So, you and your lady or gentleman broke up a while back, but you are starting to wonder if you should give your relationship another shot. Such a big decision can leave one’s head spinning. “Should I? Should I not? Will it be a disaster? Am I missing out on something that could be great?”
There is so much to consider before retaking the plunge, so here are seven questions to ask yourself before you make your choice.
- What is my motivation for returning to this relationship? Do I love this person and see a confident future? Is the relationship familiar and comfortable? Am I ready to right the wrongs we experienced the first time and devote my energy to making it work this time? Is this person just someone I know I can get – someone who will accept me and make me feel good about myself?
- Am I lonely? Loneliness can mess with our minds, and time away from a relationship can make us forget the reasons we walked away in the first place. If you are lonely, take up some quality time with friends, family, and folks in your community. Connect with others and then evaluate if you still want to renew your relationship. Loneliness is extremely tough and I understand the temptation to choose a familiar, dysfunctional relationship over no relationship. Invest in new and old friendships and give yourself a chance to evaluate your motives objectively.
- Have we addressed and resolved the issues that drove us apart the first time? Why do so many second and third marriages fail? In many cases, I believe it is because the issues that ended the first marriage(s) were never resolved. Instead of taking time to fix what is broken, people seek out new relationships before working through the pain of their first breakup and before understanding what caused the first breakup. As the philosopher and writer George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” History repeats itself unless we make explicit attempts to steer the ship in another direction.
- Am I willing to start from scratch? Can I begin at the beginning with him or her? Can we go back to flowers, dates, and just holding hands? Do I want to carefully rebuild our relationship, or am I longing for the cuddling and kissing we shared before we broke up? If you and your ex are going to give this relationship another try, rushing it emotionally or romantically is the worst mistake you can make. If you do, you will find yourself right back where you were before you broke up. Lasting relationships go through stages, and I would encourage you to slowly move through those stages again if you want to build a solid foundation. Take this time to make the decisions you wish you had made the first time.
- Have I sought wise counsel about this decision? When we make poor choices, we tend to hide them from our friends and family. Have you made mention of this potential rekindling to those you trust? If you have not, is it because you know the idea is unwise? Are you seeking a “Go for it!” from some less honorable friends – friends who are not willing to tell you the truth? If you are hesitant to discuss this with the level-headed, rational people you love, it may be a sign that you are making a hasty decision.
- Can I imagine marrying this person within the next few years? If you cannot imagine spending the rest of your life with this person and you cannot envision getting married in the relatively near future, why return to the relationship? If you date just to date, eventually someone is going to get hurt. It is not fair to stay exclusively tied to someone unless you can see a future. Otherwise, you are keeping this person from potentially meeting someone who will want to spend a lifetime with him or her. Perhaps some better questions are, “Am I returning to this relationship for selfish reasons? Do I want this person as my own, or am I tortured at the thought of him or her being with someone else?”
- What is my gut telling me? Dozens of times I have felt the Holy Spirit nudge me towards a particular decision. When I disobeyed, I regretted it. Our desires do not always line up with what is best for us. Attractive ex-boyfriends or girlfriends are often not what is best for us, but they are oh so tempting. We have history with them. We know how to talk to them. We often have chemistry with them. It is no wonder why we want to go back down that road. Still, if your insides are in knots, it is best to put on the brakes. This is your life we are talking about here. It may seem innocent enough to play around with disobedience, but you are disobeying the One who can see your future. I am not saying it is easy. I have been there so, so many times. I am just saying it is for your good and safety that you listen to the Holy Spirit’s warning.
When in doubt, do not; or at least, when in doubt, wait. If you are frazzled and unsure, do not make a decision yet. If he or she is pressuring you after you have kindly requested time to think and pray, he or she may be helping you make your choice (to not get back together)! This is not insignificant like choosing a flavor of ice cream; if you are unsure, you are unsure.
So that you do not dangle your ex indefinitely, choose a specific date in the future – one to two weeks. Let him or her know you will make your decision in that time frame. That gives him or her some relief and gives you the task of thinking and prayer fervently. Remember, you are not committing to engagement – only to dating. So, if you do not see red flags stopping you, you have a good feeling, and general support from loved ones, cautiously step out. Be clear what your expectations are, and ask to hear his or hers.
We wish you the best in your decision. Seek God and those who love you for support and guidance. ~smile~
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
Are you or someone you know trying to decide whether or not to return to a relationship?