When it rains, it pours! Life is just that way sometimes. The endless cycle of scarcity and abundance is always in play. You could be in a dating desert for a long time, and then out of the blue you meet one new person, and a slew of suitors flood the gates.
When you think you have no prospects or it’s been a hot minute since you’ve been in the dating game, it can affect your self-esteem, in big and little ways, and that impacts the vibe you give off to others. So, when you finally kindle a spark with someone new, the little oasis can give your confidence a boost that is apt to make you more open and enthusiastic. Those good vibes are contagious and create an air of approachability that makes your milkshake even more irresistible. Plus, open eyes take in more light, so when you start getting positive feedback and drop your defenses a tinge, people whom you may not have noticed before start landing on your radar, making it seem like there is an abundance, when in fact they may have been in your periphery for a while.
It makes sense that a flurry of new people would flock to you all at once, but this doesn’t fully explain the phenomenon of why exes always seem to pop back into your life at the same time. Are they all in cahoots? Is there a scheduling app that only exes can subscribe to? Both are wildly unlikely, thankfully. Can you imagine a convention of all your exes? No thank you! While there is not a ton of research on this topic, a few hunches about why this occurs come to mind.
1) You are awesome, nonchalant, just doing you, and people notice. Remember those good vibes? Your everyday energy shows up in your nonverbal language, the tone of your voice, and how you interact with friends, both on social media and at work. People (exes) notice and/or get wind of it, get curious, and then reach out to see if there may be any good energy there to share. As your mood ebbs and flows, so does the wave of lovers past.
2) Nostalgic moments make people want to connect, and an old flame can sometimes be stoked more easily than a new one. Holidays, birthdays, or cultural events are springboards for exes to reach out, especially if you were the one who got away or there was no definitive closure on the relationship. This can be especially true if you are dating someone new or were the person who ended things. People tend to want what and who they can’t have, so you may have a few old flames carrying torches for you at any given time, waiting for an excuse to test the waters.
3) Astrologers may say that Mercury in retrograde creates a context for unfinished business to circle back into your purview. That’s a different topic for different experts, but what resonates psychologically is the reality that our nervous systems are primed to help us seek out opportunities to heal what has hurt us before, making it likely that you pick partners with similar psychological or relational characteristics and psychodramas. As such, your dating history may be peppered with people who share similar unconscious cyclical patterns and tend to reach out for validation or reconnection on the same timetable.
We may never have the exact science to explain what may feel like the universe having a good laugh or an example of Murphy’s Law. Whatever the reason behind your exes reaching out, just remember you have choices. It may feel nice to catch up with an old flame, and if so, enjoy the walk down memory lane or maybe even a stroll down a new street together. On the other hand, if you’re not up for connecting, it’s OK to ignore a message or let them know your boundaries moving forward.
Dr. Kate Balestrieri is a licensed psychologist, certified sex therapist, certified sex addiction therapist, PACT therapist, and founder of Modern Intimacy, a group practice in Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. Listen to her podcast, Modern Intimacy, and follow her on IG @drkatebalestrieri.
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.