Home Empowerment 4 Reasons Why Exes Should Remain Exes

4 Reasons Why Exes Should Remain Exes


Relationships have their ups and downs, and not every relationship ends happily ever after. Sometimes, when a relationship ends, it’s only the beginning. Many people (including myself) will fall into a deadly trap where they will leave their significant other, only to reunite. I’m here to implore you to reconsider. You know you have reservations and not all situations are little arguments or “cosmetic breakups” where you just said it to say it and you both know you’ll be back together. I’m talking about those common situations that have your friends asking “when will you wake up?” and have you as a person second guessing your moves. Exes should stay exes. Please allow me to present some specific circumstances which leverage my point:

#1: On Again, Off Again The on/off again relationship present a classic relationship situation. This occurs when a couple has certain irreconcilable differences that beckon them to “take a break” and put the lovefest on hold for an unspecified number of days. You would be delusional if you didn’t think this occurs normally in relationships. The successful relationships sort through this dirt to find that precious gold. Others go years without solving the core issues and the couples either end up miserably or end up miserably together. Break ups happen because of things like getting hung up on, that one bad argument, and other minor issues. We have to realize that if we don’t change the issue that’s truly at the root of the problem (or even attempt to look for it) then it’s time to chuck the deuces. If it’s minor, get over it. If you find yourself taking breaks every 3 months, then that should tell you something. Remember, ANYTHING can happen during a break, and those unknown variables can prove to be an issue down the line.

#2: History When you want to leave an ex, and even have other options, history becomes an excuse to make things work. “We’ve been together xx years” “we know each others families” and other phrases generate a sense of ownership and responsibility in the individual to stick it out. That SOUNDS good, but “History” is just another word for “comfort”. You want to get back with your ex because you’re already established in their world and vice versa. You know their good points, and their bad. You would rather deal with the devil you know than unknown demons. I used to subscribe to this as well, and soon saw the tragic flaw in my ways: If you know what you don’t like, and know the person WON’T change, returning to your ex will just complete the circle that encompasses the never ending cycle of a doomed relationship (See #1). Comfort is settling, and settling is dangerous. When you settle, you harbor ill feelings towards your significant other and it eventually leads to drama which neither one of you wants or needs. Sure you may have spent a good amount of time with that person, but you have to trust your intuition and remember: In life, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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#3: D.M.G – Defining Moments of Griminess Oh boy. This one is Killa. That one transgression or one mistake…or two or three that will destroy a happy home and end a couples run. Perhaps you cheated (or hit a chick when y’all were on a break, but she don’t want to hear that sh*t because she wasn’t doing that during her recess!)or maybe you lied about something major or even domestic violence. If this has happened to you, then you just experienced a DMG: Defining Moment of Griminess. A DMG is that one moment in a relationship, where no matter what’s said, you did something VERY wrong, and there’s really no going back. Now (I’m especially going to ride for the fellas) nobody’s perfect. We ALL make mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with giving a person a second chance. The problems begin when you an ex back who had a case of the DMG, and you HAVEN’T forgiven them completely. You won’t trust your ex ever, and this mistrust can and will cause you to act out of character (Snooping, change in physical interaction, etc). You do yourself a disservice and your ex by selling them a dream that you are “over it” and you no longer have an issue. You know yourself better than anyone. If your feelings change and you can’t get over it, let your ex go! Be real with yourself, and save yourself the trouble.

