Have you ever gotten back together with someone you dated briefly?
April 9, 2017 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm interested in experiences of people who went on a few dates with someone or dated casually for a month or two, went their separate ways, and then got back together.

Obviously I'm asking this for personal reasons, but I don't want to talk about my situation because I'm not looking for advice, just stories. I hear so many tales of people getting back together with exes, but it's usually people in long term relationships who had deep feelings for each other but also serious problems. I'm interested in cases where you hadn't gotten that serious, and then something happened (one of you chose to date another person, life circumstances got in the way, you just weren't feeling it, etc.), but later you tried it again.

If you have ever reconnected with someone after a short-term relationship or non-relationship, I'm wondering:

How long did you date?
Why did it end the first time?
How did you end up reconnecting?
What happened when you did?

posted by HeatherMoor to Human Relations (25 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Went out on 2-3 dates, I told him I wanted to be friends and not date (met on internet). A couple of weeks later we hung out as friends for an afternoon. I decided I wanted to try dating again and communicated as much ch to him and he seemed game. We did date for a couple of weeks/a month or two sort of casually (hanging out 1-2 times a week). I decided I wanted it to be exclusive, he said no and we broke it off. I think the initial break might have contributed to a kind of weird dynamic to be honest, and am not sure I didn't have it right the first time when I decided it wouldn't work. There was also some imperfect communication going on, for what it's worth.
posted by knownfossils at 10:48 AM on April 9, 2017

Went on several dates and broke up for circumstantial reasons. A few months later after I knew the circumstances would likely have been resolved I contacted him and we dated a bit more. But looking back the second round in retrospect seems to have been purely physical for him, and I should have been very clear about what I wanted and asked him to be equally clear with me. Ultimately he ghosted.
posted by bunderful at 10:55 AM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've never re-dated someone like this, but I did become good friends with a person I dated a few times several years after the fact. I had been dating someone else long term, and she broke up with me, although we'd eventually get back together. During the break, I put up an online dating profile (remember Nerve?), and asked someone out. We had dinner a few times, watched the movie version of "Everything Is Illuminated" on her couch and made out, and then just kind of fizzled. Not much chemistry, and weird mid-20s life stuff. I lost contact with her and got back together with my long term ex (the two things were sort of related). Three years later, a former co-worker ran into her at an art show (she's a well-regarded artist), and discovered I was a mutual acquaintance. As it does, Facebook took note and suggested her as a person I may know. So I sent her a note apologizing for being a loser 26-year-old and wished her well with her art. I'd broken up permanently with my long term ex at that point, and we struck up a correspondence. I'd go to her shows, she'd come over to my parties. I didn't get the sense that either of us were interested in dating again (or at least, I wasn't), but we hung out a lot, and she even got me a job where she worked. After I left that job, we kind of faded away again, but yeah, we were pretty close for a while.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2017

Dated for two months and then he broke up with me. Two years later (we would run into each other socially occasionally in the interim) we got back together. A year and a half after that, we got married. Our five-year wedding anniversary is coming up soon.

In our case, my husband and I both believe that things didn't work out the first time because my husband was not yet in a place, career-wise, where he felt good about himself, or capable of being a good partner.
posted by amro at 11:45 AM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Went on two or three dates and then I unceremoniously broke it off to get back with my (horrible) ex who hated them, we gradually became good friends and they helped me through the ensuing year of misery and series of break-ups and reunions with said horrible ex. A few months after the last one, we started sleeping together, which we've been doing on and off in various friendly and/or romantic configurations for the past couple of years. We're both queer + non-monogamous, which is definitely relevant to our particular saga.
posted by dizziest at 11:59 AM on April 9, 2017

We met in the first week of first year at university after we both signed up for a student society and started dating very quickly. We dated for about six weeks at which point he broke up with me, saying he thought we would be better as friends. I was pretty cut up about it but we both stayed involved in our shared activity and had a large group of shared friends by that point, so we basically had to stay friends.

We were friends for the next seven years, to varying degrees of closeness (sometimes we spent a lot of time together, sometimes just in groups, after uni we lived in different cities for a while so didn't see each other often). I can honestly say it was friendly with no lingering feelings or "what-ifs" - he had girlfriends, I had boyfriends, it felt like ancient history that we had dated.

