Until recently, I would have told you that – based on my own past experience – it is impossible to get back together with an ex and sustain it.
The behavior patterns are still there. The same things that broke your relationship up the first time are likely still lingering and will cause distress and pain again.
I would also have told you that getting back together with your ex probably is not psychologically or emotionally healthy. As you put yourself out on that limb again, with the same person and the same behaviors that were toxic before, you again expose yourself to risk that you have already lived through and moved past (or hopefully moved past). Pain you already experienced.
Like sticking yourself with a needle over and over or banging your head against a wall, getting back with an ex is like a distorted type of masochism.
That is what I would have told you.
Let me share with you some things that I have learned during this new journey:
- Be extremely honest with yourself and with each other – where you are at now, and what you learned – both good and not so good – the first time around.
- Discuss the above from the beginning of this new journey – DO NOT DELAY. If you delay too long, you risk falling back into the same patterns.
- Recognize the great things about yourself and your ex. Now that you both have absorbed the bad behaviors, it is the perfect time to focus on the positive and good.
- Identify specific behaviors that you want to change this time – and share with each other. It is important to regain trust in each other. This is a fresh opportunity to grow and mature – together.
- Trust is not built in a vacuum. Take those small steps together to build that trust again, slowly.
- Relax, slow down, and let go. Enjoy the time together without clenching on too tightly.
- Try to reduce, if not eliminate, frivolous expectations.
- Maintain separate interests, friends, and goals. Do NOT lose yourself in the other.
- Do new things together and foster new experiences and new memories.
By no means am I suggesting that getting back with an ex is for everyone.
But, one of the advantages of getting back with your ex is that you already know what you are getting into. Sure, some of that is irritating. But, on the other hand, there are sure to also be some enjoyable things that you honestly missed. Short of your ex being a murderer or being just plain extreme, it is that much less that you have to struggle to learn over again than if you were to get into a relationship with someone new.
You already know whether the other snores, how they take their coffee, how punctual they are, or how long they spend in the shower. What makes them laugh, what them smile, what makes them happy. Instead of re-learning that about someone new, you can take that same amount of time investigating the awesome things about your ex – just in case you both did not have time to do that the first time around.
In this way, you forge a new, stronger relationship. Who knows, it might be the second chance that you’ve both been waiting for.
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