This week, we are helping couples work through whether they should break up, whether they should get back together, and how to recover after a break up. Please “like” and share these posts with your friends and family so we may be able to help them too. Thank you!
Anyone who has ever gone through a break up knows that, at certain moments, the anguish is so strong that you wonder if you can go on living. Yes, that may sound overly dramatic, but break ups are hard. There is a grieving process that follows a break up, especially for a break up which was not expected. In the midst of the grief (and those who make the decision to break up often grieve too) there are a few thoughts which prevail: “How am I supposed to live without him or her?” “Did I make the wrong decision?” “What could I have done differently to keep him or her?” “Is there any way we can get back together and make this work?”
Can Couples Make It Work After a Breakup?
When I was a teenager, I made the difficult decision to break up with someone. Even though I knew it was the right decision at the time, I began questioning myself afterwards. So, we got back together… and then we broke up again… and then we got back together again… and then… (I bet you’ll never guess what happened next…).
It was unfair to him. I should’ve stood by my decision and my initial reasons, but I didn’t and it made our situation worse.
This breaking up and getting back together revolving door is a trend in the dating scene today. However, some couples do get back together after a break up and go on to have tremendous relationships. So if you and your sweetheart broke up and you’re trying to decide if you should give it another shot, consider the seven questions and thoughts below.
1. Have you taken significant time apart from each other to gain insight?
If you broke up with someone yesterday, today is probably not the day to decide whether or not to re-enter the relationship. You are still in a dazed condition at this point and need more time to think it through. If you aren’t able to look at your situation objectively, it’s better to wait. Our hearts can, and often do, deceive us! (Jeremiah 17:9)
2. Have you spent a great deal of time in prayer and have peace about giving it another chance?
Have you ever prayed something like this, “God, please make this relationship work? Please change him or her to be the kind of person you would want me to marry?” I can remember being so frustrated when I knew in my gut that the Holy Spirit was saying, “He’s not good for you… walk away… I have a purpose for your life and he does not fit into it.” But now I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had ignored the Holy Spirit’s gentle call. Prayerfully consider getting back together, but ask God to reveal His will to you and wait upon Him. And be careful not to assume you’re not hearing from God if you get an answer from Him which you don’t like. ~smile~
3. Have you resolved the problems that led you to break up?
What was the cause of your break up? Did your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend have a character flaw which you simply could not overlook? Were you constantly fighting over the same problems? Did one or both of you approach your relationship selfishly? Sit down and make a list of the reasons that led to the breakup. Have those problems been resolved? Can those problems be resolved (e.g., trust issues, cheating past, religious differences, etc.)? Are you both willing to work on resolving them before jumping back into a relationship? Are you both willing to seek counseling?
4. Are you (significantly) more mature now than you were in the relationship?
If you and/or your ex have not matured since breaking up, I recommend not getting back together at this time. Immaturity and selfishness go hand in hand – and the immaturity/selfishness combination has been the demise of many relationships. If you dated during your freshman year in college and now you’re seniors in college and considering dating again, make sure you both are at a point in your lives when you both would consider marriage.
Dating without a purpose is dangerous and pointless. If you date before you’re ready to think about getting married (i.e., at a time in your life when marriage is not even a possibility in your mind), you are going into a relationship expecting to eventually break up. Think about that.
5. Are you desperate to get back into the relationship?
If so, don’t get back in the relationship as long as you feel desperate to be in the relationship. Desperation kills objectivity. We don’t make our wisest decisions when we’re in a state of panic and distress. I can remember crying and declaring to a boy that I would wait for him… and I can remember a boy hiding under an underpass and chasing me home one night after we broke up. Looking back, it is obvious that I should’ve thought my words through a bit more – and I’m sure the guy of whom I speak would love to take that medium-speed car chase back as well.
Just take some time to cry, punch pillows, and let it out constructively; but, don’t try to chase your ex down and beg for reconciliation. Wait until the desperate season passes to consider if you’re rationally willing to work out your differences. Believe me, your ex will respect you more if you don’t fall apart and beg him or her to take you back. Do your grieving in private and with trustworthy family and friends.
6. Have you spent enough time apart in soul searching?
If you and your ex are discussing the possibility of getting back together, take about three months and do some serious soul searching. During this time, don’t date other people and have minimal contact with each other. Also consider going to a biblically-based counselor while you both determine if getting back together is a good idea.
We strongly recommend pre-engagement counseling for couples who are at a cross roads between breaking up and pursuing marriage. Pre-engagement counseling is both good for couples who are healthy and wanting to learn more about each other and themselves and their future together just as much as it is good for exposing to other couples what dynamics may drive them further apart. You want to avoid forming an unhealthy, dysfunctional marriage just as much as you want to form a healthy, loving one.
7. Have you talked with friends, family, and church leaders that know and care about you?
Be open to wise counsel. After the end of a brief college relationship, my friends really came through for me. They had been highly annoyed at the situation because this guy completely hogged my time (and I allowed it); whereas, after the relationship ended, it was like blinders fell from my eyes. During the few months we were together, my friends could see that he was using me and that something just wasn’t right with him.
If your true friends and family are warning you not to go back into a relationship (or warning you to get out of a relationship), take their admonition seriously. At the bare minimum, at least hear them out – even if you don’t want to believe them. They may show you a side to your ex that you have never seen and/or are blind to seeing. Talk to your family and friends and really consider their advice.
Have you and your significant other broken up and then gone on to have a successful relationship later? Feel free to comment below or contact us – we’d love to hear from you!
What advice would you give a friend who was considering getting back together with an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend?