If a relationship ends, it’s obvious there were problems, and it’s hard to imagine things going any more smoothly the second time. That seems especially true if the split was awful. Shouldn’t both people just learn from the experience and move on?
Not necessarily, say experts. Yes, there may have been issues, but a serious time-out can make a couple stronger in the long run…if those issues are addressed and resolved.
It’s hard to slam on the brakes when you’re making up for lost time, not to mention enjoying being so familiar with each other. But admit it or not, you’ve both changed and need to take time to get reacquainted.
“Try to look at it as a brand-new relationship,” says relationship therapist Bethany Marshall, PhD, author of Deal Breakers. While you might be dying to fast-forward to cozy Saturday mornings in bed, it’s important to stop and think about why you want to be together…just like you would while getting close with any guy.
Be Honest With Yourself:
If the idea of going to another party alone makes you cringe, you’re more likely craving a quick fix for loneliness, not your ex, says Michael Broder, PhD, author of Can Your Relationship Be Saved? And sooner or later, you’ll be saying “We need to talk” all over again. But if you can picture backpacking across Europe with him next summer — and he can too — your heart is probably in the right place.
Touch on the Past
Try hashing out the bigger points of what you want to do differently this time in a way that isn’t threatening, like “It would make me happy if…” and have him do the same. Then really act on it: If he couldn’t stand your liberal definition of arriving “on time,” make a point to be early. And if your hot button was not getting a text when he was out late, call him out if he trips up again.