#4: Love This serves as one of the biggest reasons why exes reconcile. How many times have you heard your friends use the term “but I love him/her” when talking about an ex they can’t see themselves without. They fail to see the caveat with this statement, however: Many people don’t know the true meaning of love. Love is used as a crutch in relationships to settle for less and make excuses for behavior that’s either unacceptable in general or unacceptable to you. This word is passed around more freely than your favorite campus jumpoff. It’s used, reused, and recycled as justification for returning to a losing situation. Now, I don’t hate on this emotion at all. However, we need to realize that a lot of emotions disguise themselves as love and deceive us into discrediting our natural logic and judgment. Watch out for the following emotions which distribute impersonated love crazier than bootleg movies in Harlem:

  • Complacency – Complacency bootlegs love by allowing you to settle. You know there are certain things you don’t tolerate in relationships, yet you tolerated it with your ex. Your ex may not be ambitious, sexually capable, etc, yet you love them and want to be with them. This is not love, this is complacency. This is one of the less severely bootlegged love emotions, as when you grow to Love someone you accept them for them. This becomes an issue when major situations arise, and complacency can be the straw that broke the camels back. Understand that if you DON’T accept the person for who they are, there’s no reason to reconcile with your ex. You will be back in the same situation pissed off about the same things, and complacency won’t help the situation.
  • Caring – This love impostor packages itself as a classic phrase: “I love you but I’m not IN love with you” Like…WTF?! We all have heard this cop-out phrase at least once. I never knew what this meant. What…do you feel love yet don’t want to wife love up? Is that “love with benefits”? It’s like having a cell phone carrier yet not renewing your contract and still paying monthly. Here’s a newsflash: Your ex cares about you but doesn’t love you. If they loved you, they would never use that cliché line. If they’ve used that line, they don’t know what love is, or they refuse to tell you their true feelings. I believe it’s either one or both.
  • Fear– This emotion notoriously impersonates love. See, when people say that love keeps them coming back and love gives them the strength to stick the situation out, they need to take off the “love costume” and see it for what it is: Fear. Fear to lose the person that you’ve been with for all this time. Fear that your ex will find someone else and forget about you. Fear that you may not find another person on your ex’s level or above. Fear that you’ve been out of the game too long and forgot how to properly engage the single scene again. Fear preys on these insecurities, hides under the veil of loves, and powers individuals to fore go their morals and logical thinking to reconcile with the ex, because love is stronger than anything. Fear is a mind killer, and will hinder your judgment and personal growth. Yeah it may be rough out there, and you may have a tough time getting back in the game, but it then becomes a question of comfort and familiarity vs. peace of mind and an overall life upgrade. The damage to your heart and feelings
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As always, there are exceptions to the rule. The people who can go back to exes after crazy situations: I salute you. You have overcome comfort, fear, and insecurity, to make the relationship work. You made a commitment to get your life on track and it worked out. For the majority of us, that’s not the case. Breakups build character, and bad experiences show our true resolve and perseverance. This note serves as a warning and friendly advice from a dude who didn’t have these words of caution, had a few bad experiences, and whose stronger now because of them. My experiences taught me that when you know it’s over, you should let the past rest. Those excuses we make only serve to hurt us in the long run. Before you think about continuing a pointless cycle, be REAL with yourself, and have the strength and tenacity to see the situation from an unbiased, unclouded, unemotional eye. Make the right decision for you. Your thoughts?


  1. Great post……like i always tell my friends, "there's a reason he's an ex"……

    when we want to go back to our ex, we forget the break up reason and this comes to haunt us later……… very good advice Streetz….exes should remain exes…..

  2. Completely and unequivocally agree. Especially about fear masquerading as love.

    (btw-i didn't get the rss this morning)

    1. Agreed. Great post… I was dealing w/ one ex in particular and I although I thought that I loved him dearly and felt if there was love there from both sides we should try again I now realize that I was on that "You would rather deal with the devil you know than unknown demons." I knew him. Other dudes were lame. I did care dearly for him & his family but I knew I could do better w/o him. It was just one of those… *kanYe shrug* but he's right here & got some common sense. #shotsfired

      – I also didn't get the RSS 🙁

  3. I know someone who has changed religion, had counseling, caught him cheating, etc., she needs to read this. But she won't. She knows she's in some BS but is so defensive about it, it would be useless to share this post. I think this is the case with most people. Those who need this information don't want it.

