Let’s say you broke up recently. As much as you want to move on, there’s a part of you that’s still in denial that it’s over. Most nights you wonder, “What if mine is the type of breakup that eventually gets back together?”
And, maybe you are right! Maybe there is still some hope left for your ‘happily ever after’. Let’s take the case of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. They broke up way back, in 2004. And cut to this year…they got married!
They are not the only ones who found their way back to their exes. If you’re wondering what percentage of breakups get back together and sustain that relationship, here’s some data for you. Studies point out that 15% of people actually won their ex back, while 14% got back together just to break up again, and 70% never reconnected at all with their exes. But how did people win their exes back? Let’s find out.
10 Types Of Breakups That Get Back Together With Timelines
Sometimes, a crisis forces people to rekindle their romance. Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor are one of the classic examples of couples who broke up and got back together. They reunited during the COVID-19 pandemic for the sake of their kids. Ben Stiller explains, “Then, over the course of time, it evolved. We were separated and got back together and we’re happy about that.”
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Theirs was a patch up that happened out of circumstance. Let’s look at other such types of breakups that get back together due to various other reasons. The timelines are tentative and have been ranked from shortest to longest:
1. “Okay, get out of my life!”
This type of breakup is done in the heat of the moment. Such a breakup is nothing short of a ‘wild card’ to win an argument in a relationship. So, “I don’t want to be with you anymore” is generally followed by “Hey, you know I didn’t mean it like that”.
Breakup timeline: Such a breakup is temporary or permanent? Temporary for sure. And how long does it last? Not too long. Couples break up impulsively at night and patch up the next morning. Worst case scenario, the ego war might stretch for a couple of days. But that’s it. The timeline for this breakup is the shortest.
2. “I cannot live without you”
The second type of breakup that gets back together is the one that happens in codependent relationships. These on-again-off-again relationships are toxic/addictive loops that are difficult to escape. Couples stay together just because they cannot imagine an identity without one other.
Is being in such a relationship worth it? Not at all. In fact, research shows that cyclical partners (couples who broke up and got back together multiple times) report lower relational quality—less love, need satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction.
This lower relationship quality is still not able to keep them apart since one/both the partners display signs of obsession. I was once in a relationship like that. I would always promise my friends to end the relationship, for good. But I wasn’t ever able to stick to that decision and found my way back to my ex, again and again.
Breakup timeline: The time span between breaking up and getting back together is not that long. A couple of days or weeks after the breakup, the couple reunites.
3. “I just need some space”
The next kind of breakup or ‘break’ has been popularized by Ross and Rachel from Friends. If you’re wondering whether this type of breakup is temporary or permanent, the answer is pretty obvious. In this particular case, couples break up with the very intention of getting back together after some introspection.
However, ‘breaks’ can still be very confusing. In fact, studies show that many participants were simultaneously motivated to both stay in their relationships and leave, suggesting that ambivalence is a common experience for those who are thinking about ending their relationships. This ‘ambivalence’ is the very reason why people second guess their breakups.
Breakup timeline: These ‘breaks’ last for roughly a few weeks or a couple of months. This time apart acts as a reality check for both the partners. And then, they are back together, with a fresh mindset and as newer versions of themselves.
4. “I want to stay single”
The next type of breakup is a classic ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ situation. Let’s take the example of my friend. He recently broke up with his girlfriend because he was missing the ‘single life’. But the fantasy in head about the ‘single life’ didn’t match up to his reality. When he could finally ride solo, all he wanted to do was get back with his ex and cuddle her. And there goes the patch up.
This ‘breakup and patch up’ cycle is not just limited to relationships. It applies to marriages too sometimes. In fact, according to research, over one-third of cohabiters and one-fifth of spouses have experienced a breakup and renewal in their current relationship. And there goes the answer to your question, “What percentage of breakups get back together?”
Breakup timeline: Just like in the case above, these breakups also last for a couple of months max. After breaking up, the individuals realize that the other potential partners aren’t so appealing.
5. “You cheated on me!”
This is the type of breakups that get back together after infidelity. According to a study, extramarital affairs and infidelity account for 37% of divorces in the US. But what percentage of couples stay together after one cheats? There are limited factual insights on this topic. However, one survey indicates that only 15.6 % of couples can commit to staying together after infidelity.
There are a lot of roadblocks when getting back together, in this case. Psychologist Nandita Rambhia points out, “A couple has to navigate many hurdles along the way. For one, they experience guilt – while for one, it is the classic case of cheating guilt, for the other, it can be the guilt of not being enough. The partner who has been cheated on will invariably wonder whether they lacked something, which pushed their significant other to have an affair.”
Is getting back together in such cases worth it? One of our Reddit users wrote, “The thing about cheating is that you never forget. It will always be at the back of your head. You have no choice but to see this person as someone capable of hurting you. He/she could never cheat again but it’s too late, in your mind you feel like this person will cheat again.”
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Breakup timeline: The breakup timeline differs from case to case. For instance, it may take less time (a couple of days/months) for a couple to get back together in case of infidelity that involved flirting/one-time kiss. On the other hand, it may take more time (a couple of months/years) for a couple to heal from a full-blown affair with a coworker.
