Had a heart to heart talk with my ‘cube mates’. It’s nice that you have someone to talk to at times like this. I was so flattered that they or she just blurted things out without any doubts, which means she trusts me… So she and her ex are debating on getting back together again and she wants to know if it’s worth giving their relationship a second chance. So I shared something that this certain person/counselor told me when I was in the situation where I asked the same question, she told me:
It is hard enough to offer an employee, a student, or a friend a second chance, but offering a lover a second chance is very tricky. The level of emotional detachment is completely different and you are opening yourself up to getting hurt again. On again-off again relationships are hell and nobody wants to sign up for the emotional dramas that accompany that sort of life. How do you decide when to grant someone a second chance and when to just cut your losses and walk away?
I think the first thing you need to look at is the overall quality of the relationship you originally had. This isn’t about whether or not you were in love with each other, but how well you got along together, how compatible were you, and how easy was it to just hang out in each other’s worlds. If it was always a struggle and a lot of effort to make the relationship work, then you really need to take some time and think things through. Why was it tough to get along? Are you from completely different worlds? Are your lifestyle preferences and needs completely different? Do your personalities clash? It’s true that all relationships involve a certain element of give and take with compromise being an essential ingredient towards longevity. However, you don’t want to commit yourself to something that feels like a chore.
If you had to work too hard to keep the relationship alive the first time you were together, then you need to look at the reasons for that. Are you both really stubborn? Are third parties being allowed to interfere in the sanctity of your relationship? Is it one of those things that can be fixed, or is it something that really cannot be fixed? If one of you is a serious ‘nose to the grindstone’ type and the other is a ‘party animal’, then you may not be able to fix the differences between you. It’s not a matter of right and wrong, just being too different. The motivations behind the stresses in your first attempt at a relationship will tell you if these are personality differences or if they are behavioral differences. Did clashing needs or clashing preferences destroy your relationship? Needs cannot be changed very easily, if ever. Preferences are negotiable and can be compromised. Take a step back and really analyse the needs and preferences of each of you as individuals. Then look at the needs and preferences of the partnership. How much work is involved in making your two worlds blend into one?
You have to analyse the commitment you both have to making the changes needed to successfully make a life together. A huge piece of commitment is fidelity. Infidelity is more than just physically cheating with someone. It includes extreme flirting, sharing your most intimate feelings with someone else instead of your partner, and an overall lack of loyalty towards the relationship. If your partner allows others to speak poorly of you behind your back, then are you going to feel secure in the relationship? If they surround themselves with people who dislike you or who treat you badly, then will you ever really feel good about being involved with them? If they cheat on you or just flirt a lot with others, are you going to feel that they are really committed to you? Commitment can mean that they have to stay clean and sober or else they lose you for good. Commitment can mean that they have to actually take time out of their busy life to spend some quality time with you. You have to analyse the level of commitment that each of you brings to the relationship.
If you are the person who wants to be given a second chance, then you too need to think through these questions. Can you really change to fit better within the needs of the relationship? Should you change? If the only way the relationship is going to make it is if you become a completely fake and unreal version of yourself, then are you ever going to feel that they love you unconditionally? You want to be loved for who you are, not for who they want you to become, right? Change should be in your best interest too.
If both of you have determined that yes the relationship is fixable and yes you are both fully committed to making the changes necessary, then a second chance could work out beautifully. I have known a number of happily married couples that tell tales of huge breakups that almost ended in divorce during the early years of their marriages. However, they were fully committed to fixing the problems and did so. Sometimes it takes losing someone to realize just how much they mean to us. I have also watched dear friends take someone back into their lives over and over again; only to have their heart shattered each time. No matter how much they loved the other person, they could not fix the relationship all by themselves and the other person kept on behaving the same old ways repeating the same old patterns. Without a real commitment to fixing and changing the problems, there is no way the second, third, fourth, or fifth chances are going to make the problems go away.