On a recent episode of Bravo TV's Vanderpump Rules, two cast members are trying to rekindle their relationship. Stassi had been in a long-term relationship with Jax, which ended when he cheated. It's been a year since the breakup and Jax has been pulling out all the stops to win Stassi back, including having her signature tattooed on his bicep. (Not sure this made the lasting impression Jax hoped for and I wouldn't recommend this tactic to others).
Stassi is no pushover and while this crazy deed did seem to touch her heart, she's been making Jax pay for his mistakes before she'll agree to get back together. From their dialog, it's easy to see he's already tired of her relentless, harsh ways.
As a dating coach for women, I'm not sure Stassi's method of hitting Jax over the head with his relationship blunder is wise. Berating men is never a good thing (you wouldn't want to be berated, would you?). How can she rebuild a loving relationship if she is constantly stomping on her man's ego?
If you are considering taking your ex back after a big blunder, here are five important questions to think through before opening your heart to him again.
1. Can you forgive him for what he did that caused your breakup?
If you are still angry and feel you cannot trust your ex, even if you still love him, that is not going to provide the best foundation for future love. You've got to find a way to forgive him if you want things to work out.
Talk about what happened calmly. See if he has grown or learned anything since the break up. Does he express regret for what happened and has he apologized? If you can answer "yes" to these questions, then you have a shot of creating a new future together. As Alexander Pope once said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine."
2. How much "repair work" do you think is required?
Sometimes, when a man wants you back, you start wishing you could fix more than what caused the breakup. If a big list comes to mind about your ex that you want to improve, that's not a good sign. Only so much repair work can be done. My relationship advice is to be realistic about what you want and need from him or you might be getting back into a no-win situation.
3. Can you let go and not bring his mistake up all the time?
After you make up and decide to go for round two, you need to find a way to face the future together. Taking your ex back means you are willing to start fresh with a clean slate. You need to let go of whatever happened and be done with it. However, if you plan to use his error against him every time you have a fight, you'll wear him down and cause a new rift to grow between the two of you.
4. Can you respect him again?
In order to have a loving, lasting relationship, respect for each other is essential. If your ex made a mistake that has undermined your respect for him, rekindling that flame might be very difficult. It could take time, and that's why taking things slow with your ex is a smart strategy.
Don't just jump in feet first! Take your time to see if he has changed and does show signs of real commitment to your future together. That's not something you can tell after one hot date and great makeup sex. Let things unfold naturally before you merge your life with his and end up broken-hearted again.
5. Is there anything you might have done that contributed to the breakup?
Often breakups are not one-sided. It's worth taking a look at what you might have done that contributed to the split because it often takes two to tango and fight. This is not always true, of course, but a willingness to look at your own stuff shows your desire to improve and learn how to compromise when appropriate.
Compatibility issues cannot always be resolved
Many times a breakup was for a good reason — the two of you had compatibility issues. You can't change everything about a man; even a couple of things might be impossible. Patching up a relationship in which you got along well is a lot easier and more advisable than a match filled with arguments and problems.
If you can't forgive him, insist on fixing him, can't let go of what happened, can't respect him, or simply look at your own part in the breakup, you might want to say "no" to getting back together. Be honest with yourself and him as well. It's better to admit that even though you loved each other, you just weren't a good romantic fit. Contrary to legends and literature, love absolutely does not conquer all.
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