Getting back together with an ex is a consideration for many separated and divorced couples. It can be a wonderful experience if done for the right reasons and if you’re able to leave the past behind. As you contemplate renewing your relationship, review our thoughts below, think about the issues in your relationship, and what you really want to happen if you choose to recouple.
1. Do you understand your motivation for wanting to get back together?
Being clear about what you want is important. Be sure that you aren’t wanting to go back to a less that positive relationship because you are lonely, sad, or feeling less than because you are single again. You are not less than! You deserve to be loved and cherished. It’s hard to sit with feelings of sadness or rejection. Individuals often have old programming in their head that tell them that they are not worthy, or that they will never find love. Those types of unresolved thought patterns can influence us to go back or settle for relationships that didn’t support and honor us.
I’ve had friends that are motivated to re-couple due to financial reasons. That’s understandable. For couples who have split up, their standard of living, as individuals can be lower. If this is the only reason, or if it’s connected with thoughts of settling; “it will be ok,” or “It wasn’t that bad,” I would urge you to not emotionally reengage as a couple.
2. Are you able to forgive, and accept forgiveness?
Normally, but not always, break ups come with hurt feelings, feelings of abandonment or guilt feelings. To reestablish a loving relationship, an essential start is to let go of these. Forgive the hurts, forgive the sense of abandonment, and drop the guilt. If you bring these feelings back in to the relationship, you are likely to just pick up your relationship right where it was when you split. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to live without guilt, and without hurt feelings, or a sense of being mistreated.
3. Do you have the time, energy and resolve to make the relationship a priority?
Starting over again, requires time, energy, and openness. When we first begin relationships, the euphoria that comes with being in like or newly infatuated fills us with energy and the desire to spend more time in a romantic relationship. It may be that the time you’ve spent apart has rekindled your love and this part will come easy. However, with the demands of everyday life, work, kids and just life, prioritizing the relationship can give you the best chance of creating a great relationship the second time around. This can’t be a one way street, both of you committing time (date nights, evening touch points) are key to success.
4. Has communication improved? Are you both able to recommit and set ground rules for your new relationship?
Often, miss-communications, or lack of communications are at the heart of couples splitting up. If conversations are more productive, if you are both able to share thoughts and feelings, that is a positive sign that getting back together is a good idea.
…if conversations are more productive, if you are both able to share thoughts and feelings, that is a positive sign that getting back together is a good idea.
Did you gasp at ground rules? They sound formal, but there is a reason our society uses written agreements, and employers assign written goals. They are agreements about what we are committing too and what both people agree is most important. It’s hard to commit to something that isn’t defined. Defining your relationship goals, and your commitment to one another will create a clear map to a successful relationship.
5. Consider counseling
Couples counseling is a great way to discuss and evaluate where you both stand, and clarify what you both want, and hope for in getting back together. A therapist or counselor can help you to strengthen your communication skills and do some of the hard work previously mentioned, such as developing ground rules and prioritizing your relationship. Psychology Today has a great website that can help you to find professional therapists and counselors that specialize in couple’s therapy. The site allows participating therapists to write a statement about their qualification as well as their approach to therapy. Some offer a free quick phone call to answer your questions. Read about their approach, make the call. It’s the best way to access the fit prior to working with them.
6. Have you resolved the issues that existed when you broke up?
We recommend that whatever the big issues were that contributed to your split be resolved before you consider getting back together. If the issues were money, affection, time spent together, parenting styles or other issues, they will crop again and continue to cause problems in your relationship. It’s a good test of your commitment to sit down and resolve them as part of your discussions about getting back together.
7. Go slow!
Taking it slow and proceeding with caution is recommended for any big life moves. If you have children, going slowly, understanding how and when to include them can protect them and you from any emotional roller coasters. Going slow will give you time to check out your feelings, work through any uncertainties, and help you to make the right decision for you and everyone involved.
Deciding to give it another try can be rewarding and exhilarating. Think it through, think about what you want and what you deserve. At the end of the day, trust your gut, but work through your feeling before you commit.