Alice is so happy to be back together with Rick. She was miserable during the year that they were divorced and when Rick reached out to her again, she was relieved, elated and worried too. They’ve been taking things slowly and so far, their dates have been fun and passionate too. Recently, Rick asked Alice if she was ready to officially become a couple again. She really, really wants to say “yes,” but she’s afraid they’ll fall back into the same patterns that destroyed their marriage before.
Getting back together with your ex can be so amazing!
There are many benefits of giving your relationship a second chance. You already know so much about your partner; there is a familiarity that feels comfortable and allows you to bypass the awkwardness and self-consciousness that often come with a new relationship.
The two of you fall back into one another’s arms and that can feel delicious…
Because you’ve broken up before, you are keenly aware that you two could also fall back into old and destructive habits. Maybe one or both of you got jealousy easily. Maybe the way you communicated (or didn’t) drove a wedge between you. Maybe weak trust tore you apart.
You don’t want to repeat those harmful patterns. You want to do things differently and create a relationship that’s close, connected and lovingly long-lasting.
Your fear about falling back into old and destructive habits can put a damper on the happiness of being back together again. It can cause you to hold back and walk around on eggshells which is not beneficial for you or your re-forming relationship.
To erase this fear, some couples attempt to make a fresh start with each other. They try to pretend that the past didn’t happen.
Unfortunately, this rarely works.
You can’t deny that your history together. Even though the two of you have both changed in big or little ways, your past relationship experiences happened and it’s important to acknowledge them and learn from them.
This is what makes for a successful reunion with your partner…be aware of your past together AND don’t let the past define your future. There’s nothing wrong with making a fresh start with your partner, just make sure it’s an informed fresh start.
These 4 questions will help you learn from the past as you step into a new future….
1. What didn’t work?
Depending on your mindset, this might be the first or the last question you think about when remember the past. It’s helpful to ask the question, “What didn’t work?” with the intention to learn instead of to blame.
Set aside your beliefs that you were the one who “caused” the past breakup and also beliefs that it was your partner’s “fault.” Instead, get specific and identify the habits and tendencies that you each had that eroded trust and/or took you two far apart.
The point here is not to bring up another round of guilt and hurt, it’s to understand where you two took a wrong turn (possibly many wrong turns) in the past so that you can head off wrong turns in the future.
2. What did work?
Have fun with this one! Either by yourself or with your partner, think back to your favorite memories of when you were together before. What was the most passionate time you shared? When did you feel close and when did you work together to tackle a problem?
Recall what did work in your relationship. Think of the ways you spoke to one another, treated each other and what you did that helped create a connection, even if the situation was difficult or painful.
When you know what worked in the past, you not only pinpoint the habits you want to continue today, but you also show yourselves that there are strengths to build on as you move forward.
3. How am I still living in the past?
This is the key to making it work with your partner– make sure that you both are consciously moving forward. Do look at the past with as much objectivity as you can and learn from it and then come back to the present moment.
As you create an informed fresh start together, notice the ways that you continue to live in the past. What are the assumptions you make about what your partner wants or even thinks that go back to what you thought you knew before? Where are the sore and sensitive spots that may indicate unhealed emotional wounds? If you’re holding grudges or expecting your partner to be the way he or she used to be, stop.
Recognize that you’re in the past and come back to the here and now.
4. What is true now?
This last question can help you get out of the past and return to the present. When a stressful or upsetting thought enters your mind, notice what it is and ask yourself, “What is true now?”
Look at the observable clues you have in the form of your partner’s words and actions as well as your own words and actions. Do you have any proof that the thought you’re having is true? If it isn’t, there’s possibly some healing and letting go to do. If your thought does seem true, look at little deeper. Find out more and create agreements with your partner to change direction so that you two don’t fall back into destructive patterns.
Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help individuals and couples create a love relationship or marriage that is passionate, close and healthy. To get a free copy of Susie and Otto’s Relationship Reverse Report and turn challenges around, visit: www.relationshipreversereport.com