Let’s say your relationship ended recently and you and your ex decided to break up amicably. As much as you want to move on, there’s a part of you that doesn’t accept that it’s over. You wonder, “What if ours is the type of breakup that eventually gets back together?” And, maybe you are right! Maybe there is still some hope left for your ‘happily ever after’. Look at Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, for instance. They broke up way back in 2004 but rekindled love years later and got hitched in 2022! Guess it was true love, after all. But what are the types of breakups that get back together?
This question can also lead you to wonder how people patch up with someone they parted ways with. Can couples get back together after months apart, and that too, without any bitterness between them? And what percentage of breakups get back together? More importantly, does taking a break in a relationship work? Don’t worry, as we have delved deeper into the scenario and brought up some research-backed statistics to show you how such couples rekindle their once-broken relationships and still remain happy! So, let’s dive in…
How Often Do Couples Get Back Together?
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Interestingly, it’s not unnatural for divorced partners and unmarried couples who break up (whether they break up amicably or not) to get back together again. In fact, there’s even a term that defines such new-age couples who get back with their exes. They are known as “yo-yo couples,” as just like a yo-yo, they spin back after going away the first time.
A study also shows that couples who part ways often tend to rekindle their relationships. In fact, researchers who conducted the study noticed that 44% of young adults from ages 17 to 24 got back with their exes, with 53% stating they even had sex with an ex. Similarly, a 2013 study by Kansas State University professor Amber Vennum stated that 37% of live-in couples and 23% of married couples who had participated in the study had reconciled with their partners after splitting.
How long after a breakup do couples get back together?
Now that we know that it’s perfectly fine for couples who’ve broken up in the past to get back together with each other, you might be wondering, how long after a breakup do couples get back together? Well, there’s no set answer to this one, and reconciliation after breakup can take from a few days to a few years, depending on how serious the breakup was. But we did consider a few instances and found out it depends on a few internal and external factors. Here it goes:
- Attachment styles: People with an anxious attachment style feel the need for love more than people with an avoidant attachment style. It is these people who initiate patch-ups because they leave relationships when they feel overwhelmed and get back as soon as they start missing the love. So, in such cases, patch-ups can happen even within a month of the breakup
- Self-respect: If the split was bitter and abusive, people with high self-worth may not even wish to get back again. But people who need a relationship to feel good about themselves may undermine their self-respect and break up then get back together within a few days
- Needs: People may have different types of needs. Be it sex, money, or even social status, a person’s most important needs drive one to get back to one’s ex, be it after a month or even 6 months
- Situations: At times, life situations may improve. One partner may get a job that promises a better life or may move to their ex’s city, where they think they can live together happily. In such cases, partners may break up then get back together without too many hiccups
Author and psychiatrist Grant Brenner states that when couples get back together is up to them but suggests that one should go through the painful initial post-breakup phase and wait till they’re sure that a response or the lack of it wouldn’t hurt them anymore. A level of mutual respect needs to be reached back to be able to communicate again.
11 Types Of Breakups That Get Back Together With Timelines
So, can couples that break up and get back together be classified into types? If yes, how many such types are there? We’ll look at one example. At times, a crisis forces people to rekindle their romance. Look at Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor. They are one of the classic examples of couples who broke up and got back together. And how? They reunited during the COVID-19 pandemic for the sake of their kids. Ben Stiller, while talking about it, explained, “Then, over time, it evolved. We were separated and got back together and we’re happy about that.”
Theirs was a patch-up that happened out of circumstance. Let’s look at other such types of breakups that get back together due to various other reasons. The timelines mentioned here are tentative though:
1. “Okay, get out of my life!”
This type of breakup is done in the heat of the moment. Such a breakup is nothing short of a ‘wild card’ to win or end an argument in a relationship. So, “I don’t want to be with you anymore” is generally followed by “Hey, you know I didn’t mean it like that.” A friend of mine, Debbie, has had multiple such breakups and patch-ups with her boyfriend. When she spoke to me after her last breakup, she said, “Me and my ex are bound to patch up again. I’m sure I’ll get a call from him within a few days.”