6. “God, I wish the timing was right”
This type of breakup is just tragic, in a Hollywood movie sort of way. To elaborate, here are some classic examples of ‘right person wrong time’ kind of breakup:
- “I love you but I need to focus on my exams right now”
- “I wish we were in the same city. It’s difficult to make this work”
- “I like you too much but I am not ready for serious commitment”
- “My family is putting pressure on me to marry someone else”
So, ‘wrong timing’ could be one of the reasons for couples who broke up and got back together. According to research, around 50% of couples get back together with their ex.
Breakup timeline: Could vary from a couple of months to even a couple of years. It depends on when the crisis/reason for breakup gets resolved.
7. “I will always love you”
Evidence suggests that ‘lingering feelings’ is one of the most common reasons for couples who break up and get back together years later. For instance, getting back with my ex took me five years. I even dated people in between but nobody could love me like he did.
But why would we have these lingering feelings, years later? Psychodynamic psychotherapy expert Gaurav Deka explains, “When two people get together, they get to know each other so well not just at the intellectual level, but body level too. Even if it’s toxic, the body craves for that neurological connection.
“Another psychological reason why people give second chance in relationships is due to familiarity. Take the case of your household. Even if your mom/dad are toxic, you still take part in the family drama, because it’s a familial space. The same applies to other relationships.”
Breakup timeline: The time frame here is subjective. Some people take five years to get back to their exes while some take ten. And then there are couples who get back together with their exes 20 years later.
8. “I want us to stay friends after breakup”
Studies reveal that maintaining connection after breakup is a common way to lessen the pain of a heartbreak. But this also implies that staying in touch with an ex can eventually lead to a patch up.
As leadership coach Kena Shree points out, “You can still fall in love with your ex, while you are committed to someone else. This is because you are looking at your ex from a distance. Being friends with your ex shows versions of them that you didn’t know existed. So, you are at the risk of falling in love with them all over again.”
Breakup timeline: The time between the breakup and patch up can span up to years. The open lines of communication don’t ever allow you to truly move on.
9. “We need to evolve”
Sometimes, breakups happen because one/both the individuals have personal issues and childhood trauma that gets projected on the relationship. And sometimes, if they are lucky enough, people work on themselves and get back together years later, as evolved versions. Be it jealousy or anger issues, they don’t repeat the same mistakes again.
Related Reading: What Is Trauma Dumping? A Therapist Explains The Meaning, Signs, And How To Overcome It
- Here are some of the strategies that people use to work on themselves:
- Taking full responsibility for all the times they were at fault
- Managing expectations (especially the unrealistic ones)
- Finding an identity outside of the relationship
- Seeking professional help from a qualified therapist
10. “I will find my way back to you”
The twin flame separation is one of the types of breakups that get back together. Once you hit the crisis stage, you may experience twin flame separation. You could be the one running away and your twin soul chasing you, or vice versa. Or you could both be switching between the roles of the runner and the chaser. The stage is primarily about distancing oneself from a twin flame connection because of the intimidating nature of intimacy that you both share.
It can last until both the partners realize that their coming together is orchestrated by forces beyond their control. They miss their twin flame so much that the twin flame separation becomes the reason for getting back together.
Break up timeline: A twin flame separation can last for weeks, months, years or even lifetimes. During this separation, one plays the role of ‘runner’ and the other is the ‘chaser’.
With this, we come to an end of the types of breakups that get back together. But how exactly should one go about it? After a breakup, how to get back together? Should you do it even when you notice sure-shot signs he never loved you? Here are some tips…
How To Get Back Together After A Breakup Naturally
Looking for tips on how to get back with your ex? For starters, be honest with yourself and ask yourself these important questions:
- What were the major problems that caused the breakup?
- What are the solutions and strategies to fix those problems?
- Can me and my ex work together with patience?
- Do I have a list of unfixable dealbreakers?
- Do we differ fundamentally in our core values?
After you have thoroughly thought about the above questions, follow these steps:
- Discuss with your ex what you both have learned from the initial split
- Keep your closed ones in the loop instead of keeping it a secret
- Imagine yourself as a third party (would you advise your bestie to get back?)
- Go through a trial run to test the success of the reconciliation with your ex
- Take things VERY slow. Imagine your relationship to be snail
- Don’t bring up issues of the past; consider this romance as a clean slate
- If it’s time to let go, don’t be afraid to give up again (self worth over anything)
- People almost instantly get back with their exes in cases of breakups done impulsively or in codependent relationships
- Sometimes people break up to explore ‘single’ life but soon realize that their ex was ‘the one’
- In other cases, breakups that happen due to infidelity take longer to translate into patchups
- Sometimes, couples break up and still stay friends and this friendship becomes a medium to fall in love again
Finally, let’s speak about letting go of an ex. Yes we know closure can be difficult sometimes! On this, Gaurav Deka advises, “When parents die and you miss out on your final goodbye, where’s the closure? So, for closure, you don’t need the other person. All you need is you. Closure has to happen within you.”
The timeline depends on the types of breakups that get back together. It is shorter for heat-of-the-moment breakups and longer for infidelity breakups. Similarly, it is shorter for codependent relationship breakups and longer for ‘wrong timing’ breakups.
According to research, around 50% of couples get back together with their ex. The timeline for this breakup could vary from a couple of months to even a couple of years.
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