Does the old saying, "Time heals all wounds" prove to be more true than, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"? These conflicting approaches to balancing the past with the present really stay at the forefront of a new partnership involving two people who were previously in a relationship together.
Any relationship from the past must be assessed by answering ten questions. The manner in which you answer these ten questions will help you to answer the big question: Is it a good idea to date your ex?
How Long Have You Two Been Separated?
If the answer to this question is "not long," then you must consider whether you two were really broken up. If you are just going back and forth, then your partner is not an ex, but rather is a participant in your drama. If you two have been separated by more than ten percent of your life, then it is long enough to consider getting back together. What is ten percent of your life? If you are twenty years old, then it is two years. If you are thirty years old, three years is ten percent of your life. And so on. IF you have been broken up at least that long, continue on …
What Was the Reason You Two Broke Up?
First of all, if all your answers place the blame on him, why would you want to get back together? If he has changed, the question you must ask yourself is whether or not you have changed. If he has modified his behavior that contributed to the breakup, but you haven't, you might allow unwanted behavior patterns from the past to resurface and slowly re-enter your life. In this case, your lack of change will be the biggest hurdle to a successful reconciliation. You must consider your role in the original breakup and be prepared to confront convenient narratives that have evolved over time to confirm your version of reality. Are you ready to admit forgetting and overlooking some of the real reasons? If so, continue on …
How Are Things Different Now?
What is it about things that have truly changed? Are you more financially stable? Is he? Has a person who came in between you two stepped out of the picture for good? All of this must be analyzed in detail, because if things are not different, how can a relationship be successful under the same conditions in which it fell apart? Look at how much has changed in both of you and assess whether this change has been for the good.
How Will You Stop Falling Into Old Bad Habits?
There are two ways to maintain a second-time-around love: committed or sloppy. If you are committed with a reborn love, you two should be able to maintain a consistent approach in moving forward. Being sloppy means suddenly falling back into the patterns that allow bad habits to rule your lives. How are you committed to halting the recurrence of these habits?
Were You Both Too Young the First Time?
If you look back on when you two were together, and it is obvious that you were too young to even really comprehend what you two were doing together, that is a great sign. If you look at each other and life is relatively the same as it was when you two split and you cannot point to any specific transformative event in either of your lives, getting back together would be like rearranging the furniture in your living room. It is new and interesting for a while but it is no substitute for moving to a nicer house. The goal in life is to be moving forward. If who you are has changed and who he is can be seen as fundamentally matured, you two might be ready to "try, try again."
Was Cheating Involved – Would It Be Different Now?
While we all want to believe that people have the capacity to change, if infidelity occurred in your relationship and you two have separated, what are you doing to ensure that this is no longer an issue? If you are not getting counseling, the pairing between you two is a time bomb, waiting to destroy the trust you have pieced back together.
Was Substance Abuse Involved in the Initial Breakup?
If issues of addiction and substance abuse were central to your relationship, only after treatment and a few years of complete sobriety should revisiting an old relationship even be considered. Like falling into old bad habits, the chemistry between you two could have echoes of old demons, things in your nature that need work in the therapeutic process, not the love relationship.
Is This Just a Booty Call?
If old bad habits are hard to break, how about old feel-good habits? If both of you are clear that a booty call is not the resuming of your committed relationship, then there is nothing stopping a good time and a good physical release. But the bump and grind can create deep feelings instantaneously and passion can develop into an emotional connection when it was agreed upon to just remain physical. It only takes a few minutes to fall back in love when you replay the ultimate committed act.
If This Is a Rebound or Comfortable Wedge Relationship, Is One of You Being Used?
Many former relationships are re-entered as safety nets when a subsequent love relationship fails. A rebound is a quick, fragile union between people after the demise of a strong affair. A wedge relationship is an acknowledged short-term relationship that simulates a long-term love commitment. Unless you two are both clear on the short duration of getting back together, there could be hurt feelings and a permanent severance between you two.
Did You Two Have Children and Want to Make It Work for Them?
Casual dating with your ex-husband is cruel to children. If you want to make things work for the good of your kids, it is better to have a definite separation or a definite union than it is to build some drama where you two have other partnerships. Do not use your kids as a rationalization. Be definite; it is the ultimate sign of love and is the biggest healthy step you can take toward finding a great love relationship in the world.