Gemma Collins rekindled romance may provide an emotional safety net, says expert

After a nine year rocky romance full of drama and public spats, it appears that Gemma Collins and James ‘Arg’ Argent are on better terms after finding love with their former partners, Rami Hawash and Lydia Bright.

Hoping it’s second time lucky, just last month The Only Way Is Essex favourite, and self-confessed diva, Gemma, announced that she was ‘re-engaged’ to Rami Hawash – seven years after calling it quits.

Having got engaged in 2013, the pair called off their engagement after living with each other for six months, with Rami complaining of Gemma's alter ego, saying: “Gemma Collins is a lovely, sweet person. The GC is not.” But after rekindling their romance during lockdown, Gemma, 40, has done nothing but gush about her love for Rami.

Meanwhile, Arg, 34, is reported to be attempting to get back together with his long-term childhood sweetheart Lydia Bright after “meeting up in secret”.

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OK! spoke exclusively to Jan Day, a relationship expert, about why Gemma and Arg may have gone back to their exes and why rekindling a relationship with a former flame can be a tempting concept.

“When we’ve been in a relationship with someone for a long time, we bond with them whether the relationship is healthy or not. We are familiar with them and that includes knowing the places where we have difficulties and challenges,” says Jan, author of Living Tantra.

“The dynamic of any relationship changes over time as the relationship moves from courting/romance and settles into a committed love-relationship. The excitement of the early phase of a relationship naturally fades away and a new phase of nurturing love and depth of connection, including seeing each others’ darker sides takes over.”

“We either begin working through challenges together or we find some way to avoid the difficulties by shutting down, withdrawing, getting angry or getting busy with other things,” she explains.

“If we were expecting endless harmony or if we aren’t able to work through the repair needed to move from disharmony back to harmony, we can easily get tempted to give up and move on to another relationship that will also give us another dose of the initial excitement of a new relationship,” Jan adds.

“But of course that turns sour too as the relationship progresses.”

As a result of these obstacles, Jan believes that many people may romanticise the idea of getting back with their ex when craving comfort and ease, rather than working at fixing a newer relationship.

“Whether we’ve moved on to a new partner or are living alone, we might easily begin to remember all the love and care that did flow in a previous relationship and forget the difficulties,” she says.

“We can start to appreciate the ex-partner and all we shared with them, and especially when we want or need comfort (like in the dark days of January and the pain of a lonely Christmas) they are a familiar person to move towards.”

“It’s often the reverse situation of when we split up originally when all we could see were the difficulties. In the moments of feeling lonely or needing comfort, we remember all that was good about them,” Jan explains.

Dr Alison McClymont, a leading psychologist with over 10 years experience at the forefront of mental health, agrees and notes that getting back with an ex can be particularly tempting for people dealing with a period of uncertainty.

“There’s lots of reasons people would get back with an ex, particularly during times of emotional instability – such as this pandemic, or even the start of a new year,” she says.

“The ‘known' provides us with an emotional safety net, we understand the challenges and we don’t feel the need to put out ‘our best self’ to the person – everything is familiar and easy. We feel that this person knows our ‘bad traits’ and more importantly we understand our dynamic together, which makes the challenge of negotiating boundaries that much easier.”

Due to this, returning to the ‘known’ represents a safe option, especially in the context of the past two years, Dr McClymont says.

“We don’t feel the need to maintain the initial social graces or persona we might do, in a new relationship – it all feels easy and comfortable. At a time where things have felt disappointing, uncomfortable or depressing it feels safe to return to the ‘known’ – the constant in an ever changing environment.”

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But before leaping back into a relationship with an ex, Jan emphasises that it’s important to be realistic about your motivations and expectations when considering the move.

“If you decide to try again, it’s worth really evaluating what went wrong the first time and holding both the loveliness and the awfulness of the relationship at the same time,” she explains.

“If you both agree that you want to use the difficulties to grow and learn, and you both agree to get support for that, then you have a chance,” Jan adds. “But if either one of you doesn’t see their part in the dynamic or doesn’t want to find a way through, then however much you bonded in the past, the relationship is likely doomed.”

“It’s worth looking at whether you really want to be with your ex or you are just struggling to be alone (which isn’t a good reason to go through it all again).”

Living Tantra by Jan Day, published by Watkins in paperback is out now at £12.99 . The book is available for purchase on Amazon UK here .

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