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We've all had that *one. That one guy who broke us apart and has a nickname in your friend group because he shall not be named. That one ex who maybe did the type of damage that’s etched on your skin like a fading tattoo. Most of us have all one (maybe two) of these types of relationships in our life. They aren't the type of relationships we're proud of because more often than not we experienced loss, trauma, or just heartbreak. Some of us experience all those things and more and take them back.

Reconciling or even entertaining the idea of being back with someone is never easy. It's the hardest thing to do because it requires a leap of faith that forces you to forgive the person who hurt you while giving them the opportunity to possibly do it all over again. Getting back with an ex is a choice that demands a lot of work on both parties, and there is no guarantee it will work. But let's be honest: When you love someone and it’s real, it's hard to simply walk away.

I had an ex who I thought was the one man I could marry. Our relationship was over a decade in the making because we'd been friends since middle school and tried (and failed) at a brief romance in our teenage years. Finally, I seriously entered a relationship with him when I was fresh out of grad school, living out of state and ready to “adult.” For me, being in a serious monogamous relationship was the best way to start.

We were together a year before I found out he'd been unfaithful a few times, and I broke it off. After a year apart with no communication, no social media and no contact, we came back and tried to make the magic happen again. This didn't have a happy ending for me, but as I've been in reflection mode, I've been thinking about those really intense months of reconciliation and what I learned from it.

There’s no blueprint to dealing with an ex, but what I learned will stay with me forever.