The old ‘ex switch-a-roo’

Dear John,

I had been seeing this guy for almost 4 months.  We hit it off from the beginning, so much chemistry and compatible personalities.

After 4 months he tells me he is getting back with his ex-girlfriend, whom he had been with for two years prior to meeting me.

I was disappointed and told him this, also told him I’m ok with it.  I too had been in a long term relationship – 12 years! (including 6 year marriage) which ended last year. He told me he was very confused whether or not to get back with his ex.  So the best thing for me was to leave him and let him do what he wants.  He told me he wants to remain friends, he likes me, finds me attractive and that we get along so well etc.

We have been talking and texting more than we did when we were ‘dating’ and we have become friends on Facebook and chat all the time.  I like this guy.  There are so many qualities I like in him, though he is with someone else.  I have and still am going through something myself.

I’m confused as there is something between us, though I know nothing can happen whilst he is with someone.  As I have been out of the dating scene for 13 years, I do not know what to do in this situation?  Do you have any advice, suggestions or tips for me?

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Theresa, via email

Hi Theresa,

Thanks for writing in.

This whole situation comes down to one word; comfort.

Believe me when I say you’re not the only one whose experience the old “ex switch-a-roo”. It happens to the best of us.  During this momentary lapse of insanity we fool ourselves into thinking that our feelings are sincere and true, and no one in the world can prevent us from believing the contrary.
Truth is, people break up for a reason. What didn’t work once probably won’t work again down the track.  I can only hope that your ex-partner is an exception to the rule, because everyone deserves a happy ending.

One take-away lesson from this might be to beware of guys who clearly have unfinished business from a previous relationship, especially if that previous relationship carries with it unavoidable ties that guarantee future interaction.

These days most adults have romantic histories, and maybe a little bit of baggage. But you need to be able to tell the difference between a little bit of relatively harmless baggage and the kind of unfinished business that will come back to haunt you sooner or later.


I mentioned the word “comfort” earlier. When coming out of a long term relationship, one of two things can happen when meeting new people.


  1. No one can compare to your previous partner
  2. You fall for almost every person who shows interest in you.

The best thing to do right now is to get outside your comfort zone. Forget about your ex-husband and ex-partner.

Why not try speed dating. Go out with a friend, have a few glasses of wine and make a night of it. You may meet 20 eligible bachelors in one evening. I can’t guarantee they will all be perfect matches, but so what if they’re not? Embrace the difference and imperfections that life brings you, because I have never met a happy perfectionist. Being able to let go, try something new and unleash your inner free spirit is a remedy that heals all wounds.

And the best part? Let’s say you do meet someone new. It won’t take long before news catches wind and your ex-partner finds out. From a guy’s perspective, I can’t tell you how jealous he will be if he still cares for you in the slightest. When a guy knows that a potential love interest will drop everything to be with him, he’s less inclined to act on his emotions. Why? Guys love a challenge. It’s how we’re wired.

Think about the happiest couples you know. Is the power balance 50-50? If I were a betting man, I’d say yes. A fresh new experience (or partner) will provide you with a sense of clarity and 20:20 vision of a future you deserve!

Have a relationships-based question? Want a man’s perspective?


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