You’ve finally done it. You’ve said goodbye to a relationship that didn’t feel right. Just when you’re confident that you made the right decision, a certain smell reminds you of the person. Or maybe it’s a song or a photograph. Suddenly regret creeps in. All of the positive memories flood your thoughts. Conveniently, the bad memories seem to disappear, vanishing like they never existed.
On one hand, you want to persevere through thick and thin. Perhaps there are children. Maybe finances make the situation complicated. Regardless, there are enough promising memories that you’ve developed a nagging question in the back of your mind. “What if?” you keep asking yourself. At some point, you have to be willing to say “enough is enough.” Yet how do you know when that line is crossed, the line that proves it’s time to say no to a second chance? With few exceptions, this isn’t an easy question to answer. However, there are some guidelines to use to make sure you’re making the right decision. Before you pick up the phone, read below:
You have reason to believe change is possible
You’ve been with this person for a while. If you have substantial reason to question the person’s ability to do the right thing, or credibility, or overall character, it may be time to say goodbye permanently. If this person has earned your trust and respect, however, and you believe that your partner has achieved important maturation as a result of your split, consider whether you’re both willing to put in the extra effort to make it work. If so, it may be time to rekindle the romance.
You were wrong
We all make mistakes. The end of a relationship rarely involves only one person messing up. If you can recognize your own role in the relationship’s demise, it may be time to swallow your pride, admit defeat and apologize. Own your mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and reflect on what you need to change. Then work on making the necessary changes.
There are enough rewards and benefits
Every relationship has its problems. Usually we put up with the problems because we like what we receive despite them. If your overall relationship was enjoyable, if there were more ups than downs and you feel forgiveness is possible, consider a second chance. If those ” second chances” add up to double digits, however, or if they’re having a poor impact on your physical or mental health, it’s best to move on.
When you consider the possibility of reuniting with a previous partner, there’s one important principle to follow: Take care of yourself. If that means you should forgive and work through the challenges, employ strategies to do so. On the other hand, if taking care of yourself means letting go, be honest with yourself and look toward the possibilities a new future entails.
What is next?
If you do decide to give it a second chance, a good idea is to seek couples counseling as you reunite. It is likely that, as a couple, you developed patterns of relating that didn’t work. It is possible that there are some old wounds that need healing. Please don’t make the mistake of assuming that love can conquer all – especially with an ex.
Couples counseling can help you explore what you each need from the relationship and each other. It can help you learn how to better communicate so you might avoid repeating patterns that did not work.