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How to Know if a Relationship Is Worth Rekindling

by Leah Campbell

Most people have been there -- that moment when a dating dry spell is compounded by a run-in with an ex and you are left to wonder if maybe things weren’t better when you were together. Loneliness combines with the weeks and months that have passed, leaving you now struggling to remember why it was you ended in the first place. Just because you are feeling nostalgic, however, does not mean this is a relationship worth rekindling.

The Good

As you attempt to determine whether this old flame deserves a second chance, start by reflecting upon what you miss about your relationship. Without idealizing reality, truly consider what it was you enjoyed about being together. What did he have to offer that you can’t imagine finding in someone else? Pay attention to whether you genuinely miss being with him, or if it is simply being in a relationship that you are once again yearning for. If you can honestly tell yourself it is his qualities you are missing, it might be worth it to further consider pursuing this relationship once more.

The Bad

Take off your rose-colored glasses for a moment, and attempt to remember the things about your ex that used to annoy you. Did she have a habit of talking through your favorite movies, or a history of losing her temper? Every relationship has good and bad aspects, but before you take the leap of getting back together, you need to consider whether you are ready and willing to take on her bad habits again. Some character flaws are small and easy to overlook, but others may raise red flags that should have you avoiding second helpings of this relationship.

The End

Prior to reentering an old relationship, it is important to revisit the reasons things didn’t work out the first time around, suggests writer Catherine Shu on Psychology Today. Have a conversation with your ex about the issues you faced previously, and how you would avoid falling into the same traps if you tried again. If you can’t see a way to get past the same old issues, starting over will only lead to another breakup down the line. Make sure you are both on the same page and have grown since your last dalliance as a couple, before making the decision to try again.

The Risks

Reconciling with an ex is not uncommon, particularly in the young adult years, according to a 2013 study published in the "Journal of Adolescent Research." Of the nearly 800 daters studied, 44 percent had experienced at least one instance of relationship reconciliation over the previous two years. Unfortunately, reconciling does not always mean staying together, and researchers noted that young adults who give relationships multiple tries may be forming a pattern of cycling through relationship formation.

About the Author

Living in Alaska, Leah Campbell has traveled the world and written extensively on topics relating to infertility, dating, adoption and parenting. She recently released her first book, and holds a psychology degree (with an emphasis in child development and abnormal child psychology) from San Diego State University.

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