Picture this: you finally feel like you’ve moved on from your ex and have started dating other people. Maybe it was a bad breakup, and it took you longer than you expected to get over them. And right when you feel like you’ve successfully moved on- they come right back to you, out of nowhere, and expect you to take them back- just like that.

It happens more often than you think, and it leaves you all in an unfortunate position of asking yourself, “what do you do when an ex comes back to you?”

Well, there’s no right or wrong answer. It depends on the people and the breakup, but here is some advice you might find yourself looking for if an ex comes crawling back to you:

Be honest to yourself

It can be easy to forgive someone when they come to you with tears streaming down their face, begging them to take you back. You might focus on all the right parts of your relationship and forget about all the bad parts. And you might start to convince yourself that getting back together is a good idea after all. But first- you have to be honest with yourself. Take yourself out to a coffee shop and think about the pros and cons of getting back together with this person. Be brutally honest with yourself and try to decide what the best option is for YOU.

Talk about it with a friend

Sometimes we need another person to be brutally honest with us when we can’t do it to ourselves. Talking about the breakup again might be painful, but it also might bring up bad feelings back and make you realize you don’t want to be with this person again. Talking about the situation with a friend can help you recognize things you wouldn’t have realized alone. Sometimes you just need another person to tell you you’re being stupid for you to realize it yourself.

Listen to your ex

Even though you might want to shut them out and listen to yourself first, you have to give your ex the chance to explain themselves. They might blabber on about how breaking up was such a mistake and how they’ve changed, but you have to honestly believe it to take them back. They might be spewing straight lies- or they might be speaking some of the truth. Either way, if an ex comes back to you, you have to allow them to explain themselves before you make a decision.

Think about your future

Can you imagine a future without this person? Can you imagine a future WITH this person? If you feel like you had finally started to move past them and felt more positive about your future without this person than you did when you were with them, that’s probably an indication it isn’t a good idea to get back together. After all, breakups happen for a reason, and even if they feel like it was a mistake, you don’t have to.

Spend time apart from your ex

Even if you feel like getting back together with your ex really is a good idea, and you want to jump into their arms as soon as you can, take some time to spend apart from them so you can reflect on the situation. Going back to them right away will probably skew your perception of the situation and have you immediately fall back for them, even if it’s not the best idea.