The Disadvantage of Sleeping With Your Ex Too Soon

So you’ve found yourself in a situation like this – you broke up with someone and now you feel that was a mistake. When you’re with your ex, the sexual energy and connection’s still there, and you’re tempted to take advantage of that and get in bed with them. That seems like a sure fire way to reconnect, to remind each other what you’re missing, and to rebuild a new relationship.

Time to think a little harder about the situation, and slow things down.

Sleeping with an ex might seem like a great way to reignite passion and renew a relationship. But it’s a dangerous gamble and here’s why.

Sex is about sex. A relationship is built on intimacy. Don’t confuse sex and intimacy, because they aren’t the same thing.

Whoa! What am I saying? Aren’t sex and intimacy the same thing? After all, letting someone see you naked, hop in bed with you, touch you in places few other people ever do – isn’t that intimacy?

Sex can be part of intimacy. Let me repeat that – sex can be part of intimacy, but it is just a small part. And although a vigorous sex life is an important part of a relationship, it isn’t the right foundation for a long lasting one.

Sex seems like intimacy. This is the message Hollywood and the romance industry teach us. But remember – those romantic comedy films end after two hours and the characters go off to live happily ever after. They don’t have to keep living together day in and day out for years and decades.

Paradoxically, the situation is the opposite of the Hollywood message. Not only is sex not intimacy, sex can actually be a barrier to true intimacy.

Sex As a Barrier to Intimacy

Pay attention. Because we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking sex equals intimacy, once we have sex we check the box marked “intimacy” and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. But sex is easy compared to the real hard work that true intimacy requires. So it’s all too easy to have sex with your ex and think you’ve solved the problems that led to the breakup in the first place. 

Real intimacy is much harder. It requires truly communicating with your partner, letting them in on your deepest thoughts (as well as your shallowest) and your emotions. Real intimacy involves telling the truth.

So if you think hopping back into bed with your ex is a good idea and an easy way to get back together, beware. It might feel good for a while, as the enjoyment of sex and passion obscures the underlying problems that led to your breakup. But it won’t last.

Take a Break After You Break Up

First, I always recommend a decently long quiet period after you break up with someone. For at least a month, and possibly longer, you should have no contact, no communication with your ex at all. That means no phone calls, no texts, no instant messages, no social media contact, no letters, no flowers, no candy, no visits. Nothing. During this period it is important for you to clear your mind and do some hard thinking. it will pay much greater benefits in the long run.

What are you thinking about during this silent period? Well, for starters, you’re thinking about why you broke up in the first place. If you’re the one who broke things off, you probably have a pretty good idea why, but even so, you may be lying to yourself, or at least not being completely honest about why you dumped your ex.

It’s important to write down your thoughts every day or every few days during the silent period. If those fundamental problems that led to your unhappiness haven’t changed, then no amount of sex is going to solve them.

If you were the partner dumped by the other, you also need to do some thinking. Even if you were blindsided by your ex when they broke up with you, it isn’t impossible for you to figure out the probable reasons. A good long period of silence and some writing about it will help you get clear on your own thoughts and feelings about the relationship. 

If, at the end of this month or so of silence, you honestly want to get back together with your ex, then it’s important to go about it the right way, the way that will give you the best chance of building a long-term, truly intimate love relationship.

What Do You Want From This New/Old Relationship?

You need to be clear on what you want from this relationship. Do you see it as leading to marriage and a family someday? It’s important not only that you know what you want, but also that you and your ex are clear about each other’s desires and long-term goals.

If you and your ex are both serious about rekindling your relationship, sit down together and talk it out. Take turns talking – use a timer and speak for three minutes or so while your ex just listens without interrupting. Then switch roles.

Take as many turns as needed until you feel like you’ve been heard, and that you’ve heard them.

When it’s your turn to talk, you can say anything you want. The best thing is to stay focused on yourself – talk about your own emotions, fears, anxieties, your hope for the future of your relationship, and so on. Don’t feel like you have to directly respond to what your ex says during their turn. That’s not important. What really matters is being honest yourself and really listening to what your ex is saying.

This kind of turn taking conversation is a valuable habit to incorporate into your relationship for the long term. It gives you a chance every few days or once a week to “check in” with your partner about how you’re feeling, about things that have happened to make you happy or sad or angry or tired. This kind of honest communication leads to a stronger foundation of true intimacy, one you can build a good relationship on. And that kind of truly intimate relationship is much more likely to include passionate sex, too.

Read the Ex Factor Guide to get all the step-by-step details on ways you can get your ex back, when to have sex or hold back, and more!

About Jessica Raymond

Jessica Raymond, BSc, RCC, is LoveLearnings senior editor. As a relationship counselor, Jessica has helped hundreds of men and women achieve their relationship dreams. Whether it’s finding your one true love or simply charming someone on a date, Jessica's got your back! In her articles, she reveals little-known, psychological tips that will make even the coldest person chase you around like a little puppy.
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