It’s the current mantra for the green movement. And for us moms, the subject of countless school projects. What should we do with our trash? “Reduce Reuse Recycle,” they say. But what about men? Should we relight an old flame? Recycle an ex-boyfriend. Is it okay to reunite with a lover? Hmmm…

Reuniting with an Old Flame

A couple of years ago, I found myself “too mature” for bars and clubs, and my right swipes were generally not right. I began to think, Whatever happened to Bradley, Brandon, Biff…? We had fun. Right? Remember our first date… our first kiss… the first time we made love? (Insert dreamy sigh). I was bored, feeling amorous, and had watched everything on Netflix when my friend told me about her friend, whose cousin just married an old boyfriend from high school that she ran into at her thirty-year high school reunion. So it’s possible. Right?

When I went to my high school reunion, all I got was a hangover. Still, when my phone started ringing with ghosts of boyfriends past (*See, “Jessica Alba Syndrome”), I picked up. 

*JESSICA ALBA SYNDROME  (aka Scarlett Johansson Syndrome)

A neurological condition presenting in single, middle-aged males, wherein said male, upon romancing you to within an inch of your life, ergo winning your affections, gets overly-confident because he’s won your affections. He then begins to think, “If I can get her (as in fabulous you), I can get (you guessed it) Jessica Alba (or Charlize, or Scarlet, or Halle, ad infinitum). Three months to thirty years later, said male realizes he can’t get Jessica Alba, and he really screwed up big-time when he let you go, and he comes back. THEY ALWAYS COME BACK!

And guess what? Following the blissfully happy, sexually charged, second honeymoon phase where he romances you to an inch of your life, and you wonder why you ever broke up with him in the first place (insert dreamy sigh), all the issues that were there before come back as well.

But what about that friend whose next-door neighbor’s cousin hooked up with an ex she found on Tinder and is now engaged. Let’s face it; we all know this girl or some form of her. Because reuniting with a lover is more than urban legend – it’s possible. Sometimes it’s even good.

Think of it this way, when you reconnect with an old flame, you don’t have to start from square one. “Reconnect” literally means coming back together. Except now, you have more life experience, personal growth, and self-awareness. It feels like the right thing to do. You’ve had time to reflect and can own your part in the relationship’s demise. You know who you are, what you want, and he checks all your boxes. You think he’s a good man.

Reuniting is also appropriate when the reason for the split wasn’t due to anything emotional or behavioral. Instead, it was just bad timing: geography, children, a sick parent, or some other unforeseen circumstance that made breaking up the only choice. When the break up was amicable and most likely would have worked, for the love of God – GO FOR IT!  

woman-reuniting-with lover

Tips On Reuniting With An Old Lover

  1. The good news is social media allows us to do some investigation. Look him up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google to find out his stats. Is he married? In prison? Is he alive? If he is indeed breathing and single,  it’s okay to reach out. Send a brief, causal text via said social media along the lines of, “Hey Brock. I was thinking about you the other day. How have you been? I hope you’re well and happy.”
  2. Alternately, if you can’t find anything on social media, reach out to friends and acquaintances who might know him.  
  3.  If he works at Starbucks, go into Starbucks and “casually” run into him.  
  4. If he works in an office, send a casual email to his work. (Sending an email to his home address is inappropriate, given you don’t know his current situation – kids, a girlfriend maybe a boyfriend?
  5. Keep it light at the beginning. Don’t dig into why you broke up. Don’t get too personal. Just superficially catch up, and maybe throw in a couple of “remember when’s” from happier times.
  6. Don’t complain – about your life, your kids, and especially your ex.
  7. Don’t make it appear as if you’re reaching out because you are desperate… or in need of a one-nighter. 
  8. If he’s not receptive or doesn’t reply to your efforts at all, drop it. Move on. Don’t take it personally. Assume he’s not in a place where reuniting would be prudent… or he’s dead. 
  9. Alternate texts so you don’t seem too eager. And don’t manic text him because you are SO excited. This could make you appear desperate … or at the worst coo-coo.
  10.  Most importantly, don’t attempt to reunite with an old lover until you are ready.  (After all, there’s always Amazon Prime!)

And if it doesn’t work out, just remember, when you relight an old flame, the wick is shorter, the smoke is dirty, and the wax doesn’t smell good anymore. Blow it out. Throw it out. And light a new one.   

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