The pandemic ‘back with your ex’ boom! As JLo and Ben Affleck reunite, experts see a rise in exes seeking ‘comfort and security’ – and share the questions YOU need to ask if you want to make it work
- Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are setting the world alight with their reunion
- Relationship experts say there’s a rise in people getting back with their exes
- Explained singletons are seeking ‘comfort and security’ in the wake of Covid
- Also revealed the six questions you need to ask before contacting a former flame
Photos of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck loved-up summer holiday are setting the world alight – but they are far from the only ones who have reunited with a former flame in recent months.
British relationship experts have reported a rise in the number of clients rekindling the romance with an ex as they seek ‘security and comfort’ in the midst of the pandemic.
‘The invisible and all-pervasive threat of Covid has changed all of our worlds and created a climate of fear and uncertainty,’ explained psychotherapist and relationship expert Neil Wilkie.
‘For many people this has got us into the primeval state of fight, flight or freeze where adrenalin is coursing through our system, clear thinking is difficult, and we seek simple solutions.
‘The faults and incompatibility of an ex may be overlooked, and they may feel like the only safe harbour in a storm.’
British relationship experts have reported a rise in the number of clients rekindling the romance with an ex as they seek ‘security and comfort’ in the midst of the pandemic. Pictured, JLo and Ben Affleck, who are back together after spending 17 years apart
Margaret Bankole, a relationship expert with over 25 years experience, agreed: ‘There has definitely been an uptick in the number of exes reuniting. The pandemic has evoked a lot of emotions.
‘Also, lockdown has meant that people have been more isolated, so it’s been difficult to date. This, combined with loneliness has brought more exes back together.
‘Starting again can de daunting, and starting again in a pandemic can seem impossible. Everything that seemed safe was taken away, and exes can be the one stable in uncertainty, especially if you have remained friends.’
Thinking about your ex? Write about them for 15 minutes
Neil suggests trying this task to assess your previous relationship before embarking on round two:
- Get lots of paper and find a space free of interruptions.
- Think about your ex and write non-stop for 15 minutes (that means you are not allowed to stop writing.)
- At the end of 15 minutes, stop and take a break of at least 5 minutes.
- Come back and read through what you have written and see what themes have emerged.
- Then take that paper somewhere safe and burn it.
- Reflect on what that has told you about your ex.
The uncertainty and stress of the last 18 months has also shifted singletons’ perspective on what qualities they find attractive, explained Neil, who creator of online couples therapy programme, The Relationship Paradigm.
A partner who might have once seemed boring because they were ‘predictable and stable’ might now represent welcome ‘safety’.
But he warned against romanticising the ex because priorities might change once again once life returns to ‘normal’.
He added: ‘In a crisis they are great people to have around but once we are out of Covid fear, they could become boring again. Look forward to what you want in the future, not what you needed.’
JLo and Ben were first spotted together in May, 14 years after their relationship ended. The couple were engaged in 2002 but postponed their 2003 wedding and officially split in 2004.
This week they have been cruising around Europe on a $130million yacht to celebrate Jennifer’s 52nd birthday. On Wednesday they put on a very amorous display as they stopped off for dinner at a restaurant in Nerano, Italy.
Weighing in on the reunion, Margaret suggested JLo feels ‘protected’ when she is with Ben.
‘Jennifer seems like a strong, confident woman, but she also loves love. She likes to be with someone that makes her feel shelter,’ she said. ‘It seems like she went through a lot with A-Rod behind closed doors, so she ran back to her protector. Ben is a nurturer, so happily played that role.’
JLo and Ben were first spotted together in May, 14 years after their relationship ended. The couple were engaged in 2002 but postponed their 2003 wedding and officially split in 2004. This week they have been cruising around Europe on a $130million yacht
Neil also pointed out their shared experience cannot be overlooked.
‘Ben and Jennifer are drawn together because they are in the same bubble, have tried many of the alternatives and have fewer choices left.
‘They may also be realising that they have matured in the last 17 years and that their first relationship had some real strengths that could be developed away from the paparazzi flashlights.’
However both urged caution to anyone considering phoning up their former flame.
‘I would say think twice,’ said Margaret. ‘Think carefully about why you broke up in the beginning, and if those issues have been resolved. If there’s a hint that it hasn’t, don’t get back with them. You could end up with a double heartbreak.’
Want to get back with an ex? First think about these 8 things
Neil said: Getting back with your ex is an easy option and can seem attractive. If you haven’t got over them it is an easy solution to loneliness. It can also trap you in an even worse relationship. Here are the important questions to ask yourself before you decide to get back with an ex:
1. Have you had enough time to get a new perspective?
You need to have had time to enjoy life outside of the old bubble, to have shed any tears and regrets and to have embraced new possibilities. If not, you are still looking at life through the lens of the old relationship.
2. Who are you?
You may have been buried within the old relationship and not had a strong sense of ‘Me’. It is really important that you take the opportunity to do this as a strong relationship has three separate parts: Me, You and Us.
3. How have you both changed?
You cannot rewind time to when you first got together, as life has changed and wrinkles appeared. If you shed the past memories, would you find each other attractive? Given the passage of time and changes in interests are you now both compatible?
4. Calibrate your old Relationship
How was the relationship on the 6 key elements that are the foundation for every successful relationship? Score each of these out of 10 (where 10 is perfect) and see what pattern emerges:
- Communication – were you able to talk, express your feelings and be truly listened to?
- Connection – how strong was the feeling of connection or had you drifted apart?
- Commitment – were you both truly committed to the relationship or going through the motions?
- Fun – how much fun did the two of you have together?
- Growth – were the ‘You’, ‘Me’ and ‘Us’ all growing or stuck in a rut?
- Trust – did you trust them totally?
If many of the scores were 7 or below then why would this be better in the future?
5. Have you been open to having a new relationship?
If you have been living in regret, then you are unlikely to have seen the possibilities of new relationships.
6. What relationships have they had?
If they have had a new long-term relationship, how do you feel about having someone else to be compared with? You should also look at how it ended. If it ended badly this can be a warning sign. If they are they blaming their partner and playing the victim, this is unhealthy as it could be a repeating pattern.
7. Why did you break up?
Was it really a mistake or were there sound reasons why you broke up that you should stick to? For a relationship to work second time around something needs to have changed – if you’re both in the same place as before it’s likely that, even if going back to each other might be fun to begin with it, it might be disappointing in the long run.
8. Make it a date
Treat this as a new relationship. If you both slip back into the ‘same old’ it will be disappointing. This is the opportunity to make a new start, to learn from past mistakes and to create a new and better relationship.
Take it slowly and enjoy the journey. Make it fun, romantic and memorable.
You both deserve a great and loving relationship; if you can both have that with each other, that is good. If not, look elsewhere!