Determining whether you should get back together with your partner after a break-up may be the hardest part of the process. Your first impulse may be, “Yes! Of course I want to get back together!” but, that may only be your strong desire to keep the attachment of your hopes and dreams to your former partner, instead of a truly well thought our decision regarding the merits of the union.
For most people, it’s natural to focus on the positive experiences from the relationship and diminish the negative. It’s not unusual to hold on to hopes and dreams, even when there is ample evidence to the contrary of their validity, in an effort to avoid change. Any negative attributes or events are often ignored or pushed aside with “excuses” and “explanations” in an effort to keep the relationship alive. This process is especially true if the relationship began with an avalanche of attraction and over time things began to fall apart or disappointments began to mount. Once we attach ourself and attach our dreams to another person it can be very difficult to see things clearly.
As we’ve discussed before, when we first meet someone and begin a relationship we put our best foot forward with our projected best self. But over time, our less perfect version begins to emerge and our fears and insecurities may surface. This process usually takes between three to nine months, varying by individual. But at some point we all drop the mask. It is at this critical point to get a clearer picture of the relationship. Are you as compatible as you originally hoped? Do you have the same values? Have both of you overcome your past relationship challenges and are both ready to be vulnerable and have an authentic relationship? Did your partner have true character flaws or were your expectations too high? Do you really want your partner back as is or do you simply want to avoid the pain or fear being alone? These are just a few questions to consider.
When someone breaks-up a relationship, it is usually a thought process that has occupied their mind for some time. It begins with negative feelings or concerns and progresses to include doubts or fears that begin to erode their sense of certainty about the union. In some cases, it may not be the other person at all. It may be timing or circumstances that make one partner feel they cannot give their best or their all and over time this too will negatively impact the relationship even though both people love each other. There are so many individual dynamics that go into one individual being ready for a relationship, that when you pair that with the other individual’s dynamics it can be challenging for any couple. But if you both truly love each other, and neither have critical character flaws (that rarely change/improve), there is always an opportunity to reunite, given both people want to get back together and are ready to accept things as they are now (not as they were or as you want them to be) and take steps to make any necessary changes required to move the relationship forward. Every day is a new relationship. Relationships are dynamic. You can never go back to any point in time. You must start where you are at right now. Understand both points of view objectively. Once you accomplish this, you can make a reasonable decision whether to come back together or move on.
If you do decide to give it another try, know that fundamental problems are unlikely to change even if your partner promises to change. So if you are facing serious problems such as deep-seated psychological issues, addictions or compulsions, abuse or apathy–it is extremely unlikely love with conquer these issues. Only the person with the problem can seek change and there are no guarantees. You cannot love someone enough to change any behavior. They have to love themselves enough to want to change and then go about the tough business of changing on their own.
In the end, the best choice you can make is to look at yourself and learn from the relationship. When you find someone who brings out the best in you and you are also focused on being your best self you have a real chance at success in any relationship. We are all on our own growth cycle. Relationships teach us about ourselves and about life. Take a good look within after a break-up. Take a good look at your partner. If you feel after careful consideration you can be realistic about both of you bringing more to life together than apart, give it another try. But do so from a place of confidence and clear insight. It is very rarely a good idea to stay together for the sake of others opinions or approval. To do so robs both parties of the happiness they would share in a great relationship.
Break-ups are painful, but they offer a great opportunity to grow and to learn about ourself and another person and how you relate together. Sometimes we grow and change beyond our partner and cannot stay in the same relationship. Some relationships come to a natural conclusion. And sometimes, a break-up is a wake-up call to refocus on what matters most. Only you can decide.
We wish you the best regardless of the direction you choose. In the next installment we will look at some ways to reconnect and some ways to move on. Until then, we would love to hear your experiences. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.