You’ve probably heard by now that
Bennifer is back. Yes, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, the celebrity power couple that got engaged in 2002 but broke up in 2004 before tying the knot, are back together and better than ever. Paparazzi have been stalking the Gigli stars trying to get a glimpse of their moony-eyed glances and PDA-packed rendezvous.
Seeing how happy these two apparently appear to be now that they’ve reunited might inspire you to get back with a former flame, too. But before you do, prepare yourself: you can’t just jump right back into bed with the person who broke your heart. Well, actually, you could, but we don’t advise it. Instead, consult this Mandatory Bennifer Guide to Getting Back Together With an Old Ex (And Not Screwing It Up For All to See), then proceed with caution.
Cover Photo: Chris Weeks / Contributor (Getty Images)
Keep it on the down-low.
At least in the beginning. The last thing you need are your friends and his friends rehashing why you broke up in the first place over brunch and discouraging you from trying to make your relationship work again.
But don’t be ashamed.
At some point, you’re going to have to “come out” to your social circles. Be proud and unapologetic that you’ve patched things up and are giving your relationship another go.
Take it slow.
Yeah, yeah, the first thing you want to do with your ex is jump right back into bed. We get it. But unless you want to screw both of you (and not in the sexy way), you need to take the slow train to your reunion.
Bask in the happiness – while you can.
There will inevitably be a honeymoon period when you both are drunk on great sex, euphoric afterglow, and tender nostalgia for the good times you had before and the new ones you’re creating now. Enjoy this, because before long, your old issues will resurface.
Be brutally honest.
If the reason you broke up with your ex in the first place is because you want different things, you’ll likely be headed for Splitsville again – unless one of you has changed positions. Have a frank discussion about what each of you wants from the relationship this time around. Sure, it’ll be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s oh-so-adult and will spare you from getting your heart broken all over again.
Do a post-mortem.
You need to figure out what went wrong the first time so you can avoid the same fate this time. Dig deep into your pasts and analyze how you both fucked it up before. Then vow not to let those same old patterns take hold again.
Forgive the sins of the past.
Sure, you still might have a mental ledger of all the ways your ex wronged you before, but you have to let that shit go now. It’s not fair to drag mistakes from long ago into the current relationship.
Share what you did while you were apart.
OK, if you spent your single days getting drunk and having orgies, maybe leave that part out. But you should disclose if you had another serious relationship, got engaged or married, or had kids in the interim. These are important parts of your personal history, and your new (old) partner deserves to know.
Keep your expectations in check.
Chances are, you’re still roughly the same person you were when you were with your ex before. Your ex is probably mostly the same person they were, too. (Unless they underwent some major personal transformation, in which case, lucky you.) Don’t expect a narcissistic ex to suddenly be super considerate. Don’t expect someone with no ambition to suddenly be pulling down six figures. If there are serious character flaws you just couldn’t get over last time, guess what? They’re probably still there and you should stay away – or learn to embrace radical acceptance.
Enjoy the sex.
Let’s be honest: this might be the best part of getting back together with an ex and it might be the only part that works out. If all else fails, forget the long-term relationship stuff and forge a satisfying friends-with-benefits arrangement instead.