The conversation inevitably goes like this.
Girl: I heard from Chris.
Girl's Friend: Chris? Which one is Chris?
Girl: You know, we dated for three months, then he didn't call for three weeks, then starting texting me every night? It was about three years ago.
Friend: Right, that one. I thought we hated him?
I've been on both sides of this conversation more times than I can count. It continues on to become a debate about whether or not “Chris” is a past relationship worth rekindling. And it all leads to the ultimate debate- when is it a relationship best forgotten versus someone worthy of a second chance? Or as one friend of mine put it, would dating this person again be like a dog turning to his vomit?
The One That Got Away
Romantic thoughts of the good memories fill your head. Your first date, your first kiss, hours spent on the phone, staying up way too late just to avoid saying goodnight. Somehow you are able to compartmentalize and forget the painful memories of the breakup and what it felt like to move on after the relationship. As we get older and “more single” it isn't hard to understand why we become more forgiving of past relationships. We have all changed and grown over the years, and it isn't hard to imagine that someone else has changed as much as we have. It also isn't hard to imagine that only the bad parts about them have changed, and the good parts are still in there.
Giving relationships a second chance isn't all that surprising as you get older. With all the unknown variables out there when it comes to dating, sometimes it is easier to go with the “devil you know.” Maybe the relationship didn't work out well before, but now you know what you are getting into or up against, and you are better prepared. Maybe sometimes it is easier to go back into a relationship because this time you aren't wearing your rosy red glasses. You know what you are getting into, and you aren't expecting perfection.
It can be very awkward getting back together with a past companion. Friends and family tend to remember only the more dramatic (painful) parts of a relationship, especially since they were never privy to the more enjoyable (private and personal) parts.
Sometimes it takes losing a great relationship, and then experiencing less than stellar companions, to really appreciate what a good relationship can be. But how do you know if it is worth risking your heart, pride, and credibility again, to recapture a relationship past? My advice to you- ask yourself if you want to endure the heartbreak all over again. Remind yourself of how much it hurt before. Go so far as to spend a few hours one night reliving the heartbreak, and then ask yourself if this person would be worth going through that again. Only you can know the answer to that. May I suggest something obvious? Pray about it. Before exposing yourself and risking your heart to someone else (who has a history of breaking it), pray about it.
Reeks of Desperation
Maybe the tables are turned. Maybe you are considering a second time around with someone you hurt? Are you just looking to fill a glaring gap of entertainment or companionship on your social calendar? Or do you truly care for this person? Are you afraid you will never find romance again? Why are you going back to them? Before meddling with the heart strings of others, ask yourself if having you back would really make the other person happier!!
Second Verse Same as the First?
Do not do your second time around the same as the first time around. Learn from your mistakes. Get them out of the way. Do things better the second time around.
It Takes Two to Make a Thing All Right
Both partners in a relationship have to be willing to make it work. Rarely does a relationship fail because just one person had flaws. Both partners will have to change the way they interact, and be ready to work on the difficult parts. Like I said before, learn from your mistakes, and both partners will be happier. The desire to get things right must be heartfelt by both. If only one person is viewed as being "at fault" for previous problems, and therefore is expected to make all of the changes, the relationship is going to fail. Again. No matter how much you love someone, you cannot fix a rickety relationship all by your lonesome.
Get It Right
Openly acknowledging the issues that caused problems before and staying on top of them will prevent repeat rounds of heartache. If your partner considered your financial spending over-the-top, or your personal debt to be a problem, discuss it openly now. If your relationship struggled because your partner was working too much, don't repeat the same problems. Discuss it and make a plan for change, for instance, plan ahead for date nights. Both parties will be sensitive to the problems endured the first time around, so these issues in particular must be dealt with at once during your second go round. What's more, try to avoid letting feisty feelings fester, and encourage your partner to share their concerns with you every step of the way. Your second round at love may feel a lot like therapy, but the relationship will be better off for it.
Ex Marks the Spot
Sometimes it feels awkward to announce that you're back together with a past relationship -- especially if you spent weeks, months, or years bad-mouthing them. It is even more awkward if your family and friends heartily agreed with you! But now you have forgiven your ex and are ready to make
Like a Dog to its Vomit
When considering a return to an ex partner, ask yourself why, why, why, over and over again! Is it worth it? Do you truly believe this time there could be a happy ending? Or are you just trying to fix something because you hate the feeling of failure? While a good friend will be happy for you, also take into serious consideration the opinions of others before proceeding too far. If there is no one out there who will be happy to hear you have gone back to an ex, and you can't think of one good solid reason why you should (or worse, you can't drum up one positive memory), reconsider. Maybe this isn't a good relationship. If the person didn't better your life before, chances are he or she will not improve it now either. If your friends very sincerely beg you to reconsider letting your ex back into your life, go back to square one and pray about it. Your friends love you and want you to be happy. They may just be on to something- pray about it!
Relationships are a very tricky business, and no one size fits all.