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Is Bennifer back on? Here's why we're not surprised.

·4-min read

"Bennifer" rumors are everywhere following Jennifer Lopez's breakup with fiancé Alex Rodriguez, as the singer mulls "what could have been" with former flame Ben Affleck.   

"She wants to give it a shot with Ben," a source told E! about Lopez. "They never really had closure and she has always wondered what could have been. The timing was never right and they were in different places until now." The source added, "She finally has had the opportunity to spend time with him and see where this could lead. They are very comfortable together and it's easy. She wants to keep seeing him and is very happy."

Lopez, 51, and Affleck, 48, also spent time this past week in Montana, where Affleck owns a home in Big Sky, with a source telling People, "They have a strong connection. It's all been quick and intense, but Jennifer is happy," though Rodriguez, 45, is "shocked" and "saddened" by the headlines. 

In April, Lopez and Rodriguez announced their split amid gossip that A-Rod had an affair with Southern Charm reality star Madison LeCroy (which LeCroy denied). "We have realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so," Lopez and Rodriguez said in a joint statement. "We will continue to work together and support each other on our shared businesses and projects. We wish the best for each other and one another's children. Out of respect for them, the only other comment we have to say is thank you to everyone who has sent kind words and support."

Enter Affleck, who dated Lopez from 2002 to 2004, and was spotted with the "Papi" singer twice in April. "They are friends. They have always been friends and they have seen each other through the years," a source told People. Lopez and Affleck met while starring in the film Gigli and birthed the media nickname "Bennifer." Affleck proposed to Lopez with a pink six-carat diamond ring, however, soon after postponing their wedding due to "excessive media attention," the couple called it quits. Lopez later married and divorced singer Marc Anthony, with whom she shares two children. While Affleck is the father of three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, and most recently, split from Ana de Armas. 

Former couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, depicted in 2003. (Photo: Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)
Former couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, depicted in 2003. (Photo: Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)

Now, the world is salivating over a Bennifer 2.0, with celebrities like Matt Damon, Kathy Griffin and Kevin Smith sharing their thoughts on the rumored reconciliation. But 17 years later, can we bank on a Bennifer reunion?

According to Theresa DiDonato, an associate professor of psychology at Loyola University Maryland, the pain of breakups drive us toward comfort. "Humans have a biologically-based need to feel socially connected to others and when we're lonely, navigating a break-up, or experiencing a disruptive transition, we might seek belonging and connection in the comfort of friends," she tells Yahoo Life. "Such as in those who show understanding, validate our experiences and care during difficult times."

Such intimacy can also be found with a former, but friendly, partner. "One reason people stay friends with an ex is the security the relationship offers," she adds. "They want to keep the emotional connection, advice and mutual trust they've already established."

The affection and respect between Lopez and Affleck is absolute. In 2014, Lopez called the split "my first big heartbreak" and in 2016, she acknowledged the possibility of their alternate ending. “I think different time, different thing, who knows what could’ve happened, but there was a genuine love there,” she told People

And Affleck flattered his ex in the latest issue of InStyle, dedicated to Lopez's legacy. Declaring her "the hardest-working person" in Hollywood, he added, "'Where are you keeping the fountain of youth? Why do you look the same as you did in 2003 and it kind of looks like I'm in my 40s … at best?'" Lopez responded in the article, "I don't have any [beauty] secrets except J.Lo Beauty — and I'm giving them all to everyone with every product. Ben is funny! He still looks pretty good too."

But do warm feelings justify a hotter connection? "Relationships always have a cost-benefit analysis — what is lost and gained," Elaine Paravati Harrigan, a visiting professor of psychology at Hamilton College, tells Yahoo Life. "However, former partners are already familiar with those risks, so returning to an ex can seem less scary." And if you're hurting from a breakup and feeling risk-averse, old relationships could tempt more.   

Before reviving a relationship, weigh what is different now. "A great predictor of future behavior is past behavior," notes Harrigan. "People do change, otherwise we wouldn't advocate for therapy. But as humans, we often do mental gymnastics to create the narrative we want." Those considering round two with an ex, she adds, should not romanticize the past. 

Lopez learned that lesson from Bennifer, explaining in a 2016 People interview, "Sometimes I feel like what you think people are and how you see them when you love them is different than when they reveal later.”        

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