Wondering whether such a breakup is temporary or permanent? Temporary, for sure. And how long does it last? Not too long. Couples may break up impulsively at night and patch up the next morning. Worst case scenario: the ego war might stretch for a couple of days. But that’s it. The timeline for this breakup is perhaps the shortest.
2. “I cannot live without you”
The second type of breakup that gets back together is the one that happens in codependent relationships. These on-again, off-again relationships are toxic/addictive loops that are difficult to escape. Couples stay together just because they cannot imagine an identity without one other. Is being in such a relationship worth it? Not at all. In fact, research shows that cyclical partners (couples who broke up and got back together multiple times) report lower relational quality — less love, need satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction.
This lower relationship quality is still not able to keep them apart since one/both partners display signs of obsession. I was once in a similar relationship. I would always promise my friends I would end the relationship for good. But I wasn’t ever able to stick to that decision and found my way back to my ex-boyfriend again and again.
The time span between breaking up and getting back together in such relationships is not that long. A couple of days or weeks after the breakup, the couple usually reunites.
3. “I just need some space”
The next kind of breakup or ‘break’ has been popularized by Ross and Rachel from Friends. If you’re wondering whether this type of breakup is temporary or permanent, the answer is pretty obvious. In this particular case, couples break up with the very intention of getting back together after some introspection or self-reflection. They wish to take a break from the relationship, and it is almost always an amicable breakup, one that’s based on mutual understanding.
However, ‘breaks’ can still be very confusing. In fact, studies show that many participants were simultaneously motivated to both stay in their relationships and leave, suggesting that ambivalence is a common experience for those who are thinking about ending their relationships. This ‘ambivalence’ is the very reason why people second guess their breakups.
These ‘breaks’ last for roughly a few weeks or a couple of months. This time apart acts as a reality check for both partners. And then, they are back together, with a fresh mindset and as newer versions of themselves.
4. “I want to stay single”
The next type of breakup is a classic ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ situation. Here, partners may wish to take a break from the relationship just to remain single for a while. Let’s take the example of my friend, Xavier. He recently broke up with his girlfriend because he was missing the single life. But the fantasy about the ‘single life’ didn’t match up to his reality. When he could finally ride solo, all he wanted to do was get back with his ex-partner and cuddle her. And so they patched up!
This ‘breakup and patch-up’ cycle is not just limited to relationships. It applies to marriages too sometimes. In fact, according to research, over one-third of cohabiters and one-fifth of spouses have experienced a breakup and renewal in their current relationship. And there goes the answer to your question, “What percentage of breakups get back together?”
Just like in the case above, these breakups, where couples wish to take a break in a relationship to enjoy singlehood, too are likely to last for a couple of months. Post-breakup, they probably realize that the other potential partners aren’t so appealing.
5. “You cheated on me!”
This is the type of breakups that get back together after infidelity. According to a study, extramarital affairs and infidelity account for 37% of divorces in the US. But what percentage of couples stay together after one of the partners cheats? There are limited factual insights on this topic. However, one survey indicates that only 15.6 % of couples can commit to staying together after infidelity.
There are, however, a lot of roadblocks in breaking up and getting back together, in this case. Psychologist Nandita Rambhia points out, “A couple has to navigate many hurdles along the way. For one, they experience guilt – while for one, it is the classic case of cheating guilt, for the other, it can be the guilt of not being enough. The partner who has been cheated on will invariably wonder whether they lacked something, which may have pushed their significant other to have an affair.”
So, does taking a break in a relationship work in such cases? A Reddit user wrote, “The thing about cheating is that you never forget. It will always be at the back of your head. You have no choice but to see this person as someone capable of hurting you. They may never cheat again, but it’s too late, and you can never trust them again.”
The breakup timeline in such cases differs from couple to couple. For instance, it may take less time (a couple of days/months) for a couple to get back together in case of infidelity that involve flirting or a one-time kiss. On the other hand, it may take more time (a couple of months/years) for a couple to heal from a full-blown affair with a coworker.
