If you're planning to hook up with an ex, here's what psychology experts suggest:
- Don’t feel bad if your ex hasn’t changed. Remember: manage expectations. Avoid unrealistic fantasies of the person your ex may have become while you've been separated – your ex has likely not changed. Any old neuroses or bad habits that irritated you back in the day will still exist. If she'd been capable of or willing to change those things, she would have done so in your previous relationship. Sleeping with her will only reaffirm what you already know. Be happy with the hook up, and don't fool yourself by anticipating something more profound.
- Determine if it's worth it. When you're making the decision about hooking up with an ex, keep in mind what you're putting at risk. Do a little soul searching and understand why things didn’t work out in the first place. Sure, your intentions may only be sexual in nature, but don't rule out the possibility that things can change on either your end or your ex's. Decide early on if that's territory you want to enter into.
- Manage expectations. Keep it real. If this is strictly about sex, make it clear to your ex that your intentions are that narrowly defined. Tell her the physical attraction is still there, and you would like to share that part of the relationship again. If you have more in mind, however, like getting back together as a couple, then it's equally as important to communicate those intentions.
- Don’t dwell on the past. A hook up is not about mending wounds or correcting the past; it’s about enjoying each other’s physical company for a night (or several). Should sensitive issues about your long-ago-and-far-away relationship come up, gently change the conversation, and let her know this is about enjoying the time together right now. If other feelings start to arise, then the moment has come for a heartfelt conversation about the past and how you might do things differently this time around. The best thing you can do is treat this arrangement as an entirely new and separate entity from your past relationship, and allow it to develop organically.
- Don’t expect a happy ending. Hooking up is not to be confused with a committed relationship. Your ex has no obligations to you, and you have no obligations to her. By its very nature, hook ups are not intended to offer you long term happiness. You and your ex are not bound to each other, and you may quietly drift away. Don't try to infuse the situation with ideas of Disney-esque romance scenarios. Live for moment, and understand you are seeking temporary companionship and not true love.