When my college boyfriend and I broke up for a brief period, I was surprised by the adults and friends who suggested that a reconciliation wasn’t necessarily out of the question. Being young and naive I had yet to realize how all too often relationships, especially long-term ones, do have some version of a breakup in them. Now, a part of me equates this to millennials and the new generation of dating. But to be honest, that really isn’t backed by any science on my part. Regardless of the reasons behind it, it can be a particularly grueling decision whether or not to get back with an ex.
This is especially tricky if you were the one who got dumped. After all, you’ve spent time discussing all the negative aspects of this person with your friends and family. So when thinking about going back to them? Well, you’re not going to have a lot of people in your court. In fact, you might have a lot of people who are actually angry at you.
Disregarding what those around you think, what is most important in these situations is to make sure you’re being true to yourself. And here are some questions you need to ask yourself when considering rekindling an old flame.
1. What are my hopes for reconciliation?
Really think about what you would hope to gain from your relationship – and be honest with yourself. Are you viewing this as a relationship that could blossom into something serious and long-term? Are you hearing wedding bells? Or, are you simply content to enjoy that person’s company without planning all that far into the future? Neither is necessarily right or wrong, but you do need to be realistic about how that person plays into your expectations. If an issue in your relationship the first time around was that they weren’t ready to start discussing marriage, THAT is unlikely to change and you either need to adjust your expectations or search elsewhere. So be realistic about your needs and even more importantly, be realistic about this person’s ability (and likelihood) to achieve what you’re looking for.
2. How much time has gone by?
First, think about the length of the relationship. Secondly, consider how long the break-up was for. I know lots of couples, myself included, who dated their partner for years before reaching a breaking point. That’s a significant amount of time and it’s understandable that sometimes a break is needed. Especially, if you’re young or going through a time of external issues and transition. But, if you’re relationship lasted less than a year and you’re already facing the pain of breakups and reconciliation that is a big, fat, warning sign. Not to mention, less than a year is simply not that large of a commitment. You should be questioning why you’re willing to invest so much in a relationship that yes, is broken and no, does not have a strong foundation.
As I mentioned, the second part of this is considering how much time has gone by since the break up. You should consider if the time was long enough for realistic changes to be made for this second round to be more successful. For example, if your partner just wanted to explore the world and experience life without being in a relationship, maybe a couple of months is fine. Alternatively, if they had serious communication, self-esteem, or other personal and mental issues…two months isn’t going to cut it.
3. What do I deserve?
Such a simple question. Yet, so many young women logically know they deserve better but fail to make the tough decisions to actually live. better. It’s as if we expect the life we want to be easy. The reality? Having a life you’re happy in and proud of means fighting for the life you’re happy in and proud of. That could mean standing up to the friends and family who aren’t going to support your decisions. Or, that can mean standing up to yourself and not getting sucked back into a situation that isn’t fulfilling or fair to you.
4. What is my truth?
This is where finding your own personal zen comes into the picture. If you’re like me, you probably didn’t ask a whole lot of people for advice, maybe just 1 or 2 close friends. If you’re like my best-friend, however, you might ask advice from literally every single person who you come across for the next 48 hours. No matter what your tactic is, the reality is that you can ask for all the advice you want but you will ultimately make your own decision. So after finding the information you’re looking for, take some alone time and reflect. Reflect on the situation, reflect on the person, but most importantly – SERIOUSLY!!! – reflect on yourself. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What feels right in your heart and more deeply in your soul? It’s impossible not to let your emotions and love for that person influence you. But try to ignore all of that for a moment, and focus on your love for yourself. What advice would you give yourself? Close your eyes, sit, breathe, and don’t think but instead feel to determine what decisions seems to fit nicely and which decision feels a little icky.