't believe I'm using this reference) Foreigner would say (opens in new tab).

There's No One Else Out There

If you've had bad luck with the opposite gender, or you've been floating around to no avail in the sea of singleness, a chance to get back together with your ex might be very enticing.

Tired of The Single Life

Related to the point above, some people can't find happiness being alone (opens in new tab). Therefore, they are willing to risk getting back together with someone even though it might not work out.

My policy with exes is to give them one more chance at the most. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. One of the best things about romance (opens in new tab) and dating is the newness and the magic: the first time you go to Disney World as a child, if you will.

You should give yourself the chance to feel this whenever you can, even though it's hard to find.

Still, there are very few good reasons to get back with an ex ... Do you know any good ones? Is it better to forgive and forget? What reasons have you gotten back with exes?