Take Two: 3 Tips to Make the Second Time the Charm

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If you put in the work, second time really might be the charm.

Can a relationship work after a breakup? This question is often posed by couples considering reconciliation. Unfortunately, this question is a bit up there with the whole chicken or the egg query: it’s not all that easily answered (by the way, the egg came first — it was laid by the Cadbury Bunny).

Instead, the question of whether a relationship work after a breakup really depends on how you answer a different question: can you and your partner avoid the pitfalls that hurt you the first time?

If you can’t, the answer is simple: getting back together is like betting the Cubs to win the World Series — there’s very little point to it. But, if you both agree — and you both must agree — then a relationship can work the second time around. Not only can it work, but it can prosper.

So, for those who are doing the Take Two of their relationship, it’s important to remember three key tips, tips that give you a better chance to make this go round last forever.

Forget and Forgive
The first tip in the can a relationship work after a breakup query involves the act of forgetting and forgiving. The former isn’t always possible (unless you get a Forget Me Now from Gob Bluth), so you must focus on the latter: forgiving.

There’s no doubt that your partner did something wrong in the past. And, there’s no doubt that you did something wrong as well. But, not forgiving one another for past sins will prevent you from moving into the future. This not only means you must forgive each other in the beginning, but you must continue to do so. If you repeatedly bring up some error in judgment that happened three years ago — or don’t bring it up but secretly seethe because of it — your relationship will end up being a maze of misery from which you can’t escape.

Recognize the Problems
While you should forget and forgive past discrepancies, you must also acknowledge that they happened so you can grow from them. Failing to do this will cause your relationship to take the same route as it took before: it’ll drive straight into a dead end. Only this time, more years will have been wasted and more bitterness will accumulate.
You can’t make your partner change from their past errors — you can only change yourself. Ideally, your partner will be working on themselves as well, but you must focus on what you can control: your behaviors.

Make Sure it’s for the Right Reasons
The final tip in the can a relationship work after a breakup has to do with the reasons you are reuniting. All too often, people get back together with an ex simply because it’s easy. They believe that reuniting will prevent them from being alone or having to forge through the awkwardness of the dating world. Getting back together, they tell themselves, makes sense. But, doing this is like taking an unsatisfying job simply because it involves minimal effort — in the end, you’ll end up full of regrets.

Worse than being lonely or having to listen to a date talk about themselves for an hour straight without asking you a single question is being unhappy. If you get back together with an ex merely because they are there, the odds are extraordinarily high that you will be miserable. After all, you were the first time and if you’ve done nothing to change that, why wouldn’t you get the same result?

In other words, don’t confuse comfort for contentment: only consider reconciling if both you and your ex have agreed to change your ways.

To learn more about reuniting with an ex, click here.