People breakup for all kinds of reasons — he cheated, she nagged, he was a Seattle Seahawk fan, she rooted for the Denver Broncos, etc. Some of these reasons are good, some are lame and some are somewhere in the middle. It really comes down to a “to each his or her own” stance: some relationships can survive hail storms; others wash away at the first rain drop.
Deciding to get back together after a breakup can involve equally varied reasons. Some people get back together out of love, out of desperation or out of the fact that a visit from the stork is scheduled in nine months. Like breaking up, deciding to get back together is a personal decision: Only you and your partner are qualified to know if being reunited will indeed feel so good.
But, before deciding to reunite, there are certain things you should consider.
These things include:
Why you broke up to begin with: Sometimes, something horrible happens to cause a breakup — he gets physical, she has an affair, he insists on wearing the shorts featured in Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” video. If this is the case, there just may be no fixing what is broken. But, if the reason for your breakup is something you can work with, there is reason to hope. So, ask yourself if you can forgive what happened and live with what happened. If you answer yes to both, reconciling may leave you smiling.
Why you want to reconcile: Another important thing to consider is why you want to get back together. If it’s out of love, out of attraction, and out of the feeling that you can definitely make things work a second time, that’s a good sign (“Merge”). If you want to get back together out of necessity, that’s a bad sign (“Do Not Enter”). In other words, if the only thing that is attracting her to him is his ability to pay half the rent, the relationship isn’t likely one worth salvaging.
You may also be getting back together because you feel that you — in poker terms — are “pot committed.” For instance, you’ve dated your partner for five years and feel, if you don’t get back together, that you will have wasted all that time. However, this isn’t really a reason to reunite: getting back together because you are settling often equates with settling for, at worst, unhappiness, and at best, indifference.
How you will handle things the second time: Whatever caused your relationship to fail during the first go will likely return a second time, either as a main character or as a not so very special guest star. This is because relationship problems have a way of behaving like boomerangs: they come back, no matter how far your throw them.
The reappearance of your original problem means that you need to be prepared. So, ask yourself how you will handle things differently this time around. Remember to only focus on the factors you can control: yourself. You can’t control how the other person will react — though dating would be so much easier if you could.
Whether or not you can be friends: There are a lot of ways that dating and friendships are different — all that tongue kissing, just to name one way. But, at their core, they have similar qualities. Most successful couples “like each other” in addition to “like liking each other.” They are friends, as well as lovers.
If you don’t see yourself as being friends with your partner, that’s a checkmark against your union. It’s hard to find love when like doesn’t even exist. But, if you and your partner truly enjoy each other—you make each other laugh, you confide in each other, you pick each other up—there’s a much higher chance of a successful reunion. The reason for this is immensely simple: a relationship needs friendship—no matter how good the sex is.