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Giving a Divorced Relationship Another Chance

by Stacey Elkins

Reuniting with your ex can be like slipping into a pair of old, comfortable jeans. You have a shared history, an emotional connection and a familiarity. It’s easy to remember the good times and forget why the relationship ended. It’s possible for your relationship to work the second time around. Taking steps to evaluate if this is the right decision and then committing to working on the relationship are key.

Allow Time

Give yourself some time to grieve the end of your relationship. At times the pain of your breakup can make you feel like you can’t live without your ex, warns licensed clinical social worker Nancy Travers. Don’t reconnect because you are lonely or are afraid you won’t find someone else. Don’t cling to your ex because it hurts to see him move on. Allow a significant amount of time to pass between the divorce and an attempt to date your ex.

Examine Your Past

Know what went wrong in your relationship and consider if you are willing to resolve it. Reuniting won’t resolve past issues. For example, if lack of communication was a problem leading to the end of your relationship, it will still be an issue. Past frustrations and challenges won’t go away without working to fix them. Returning to your relationship when the decision to divorce in the first place was right would be cruel to yourself and those around you, notes family therapist M. Gary Neuman.

Make Changes

Be aware of your shortcomings. “Many partners bring immaturities and personal inadequacies that contribute to eventual breakups,” says clinical psychologist Harry K. Wesler. For example, if you have trouble controlling your anger, seek help to make changes. Making personal changes that allow for individual growth make you a better partner.

Moving Forward

Make sure that you and your ex both want to reconnect and are willing to commit to making the relationship work. Honesty and the ability to be open are the foundation of a solid relationship, says Travers. Forgive each other for the past and move on. Couples therapy can be helpful. Returning to a relationship with unresolved issues can bring up negative feelings. Take the relationship slowly and be patient with the process.

About the Author

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.

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