'I can pinpoint the moment I should've called it.' 17 women on getting back together with an ex.

"Did you hear [name] and [name] are back together?!" 

This is the one phrase that sends my friends into full detective mode. 

It's not often that people get back together with their ex, but when they do, they know that everyone has one question... "Why?"

Of course, you can't actually ask that and even if you do, you know that you will never get the proper answer. As someone who's gotten back together with an ex, there's a certain type of embarrassment re-introducing them to the people in your life after you told those same people to block him on Instagram

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After going through that situation, I realised that the bigger question is not why people get back together but what happens after they do?

Are they like me, and realise it was never meant to be, resulting in mourning the relationship all over again? 

Or are there success stories where people realise they needed to be apart so that they could come back together?

Since I'm a bit of a perve, I decided to ask women how long they were separated from an ex before they decided to get back together and what happened when they did.

Here's what 17 of them said...

Taylor: Two weeks apart.

"Basically, our time apart made him realise he missed me and wanted to be with me, but I was starting to get over it by the time he told me he wanted me back. Buuuut I'd been bloody miserable for the two weeks we were broken up and all I'd wanted in that time was for him to take me back... So I jumped at the chance when he put it on the table, because I thought it's what I wanted. But it just wasn't the same. 


"I'd started to move on and I can pinpoint the exact moment I should've called it... It was about two weeks into our second go when he told me he loved me and all I wanted to say was, 'I don't feel the same.' But I was young and stupid (not that the two go hand in hand), and I said it back thinking and hoping that maybe if I said it, I'd end up meaning it. 

"We stayed together for... far too long. Eventually I ended it (for good this time). I'm not proud of what I did, but you live and you learn, hey?"

Jane: 10 years apart.

"We finally reconnected after being on and off for 10 years — both getting engaged or married to other people. When we were single and ran into each other again, quite serendipitously, we never left each other's side. We renovated a house together, sold it, moved to our dream home and are now raising our two kids by the beach.

"I couldn't be happier and he is without a doubt the love of my life... Timing was just never on our side before now!"

Sarah: Two months apart.

"We fixed all the problems that occurred in the first two years of dating. He lived up to his promises of change. For two years, we were happier than ever, but new problems came up and I figured he just wasn't my person. So called it off (again). This time for good."

Elle: One year apart.

"Our relationship was completely different in the best way possible [the second time around]. It was so much better and we had grown up so much. The break was really the best thing we could have done because we had gotten together so young.

"We started dating when I was 15 and he was 16, broke up when I was 24 and got back together when I was 25. We are now 34 and 35, married with an almost-two-year-old. Things have never gone back to how crappy they were before we broke up."


Natasha: Nine months apart.

"We broke up after six months — he broke up with me again. The power imbalance was always there as well as the worry that he was going to break up with me... The problems never left."

Anna: A few weeks apart.

"I kicked him out after our 15-year-old daughter came to me to tell me that he was cheating.

"For the sake of the family, I gave him a second chance. After working on the relationship for nine months, sitting in counselling and trying to make it work, I kicked him out again after he was busted on a romantic lunch with the lady he'd sworn to never see again.

"The best part is that her ex-husband and I have become very close and are both having a ball hanging out together and doing all the fun things our former spouses had no interest in. Life is good, I'm excited about the future and I know that for our exes... everyone gets to dine at a banquet of their own consequences, eventually."

Maria: One year and six months apart.

"In the time apart, I had a daughter and he moved in with us when she was a six-month-old. Three years later, we were married and have been now for more than 20 years. We have had two children together and he has a very close bond with my daughter. 

"Our relationship was definitely stronger after the break. We both had toxic relationships during that break so had a renewed appreciation for each other. It did take some time for me to trust he wasn't leaving."

Jess: Two months apart.

"My ex and I broke up because he stopped putting effort in. When we were broken up, I slept with someone else and he got jealous. Suddenly he started putting in the effort that I had been asking for. 

"We got back together for about six months and he was great. I just didn't have capacity to give him the same amount of effort in return when I had been doing it all along. We are still friends and I'm glad we tried again because it was a much nicer/more civil break up the second time round."


Poppy: Three years apart.

