Strap in, readers. This one's going for the jugular.
There are two ways that any discussion of your ex can go
Never say never. Why not open the door to reconnecting?
This is predicated on the understanding that the reason you broke up was the reason that any relationship dissolves. Either communication works, or it doesn't and you go your separate ways. Therefore, on those terms, it can be acknowledged that on the one hand – there were very many reasons why you broke up. And the decision to do so at the time was by no means incorrect or not what you needed at the time.
However, times change and so do people. We would do well to remember that more often in our life. Mistakes need to be made so that we can learn from them. Who's to say that we can't learn from them with the same person. The key difference is that while it is the same human that you're talking to again, it's very unlikely to be the same relationship. You owe it to yourself to put yourself out there and take some risks.
Otherwise, you won't end up doing anything
If you aren't using your heart or opening yourself to new things – or even old things – then you can't hope to reap the benefits of a relationship. This can also offer some much-needed closure. Even if it doesn't work out with the ex again – even the second time around – at least, you know. No relationship is a waste or not worth your time.
You learn so much from each other and about yourself. It's unlikely that every relationship that ever ended was never your fault. We have to acknowledge that none of us is perfect. Therefore it might be that we needed to change. Not the other person. Therefore, after a certain period of time has passed or we feel more ready for a relationship, who's to say that it isn't worth giving it another go? There was clearly a reason you were together in the first place.
One exception to this rule, however, is cheating
There's a lot I can forgive in a relationship, but cheating is where I stop. For my own good.
You mind your own business, stupidly in love with Harry from down the road. He bought you flowers last week and always cooks for you. Life is good and you consider yourself safe and sound – it never even crosses your mind that he might not have been faithful.
Or equally, it could be the one that we really should have known better than to fall for. It's always the people we shouldn't have fallen for that hurt the most when they leave because it means you were right. But we can't help it. Love is all about those moments when you mind your own business and then you realize your heart has gone on a romp about in someone else's bag. And there it goes!
Nothing you or I can do about that. No sir.
But back to the emotionally turbulent matter at hand
He's cheated. You hate the way it makes you feel and you break things off with him. But it's not as easy as that. The only reason it hurts so much is that you cared about him so much. Missing people against your will. Like it or not, your heart is still at their mercy. They may not even realize it, but that makes it even worse that people can keep such a casual, loose grip on all that tethers you to this mortal coil. I'm being dramatic but also, I'm not.
The other end of this discussion is of course the slightly more traditional one…
Never settle for a cheater!
The thing with cheaters is that we have to teach them that what they do – while it may occasionally have reasons and excuses that track – can't be sustained. It's not right. End the relationship and pursue your new love if you must, but don't string along a relationship because it will end up hurting more parties than it should. Maybe it's because we're all taught that we're the worst person in the room and that because – finally – one person loves us despite all our flaws, we believe that we have to love them above and beyond their toxic behaviour. That's not how it works. You don't owe anyone anything.
The right guy – who will treat you the way you deserve – is out there for you.
There's no reason you should pressure yourself or push for what you aren't ready for. Don't worry about what other people are doing around you – they don't matter. Seriously, it's your life that you need to live – not theirs. You can't judge your success on their terms or constantly be comparing yourself to them because then you can never win. Or feel satisfied. That will be because you are living your life by other people's timelines and stressing yourself needlessly over something over which you have little control.
Emotions and the heart are liable at any given moment in time to doing whatever the hell they want.
Therefore, it stands to reason that we are sort of wasting our time with trying to fit into someone else's template.