Relationships: When to Give Him a Second Chance

Has a past love resurfaced?

This is the time of year that loves from the past can resurface, as people reflect back on their life and who really mattered to them.

It can be difficult to determine if you should give a past love a second chance, whether you broke up a year ago or way back in high school. Has he changed? Have you changed? How do you know it's worth the bother and the potential for additional pain?

If you're still harboring feelings about significant other from your past, our experts share their thoughts on giving love another shot.

Relationships: When to Give Him a Second Chance

Did the relationship have a fair shot?

There are relationships that have ended because of timing or because someone didn't have enough experience to be able to give the relationship a fair shot, said Stef Safran, founder of Stef and the City dating service in Chicago.

Here are Safran’s reason’s to consider giving a guy a second shot:

  1. If the reason you ended it was due to distance (you were in different locations) and now you are in the same place at the same time, it could show you if this relationship has legs to grow.
  2. If the reason you ended it was because you were young, such as both in high school, college, or early 20's and not ready to be serious, again you might have the maturity to make it work now.
  3. If you never tried and it was a short lived relationship, why not try to see if now is the right time.

And here are her reasons to not consider giving him another chance:

  1. If he was abusive, cheated, had addictions issues or treated you badly, why start up again?
  2. If the person is married, just out of a relationship, or you still have different values, such as you want marriage and he doesn't, or you want kids and he doesn't, then move on.
Relationships: When to Give Him a Second Chance

Work through past issues

You definitely won’t be able to move forward unless you do work through whatever past issues resulted in your original breakup said Rhonda Richards-Smith, a therapist in Los Angeles.

“Be prepared to work on working through your past relationship issues with one another by forgiving your former partner and yourself for past mistakes. There will be no room for the baggage from your relationship the last time into this one,” Richards-Smith said.

It’s also important to ask yourself if you are willing and ready to endure some discomfort as you charter into new territory with a former flame,” she said. “Also, it’s time to examine your own self-image and compare the kinds of relationships you've had in the past with the kind of relationship you are seeking now. Do you feel in your heart that you deserve to be happy?”

“In order to make change, we must examine our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. What are your thoughts about your previous relationship with your ex? How do those thoughts make you feel? If you experience these feelings while with your partner again, would you handle it any differently? The answers to these questions may lead you to a deeper understanding of whether you're ready for new love with a former partner,” she said.

To prevent yourself from making the same mistakes, allow yourself some time to re-assess your own relationship priorities and deal breakers. Believe it or not, these can and do change over time. Also, look out for patterns you find yourself repeating again, she said.

Relationships: When to Give Him a Second Chance

A change of heart is essential

And from the male perspective, Ken Blackman, relationship expert with, shared his thoughts. He said If you're considering rekindling an old flame, there are three factors at play. What attracted you to each other in the first place. What caused the break up. And what's changed since then. If you give it another go, your success will mostly be determined by the third factor.

These three factors are:

  1. Your feelings. You've truly had a change of heart. After breaking up for good, and some passage of time, you've come to realize that they're the one for you, the one you want to be with. Then we say, go for it. This may sound hopelessly romantic, but it's quite pragmatic. Some of the strongest, most resilient relationships begin with one person popping out of the ambivalent zone and into a kind of confident, enthusiastic commitment. It gives you extra emotional collateral to weather the storms. While we can't guarantee the result, we trust your intuition on this one.
  2. The point of contention. Let's say they were an incurable philanderer back in the day, but their priorities have shifted and they're ready to settle down with one partner and build a life. Or let's say you used to have a pretty bad temper when you were younger and it drove them away, but you've mellowed since then and it hasn't been a problem. Or they were constantly working and you never saw them, but these days they've got more work/life balance. If this is the case we say, why not? Give it a try.
  3. The form of the relationship. As we noted, there was something that clicked between you, and something that didn't. If your relationship imploded from the pressure of trying to be each other's everything, maybe it's time to narrow it down to what's working. If you got along great but never hit it off in bed, perhaps it isn't meant to go anywhere past the platonic stage. Or if the chemistry between you was sizzling hot, but you hated each other ninety percent of the time, you may be best off as a fling, and understanding that that's all it will ever be, rather than optimistically trying another full-on relationship with all the trappings. You get the idea. Try having a relationship that matches what actually exists between you.

And then, if none of the above are true and your feelings haven't dramatically shifted, then the problem that caused the break up hasn't resolved itself and you will have no interest in re-writing the rules of the relationship to focus on what's working between you. Blackman said in that case, “Our recommendation is to steer clear of this one.”

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