Two years passed before Christina would decide to get back together with her ex. “I know that he is not the man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life,” she said, but still she decided to give him a second chance. Like her, according to data compiled by the National Statistics Institute, 70% of women questioned during the survey admitted to have returned to their ex-boyfriends. Despite knowing that the decision did not suit them, they risked getting involved again with the same person, and therefore the same problems. On the other hand, men stated that only 45% of them had restarted a sentimental relationship with someone, and that their decision was not based on the love they feel for the other person, but on the intention of not being alone.
According to Isabel Menéndez, psychoanalyst and author of The Construction of Love, the reason why couples return to their partner not once, but several times, lies in the pathological idealization that both complete one another. The frustration of having failed in the (nonexistent) plan, in addition to loneliness, causes them to go back. Couples that separate and return constantly are the same that prefer to bear their insufferable coexistence instead of facing their solitude.
Knowing this, the outcome for someone who is dating a person that has ended a long or important relationship is not quite favorable. How possible is it that the person with whom you are spending time at the moment will stop idealizing their past relationship and finally commit to you? It’s not to be pessimistic, but there's no need to disguise reality.
If a man or a woman behave in a strange manner or avoid living certain moments with you, you should start questioning what you really mean for this person. Although it seems irrelevant, some of these signs could indicate that they are only using you to forget their ex, or even worse, to kill time while trying to get back together.
Regret and especially loneliness are two feelings that bring many to commit the same mistakes once again. Reconciliation with a partner is a decision for the two involved, which is certainly not the problem. The point is to be clear about what one really wants, so as not to hurt or play with the feelings of a third person. To stop a gap, to substitute someone, or postpone the pain of missing the other person is as cruel as making fun of someone or lying to them.
On the other hand, everyone can recognize when someone is only seeking a "distraction" —a life preserver to hold on to in the middle of a solitary sea—, but few can accept the truth. If they are just using you to forget their ex, it's up to you to decide whether you remain attached or walk away and give yourself the opportunity to meet someone capable of giving you the place you deserve.
Translated by: Joseph Reiter