  4. Wow Streetz…this was one of ur best posts in my opinion. I'm in this situation now actually…my ex just contacted me over the holidays and i completely played him to the left lol…but of course i've been thinking about him lately and wondering if we should rekindle what was…but i kno i need to leave it alone–it doesn't help that evey guy i've dated since him has been lame as hell…only makes getting over him harder! (And i can't believe u did an entire article without using #swindle lol)

    1. Thanks for the love flame. Yeah, I was serious about this post, all truth no #swindle!

      Although Ex sex can be legendary, it's better to leave well enough alone!!

      Its also hard when people you date after seem lame. Do you think you're making comparisons?

      1. I know i'm making comparisons! which i hate, and it's something that i'm working on…but it was wierd hearing from him bc we hadn't talked in almost a year…it was random…

  5. *Sitting on the back seat of the church pew with my hand raised waving widly in the air* "TELL IT!" one mo gin "TELL IT!" Now grabbing the fan and proceeds to gather my composure….

    Love the post my brother!

  6. I read in a GQ article one time, "A gentleman breaks up with a girl and never calls again." I think a lot of these situations arise because people do not really ex their exes. People break up and then a week later they are back to talking. What am I trying to say here? 3-fold: 1) Some people need to spend more time trying to make their relationship work, 2) Some people need to know when to say some time apart is not really a break up, it's time apart, and 3) If you are serious about breaking up, then be a man/woman about it and break up.

    1. I agree..

      Other thoughts..

      Some people enjoy this repetitive behavior (breaking up), because for them its the only constant factor in their lives. They are afraid of change. A lot of psychological functioning comes into play.

      I've realized that some people go back because they have not identified the problem that caused the break up. I often tell my friends to identify the problem. If the problem could not be solved by both parties in the relationship, and you are serious about breaking up then leave.

      I know people that often go back to "find" themselves. 0_o This is one concept that I do not understand. If you've changed yourself for that person and is unable to identify who you are, then that is problematic.

      As a teacher, I notice that the students that are emotionally unstable in MY class, have parents whose relationships display the characteristics that Streetz described..However, it could just be my class..

      1. Cosign, et al.

        Ive heard some crazy stories about things you speak, but I dont want to ether people lol. I just think self esteem and inner strength (or lack thereof) are also key factors. I can understand beign friends after if the breakup was amicable, or if it was some high school shyt. When its a bad breakup, to go instantly buddy buddy is unfathomable to me, but im just a venemous Scorpio I guess…

  7. Nothing to add.

    Streetz, I can honestly say that out of two years of reading relationship blogs, this is the best, most rational, and most comprehensive post I have ever read. Kudos.

  8. This one is hitting close to home, as I was also contacted by my ex this weekend and he was suggesting giving us a second chance. I had to remind him that it would be more like the 5th chance, and let him know I wasn't interested. I can honestly say that every single thing on this list applies to my reasoning for staying in that relationship as long as I did. So, I know I was right in not trying to go back.

  9. Thanks for the love! I appreicate it!

    Let me just say that this blog was the work of years of experience, whether directly r from accounts of my friends and confidants. its one of those posts I had always written in my head, but never put to "paper".

    on the flipside, you have to show enough love not to return to an ex if you know they will deserve better from the situation. Thats a level of maturity and accountability that's admirable!

    1. That's the realest sh*t u said right there…showing enough love NOT to return if you know they deserve better…lotta dudes (and females) need to work on that one…Broke up with my ex for the 19,768th time and finally said I'm gonna let her go because she deserves better…it was hard to do, but I became a better man for it…

      1. Question- if she deserved better, why didn't you step up and do better? Did you just not want to make the effort with thatparticular woman, so you let her go?

  10. .::clap clap clap::. great post, makes me feel a lot better about my last break up that sucked horribly. high hopes for 2010! lol hopefully me and my current don't end up having to deal with this anytime soon though. (he's a former ex) [wink]


    Motivation for moving on: You've now learned what you can and cannot tolerate from a S.O. You can take your fresh notebook full of lessons into your next relationships and (if you studied your notes well enough) all that crap you put up with that made you want to scream/cry/cause-a-'i'm-a-wronged-Black-woman'-scene-on-the-street will not be an issue.

