Should I try to get back together with my ex?

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Hi Meredith,

I broke up with my ex of four-plus years more than 18 months ago. We still hang out every week. We get along great and very much still enjoy doing things together. She won't let anything get physical, but we always gravitate toward each other despite dating other people.

I am nearly 40 years old and getting tired (again) of the single scene. My ex understands me so completely, something few others do. She's the most beautiful person I've ever met, and everyone I know adores her and warned against me letting her go. We lived together for over two years and I just couldn't pull the trigger.

During the first 18 months or so, all I wanted to do was marry her. Then I think I started protecting myself, looking for her faults, and then during the last part of the relationship her faults were all I could see. We always had different kissing styles and it's something I never was fully satisfied with. She was never great at initiating and I wish she were better. We always had a very active sex life, but toward the end there were more issues between us, with her saying I was just using her for sex.

I was introduced to sex at an extremely young age and question how this has shaped my present. I often lust over women who are off limits, and I compare my partner to strangers to my own detriment. I have been to therapy multiple times in life, and have tried to address this with some success, but I don't think I will ever fully get over it. I'm sure you're going to suggest more therapy but I know I will never fully change.

My question is, am I looking back toward my ex because I'm unsatisfied with others and being single, or are we meant to be together? And if we are, how can I put the blinders on and focus only on her?

– Blinders

You're focused on your ex because you hang out with her a lot.

Also, the things that didn't work about your romantic relationship have disappeared. Of course she seems great right now.

Is she the right partner for you? I don't know. You shouldn't have to force yourself to put on blinders for anyone. There's probably a partner out there who understands you have an active fantasy life and is cool with that, as long as you stick to the commitment. Perhaps there's someone who meets your physical needs and doesn't feel weird about how much you want or like sex.

The thing is, you won't know until you have time to get to know someone. If you're with your ex every week, that might be difficult.

My thought is that you should tell your ex where you are with this. You still think about her romantically. You love her. But you know there were issues, particularly with how you both thought about sex. Maybe she’ll have something to say about that – or questions about how this might work. Or maybe she'll say, "Revisiting the romance wouldn't be good for either of us."

It's possible that having the conversation will inspire old feelings of dread. Regardless, you need to change your relationship status with her. It's either more – or a lot less.

I won’t push therapy – you know it can be helpful. For now, go for the honest conversation with your ex. Ask what she thinks about this. Talk about the things you've been afraid to say. If there's no path forward, suggest letting go – because as much as I love exes who are friends, this relationship isn't quite that. It’s in the way of everything else.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW talk to the ex about getting back together? What about the kissing?