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Ex-partners (woman and man) having coffee together and discussing whether to get back together


How to know if new feelings for an old love are worth pursuing

Penelope James   |   Fri, 29 Sep 2023

Reality check, readers: what should you do when you develop (or rediscover) feelings for a former flame?

Tough question, right? Tantalizing as a second chance may seem, the notion of reviving a past romance can also feel unnecessarily treacherous ... especially when fresh starts are instantly available via dating apps.

If you find yourself standing at this confusing crossroads with an ex, fear not. Your good pals at The Vibe are here with nine questions to consider when contemplating giving old love new legs.

Decipher your own desire

Before rekindling romance with a past partner, it’s essential to understand your motivations for pursuing them in the present. Start with these questions:

What are your reasons for rebooting the relationship? What’s driving your interest in reconnecting with your ex? Is it a real desire to give the relationship a go, or is it something else? There are many motivations that don’t warrant a full relationship reboot (nostalgia, closure, physical attraction, etc.), so make sure your actions and your intentions are aligned.

Have you moved on from past issues? Do you understand what led to your breakup in the first place? Have you and your ex resolved those underlying issues, and are you at peace with where you’ve landed? Any answer other than “yes” should give you pause. You need to give your existing foundation a solid inspection before trying to build upon it.

Have you grown and matured? Another question to ask yourself is whether you’ve personally grown since your initial relationship ended ... and how. Time apart can lead to maturity and offer newfound perspective, but it’s important to understand whether those changes will help bridge old gaps or create new ones.

Woman and man sitting on the floor and discussing their future

Get a beat on your ex-partner’s pulse

Rekindling with an ex obviously isn't a solo endeavor, so once you understand your own desires, move onto these questions to gauge how your former partner feels about a fresh start.

Is your ex willing to have candid conversations? Your ex’s willingness or reluctance to re-engage in communication will give you insights into their mindset. If they hedge and avoid, well, there’s your answer. If they’re willing to communicate, it’s time to talk specifics. What are they looking for? Real love? A casual affair? Something else? If their intentions don’t seem to match your own, that’s a huge red flag.

Is mutual trust still intact? Equally important is assessing whether you and your ex trust one another. Mutual trust is the bedrock of any lasting relationship, so it’s important to evaluate if past issues or betrayals are truly in the rearview mirror. If there’s any doubt about where you stand with one another, you won’t be able to move forward in a healthy manner.

Do you envision a similar future together? While reminiscing on past memories is easy, it’s important that you and your ex share new dreams together, too. Aligning future aspirations is key to avoiding past pitfalls, so – scary as it is – make sure you ask your ex about their hopes, goals, and plans before taking a leap back into love.

Look beyond love

Passion and nostalgia can be as deceiving as they are intoxicating, so it’s critical to ensure your relationship with your ex is robust enough for a second act. How? By taking stock of external factors with these three questions.

Can your current "life lanes" converge? How do your current life trajectories fit together? Reuniting might require recalibrating some of your choices … are you and your ex both willing to compromise if your life lanes don’t completely align?

Are your values still (or finally!) compatible? Dig deeper than surface-level attraction. Do your core beliefs and values resonate with your ex’s? Attraction and a shared past will only get you so far ... if you’re not compatible where it counts, you can count out a future together.

Do your respective support networks support the redo? Couplehood exists within a broader network, so while your love story is ultimately yours to pen, the perspectives of friends and family can offer illuminating insights. They might see things you're too emotionally involved to notice, or remember betrayals that perhaps shouldn’t be forgiven so quickly. Ask around, and consider carefully.

The fact of the matter is that love’s journey is replete with ups, downs, detours, and – yes – sometimes even repeat visits. As you contemplate re-coupling with an ex, remember that personal fulfillment and mental peace should anchor your decisions. Love should enrich your tapestry of life, not tangle it further, so listen to your inner compass, cherish your emotional integrity, and prioritize your happiness at every twist and turn.


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