Getting back together with your ex should never be a forgone conclusion. Even if the chance presents itself, it is all to easy to let hope and fear lead us off the cliff of reason into yet another downward spiral.
Then, of course, there’s the flip-side. While there’s a reason that the relationship came to a close, there’s also a reason you fell in love. Perhaps insecurity and the daily grind got the better of you (both). Perhaps small changes could lead to great outcomes. Maybe, just maybe, time and space are exactly what’s needed, and when you meet again you’ll both be wiser.
And yes, there are far too many what ifs in that last paragraph to make me comfortable, which is why whatever else you decide to do, make sure you begin by…
If the breakup was recent, it is imperative not to let raw emotion guide your decision-making process. There’s a time for romantic leaps of faith, but now is certainly not that time.
Only once the dust has settled will you know with any degree of certainty how committed you, and your partner is, to reconciling. If reconciliation is only a smokescreen for the insecurity and fear that breakups can expose, the house of cards will come crumbling down very swiftly indeed.
In the post-apocalyptic emotional wasteland of a breakup, time is your fiercest ally — and not your worst enemy. Here’s why:
- Without a sufficient amount of time between the breakup and reconciliation nothing substantial will have changed.
- Time will allow you (and your partner) to put your own lives first, and get a true, objective taste of what life entails without each other. Even if reconciliation does occur down the line, striking out on your own during this downtime is crucial.
- Love does not simply evaporate. Time apart will catalyze care and longing not disintegrate it (if those feelings are genuine).
- Every day that passes will grant you more control and objectivity over your emotions. Empowering your ability to make the right decision.
[alert-note]Most attempts at reconciliation are doomed to fail because they are guided by fear and grief. Only once that need has turned into a want can reconciliation realistically be attempted. [/alert-note]
Analyzing the breakup
Not all relationships are created equal, and not all are destined to survive — no matter how intense or all-encompassing they were. No matter how much we poured into them.
When looking back, don’t forget that the standard for how functional and healthy the relationship was depended on how your average day was, and not that isolated moment of reckless euphoric abandon.
Were you living acceptably in the present, or were you living in the shadow of the past or hoping for change in the future? When internally debating getting back with your ex, make sure that you are dealing with certainties — and that the only real measure of certainty is the present moment.
You can’t count on your partner changing, and frankly, you can’t demand it either. You can only decide whether it is right for you. If your attempt at reconciliation hinges on their having changed, you’re heading down a path fraught with emotional peril.
Taking it slowly
The healthiest way of approaching reconciliation is by treating it as a new beginning, and not the continuance of your old relationship. Don’t jump in without testing the waters.
- Erect healthy new personal boundaries.
- Keep prioritizing your own life.
- Talk openly about the past, and avoid injecting guilt or anger into the proceedings.
- Base your impressions on actions not words.
- Don’t be in a hurry to find a resolution. Move forward only when trust and security have been restored.
Once again, it bears remembering that time is your best friend when it comes to reconciling. Use it!
Good reasons to consider reconciling
Rather than end with my trademark gloomy note, I want to end by compiling my subjective list of reasons that bode well when it comes to reconciliation. If many of these points resound with you, perhaps your chances aren’t so bad after-all!
- You fundamentally trusted each other.
- You fundamentally cared for each other (even if the flames of attraction had dimmed).
- Manipulation, resentment and guilt did not come to dominate the relationship.
- You, or your partner were never flagrantly mistreated (terminal loss of trust).
- Your feelings for each other were generally at roughly the same level. There were no huge disparities with regards to attention and affection.
- Your physical health (depression, chronic stress) was never placed in jeopardy as a direct result of the relationship.
- You miss each other despite a lengthy period of time having passed.
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