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Reunited: And It Feels So Good?

Unless things were truly awful, one of the first thoughts you have after a breakup – right after wondering if you’ll ever have sex again – is, “Did I do the right thing?”

Reconciliation is always tempting. Sometimes the reasons are good; circumstances change and you deserve a second chance. Sometimes the reasons are bad; you feel a little lonely and start second-guessing your decision.

Whatever the motivation, getting back together with an ex is risky. You’ve already failed once. Rebuilding trust and putting your faith in each other when you’ve both been hurt is not easy.

So before you ask for a second chance, consider:

Reunion Reality Check #1: Was it a terrible breakup?

It’s not just a matter of who dumped who, but why.  All relationships deserve to start on a clean slate, but some old hurts are hard to erase. Was the rift over something you can get past, or is it something, like infidelity, that you may never make peace with? If you broke up because of a circumstance – bad timing, fear, or even just a spat you never fully resolved – it might be worth seeing if the benefit of time apart has given you some insight into those problems.

Reunion Reality Check #2: Has anything changed?

Most reconciliations require a change in behavior on both sides.  Has your cheating girlfriend proven that her wandering eye is finally focused on you? Are you sure your jealous boyfriend is really ready to trust you?  You have your own burden of fault in the end of your relationship, so make some time for self-reflection. Have conditions changed? If you don’t address the issues that broke you up the first time, your second try will never last.

Reunion Reality Check #3: Have you given it some time?

The biggest mistake most newly single folks make is getting back together too soon, or jumping into a rebound relationship, before spending adequate time alone figuring things out. Have you given yourself enough time and space to gain a little perspective? The more distant from the situation you are, the more rational decision you’ll be able to make. Break off all contact with your ex, if possible, until you’ve recovered enough from the pain to honestly decide if ending your relationship was really the wrong thing to do.

Reunion Reality Check #4: Why do you want this?

The most important question is often the hardest to answer.  Neither of you should be on the rebound from another break-up, nor want to get together just to escape the sometimes lonely life of a singleton.  Do you miss your ex or just miss being in a relationship? Do you want to make amends because you believe in the relationship, or because you just wish you could change the past? Are you feeling particularly vulnerable or nostalgic?  Are you hanging on to the familiarity of the past to avoid the big, scary future? It’s a challenge to pick up the pieces of a relationship that’s already failed once; you’d better have a good reason for taking the risk again.

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