6. “God, I wish the timing was right”
This is a circumstantial breakup and is just tragic, in a Hollywood movie sort of way. This may be due to one partner focusing on individual growth or personal development. And almost always, there are some underlying issues. To elaborate, here are some classic examples of the ‘right person wrong time’ kind of breakup:
- “I love you but I need to focus on my exams right now”
- “I wish we were in the same city. It’s difficult to make this work”
- “I like you too much but I am not ready for any serious commitment”
- “My family is forcing me to marry someone else”
So, many couples who broke up and got back together had split because of ‘wrong timing’ in the first place. Many got into long-distance relationships and then split temporarily due to misunderstandings and insecurities. But such people are most likely to get back when circumstances change.
Getting back together after a breakup like this could take a couple of months to even a couple of years. It depends on when the crisis/reason for breakup gets resolved or when there are some positive changes.
7. “I will always love you”
Breaking up and getting back together is evident if the love still remains strong. Evidence suggests that ‘lingering feelings’ is one of the most common reasons for couples who break up and get back together years later. For instance, getting back with my ex-partner took me five years. I even dated people in between, but nobody could love me like he did.
But why do we have these lingering feelings, years later? Psychodynamic psychotherapy expert Gaurav Deka explains, “When two people get together, they get to know each other well not just on an intellectual level, but on a physical level too. Even if it’s toxic, the body craves that neurological connection and that creates a strong foundation.
“Another psychological reason why people give a second chance in relationships is due to familiarity. Take the case of your household. Even if your mom and dad are toxic, you still take part in the family drama, because it’s a familial space. The same applies to other relationships.”
Related Reading: Reciprocity In Relationships: Meaning And Ways To Build It
The time frame here is subjective. Some people may take five years to get back to their exes, while some may take more. And then there are couples who get back together with their exes 20 years later.
8. “I want us to stay friends after breakup”
Studies reveal that maintaining connection after breakup is a common way to lessen the pain of a heartbreak. But this also implies that staying in touch with an ex can eventually lead to a patch-up. As leadership coach Kena Shree points out, “You can still fall in love with your ex, while you are committed to someone else. This is because you are looking at your ex from a distance. Being friends with your ex shows versions of them that you didn’t know existed. So, you are at the risk of falling in love with them all over again.”
The time between the breakup and patch-up can stretch up to years. Regular and open communication with your ex may not even allow you to truly move on.
9. “We need to evolve”
Types of couples that break up and get back together also include those who do it to evolve as individuals. You see, sometimes, breakups happen because one or both individuals have personal or underlying issues, such as childhood trauma or past relationship trauma, that gets projected on the relationship. This is, more often than not, an amicable breakup. And sometimes, if they are lucky enough, people go through self-reflection, gain perspective, work on themselves, bring in positive changes, and get back together years later, as evolved versions of themselves. Be it jealousy or anger issues, they don’t repeat the same mistakes again.
Here are some of the strategies that people use to work on themselves:
- Taking full responsibility for all the times they were at fault
- Managing expectations (especially the unrealistic ones)
- Finding an identity outside of the relationship
- Seeking professional help from a qualified therapist
Again, there’s no fixed timeline for getting back together after a breakup like this one. It will happen as soon as two people realize and accept there’s a personal issue that needs to be fixed and that they still feel for each other.
10. “I will find my way back to you”
The twin flame separation is one of the types of breakups that get back together. You may experience the ‘twin flame’ separation once you hit the crisis stage. You could be the one running away and your twin soul may be chasing you, or vice versa, or you may even break up amicably. Or you could both be switching between the roles of the runner and the chaser. The stage is primarily about distancing oneself from a twin flame connection because of the intimidating nature of intimacy that you both share.
It can last until both partners realize that their coming together is orchestrated by forces beyond their control. They miss their twin flame so much that the twin flame separation becomes the reason for getting back together.
Getting back together after a breakup like this is inevitable. A twin flame separation can last for weeks, months, years, or even lifetimes. During this separation, one plays the role of ‘runner’ and the other is the ‘chaser’.
11. “There’s something missing”
This is another one of those types of breakups that get back together. Let’s get honest. We’ve all perhaps been in seemingly boring relationships with no zing that offered us peace of mind and stability. So, it’s quite possible you’ve been together for a few months or even years but you feel there’s something missing: either the sex isn’t great or you two have taken each other for granted and aren’t looking to please each other anymore.
