Back when we were dating, my wife and I broke up twice. So it got me wondering how often do couples get back together?
Here’s what I’ve learned:
37% of couples break up and later reconcile. But 60% of younger couples tend to fall into that cycle, compared with only 23% of older married couples. The cycle of break up and reconciliation is most often driven by financial challenges, having children at a young age, and an underlying fear of commitment.
But there’s a lot more to know about breakups, reconciling, and when it’s time to call it quits.
So let’s keep going!
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Why do couples break up and get back together over and over?
Kansas State University found in a recent study that 37% of those who broke up reconciled.
They went on to note that 60% of young adults have engaged in a back and forth type of relationship. In these instances, breakup and reconciliation in a repeat pattern are common.
That study even goes on to note that “those partners who experience the most conflict are those that are
choosing to renew their relationship instead of permanently ending it”.
In other words, in many cases, couples who repeatedly break up and then get back together tend to be more unhappy and be less successful in their relationships.
As for WHY couples do this, there’s a good reason. All of the following reasons seem to factor into the relationship instability:
- Financial strain
- Having children at a young age
- Co-habitating without being married
- General insecurity and fear of commitment
Every person’s story and the situation is different. So, even though the statistics may be in your favor, there’s no guarantee.
Statistically, most couples tend to get back together after breaking u. But only if the relationship wasn’t entirely sexual. In other words, there’s a key difference between a fling, friends with benefits situation, and a real relationship.
So, if you were attracted to each other in a wide variety of ways on a deeper level, then you have a better chance of getting back together.
It means that if you were in a serious relationship and living together or considering getting married, then your chances of getting back together are very high.
Why do we stay in #relationships that make us #unhappy? A new study finds an unexpected answer to this question. https://t.co/eN53DubjQK #singlehood #romantic #couples #partners #love #commitment #breakup pic.twitter.com/WuLU5tHqGi
— nybhealth (@nybhealth) October 29, 2018
What percentage of couples get back together?
In short, it depends on age and whether the couples are married. But between 25-40% is about right.
There have been many studies done on couples getting back together after a breakup. Another study published by the National Institutes of Health found that 44% of those who broke up made up after a while.
This study focused on younger people. So the results are skewed towards college students who were between the ages of 18 and 24 years.
Going back to the Kansas State study I mentioned above, they noted that 23% of married couples experienced a breakup and reconciliation. But 87% of those breakups occurred before marriage while the couple was dating.
In my own life, my wife and I broke up twice while we were dating.
In our case, we had both just gotten out of troubled relationships and weren’t really in a good headspace to be starting a new one. BUT we also knew our relationship was different and worth fighting for.
We also almost broke up one other time, mid-marriage, in the wake of an affair I had. That was in early 2013. Luckily, we were able to come back from that too.
If you find yourself trying to save a marriage or relationship following an affair, I have a recent article that can help! While I have several articles about cheating recovery, this one walks you step by step on what to do to prove you have and will change.
Just click the link to read it on my site. Luckily, today, my wife and I are happier than ever, and our marriage is better than it ever was.
Can a relationship work after several breakups?
Breakups are usually scary, especially if they happen regularly.
You may try to make up with your spouse only to break up again. The problem is we aren’t learning any lessons when the cycle keeps repeating.
As they say, it’s the definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing expecting different results.
However, you can still make your relationship work even after multiple breakups.
But, it’s not that simple. You both have to be willing to look at all the factors involved. That includes looking at:
- What caused the breakup?
- Has each of you taken ownership of what you are doing to damage the relationship?
- How long you stayed apart
- Were any new relationships started during the break?
- What have each of you done to work on yourselves and your contributions to the breakdown?
In short, you have to focus on fixing what led to the breakup before you can start working on making the relationship last.
According to leading marriage researcher John Gottman, there are seven qualities of a happy marriage. One of the qualities they mention is this—happy couples laugh often together!
— Biola CMR (@BiolaCMR) December 4, 2019
So what are the steps to take to stop a repeat breakup cycle?
1. Take ownership of your actions, statements, and choices
We all make mistakes. Any relationship that goes south has 2 players and 2 people who caused the demise.
That’s not to say that one person may not have done more damage than another. But it’s almost impossible to find a relationship breakup where 1 person did absolutely nothing to damage and end the relationship.
So really be honest with yourself and your partner about the things that you did that was wrong. Don’t backhand it, or add a “but . . . ” to the end of it.
Know it, own it, say it and then stop talking.
2. Take action to fix the underlying issue that led to your role in the breakup
Once you understand and take ownership of your role in the breakup, now it’s time to work on the underlying issue.
Make no mistake. Acknowledging the issues is only half the battle. Now you have to understand the root issue behind your behavior and then take action on working on it.
In my case, I realized I had a fear of being left that stemmed from my childhood.
By the time I was in my early teens, I had almost no relationship with my Dad and my step-father (the man I called Dad) was dead. Then my brother moved to a foreign country at age 14 and I didn’t see him for 4 years.
I had developed (without realizing it) a fear of abandonment.
So in my adult relationships, I began a pattern of sabotaging them so that I was at least in control of the destruction of the relationship.