"We went out for three months. I was a broke uni student and he was a trader for a financial services company earning a ridiculous salary — it didn't work. Each year after we broke up, he'd invite me on a date and I'd come home and tell my mum how arrogant he was. 

"When I finished uni, we met up again and I spent ages telling him what an a**hole he was... He agreed. We've been together ever since, married for 31 years, three kids and three grandkids. I love him more every day."

Emma: Four years apart.

"When we broke up, I initiated it and I regretted it about six months later. We spent the next three and a half years in and out of each other's lives, ruining each other's relationships and cheating on partners, one of which he was engaged to.

"I had wanted him back so badly and I kept at it. Eventually, we got back together, but it wasn't the same. We'd grown into two completely different people... I was 21 when we first broke up, we were so young and still children. There was another guy who I was hanging out with at the time and I found myself choosing between him and my ex after a month or so. I decided to choose the new guy and I am happily married to him with two kids."

Lana: Six weeks apart.

"We were together for two years before we broke up. He tried to understand what went wrong and promised that he had changed. We got back together for another four years but then broke up for good after I found out that he was cheating. 

"During the four years, I didn't feel the relationship was trusting but workable and bearable. There were some good moments, and I accepted his proposal. Two months after we broke up, another girl emailed me and told me that she was seeing him since the initial break up about four years ago. He had also proposed to her or made a similar promise. She also broke up with him when she found out he was cheating. He is a master of time management..."

Vanessa: Five months apart.

"He initiated the breakup, which blindsided me, and then he also initiated wanting us to get back together. We've been back together for nine months now and we've taken things very slowly. It took a lot of talking through things — why we broke up, why we wanted to get back together and how we were going to make it different this time.


"I had a lot of trust issues and fear that he would just walk away from the relationship again, and those insecurities have shown up in different ways but I think we've both worked on our communication and not letting things build up. It's been a long, slow process and it hasn't been easy, but I think we're stronger than ever."

Carly: Two years apart.

"We initially broke up because we were young and in high school. We both wanted to date other people, but always remained friendly. Two years later, our friendship became something more. We started 'soft dating' and I really didn’t want to enter into another committed relationship. After four months of this period, he rightfully and respectfully started talking to other women and looked to move on. I got super jealous and advised him I'm ready to date exclusively. 

"Thirteen-and-a-half years later, we're planning our wedding, have bought a house together and I'm so glad I let my inner jealous gal out and asked for what I wanted."

Alex: Ten months apart

"We started dating and took things very slowly, taking the time to unpack everything that didn't work in our first relationship and how we had grown and changed since. There were some difficult, honest conversations, but we wanted to be sure we were making a conscious decision, as neither of us wanted to end up back in the same place.

"We're still together 18 months on, with a wonderful relationship thanks to the strong foundations we built during the first couple of months of slowly coming back together. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the time, healing and self growth that happened during our time apart."

Hannah: Eighteen months apart.

"At first, we discussed everything that had led to our breakup (instigated by me) as we didn't want to re-live the same mistakes. We discussed what had happened in our time apart, in other relationships and what that meant to both us as well. Ultimately, I think we both acknowledged that the relationship we started then was a new, different one to the one that had ended before.


"We took our time moving in together and have now been together for 10 years, have bought our first place, have a fur child and hopefully adding a human child as soon as possible. I definitely think it's better and a more equal and honest partnership."

Beth: Nine months apart.

"This was the third time I had gotten back together with the same guy, but the last time was by far the longest break. That time apart gave me a lot of perspective. He tried to get back together almost immediately, but I wasn't having it.

"I went off and lived my life, dated a lot of people and worked out what I wanted in a partner. When we finally got back together, the dynamic had totally shifted. We were together a further six years before becoming engaged, and just celebrated our 20-year wedding anniversary. I love him more and more every day."

Aimee: Two years apart.

"Things moved very fast. We had an incredible relationship, but we got together very young at 15 and needed some time apart to grow and mature a little. 

"We both experienced a lot in our two years apart. We had other partners and had time to be selfish, but after two years we still missed each other intensely and both were just looking for each other in a new partner. One night I sent him a message... and the rest is history. We've been married for five years now with one child."

If you want more culture content from Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

The women in this article are known to Mamamia, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Feature image: Canva.

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