    Also, be aware of your surroundings…… all those years of my back and forth tantrums with my ex influenced my youngest sister…..now she's in a sucky relationship and when I try to motivate her to get out she brings up my ex saying all we went thru was proof of how strong our love was…..smh….. Ladies/Fellas you're not only damaging yourselves out there

    1. "Also, be aware of your surroundings…… all those years of my back and forth tantrums with my ex influenced my youngest sister…..now she’s in a sucky relationship and when I try to motivate her to get out she brings up my ex saying all we went thru was proof of how strong our love was…..smh….. Ladies/Fellas you’re not only damaging yourselves out there"

      So true!!!!

  12. good post son. i have fallen victim of taking back an ex and wouldn't you know it, things didn't work out in the long run. i think the example that best describes the situation that i was in is:

    Defining Moment of Griminess D.M.G.

    now that i think back on it i never should have taken her back or even forgave her because i knew that i wasn't ready to be with her then or ever again. this right here hits the nail on the head:

    "We ALL make mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with giving a person a second chance. The problems begin when you an ex back who had a case of the DMG, and you HAVEN’T forgiven them completely."

    once we got back together things were never the same because the trust factor was lost and i didn't trust her as far as i could throw her. this caused me to always be suspicious and act differently around/towards her. in my older age, i know now that if i don't trust the woman i'm with then it's best for me to just leave.

    1. Son, I cosign you like no other.. I cant even use "THIS!" I have to just say "COSIGN" lol

      Wouldn't be surprised if…. well…


      Seriously though, agree with what you said!

  13. Man that grimey moment hit home! I remeber when me and my exes broke up she made it extremly difficult to get her off the lease ( not returning my key, stealing some of my stuff etc…) her excuse was " i want to make you hurt like you hurt me. Well maybe a year later she tried to get back with me but all i could see is me in divorce court with her saying the exact same thing and me gettin taken to the cleaners

  14. This post is pretty beast. That's really all I can say. Someone's trying to get picked up as a regular writer for Essence. Don't think I don't see what you're doing here.lol.

  15. You know what the great 80s philospher Boy George said:

    Because time won't give me time

    And time makes lovers feel

    Like they've got something real

  16. "“History” is just another word for “comfort”."

    This couldn't be more true. We just get used to someone so that's what we go back to, even if it isn't good for us.

  17. I agreed w/ most of this post except for the part about "Caring", but I guess this goes to your interpretation of what "love" is. You can seriously love someone, being you think about them all the time, care about that individual, and would do anything for that person…except the one thing you can't do is be in a relationship. There can be various reasons for that…person did you wrong, not compatible w/ each other, not physically attracted to individual, etc. But again, I guess this comes to interpretation of love. You can love someone as a friend but not be "in love" w/ that friend. Just a thought.

  18. This blog is on point. I agree completely, especially about the fear and complacency. If you aren't confident in yourself alone, you are def no good in a relationship.

  19. This hit exceptionally close to home, as I am currently in the process of rebuilding a relationship in which a DMG occurred. I think you pointed out some excellent characteristics of poor judgment aiding in continuous cycles of hurt, and I think its important for everyone, men and women alike, to take a gander at this piece. (I will be tweeting the link!) One thing I will say is that as black people…we have a serious mountain to climb in the way of "Respecting Loyalty". We have been trained for generations to turn our heads away from infidelity, disrespect, verbal and physical abuse, and a host of other tragic flaws in exchange for "loyalty". Its the deadly combination of history & DMG in that usually it takes time spent with an S/O to recognize, but in addition to the harmful affects that history brings on, it adds a "blind spot" to negativity because a partner may have 'stuck with you' through your most flawed times, or even after you performed a DMG on them. Rappers often reference their need for a "Ride or Die" partner, and as glamorous as it sounds (I like to rock prada suits, and my ass is fat…© Eve) the cycle of hurt and complacency it offers is irrefutably beyond bad. One of the first things I want to make sure of, before working with my partner to rebuild our trust in one another and stregthen our bond, is that regardless of how much I 'rode for him' after his DMG, if I continued to revisit our negative history, or just couldn't move past the hurt…he would take the loss and walk away. As you pointed out, mistakes occur, forgiveness is certainly possible. But when we stay in relationships because of our partners ability to 'take us back', 'stay down', or 'ride for us'…we could potentially end up looking foolish…

