- When you close one chapter of your life through a breakup, hooking up with your ex can feel like you’re backsliding, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are.
- It’s completely normal, and fairly common, for people to hook up with an ex lover because it feels physically familiar, according to therapist Matt Lundquist.
- At the same time, your interest in a hookup could also be coming from a place of grief and delay your healing.
- If you do end up trying to get in bed with an ex, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for all of the potential outcomes, like being rejected or getting ghosted afterward.
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My ex and I decided to break up about two months ago after three years of dating, and the transition hasn’t been easy for me. I still miss him. To make things more complicated, we have our mutual friend’s birthday party this weekend where I know I’ll see him for the first time since the split.
Our relationship didn’t end on a particularly sour note and we’ve been texting since then. Some of our messages have even been flirty, and now I’m finding myself daydreaming about hooking up with him the night of the party. I’m embarrassed to admit this since I feel like I should be moving on, but it’s the truth. Will hooking up with him make the breakup even worse?
– New York
Dear New York,
When you close one chapter of your life through a breakup, hooking up with your ex can feel like you’re backsliding, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are. As humans, it’s completely normal to want to relive the good times (sexy time included), even though you’re not in a defined relationship anymore.
And in fact, it’s actually quite common to follow through on the desire to hook up with an old flame.Research has shown that nearly a quarter of adults who’ve gone through a marital separation have had sex with their former partner, and other studies have found even more newly broken up young adults have gone for it.
The phenonemon is only human, Matt Lundquist, a therapist and founder of Tribeca Therapy, told me. “Most folks in this position would say, ‘I know this person, we have good sex, and it’s nice to have sex without strings attached,'” he said. And research has shown that the act, on the whole, isn’t psychologically damaging and, in some cases, actually lessens distress.
That said, when someone decides to get in bed with an ex, there’s usually more at play than simply wanting familiar and good sex, Lundquist told me.
Like you admitted, you miss your ex, so your interest in a hookup could also be coming from a place of grief. In that case, hooking up with him could fulfil your emotional needs during a time when you should find other ways to get those needs met, Lundquist said.
“People will kid themselves into thinking they have accepted the breakup, but grief is a thing you have to respect,” he said. “It could be a really hard loss that needs attention emotionally.” Continuing a non-relationship with your ex in the form of a hookup could prevent you from truly healing, he added.
Still, that doesn’t mean you should feel embarrassed or guilty if you do hook up with your old partner post-birthday party.
This probably isn’t the definitive answer you’re looking for, but the decision you make is completely up to you (well, and your ex), and both options are neither right nor wrong. I will say that if you do decide you want to get in bed with him, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for all of the potential outcomes.
For one, he could reject your offer because he isn’t interested (heck, he could even be dating someone else). And, if you do get together for the night, there’s a major chance he’ll ghost you following the hookup or admit he’s ambivalent about your former relationship. If you don’t feel ready to deal with these tough truths, that’s probably a sign you should skip out on the hookup.
If you want to avoid the temptation, remind yourself why you broke up in the first place. Sure, post-relationship hookups can give you a glimpse of the good times momentarily, but they also have the ability to skew your memory by isolating happy memories from the true complexity of your former – and ultimatley ill-fated – partnership. Good luck.