Broken Up One Day, Engaged The Next?

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Broken Up One Day, Engaged The Next?
How to make a relationship work the second time around—for good.

When Heather, and her now-husband, Craig, got back together compromise was key. "We decided to make a real commitment," says Heather. "We realized that we were a team and we had to compromise in order to become stronger." The couple also made a concerted effort to spend more quality time together. "We turned our cable off and decided to make special nights to do things that we have always wanted to do," she says. "We both made lists of things we wanted to do together and started going through them." 

For Jennifer, 32, her break up was a result of conflicted priorities and difficulty managing arguments. "He loved to go out and party but when I went out, he complained," she says. "We also argued a lot. We had dated in college but after we graduated the arguing continued even though I'd thought it would end." The arguing eventually led to the couple's break up. But after Jennifer went through a traumatic experience, which her ex found out about, he rushed back to her side. "He wanted to talk about our relationship and we ended up realizing that we had both acted immature," she remembers. "We discussed that if one of us does something to upset the other, it should be brought up without screaming. The other person should not respond right away but instead think about it for 10 minutes." 

Dealing with problems right away, making compromised solutions, and working things through without screaming can all help make it work a second time around. Just don't expect these changes to be a breeze. The second try can actually be more difficult and it's easier than you may imagine to fall back into old habits. Implementing change is never easy. "At first it was more challenging to make it work a second time," says Jennifer. "It is hard to change the way you react to things when you are used to doing it a certain way. But we ultimately learned to respect one another and were actually communicating and listening to one another."