In the weeks following a breakup, it is normal to wonder whether you did the right thing. Regardless of which partner initiated the breakup and what the circumstances were, you might think about giving the relationship another chance. Reconciling with your ex can work, but it requires both partners to take a leap of faith and rebuild the relationship from the ground up.
Examine the Situation
Before you decide to reconcile, take a hard look at yourself, your ex and the reasons you broke up. In “8 Simple Rules for Dating Your Ex,” relationship coach Yangki Christine Akiteng stresses that fear, anger, guilt and other strong emotions are normal in the wake of a breakup but spell disaster for starting over. If either or both of you are still in turmoil, give each other some time to heal before reconciling. Before you begin any relationship, including one with your ex, you must feel confident and emotionally healthy. Likewise, you must both be willing to honestly examine your behavior in the relationship. Take responsibility for the things that were your fault, apologize and see if your ex does the same.
Institute Honest Communication
In an article for the Huffington Post, bestselling relationship author Diane Kirschner notes that a new emphasis on deep, meaningful conversation is a sign that your ex is ready to try again. For your new relationship to work, you must both be able to discuss what went wrong, vocalize the changes you want and talk about the roadblocks that come your way. Make it a policy to talk things out rather than suppressing bad feelings or allowing resentment to build.
Build on the Positive
Every contact you have with your ex is a chance to create new bonds of trust and emotional closeness. It is impossible to build those bonds, however, if the two of you revert to old patterns of arguing or criticizing. Instead, work together to focus on the things you like about each other. Go out of your way to validate each other’s point of view and make each other feel heard and respected. Make a pact to work out the big issues and let small things slide.
Create a New Dynamic
In “Giving Relationships a Second Chance” on "Psychology Today," psychologist Guy Winch stresses that the best time to change the relationship dynamics is right after you get back together. Otherwise, even if you have been apart for months or years, you are likely to fall back into old habits. Akiteng concurs, noting that both of you were fundamentally changed by the breakup, and therefore the relationship that you knew is dead. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk about what is important to both of you. Tell each other what you liked most about the old relationship, and strive to keep those things intact, but focus on building a new, healthier relationship. For example, you might return to your standing Sunday afternoon ice cream date, but set a new rule not to talk on Friday night when you are both stressed. Avoid the urge to jump back in as deeply as you were before. Instead, take your time and get to know each other all over again.
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