Eventually we ended up in the same city and he moved in with me and a mutual friend when our lease was up. So we were flatmates for a while until little flirtatious things started to creep in and one day he asked me point blank if we were going to do anything about the fact that we were clearly attracted to each other. And to make a long story short we got married and we have a kid now so...in it for the long haul I hope!
posted by cpatterson at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've been in this situation and variations on it. The first was a guy I dated casually for a summer during college. I left to study abroad after that summer, and we agreed not to stay together. After I returned we struck things back up, but it was a bit tortured for me because I really liked him and wanted to date more seriously and he was really only interested in hooking up. At the time I wasn't able to communicate well or break things off completely even when I knew it was making me unhappy. Eventually we stopped seeing each other organically.

Another time I dated someone for about a month before he broke it off. We were in the same friend circle and continued to hang out often with friends. A few months later we started hooking up again. To me it was always very casual, but he felt convinced that I wanted more and after 6 months he broke things off again in a really insulting email. We both moved to different cities and don't talk.

What has happened to me more often though is briefly dating or hooking up with someone, stopping for some reason (usually distance/moving), but rekindling things briefly when circumstances allow. I have a number of lovers in different cities whom I see infrequently; in each case neither of us wants a serious or sustained capital-R Relationship, but we care for each other and enjoy going on dates and having sex when we happen to be in the same place maybe once a year or so. Obviously this can be a fraught situation and everyone really needs to be on the same page for it to work (fortunately my communication skills have vastly improve since guy #1 above!). But I really treasure these relationships and the memories I have with these people.
posted by thrungva at 12:57 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Girl, I have done this so many times. It's easy to go from "this person isn't right for me" to "hm, wonder what whats-his-face is doing on this boring rainy evening?" It is not a good idea if this is a person that you broke up with for an identifiable reason, such as "not that into" or "they didn't seem keen" or "someone else seemed better." Those feelings don't go away. The one exception is distance - in that case I'd give it a go.
posted by benadryl at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Not me, but my brother went on four dates with a woman in college then they went their separate ways. They met again at their 10 year reunion. They have been married for at least 25 years now. Timing is everything.
posted by AugustWest at 1:43 PM on April 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

We went out on three dates. Friends set us up. I was into him, he was into me - but on our third date I got stupid drunk and somehow got it into my head that he didn't know what my name was. So I was angry, and he kept calling me by the wrong name to aggravate my drunk butt. Shockingly, we stopped seeing one another after that. I dated one or two guys in between when I saw him again at my friend's birthday celebration. He called me the wrong name for the rest of the night, we laughed about it and he asked me out again. We've been married for 5 years and have an adorable baby.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 2:33 PM on April 9, 2017 [9 favorites]

We dated for six months, at which point he realised the Ivy-league PhD program he just started was not going to be conducive to a relationship (or really, his mental health). Seems pretty obvious in hindsight. A couple years later I'd gotten an email from an old friend out of the blue, and was headed to a conference near him, and so I sent him a friendly email just to say hi and see how he was doing. We spent a day together and nothing had changed. We made arrangements to spend a weekend together and everything was going great until we broke a condom and I took the morning after pill. I do not handle HBC well at all... I warned him as best I could, but he wasn't in a completely resilient place himself and that stuff makes me batsh*t crazy. We were actually planning for him to come with me to my grandmother's the next weekend and he'd told his mom we were dating again. Argh. It did not end well; though it was purely timing/circumstantial. Later on we emailed a few times and apologised and had relatively good closure. Had it not been for that though... who knows? The next great guy I met I told him straight up I'd rather get pregnant than take HBC again; my husband has never seen me on HBC... Shrug? (Maybe if we were meant to be we'd have pushed through that mess? Who knows?) I think he's married now; hopefully as happily as I am!

Again, both times it was due to external circumstances/timing. Not a "meh" and then "I'm bored" on either of our parts.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:20 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

HBC = hormonal birth control
posted by intermod at 3:43 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

We went on a couple of dates. He was steady and nice but didn't spark a lot of interest.
I met an edgy dark bad-boy sort of fellow and fell head over heels for him. That lasted 3 bad months.
First guy and I were still running in the same circles and he never lost interest. A couple of months later, we were at a church event and I was talking with his mother. He asked us both out to dinner. We dated on and off for a couple of months. Then it was just on and we've been married for 34 years now.

I figure it took a bad guy to teach me what a good one looked like.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:22 PM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

My boyfriend likes to say it took him a year to get a second date.