While both feel you need to take a break in a relationship or maybe end it once and for all, both drag along without having “the talk” because you’re too comfortable and breakups hurt you until one of you decides to end it all. This could also be because the grass is greener on the other side, and people don’t realize that relationships aren’t always ‘fun and games’.
Related Reading: Effort In A Relationship: What It Means And 12 Ways To Show It
Since this is an amicable breakup, there’s a good possibility that you may get back together again if you try and mold yourself according to their wishes, and vice versa. A friend of mine, Trisha, not just went vegan but also tried ditching high-end fashion to be more like her boyfriend, who was a simple guy with a very grounded lifestyle. Her boyfriend too adjusted his ways and tried to strike a balance.
Though they had broken up for 6 months, they eventually got back together, as both were too comfortable with each other. None wanted to try a new partner, as they craved the emotional support they got from one another. Trisha, during her brief breakup, said to me: “Me and my ex perhaps shared emotional soulmate energy. I totally feel we are meant to be together again.”
How To Get Back Together After A Breakup Naturally
With this, we come to an end of the types of breakups that get back together. But how exactly should one go about it if they take a break in a relationship temporarily? Wondering how to get back together after a breakup? More importantly, is it possible to get back together after a breakup without lingering bitterness or doubt? Should you do it even when you notice sure-shot signs he never loved you? Or that she used you? Well, it definitely is, and we’ll tell you how. Listed below are some tips. For starters, be honest with yourself and ask yourself these important questions:
- What were the major reasons that caused the breakup?
- What are the solutions and strategies to fix those problems?
- Can my ex and I work together with patience?
- Do I have a list of unfixable dealbreakers?
- Do we differ fundamentally in terms of our core values?
After you have thoroughly gone through the questions mentioned above, you may follow these steps:
- Ask your ex what they have learned from the initial split and discuss your takeaways too. Open communication works wonders
- Set clear expectations and healthy boundaries about what is allowed and what isn’t
- Maintain mutual respect, and don’t play the blame game
- Keep your mutual friends in the loop instead of keeping it a secret
- Imagine yourself as a third party (Would you advise your bestie to get back?)
- Go through a trial run to test the success of the reconciliation after breakup
- Take things VERY slow
- Don’t bring up issues of the past. Consider this romance as a clean slate
- If it’s time to let go, don’t be afraid to give up again and don’t wait for them to come back (self-worth over anything)
- Research has proved that it’s not uncommon for people to get back together with an ex after a breakup
- Of the different types of breakups that get back together, some are the “I need some space” breakup, the “something’s missing” breakup and the “we need to evolve” breakup
- How long after a breakup couples get back together depends on a few internal and external factors such as their attachment styles, needs, and level of self-respect
- Some ways to get back together after a breakup are: locating the major issues, deciding to communicate openly, keeping mutual friends in the loop, and sorting things out together
Now that we have an answer to the burning question: is it possible to get back together after a breakup?, let’s also speak about letting go of an ex. Yes, we know closure can be difficult sometimes! On this, Gaurav advises, “Where’s the closure when parents die and you miss out on your final goodbye? So, for closure, you don’t need the other person. All you need is you. Closure has to happen within you. ? Trust the healing process.”
So, don’t lose heart if you aren’t eventually able to get back with your ex-partner and are not on the same page anymore. You may actually end up with someone else who is way better. After all, it’s always better to move on than stick to a dead-end relationship or wait for that one person who may never come back.
Couples who break up and get back together do so at their own pace. There is no fixed timeline, or to be precise, the timeline depends on the types of breakups that get back together. It is shorter for heat-of-the-moment breakups and longer for infidelity breakups. Similarly, it is shorter for codependent relationship breakups and longer for ‘wrong timing’ breakups. Partners may also take a break in a relationship voluntarily till the time some life situation improves.
So, can couples get back together after months apart? Well, according to research, around 50% of couples get back together with their ex. The timeline for this breakup could vary from a couple of months to even a couple of years.