Breaking up can be hard to do, but once done it can be incredibly liberating and positive. There are times when you look back and wonder if it was the right decision – second guessing your judgment. Then there are times when you talk yourself into rekindling the romance.
Rekindling a romance is tricky. What’s the reason for giving it a second try, and is it even a legitimate second try? Is it you don’t want to be alone? Are you settling and thinking although the relationship isn’t perfect it isn’t all bad either? Or are you genuinely thinking this person could be “the one” and you want to explore a second shot?
I’m not saying the last scenario couldn’t be it, but in my personal experiences and in watching my friends, we often hope and romanticize a relationship. I’ll admit to sometimes not wanting to be alone and also to settling. Sometimes the known is less scary than the unknown even if it leaves you wanting something more.
Also, good sex doesn’t mean it’s a good relationship. (Good sex may distract you for a bit, but eventually it won’t be enough.)
Listen To Your Inner Voice
I was dating a guy who was nice in many ways but was really very self-centered emotionally. On paper he sounded great, but the “live and in color” experiences raised a lot of concerns and disconnect. On paper he was successful, active in the community, enjoyed exploring Seattle, intelligent and funny. Spending time with him uncovered a lot of differences in character, moral values and personality.
We went out to eat a lot, but didn’t do much else other than an occasional movie. He paid for most things we did and rarely accepted my offer to pay or even split the bill. I tried to convince myself this was his way of showing he cared for me. (Now I think it was his way to ensure he had company or even a drinking buddy.)
I told him opening a door for me was a small gesture I valued – he laughed and said women were just as capable of opening their own doors as he was. When I came home from work one evening so frustrated I was almost in tears he told me to stop and made us both a drink – no questions asking why I was upset or if I was okay.
In person, he would reference “The Game”, a set of dating rules and tactics for men. He even said once that he will purposely distance himself at times just so women then have to pursue him because he was the catch in the relationship.
Eventually, we both started to date other people and our dates fizzled out. Then out of the blue he invited me to a baseball game with him and another friend. We didn’t end on bad terms so I accepted the invitation. This led to us hanging out more and then eventually falling back into a pattern of dating.
It was the same situation as before only I knew I wanted something different. There was a short period of time when I hoped it would be different – be better. I realized how different we were as individuals and even a subtle power game within the relationship.
We would go out and have fun together and laugh, but a deeper connection was missing. Sex wasn’t as enjoyable because I really wasn’t into this guy any more – my mind an emotions had disconnected from the relationship. I had fallen out of interest with this guy when we were first dating and simply blinded myself when we started hanging out again. In many ways it was convenient. I had a +1 to do things with only I didn’t enjoy doing things with him like I used to.
It wasn’t fair to him or to me. Our second break-up was non-eventful and we remain friends. I am careful about when and where we hang out. I don’t want to cross the line into dating or sex. (Honestly, it would fall more into the sex category than dating.)
One of my favorite dating mantras is “he is a nice guy, just not my guy.” This is so very true in this instance. I should have listened to my inner voice way early on, but I don’t always trust my judgment. (It’s baggage from previous relationships I am trying to lose. I bet most people who jump back into dating an ex are also struggling with emotional baggage from previous relationships.)
It’s important to remind yourself why you broke up or ended the relationship. If it didn’t work the first time, it most likely won’t work the second time. People can change, but only when they want to change. Make yourself a priority and in these contained instances, it is okay to be a bit selfish and put you first. If there was any violence or anger management issues, forget the relationship completely and continue walking away.
I have a small trick I use to remind myself not to revert back into a relationship with someone I dated, or even toxic friends. I add “DO NOT CALL” before their first name in my contact list. When they call I know to ignore the call or keep the conversation superficial. It also gives me a brief pause during those lonely moments to collect my thoughts and move on without calling.