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On Wednesday, news broke that Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom called off their divorce in the wake of his near-death experience.
A lawyer for Kardashian filed papers to dismiss the couple’s divorce case, TMZ reports. Kardashian originally filed for divorce in 2013 but has reportedly been by Odom’s side ever since he was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel and hospitalized.
Doctors reportedly found cocaine and opiates in Odom’s system, and the former NBA player was unresponsive for days. He’s now on dialysis, a source tells People.com, and can’t stand up on his own.
Fans showed their overwhelming support on Twitter after the news broke:
But some were a little wary:
The couple’s struggles, including allegations of Odom’s infidelity and drug use, were well documented in Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Kardashian has also been dating NBA star James Harden, reportedly right up until Odom’s hospitalization.
But they wouldn’t be the first couple to reunite after facing a life or death situation.
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Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson got back together after a breakup in the wake of the 9/11 attacks — and were engaged soon after (and divorced several years later). Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton also separated and reunited after she experienced a cancer scare (and also later divorced).
While experts say every situation is different, they agree that it’s best to proceed with caution.
“If you find yourself in a stressful situation and wondering whether you should go back to an ex, if you’re like most people, the answer is just don’t do it,” Jared DeFife, PhD, an Atlanta-based therapist and relationship coach, tells Yahoo Health. “More often than not on-again, off-again relationships just don’t end up in happily ever after.”
People often experience intense emotional reactions and emotional vulnerability in the wake of stressful or traumatic experiences, Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist Joseph Cilona, PsyD, tells Yahoo Health. “These things are typically not associated with the best decision making, so careful consideration and taking time are likely to be helpful,” he says.
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But psychologist Paul Coleman, PsyD, author of “Finding Peace When Your Heart Is In Pieces,” tells Yahoo Health that tragedy can also help people see what’s really important in their lives. “Sometimes there is still love or at least caring underneath the hurt and anger,” he says. “When someone is seriously injured, it allows the partner’s positive feelings to re-emerge.”
However, he warns that tragedy won’t wipe the slate clean and couples will still need to resolve old issues in order to stay together in the long-term.
DeFife says that it’s “entirely possible” to overcome many relationship issues if both people are willing to work at it — but couples who come together after a life or death situation often forget to take that step, which can cause a host of issues down the road.
“If you’re faced with an intense crisis, you should know that it’s usually not the time to make any major life changing decisions,” he says. “It’s time to connect with positive social supports, think through your options, seek supportive counseling, and get back to steady ground before figuring out what comes next.”
If you’re considering getting back together with an ex after a tragedy, Coleman says you should take it slow and not assume that those resurfaced feelings will remain. “A crisis can give you a jump-start on rebuilding,” he says. “But it is not a final answer.”