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19th Feb 2024

‘Maybe we shouldn’t push the narrative that it’s romantic to get back with an ex’

Congratulations to Molly Smith and Tom Clare on winning Love Island: All Stars!!

Jody Coffey

exes Molly Smith and Callum Jones

Let’s celebrate that two exes, who once shared a healthy and happy relationship, can be just friends!

We all love love.

So when Molly Smith and Callum Jones returned to the All-Stars series of Love Island as exes, people understandably were rooting for them to rekindle their romance.

Over the last five weeks, viewers have made it no secret that they want to see the former flames declare their undying love for one another, get back together, and win the show as a couple.

While it would have been a love story that went down in reality TV history, instead, shouldn’t we celebrate the fact that these two are a healthy example of exes remaining friends and having the utmost respect for one another?⁠

Molly and Callum have a good friendship built on their mutual respect for one another because, at one point, they shared a happy life together.

They are also both good people with healthy attitudes towards a romantic relationship and have been a shining example that being friends with an ex is possible.

Now that the sun has set over the Love Island: All Stars villa for the final time, the exes go forth with their new partners — Jess Gale and Tom Clare.

When should we go back to an ex?

Love Island aside, would we ever push as hard for our loved ones to rekindle with an ex?

There are circumstances when a couple part for reasons outside of their control, which makes sense. Things like timing or life circumstances mean they can no longer prioritise their healthy relationship the way it needs to be.

Sometimes, particularly when a couple fall in love at a young age, they may feel the urge to experience the world independently and find out who they are, even if that is outside of their relationship.

Later, if and when they reunite, of course, it’s romantic. It’s as if their love was fate, pushing them apart to grow, then bringing them back together as their best selves making their relationship even stronger.

Splitting up for reasons such as unhappiness or not seeing a future together will only work if both parties are committed to working on it, otherwise, it’s likely that any issues which led to a breakup will arise more often and intensify after time apart.

When shouldn’t we go back to an ex?

However, in other situations, reasons for breaking up can be a lot more serious, sinister, and even dangerous.

Infidelity, mistrust, and communication or compatibility issues are likely issues that will not be resolved by reuniting after a breakup.

This is even more the case if a relationship had any elements of abuse whether that be emotional — jealousy, possessiveness, coercive control, gaslighting, belittling, shaming, love bombing — or physical abuse.

Emotional or physical abuse is usually never a one-time occurrence.

While no one would actively push for the rekindling of an abusive relationship, there is always the risk that younger viewers may absorb the message that getting back together with an ex is romantic, regardless of the circumstances.

Exes are exes for a reason.

Support for anyone affected: Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900, open seven days a week.

Instant Message Support Service on, open mornings and evenings, seven days a week.