Hollywood How-to: "Green Dating" with Justin and Jessica

Should relationships be "recycled"?

By , Columnist

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake have broken up and patched things up a lot over the course of their four-year relationship. Rumored reasons for these splits and reunions have circulated left and right to the point where I doubt anyone but the couple and their closest friends know the actual facts. And now, after missing each other and talking for a few months about giving it another try, the two are taking it slowly and trying to see if their relationship can finally work. Whether this time is for good or not, it looks like this king and queen of green dating are at it again.

Now, going green is a wonderful idea, but when it comes to green dating, reusing and recycling a past relationship can be a risky proposition (as Justin and Jessica’s rocky on again-off again relationship so aptly demonstrates). Whether or not you’re a celeb, it’s important to evaluate the reasons your past relationship ended in order to decide if it’s worth giving it another go.

Here are a few instances when it’s probably okay to give it another shot with you ex.

You stopped seeing each other for a non-critical reason

Past behavior is a great indicator of future conduct. If mismatched desires for marriage or kids; irreconcilable religious or moral differences; or family, substance, or psychological issues were the foundation for your initial split, you should probably honor that decision. After all, these are things that are highly unlikely to change, and you’ll both just be needlessly dragging yourselves through heartache and counting down to your second breakup. As a note, psychological issues include abusiveness on all levels - if your S.O. was ever physically, verbally, or psychologically abusive, it can be harder to say no to a renewed relationship (especially when changes and love are promised) but for the sake of your own safety and well-being, avoid re-upping that commitment at all costs.

You aren’t remembering only the good times.

Breakups are almost always preceded by some kind of unhappiness. If you’re looking through rose-colored glasses and only seeing how wonderful and fantastic and mushy-gushy-romantic everything was (and have, in the process, selectively forgotten the less-than-fun stuff), then you probably don’t have a realistic basis for trying it again. Conversely, if you remember very clearly and are still angry about the conditions that led up to your first breakup, that negativity will definitely affect attempt number two at your relationship, so be sure both of you have cleared any emotional hang-ups from round one.

You’re not just lonely or in it for the sex.

Hormones and loneliness are great motivators - but they’re also completely blinding when it comes to making good relationship choices. If you’re just trying to get back with the best lay you ever had or desperately trying to curb your loneliness, you’re not looking for a relationship - you’re looking for the human equivalent of a chocolate bar: sweet, unhealthy, fills the void. Get real with yourself and get past your ex if these are your motivators.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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