So you got divorced. Maybe someone cheated, or perhaps it was simply the wrong time, or maybe the courtship had hit a rut.
Should you rekindle your relationship? Well, since we aren't in your relationship, the truth is we really don't know. But what we do know is this: there are steps we can take to make this important decision the right one for you.
If you're in this position and wondering if you should get back together with your ex, there are few ways to make an informed choice about whether or not it's a good idea. Bottom line: there isn't always an obvious answer. You aren't weak, lame or mistaken if you decide to reconcile. And, giving him a second chance (or third, or fourth) can be the wrong choice. In an effort to help you make the choice for you and your specific situation, here are some general guidelines from the experts at DatingWithDignity.com.
Here are the times when you should not get back with your ex.
1. You're ignoring a siren that's going off in your head (and your heart) that's flashing a clear message: "Getting back together is a mistake." When the little voice inside (we call it intuition) screams to be brave and break up, it's a good indication to trust your judgment. If you're mostly afraid to do it because of fear that you will be alone, rather than because there's the possibility of your ex changing some behaviors, then know that fear is not a reason to stay together.
2. Your partner was a repeat offender of one of your non-negotiables in your relationship, such as not supporting you in your choices or not respecting your opinions. Also, any repeated patterns of cheating, emotional and physical abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, etc., that aren't being addressed by a professional should not be ignored. Hoping he will get it together is merely your denial. Break up.
3. You're acting out of desperation because you feel like you're too old, never meet any nice guys, don't have confidence you will meet someone better, etc. Again, if fear vs. love is motivating you to separate, it's time to dig deep and look at how you can start to fall in love with yourself.
4. You just really miss having a warm body next to you.
Should you truly be feeling like you might be ready to get back with your ex, you need to take the following steps to make an informed choice about whether or not you should go full steam ahead or proceed with caution:
1. Address the reasons why it wasn't working in the first place and why you think it might work now.
Did you break up because it was bad timing? Maybe one of you just received a huge promotion or you had just lost a job and focus on the relationship was waning. Was one of you experiencing some family trauma that you couldn't take your mind off of? Or was it something like the fact they you both had completely different opinions about marriage or your perception of the world?
In the event that it was the latter, think long and hard about if you can be in a relationship with a person who has values that are diametrically opposed to your own. If it was more a timing issue, then it's absolutely a subject that should be broached -- and you can feel free to open the communication lines.
Finally, is your partner open to getting counseling or coaching to resolve the matter systemically? In this case, band-aid fixes and promises to "be better" in general won't cut it. However, working on your relationship with the aid of a professional can truly help you rediscover the love that brought you together in the first place.
2. Don't involve everyone and her mother in your decision making process.
Don't get all your friends together for a night of drinks to have everyone contribute their opinion about whether you and Mr. Ex should get back together. But do take time alone (at least one night alone and hopefully a conversation with a trained professional coach or therapist) where you can think and isolate your own opinions.
If you have one trusted friend who's usually pretty spot on with her advice, confide in her. Tell her what you're thinking and get her feedback. Make sure to have clarity and definitely make sure to be honest with yourself.
The only person who can make this decision is you. But don't forge ahead without taking a step back to get to the heart of the matter.
Follow Marni Battista on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@MarniBattista