Love does not always end after a relationship is over. It can linger in the air and crackle between both parties long after they have exchanged goodbyes. Still, there are generally compelling reasons why a relationship does not work out. In my observation, immaturity of one or both parties,bad timing, 3rd parties, and other outside stressors can all contribute the dissolution of a relationship.
The familiarity of an ex can cause you to remain stuck in an era of your life which you need to move on from. It is easy to get sucked back into going back to an ex. You know them so well. You are familiar with all of their good points and perhaps their crazier ones. The familiarity can cause you to gloss over the unhealthier aspects of the relationship. You conveniently forget about the numerous drunken fights, infidelity, manipulation, and even physical abuse which occurred during your time with them.
Instead, you choose to focus on the happier times no matter how few and far between they happened to be.
Armed with your rose-colored glasses and short term memory loss; you enter back into the land of broken promises and dysfunction. Or perhaps you pine away for the ex whilst involved a relationship with another person. Either way you are using both good and bad memories from your past as an excuse to not move on with your life.
"No one will ever love me as much as my ex." or
"My ex screwed me over so badly that now I will never be able to trust anyone else again!"
Both of these common declarations keep you stuck in the past and they also place unnecessary limits on your future happiness. Sometimes, it may seem as though completely stepping away from an ex will negate the life which you lead up until now. This is especially true if the relationship started during your late teens and early 20's.
All of those experiences and memories of "firsts" bonded you together in some way forever. Remember, for whatever reason that bond was not enough to sustain the relationship in the long haul. You do not have to completely amputate your memories, but you cannot permanently reside in them.
If the relationship produced children, then it becomes even more difficult to step away from an ex. The association between both of you becomes exclusively about what is in the best interests of the children. Some would argue that people should hold onto a dead relationship/marriage for the children. I disagree, because children learn and model behaviors from their parents. Children witnessing their parents constantly engaged in mind games, disrespectful behavior towards one another, and misery will most likely bring those same aspects to their future relationships.
On the flip side, observing a toxic relationship between parents could cause their children to avoid any intimacy whatsoever.
Sometimes, long time divorced parents use their children as an excuse to try to maintain control over their ex-spouse. They tell themselves that their bitterness and crazy behavior towards their will ultimately benefit their children because it will somehow hamper their ex-spouse's chances of finding someone else or coerce them into an ill-advised reconciliation. This behavior creates a lot of unnecessary psychodrama and keeps children caught in the middle.
Not surprisingly, there are plenty of books and websites written about the topic of reconciling with an ex.
However, I have learned through personal experience and observation that reconciling with an ex rarely works for the long-term. It is essence like going backwards and it can inhibit individual growth.
Whenever, I have returned to an ex it had nothing to do with feelings of unfulfilled love. I went back to work out issues from my past and admittedly to hide from the world. However, in every instance the ex which I returned to had radically changed and the security I sought no longer existed with them.
Basically, I could either try to recreate the atmosphere that brought us together so long ago i.e. strife with family, workaholism, and other negative behaviors to keep the relationship alive or just completely walk away. Alas, I always chose to walk away because I was not willing to emotionally go backwards to sustain a relationship which was not that healthy for me in the first place.
Of course, I have also observed exes getting together after several years of being apart making it work. However, both parties had matured into different people than who they were during their previous time together.
Still, I am inclined to go along with the wise adage "they are an ex for a reason".