Moving on after a breakup can be one of the hardest acts in dating. But what takes just as much inner strength and soul-searching, is deciding if you should give that old relationship another chance. Getting back together with an ex is a serious decision but sometimes it really can be the right one.
So, what do you do if your ex wants you back? How do you know you won’t get hurt again? Well you don’t. But if you’re thinking of resurrecting a dead relationship, ask yourself these 7 questions first.
Why did we break up in the first place?
Couples split up for various reasons—everything from a loss of interest to distance to an affair to emotional abuse. Whatever the reason, think hard about what it is that broke you up and whether or not it;s something you can forgive and live with.
“Remember, there is a reason that it didn’t work out the first time. Don’t go in with the same attitude expecting different results,” says relationship expert and dating coach, Hunt Ethridge.
Why do I want to get back together?
Psychotherapist and author of “Your Best Age is Now”, Dr. Robi Ludwig, says this is one of the most important questions to ask. “Are you getting back together because you’re lonely and just want to be in a relationship?” Well, there’s a red flag. Think about your reasons. They could be indicative of a deeper issue or maybe you just haven’t given yourself enough time to process the breakup.
Is the problem a chronic one?
And did this problem contribute to the breakup? This could be anything from an addiction to just a lack of respect for you. The reality is that unless they have gotten lots of therapy, sometimes people just aren’t able to change or don’t want to. “Take a narcissist, for example. If it was always about how it made THEM feel, it usually will continue. Don’t feed back into it,” says Ethridge.
Can I really trust this person again?
If the breakup was due to a betrayal, ask yourself if you can really forgive and trust that person again. You can’t be throwing your ex’s transgressions in his or her face every time you get into an argument. If you can’t get past it then it’s not fair to anyone to keep trying to force things forward.
What have I learned from the last time we tried this?
Since past relationships teach us about ourselves and what we do and don’t want, think about the lessons learned from the past relationship you had with this person before getting back together. “You can’t just jump back into where you left off,” says Ethridge. “What new knowledge/wisdom are you bringing to the table that will increase your chances of having it work this time around?”
Do I truly love them? Or do you just miss them?
Can you picture a future with this person? Consider whether you’d get back together if everything else in your life was going fabulously. If you still would, then great. If not, then you probably don’t really want the person, but just a relationship.
Have we been split up long enough?
If it’s only been a week or two, that’s not really enough time to process the break up before getting back together. “Asking yourself how long it’s been since you were together is important because it needs to be long enough that you can somewhat start from scratch,” says Ethridge. “You can’t just start where you left off. You have to build a new relationship.”
No matter what you choose, remember that people can grow together and apart. If you still have strong feelings for the person, listen to them. But remember to give yourself time to be alone, ask yourself if things have really changed in your life, your relationships, and yourselves. If you think there’s something there worth looking into, maybe it is time to give it a chance. However, if you’re just missing that old familiar feeling, don’t forget why it didn’t work out the first time around.