It was through therapy, and a lot of internal work (meditation, yoga, martial arts), that I began to understand my issues and move past them.
If you’ve never done couples counseling or therapy, I have a recent article that breaks down everything in an ultimate guide.
I cover questions about insurance, average costs, what they do, and what therapists don’t do. So just click the link to read that on my site.
3. Regroup with your ex only if both of you were willing to do steps 1 and 2
That doesn’t mean you have to wait until you are both “perfect”.
If you’re anything like me, that means you’ll be waiting a very long time. But if your reconciliation is going to stick this time, something has to be different.
And both of you have to be actively working to break the patterns that were causing your relationship to fail.
Rushing into making up before you work on individual shortcomings will often lead to the same result as another breakup.
Remember that frequent breakups can be toxic in a relationship.
When the frequency of the breakups keeps increasing, you should spend some time reflecting. If you can’t find common ground after that, then you should consider permanent separation.
If you find yourself in a relationship that isn’t what it once was, check out my most popular relationship post that covers everything you need to know about how to Rekindle Your Marriage (click to read on my site).
How long should a relationship break last?
Breaks in a relationship can be a healthy thing.
This is because they give you some time to reflect on yourself and what you want. However, a break should never be longer than a month.
If you and your partner take a break that goes for six months, then you should consider breaking up. The more you stay apart, the more it becomes harder to make up of you were on a break.
It’s also not OK for one partner to be in control of the end date for the break. That can easily slip into manipulation and leading the other on. This has to be a mutual choice that both agree to. Otherwise, a full breakup is better.
Sometimes miscommunication can cause confusion between couples. It is, therefore, important to talk about the duration of the break before you take it.
Some good questions to ask are:
- Are we remaining faithful to each other during the break?
- Do we both plan to reconcile?
- Is it OK to call or text one another during the break?
- What are we each hoping to gain from a break?
- Are we hoping to see a change in our partner after the break?
- Is there a set date where we will get together to discuss reconciling?
You should also understand that if you take a break, it should be enough for you to figure out if you want to get back together or breakup.
It’s also important to remember that you are different individuals with different personalities. This means that while you may only take a week for the break, your partner may need more time.
Just make sure that that period doesn’t take more than a month. Also, ensure that you communicate clearly to avoid any confusion.
How do you get back together after a breakup?
It’s not uncommon to be lonely during a breakup.
Even if you’re out with friends or seeing new people, you can still feel pangs of loneliness or jealousy. You can also feel insecure wondering what your ex is up to and if they are seeing someone new.
But those are not good places to try and reconnect with them from.
The first step towards getting back together with your ex is understanding what caused the two of you to separate in the first place.
Without this understanding, you won’t be able to know what to repair.
If you find out the root cause of the problem, you’ll have a better chance of making sure it is solved permanently. You need to find out what is making both of you unhappy and how you can change that.
Remember that in most cases, the core issue is usually ignored or overlooked by most couples. Avoid focusing on the problems that appear on the surface and focus on the real underlying issues.
After understanding the cause of the breakup, you can focus on working on the solution.
Remember that you can seek professional help from a counselor.
You don’t have to do it yourself. But, you do have to be willing to work with your partner on solving the problems you’re having.
You have to stop doing the same things you were doing before the breakup.
Most importantly, learn to set aside your expectations of what you think your partner should be doing. Then, instead, simply focus on appreciating them for who they are.
If you are constantly focused on what you want them to say or do, you will both be constantly disappointed.
How do you know if your ex will come back?
In short, the longer your relationship lasted and the more serious it was, the greater the chance of your ex coming back.
For instance, if you were living together but weren’t married, then they will probably come back. Married couples and parents are even more likely to reconcile. But the cause of the breakup also determines whether your ex will come back.
The best way to entice your ex to come back is to not seem desperate.
I know that can be hard to do if they left you and you’re the one feeling sad and lonely. But as they say, living well is the best revenge.
So avoid doing any of the following:
- Texting or calling (especially repeatedly, late at night, or after drinking)
- Don’t stalk their social media pages
- Do go out with your friends and continue living your life
Sad and desperate, even if that’s how you feel, isn’t attractive.
You have to project that you’re having a fun life and are surrounded by good friends and are feeling confident. Confidence and a strong sense of self-worth are far sexier than desperation.
Now that being said, you also don’t want to seem completely disinterested. You also don’t want to look like you’re playing games.
So IF there are signs your ex might be interested in reconciling, reach out and ask if they want to get together to talk.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about breakups and how often couples get back together?
In this article, we took a hard look at breakups.
We looked at why couples sometimes break up and how repeatedly breaking up and getting back together can ultimately sabotage the longterm success of a relationship.
Ultimately, though, we answered the question of how often do couples get back together?
In short, younger couples tend to break up and later reconcile 37% of the time. Married couples break up and reconcile less, at 23%. But 87% of those break ups occur when the couple is still dating before saying “I do”.
If you love each other, then you can overcome any break up and end up having a long and happy marriage just like I do.
If you feel like your relationship is worth fighting for, then do yourself a favor and watch this amazing video on how to Mend Your Marriage (click to watch the video on their site)
The video walks you through everything you need to know about saving your relationship, even if your partner isn’t sure they want to.