We separate out our trash; we try to use recyclable materials; we support those companies that re-cycle themselves and use only renewable resources. And in a world where our waste is actually impacting our very climate, we are beginning to understand how important recycling is for our future children and grandchildren. What about “re-cycling” an ex? What does that even mean? Actually, there are two phenomena related to this concept of recycling an ex. Let’s take a look at each of them and then get down to the “meat” of the issue.
You can recycle an ex for “use” by others or for yourself. If this sounds a bit crass, it isn’t meant to be.
Yes, this is a real thing. The basic idea is that you bring an ex to a party and trade them off for an ex from another partygoer. How weird is that, right? The idea was first conceived on an episode of the TV series “Sex and the City” but then it caught on with lots of variations. One of those has been an “auction” of exes for charitable causes. There have been several attempts to use this theme for a television series, but none ever really took off.
This recycling means that you re-hookup with an ex and renewed the relationship. While many believe this is not very common, in fact, it is, and there are several reasons why.
One or both former partners are lonely after a breakup. They may have gotten out there, dated others, and not really found someone special. They start thinking back to all the good times they had with their ex and regret the breakup.
Holidays come and there is a lot of nostalgia. And if the former partners are not heavily into other relationships, there is a strong tug to try to make it work again.
Sometimes, one partner is at least a bit of a narcissist and wants to believe that their ex still pines for them. And so they initiate contact by what is often called “orbiting.” It’s following them on social media, liking and commenting on their posts, etc. The ex is lonely, perhaps, and agrees to a reconciliation. These do not end well.
Both have never really gotten over the relationship, though they have tried. Ultimately, they recycle one another. There was a 2009 movie, titled “It’s Complicated” that relates to this situation.
The short answer is sometimes. But if it does work, there are usually some things that are put in place as that relationship is renewed.
Both have to analyze what went wrong the first time around and be completely honest with one another. Maybe one partner felt ignored or taken for granted; perhaps one partner resented the amount of time the other spent at work and the resulting lack of quality time together.
The partners must develop a plan for changing the circumstances that caused the breakup and commit to sticking with that plan.
It’s quite possible that counseling will be necessary. Recycling a relationship takes work and regular check-ins on progress being made. A counselor can provide those check-ins.
Only time will tell if you both have done the right thing. If you are thinking about re-kindling an old relationship, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, not just because you are lonely and haven’t found another great relationship yet. And if you both decide to recycle, make sure you are willing to work on making it right this time.
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