We met online and went out once. The date was...ok. We made headway into getting to know about each other. I liked what I saw but it felt effortful, and the next day I decided impulsively that he wasn't for me romantically and sent him a polite rejection with an invitation to be friends instead. He sent back a note that respectfully declined my offer. There was something in the tone of his response, a wistfulness and sense of regret for a lost chance, that brought me up short. I replayed the date in my mind and knew without really understanding why that I had made a dumb mistake, but that it was too late now to do anything about it. I moved on.

In the year following, I got into a relationship with a decent but obviously incompatible dude which predictably fell apart, spent some time single, and finally felt ready to date again, like a grownup this time. I came across his profile again and saw he was single. At the time of our first meeting, I had a pretty unhealthy strategy for first dates which was to leap over the chasm of strangerhood by attempting to create instant, unearned intimacy - I would ask inappropriately personal and searching questions and invite the same back. Basically truth or dare for adults without the dare. It saved time! I remembered quite a bit about the date, and thinking back I realized he had evaded my parries, instead offering a slower and more genuine unfolding. It made the conversation feel stiffer to me; more challenging, but the impression he made was still vivid.

So I asked him out again. I said I remembered him well and had regretted my snap decision the previous year. I apologized for the cheek of asking for a second date a full year afterwords, but I had to try. To my great delight, he accepted. We had a quite wonderful second date and after that, another, and here we are almost two years later, (three years from date #1,) disgustingly in love and planning to move in together this fall.
posted by prewar lemonade at 10:35 PM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

I just married someone under these circumstances. We dated for six weeks or so and I really liked him but he was kind of abrasive at times and his idea of taking me out on a date was to invite me to work happy hour, drink too much, then disappear for a week. When he got back in touch after disappearing for about two weeks, I said, hey, I don't think this is working, and he said the same. I went on to date a frillion people and he was in a miserable long-term relationship.

Fast forward 10 years and he found me via the internet dating webs and he asked me out for a drink. I couldn't remember why we quit seeing each other (it actually took me a while to remember who he was) so I said yes. He essentially asked me out to apologize for being an idiot and told me he thought of me often over the last 10 years and kicked himself repeatedly for not handling things differently. He said that he was heartbroken when I told him I didn't want to pursue things and explained that he had no idea how to date because he grew up in a Muslim country had not been here long, and his previous girlfriends had been friends first, so he was clueless about how to court someone. He had not wanted to admit any of his vulnerabilities so I just thought he was kind of an ass. Ten years later, this man had become a devoted feminist, self-aware, thoughtful, and had retained his delightful absurd sense of humor and devotion to his wonderful family. It did not hurt that he lost the chin beard.
posted by *s at 6:10 AM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had a summer fling with a young man working at the same place as me. This was the summer after my freshman year of college, and the summer after he finished high school. Our hometowns and colleges were all far apart, and we'd seen too many high school sweethearts break up before their first semester was over, so we used all our 18 year old maturity to wish each other well and part amicably. We wrote some friendly emails back and forth during the fall that slowly got friendlier, longer, and more frequent. Eventually he wrote a very short three-word email, and we got back together. The next year he transferred to a much-closer university, we got married the week after he graduated college, and we've now been together more than half my life.

I think the key thing for us was that breaking up was in no way a commentary on our overall compatibility. We did it in large part because we cared about the other and wanted the other to be happy, and couldn't see how we could add to the other's happiness under the circumstances. If either of us had met someone else that fall (he went on a few dates, I probably would have with a little more time), that would still have been true.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:27 AM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

I took a guy home from a bar. He invited me on a date a few days later and it was fine but I was only interested in casual sex at the time. We hooked up quite regularly and had good chats but I was in a mess at the time and didn't trust anyone. Eventually that all petered out. Then after a year or so we got back in contact by text. He'd gotten a girlfriend, gone overseas, and the girlfriend had cheated on him so he'd broken up with her. I'd done some work on myself and was less erratic with my feelings. We met up for a drink and I realized as we talked that he would make a great boyfriend, we got on well etc etc. We didn't hook up but it was lovely catching up and I had a biiig crush on him.
That Friday night we were both out at bars with our friends and arranged to meet at the same bar. It seemed that we were going to hook up, then next thing I knew he was chatting up some other woman. I stormed off and that was the end of that.
posted by Chrysalis at 6:31 AM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

My sister went out a few times with a guy she met online, but he either had a bunch of business travel coming up or flaked in some minor way and they didn't see each other for a few months. I think he called her once he was a little more settled or something, and they got married two years later.
posted by Pax at 10:12 AM on April 10, 2017

We met through grad school, and dated for about a week before I broke things off because I was still in the process of getting over an ex-fiancee. We got back together a few months later after I got my head straight, and remained friends in the interim. We'll have been married six years in August.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:20 PM on April 10, 2017

I tend to have a one-and-done approach, judging from past experiences, but I did have one meet-part-repeat experience in my mid-20s.

