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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Hooking Up With an Ex: Is it Ever a Good Idea?

So you’re single. Maybe you and your ex have just called things off after weeks and weeks of arguing and silence. You thought you’d be relieved after all the drama passed, but instead you find yourself lonely and craving someone to cuddle with at night. Or maybe the two of you have been apart for a while, and every so often you find yourself thinking about him or her.

The thought crosses your mind to just find somebody new, but you’re not ready for all of that. All you’re looking for is a little attention, not a new boyfriend. So is it bad to call your ex for a little fun?

It all depends. Maybe you’ve both matured, maybe enough time has passed or maybe it could be the worst possible move you could make right now.

Every situation is different, and you should do what works for you after weighing the options. Read on for the pros and cons of rekindling the physical side of a past relationship.

The Pros of Hooking Up

1. You Already Know Each Other

Hooking up with someone new is exciting, but it takes so much effort: introducing yourself, coming across smoothly, finding a graceful exit if the night takes a weird turn, etc. With your ex, however, you’re in familiar territory. Sure, there’s no thrill of the unknown, but you’ll probably have an enjoyable time. 

“Ex hook-ups are great because you can skip all the awkwardness of first-time hook-ups, and an ex is already aware of the things you like/don’t [like],” says Sammi Baum, a junior at the University of Hawaii.

Tina B. Tessina, author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again, thinks hooking up with an ex isn’t such a bad idea. “Not only are you already comfortable with this person sexually, but also there’s little at stake since the relationship aspect is over,” she says.

2. It Could Lead to a Reunion

Maybe your relationship ended over something frivolous. Maybe it was simply bad timing. While you shouldn’t let a hook-up be the sole reason you give a relationship another shot, it could be just what the two of you need to get the ball rolling.

Rachel McHugh, a junior at Lancaster University, used to think that hooking up with exes was a stupid thing to do. However, in her last year of high school, Rachel ignored all previous instincts and gave her ex another shot. “Five years on and we are still together, and I’m so glad I gave him a chance,” she says.

The Cons of Hooking Up

1. The Drama: Round Two

You broke up for a reason, and chances are whoever feels he or she was wronged during the breakup will find some way to voice that grievance during the reunion. Who wants to have a couples’ fight with someone you are no longer coupled with?

Allie Sutherland, a senior at Syracuse University, says she found this out after hooking up with an ex. “It felt fine very briefly, but it didn’t change any of the reasons we initially broke up, and I know that the reason I did it was because I just missed the feeling of being with a guy I was comfortable with more than I missed the actual person,” she says.

2. You Risk Getting Reattached

It’s always a bad idea to hook up with your ex if one of you still has feelings for the other. If he’s not over the relationship (and you are), just go for someone else. If you’re not over the relationship (and he is), you’ll just prolong the time it takes for you to move on.

Jordan Sypek, a junior at the University of Tampa, has hooked up with an ex before. However, she thinks that if you’re still not over your ex, you shouldn’t hook up with him.

“Getting with an ex while you still think of him every day is a horrible idea,” she says. “It will leave you even more sad because you got a little taste of what you used to have, but won’t ever have again.”

Dr. Michelle Golland, a California-based clinical psychologist and relationship expert, says that although returning to a former lover may seem comfortable and convenient, it could actually be a sign that you’re not willing to fully move on from the relationship.

“It’s just a sign [that] you’re not ready to really end this and create a new life for yourself,” she says. “It’s really unhealthy to lead each other on emotionally.”

3. Your Health Could Be at Risk

Even if the number of partners you’ve been with hasn’t changed, your ex’s could have. Hooking up with or without asking about his or her sexual history could lead to you contracting an STD.  Be sure you both get tested before any hook-ups occur. Not all sexually transmitted diseases show obvious symptoms, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.


If You DO Hook Up, Here’s What You Should Do

Let Enough Time Pass

If you want to start hooking up with your ex, you should wait until at least a few months, if not more, have gone by. Even if you had an amicable and mutual breakup, you should let the dust settle before you try to get back in bed with your ex, or things are bound to get complicated.

Make Your Intentions Clear

Before you even touch your ex’s lips with your own, you should make your intentions and expectations clear. Tell him you want to hook up without any strings attached, that you’re not looking to get back into the relationship and that you just want to have a little fun. Let him know you only want to see him to hook up, not to do all the date-y stuff that leads to hooking up.

Or, if you are looking at a hook-up as a way to get back with an ex, be upfront about it. Give him a chance to express his intentions and feelings about the situation. That way, you’re better able to make an informed decision. But if you both really are looking for the same thing, then it’s safe to go for it.

If You DON’T Hook Up, Here’s What You Should Do

Try Something New

Boredom is a big reason why some people go back for another round with their exes. To keep yourself occupied and not reveling in the past, try a new hobby or sport. Check out our story on six new hobbies to try out!

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

With an ex, you’re regressing. You’re trying to recapture what’s already gone. Besides, you might be missing out on someone new. Try your luck with the guy from your psychology class you’ve had a crush on since last semester. Who knows, maybe he felt the same way! Why not give it a shot? Starting over may be hard, but the beginning of a relationship can be fun and carefree, so give it a try. Even if nothing comes out of it, you may have found a new study buddy or a good friend.


Before you decide to hook up or not, be sure to weigh your options. A few hours of fun can lead to something you deeply regret later. Collegiettes, have you ever hooked up with an ex? Is it ever a good idea? Let us know in the comments below!