    Great piece, boo! Make sure you send the link to Tiger's wife.

  20. I have been a victim of this circumstance. But I was young and have since learned to let dead dogs lie.

    I know soooooo many people that are victims of this circumstance. They make me sick. One chic refuses to leave dude alone. Even though his baby mama has broken her car windows multiple times, flatten her tires, and stole her license plate, dude has Chris browned her on many occasions and cheated… man just plan ole dogged her out. and no matter what I tell her or her mama and her other friends she still on this but I love him shat.. I can’t.

    I also have a homeboy who keeps getting back in a rela with his baby mama even though he knows she is crazy and it isn’t gonna work even if it’s just for the kid. Why put your kid through your drama so he can grow up crazy too..

    I tell them both… I may be single at the moment. But im happy and haven’t had to see a window repair shop or family court clerk yet..

  21. I usually lurk, but I had to comment because this post was EXXXCCELLENTT!! There are sssssooooooo many unhappy people in the world because they refuse to let go of a relationship they know DOES.NOT.WORK. But they stay in it for all the reasons you just named they only one you left out was MONEY, but that could fall under fear.

    "Breakups build character, and bad experiences show our true resolve and perseverance. " Absolutely!!! Again Excellent post!

      1. Lol! Agreed I have been lurking for a couple weeks after discovering the blog recently, but had to comment after reading this. Great post!

  22. I'm late as hell because work had me chained to the keyboard, but I have to say this post is a beast and ahem, the timing is impeccable. So, uhh, thanks?

    I'll say something my boy said to me recently, "Do you really want her or what you had?"

    A lot of people want the closeness and other circumstantial things that come along with being with someone for years, but not really the person themselves. Therefore this a good question to ask yourself when debating if you're going to take back an ex.

    Once again, good post Streetz!

  23. So, like alot of the women who responded, this also hit close to home. I had enough sense not to fall into the same trap after the second break up, and decided to be real with myself, coming to the realization that I was just settling for all the reasons you so effortlessly, and wonderfully pointed out. I didn't know if I could do better, nor did I want to try because I was comfortable with him.

    However, the one thing I do disagree with is that there is such a thing as loving someone but not being IN love with someone. I care for my ex, which means I wish him well and hope the best for his life. I love my ex, which means I appreciate the person he is and the contributions hes made to society, and would be willing to help him. But I'm not in love with him because I can't live my life with his flaws. They irritate the hell out of me, and although we've tried to fix it, at the end of the day we cannot really change who we are, and thus I am unable to look past his flaws. So thats why there is a difference between caring about someone, loving someone, and being IN love with someone.

    1. Then you should say "I care about him a lot but Im not IN love with him"

      IDK.. I just HATE that phrase because when it has been said to me, I wanted to raise the biggest c'mon SON sign ever! SIgh…memories!

      Good comment Ms Deville 🙂

  24. Agree with the different definitions of love completely! People overuse the word love. Definitely saving this to share with others.

  25. LOVE THE POST!!!!

    i was in a back and forth relationship for years because of the history. until i finally realized i could not overlook the d.m.g.s just because of the times he'd been there for me!

    i hate to see my friends fall into these traps, but most people can't learn thru other's mistakes….

  26. I just broke up with an ex who I had just started back dating and I wish that I would have read this post before we started dating. It is on point.


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