How long did you date?
Maybe three weeks?

Why did it end the first time?

Different politics (I'm gay-out-agnostic-liberal, he was gay-closeted-religious-conservative). The info came out after a fun, casual couple of weeks hitting it off and making out etc. more than talking. I tried to stick with it for a little while, but I lost interest and slowly faded out of it.

How did you end up reconnecting?
He got in touch. Said we had a good time together and that was something worth exploring. Said that it was shallow to drop a relationship because of things that hadn't caused problems just because they might cause problems down the line. I mean, he totally had me there. I thought they were good points, and I hated the thought that I was being casually blasé with someone's feelings.

What happened when you did?
No surprises here, those things caused problems. It was pretty apparent from the (second) get-go that, in this case, some differences are too big to bridge with sex and careful conversations.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:40 PM on April 10, 2017

My last boyfriend and I had a few casual dates and hooked up a few times while we were both recovering from breakups. There was a pretty intense mutual attraction, but then he said he didn't want to have a relationship and we stopped seeing each other for a while. About ten months later, he decided he was interested in a relationship and got back in touch. We continued where we left off and were together for nearly five years after that.
posted by rhythm and booze at 5:36 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Dated for a few months, I moved across the country and left him behind with both of us understanding that we'd broken up, after a month or two he followed me across the country, this summer is our 19th wedding anniversary.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:01 AM on April 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Story of friends of mine: They dated casually for about a month in high school. Broke up because neither felt strongly enough about it to continue. No hard feelings, as I understand it; just weren't really feeling it. They stayed friendly, but weren't super-close. Both dated other people, sometimes seriously. Then, in their senior year of college (they went to separate colleges a couple hours' drive apart), they started hanging out in a group of friends on breaks and weekends. Neither was dating anyone else at the time. They connected in a totally different way as 22-year-olds than they had as 16-year-olds. Then one day as they were exchanging a friendly hug after hanging out, they each realized that they had fallen in love with each other. A couple of years later, they were married. Still happily married now, with cute kid.
posted by snowmentality at 1:08 PM on April 11, 2017

Here's a different one for you.

I got separated (now divorced), in my 40's. After a year or so decided it was time to make hay while the sun shines.

Met a few ladies on a rather, ahem, unconventional website (AM). There was no "dating" in the literal sense. Things would tail off for various reasons.

I remained friendly and in touch with a few of these ladies, digitally. One in particular was very smart and pleasant and engaging. She came over for a platonic visit once, we went to see a movie together platonically, another visit for dinner at my place.

Eight months pass, including emails which included brief details about a relationship she had going in another country. I assumed we were just friends/penpals at this point and was ok with that.

Last summer I hosted a "Big Chill" weekend at my cottage (lake house) for a gathering of old friends. Since many of them were married and I didn't have a SO, I invited her, stipulating we'd sleep together but nothing but cuddles expected. And was surprised by a yes.

I was further shocked when much of that weekend was spent in the bedroom, completely at her initiative.

Shocked again when she later told me, I was all she wanted.

We are now and remain a couple, with significant promise for the future.
posted by raider at 3:57 PM on April 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I went on a two dates with a man, and declined a third date because I didn't think we had enough in common. Over the next four or five years, we remained friendly. He had a serious relationship with another woman. I had a very difficult relationship with another man. At some point after both those relationships ended, we began to spend more time together. We did have a lot in common, and more important than shared interests, he had many many wonderful qualities (kind, very smart, diligent). The intervening years definitely shaped how I saw him, and came to appreciate and love him. I asked if he would consider going out with me again, he said yes, and we were off to the races.

Six months later, he had to move for a job. We kept up a long-distance relationship for a year, and then he ended things. He said that the distance was too hard, and it wasn't clear when we would be in the same place again.

It was a really great relationship, and I'm very happy I plucked up the courage to ask him out (again).
posted by MrBobinski at 5:56 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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