Losing an ex to a monkey branching relationship is a painful experience. To have someone you love swing from your happily ever after to someone they had waiting the wings can be disorienting.
It takes a long time to rebuild trust after something like that.
Imagine how head-spinning it is, then, when that same person tries to come back.
Why Do People Monkey Branch?
People monkey branch for all kinds of reasons. Are they good reasons? Not especially, but here are a few:
- They’re afraid of being alone.
- They’re a narcissist and get an emotional high from bouncing back and forth between people.
- They get validation from feeling wanted by someone.
- They’re constantly afraid they’re missing out on a better relationship
- Inability to communicate their needs in a healthy way
- Poor boundaries
- They’re serial monogamists and terrified of being alone
Realize these are things that a person is dealing with on the inside. You could do everything you can to help them feel secure, safe, and satisfied. A person doing this is struggling to manage their thoughts and emotions.
So unless they’ve gone off to do some serious personal growth work alongside a professional, this is major red flag territory.
Should You Take Back An Ex Who Monkey Branched?
No, you shouldn’t. Why take back someone who already hurt you and formed an emotional connection (at minimum) with another person while still in a committed relationship with you?
I get it.
You like to think everyone deserves a second chance. And it’s not like people can’t change. They can. But unfortunately, they rarely do.
That’s because genuine change takes time, effort, and likely some professional help. Has your ex done any of that work?
Or is that they monkey branched to what they thought would be greener grass, and now they’re experiencing regret?
Objectively, the question of taking back a monkey branching ex is very straightforward. But all of that gets clouded when you take into account emotions.
Maybe you do still love them. You remember the good times you’ve had together. Perhaps you have kids together. You could be faced with many complicating factors.
But here’s what’s not complicated.
What the Research Says
According to a self-reported study published in Psychology Today, 45% of people who cheated in their first committed relationship say they did so in their second.
Another study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 30% of people who cheated in a previous relationship cheat in the next.
Now take into account the fact that a monkey brancher is chronically cheating (at the very least emotionally) and you can see where this will probably go.
Is There Any Circumstance When You Might Take A Monkey Brancher Back?
If a person is actively attending couples counseling with you or has been working with a mental health professional for a few months (at least), this could be a sign that they are willing to face “why” they are doing this and address it.
They should be ready to sit down with you and have honest conversations about “feelings” and a plan moving forward.
Even then, nothing is guaranteed.
Why do you want them back?
A great exercise in moments like this is to sit with yourself and figure out why you’re even entertaining taking this person back.
Are you lonely? Do you still have an attachment to this person? Are you struggling to move on?
What is pulling your back towards a relationship that was unhealthy for you?
Whenever we’re in a situation where we contemplate negotiating or lowering our standards for the sake of someone else, it’s worth stepping back to figure out why.
Another good framework is to ask yourself this, “Would I advise my best friend to take back their ex in this situation?”
The bottom line is that we all deserve healthy relationships built on trust and mutual-respect. And while it’s tempting to fall back into something familiar if it means not being alone, it’s important to think more long-term.
What’s the best decision for future-you? And if you’re having a hard time getting your head and heart to align, there’s no shame in reaching out for support.