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About To Start Dating…Your Ex?
12 Real Life Tips If You’re Dating The Ex…Again.
Rapper Eminem may be known for his controversial lyrics, but he is equally known for his on-again, off-again relationship with his wife — they have been married and divorced several times to (and from) each other.
Think this is a situation that only famous people get placed in? Think again. It happens all the time to people who are teachers, professionals, and average parents. Is it ever appropriate to get back together with an ex-spouse?
Does It Work the Second Time Around?
“I can see all different kinds of circumstances why you might end up dating someone you’ve broken up with,” says Jessica Bollinger, a therapist in Lexington, Kentucky. “I think what you can bring into dating your next spouse is a new beginning, taking in and bringing in new learning that you have about relationships, because we’re different people every day, and we’re changing and growing every day. You’re kind of bringing in your new self.”
People can always tell when they are falling for an ex-spouse again.”That’s a natural thing to come up to people. It’s not an accident,” says Catherine Tucker, a therapist in Sacramento, California. The questions you should ask if that happens to you include: “What do you want to do? Is it an unresolved relationship? Have they worked on it before? Have they been to therapy? Has it not worked?”
“If they’ve done it all, they need to say, ‘This won’t work. Let’s not do this. We have the kids and everything else. If we want to try this, we can’t just have these little rendezvous.’ I guess I’d have to ask myself this. How does it serve me to stay stuck? Why am I allowing myself to remain emotionally stuck, instead allowing myself to stay here?”
“A couple gets a divorce and has their reasons for doing that, and after the divorce can decide for any number of reasons that they want to get back together again,” says Kevin Rhinehart, a social worker and marriage therapist in Boise, Idaho. “That can be a good idea, I suppose, provided that there’s been a real honest assessment of why they got divorced in the first place, and how each of the parties contributed to that, and how they contributed to the overall dysfunction in the marriage.”
Avoiding an important discussion about problems could harm your second attempt. “If those issues haven’t really thoroughly been addressed, what they’re asking to do is to replay the whole drama out,” Rhinehart says.
“People also want to get back together, because there is that sense of love and attachment missing in divorce. They may be lonely, afraid or in a financially difficult situation, and those kinds of factors tend to push people in the direction of wanting to get back together,” he says, “and often, people can’t figure out their own minds.”
Tucker agrees. “There’s a reason why people got divorced, and if you haven’t really resolved your own reasons within yourself, you’re setting yourself up for problems again,” she says.
Bollinger comments that the second marriage can work if people change their ways. “Being able to re-date and reconnect with an ex would be about learning new things about your ex and bringing in your new self back to the relationship.” After all, you can learn about yourself and life with time, and so you may have changed. “You might have new relationship tools to be able to work out whatever the disconnection was before,” she says. “You might have gained a lot of insights to be able to realize we might not have been that far off base with each other in the previous relationship, and maybe we can make an effort and it can be successful.”
Tucker warns, however, that partners shouldn’t be hopeful. “Actually, I know people who have gotten back with an ex, and does it work? Sometimes, the answer is yes. Occasionally, though.”
No relationship works when people don’t put an effort into it.”The statistics are that people don’t know relationships will work, and everyone’s relationships take work, and when a relationship requires some conscious work, a lot of people just exit, and then you get up, getting divorced,” Bollinger says.
She suggests the following for former partners: “Be curious. You don’t have to make a commitment right away, and just take it as it is. A lot of people have gone and divorced without doing a little bit of work to see what was triggering someone — their partner and vice versa. Why not get back together and work on it? It might not be too late.”
12 TIPS WHEN DATING YOUR EX-SPOUSE
If you have gotten divorced and want to date or still have a crush on your ex-husband or ex-wife, here are 12 tips:
1. When getting divorced, make a list of the reasons why you made that decision to refer to later.
Tucker explains, “When people are getting divorced, you keep a list of the reasons you get divorced, and you pull out that list. It’s obviously a much bigger list of the problems, because if there weren’t reasons, you wouldn’t be divorced.”
2. Set aside a group of people to rely on as a neutral party for future help.
“I also recommend for people that get divorced that they have an accountability panel. They don’t have to necessary like them, but these people need to be trustworthy and honestly speak the truth, and when they call them, they need to honestly tell them, ‘This is why you got divorced.’ That should be set up before they’re even divorced,” Tucker says.
3. Remember that if you are interested in getting back together with your ex, you must try twice as hard this time.
“I think it’s rare — I think it can work, and absolutely, it takes a lot of work from both people to do what they need on themselves and together, and it can’t be just one person doing it. It has to be both,” says Tucker.
4. Talk with your kids about it, and tell them the truth.
“If you’re dating the person you broke up with, I think it’s important to have a conscious communication with your children about what’s up and what’s going on, because they could have their expectations, and they don’t really know what your expectations are as a parent, dating dad again, or dating mom again,” says Bollinger.
5. Never stay together if the relationship’s problems run deeper than disagreement, like abuse.
“If there’s not domestic violence or sexual abuse, addiction, and no one’s willing to get help, there are certain conditions where I say, ‘Forget it,'” says Tucker.
6. Look to your own mistakes that you made in the first attempt at the relationship.
“I think you need to take a step back and do some pretty honest self-assessments. Ask, ‘What’s going on that would make me want to do this?’,” says Kevin Rhinehart, a therapist in Boise, Idaho.
7. Then study how the relationship has changed.
“If it made you that difficult the first go around, what’s changed? ‘How am I different? How is my partner different? How is the nature of our communication? We do have a newfound love again, but why?’ I think reconciliation can be very helpful, provided that the issues have been addressed,” says Rhinehart.
8. After all this, then make the decision to stay with your ex or leave him or her.
“If the people have truly examined what the issues are, not just topically, about it, that’s when you don’t get back with a spouse,” says Tucker.
9. Keep in mind that some problems will always be there, and you will have to change your reactions to them.
“If there aren’t enough conditions, sometimes, it’s worth fighting for. For example, if someone has a jealousy issue, they’re going to have a jealousy issue no matter where they go,” Tucker says.
10. See if you can try to change your own issues that have become part of your routine.
“The question is, ‘Have I truly invested the amount of energy and time that this relationship is worthy of, and if i have then, it’s time to let go, but if I haven’t, the truth is I’m gonna take my faults into the next relationship no matter where I go,'” says Tucker.
11. Follow your heart, regardless if other people gossip about you.
“Just stay open, and be conscious. Do not make any judgments. Coming back back and dating each other again to know, ‘Oh, it does take work, and maybe with some work, we can have a good, conscious relationship,'” says Bollinger.
12. Remember that if you still feel like your ex is special, it’s worth a try.
“You might not have known that breaking up might not have been the right thing to do. You might have made a hasty decision there,” says Bollinger.
13. Don’t talk yourself into giving up.
“I think most, not all people, give up too easily in our society, in terms of marriage,” says Tucker.