It may be tempting to get back together, but reconciliation may not be good for you. Here’s what to consider before you reconcile with your ex. These tips for reconciliation are from Sydney Taylor Thomas, a guest writer who has personal experience with relationships and breakups.
Should you reconcile with your ex? Sometimes the answer is immediately obvious. If your ex was abusive, raided the joint banking accounts and left you with all the bills, or ran off with your best friend, you probably already know the answer to the question of whether or not to give them another chance.
However, few things in life are that simple! Deciding whether or not to reconcile and start over can be complicated and fraught with mixed emotions.
Listen to people who know you – and your ex
Matters of the heart are intensely personal. No one, no matter how well-meaning, can tell you whether you or not you should attempt to reconcile with your ex. Of course that won’t stop many of them from trying! It’s probably not a bad idea to listen to the advice of people who know you well and whose opinion you trust. Any advice or observations from people who know both of you and were witness to your relationship may be even more helpful.
Keep in mind, however, that as tempting as it is to seek advice from people that you believe will support the decision to start over with your ex, this is the time for honest assessments, even if they hurt. The old “fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me” quip is often in play in these types of situations. The pain or humiliation of another failed relationship with the same person can be even greater the second time around. This is very important to think about before you consider reconcilation your ex after separation.
How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To by Janis A. Spring is an extremely valuable book to read if your breakup involved a betrayal (such as cheating). Whether or not you reconcile with your ex, you need to forgive. For your own sake.
Weigh the pros and cons of getting back together with your ex
When your ex wants you back, consider the “unfinished business.” Are you still deeply in love with each other even though you’ve been apart for a while? If you’ve both realized that you still have deep feelings for each other and those feelings have impacted your ability to engage in meaningful relationships with other people, perhaps it’s worth considering another go of it.
Are you clear about the reasons you broke up and reasonably confident that those circumstances or issues have been adequately resolved? Is the possibility of reuniting with your ex based on healthy realism with a dose of optimism thrown in, or is it based on something else?
Consider the reasons couples get back together
There are many reasons that couples reunite for a successful second marriage, including fear of being alone, financial pressures, guilt or embarrassment, pity, pressure from family and friends, familiarity, and the belief that “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.”
Reconcilable Differences: Rebuild Your Relationship by Rediscovering the Partner You Love – Without Losing Yourself by Andrew Christensen, Brian D. Doss, and Neil S. Jacobson will help you avoid having the same fights over and over. You’ll also learn how to problem solve when you reconcile with your ex.
Consider the effect on the kids if you reconcile with your ex
Just as many unhappy couples stay together “for the sake of the children”, others separate and then reconcile for the same reason. Undoubtedly there are circumstances in which this is indeed the best decision for the children, but the world is full of dysfunctional adults who were raised by parents who either stayed in or returned to dysfunctional relationships. Many of these men and women are beginning to realize that the relationship lessons they learned growing up in dysfunctional households have negatively impacted their ability to have healthy relationships of their own.
Whether we like it or not, our children learn about life and love by watching the way us parents interact with them and each other. If there are children involved, think carefully about the lessons you are teaching your children by your actions, whether you decide to stay apart or get back together.
The most important clue about whether you should reconcile with an ex is your gut feeling. Read How to Develop Intuition inYour Relationships.
Questions to Ask Before You Reconcile
Before deciding if you should start over, ask yourself some difficult questions. Be as honest with yourself as you can. Take as much time as you need to carefully think things through.
- Which one of you ended the relationship and why? Have you been able to talk openly and honestly about what went wrong?
- How have each of you changed since the relationship ended? Do you think these changes have moved you closer together or further apart?
- How are your wants and needs different now than they were when you were initially attracted to each other? Is your current attraction to each other based on what you both wanted/needed when you first met or are you mutually attracted to the people that you’ve both grown to be? Would you be as willing to consider a relationship with your ex if you were meeting him or her for the first time now?
- Are you both aware of what’s been going on in the other’s life while you were apart? Are there significant circumstances, unresolved relationships, major illnesses, spiritual issues, or any other important factors that might affect your relationship if you decide to reconcile?
- Have each of you had the opportunity to explore relationships with other people? How were those relationships with other people similar to or different from the relationship you shared? What lessons might you learn from that information? Have any romantic relationships been appropriately ended?
- Do you believe that each of you did all that you could do to save the relationship when you were in it? If not, why not? If so, what is different now? What new skills or resources do you have available to you, that you each are willing to use, to make the relationship work that you didn’t utilize before?
If you’re still uncertain about whether you should reconcile with your ex, read 16 Questions to Ask Before You Try to Get Your Ex Back.
In the end, there are two fundamental questions that you owe yourself honest answers to before deciding to reconcile with your ex.
First, what is the REAL reason you’re thinking about getting back together? Once you’re satisfied with your answer to that question, ask what has changed since you broke up that is likely to increase your chances of success the next time around? If reconciliation is still a possibility, ask your ex the same questions and insist on emotionally honest answers. At this point you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of what the right decision is for you. Best wishes on whichever choice you make.
As an author once said, “I don’t miss him, I miss who I thought he was.”
Does your ex to reconcile? Are you struggling with the decision to get back together? Comments welcome below. If you’re the one who wants to reconcile, read How to Get Your Ex Back.
Written by Sydney Tyler Thomas, a writer and small business owner living in Virginia. She is author of The Joy of Soulful Knitting: Reflections on the Art of the Craft.