Last week I was a guest on #MeloOn10th’s radio show on Yfm where we were discussing “Making up after breaking up” and what it takes to make a relationship work a second time round. So when should you get back with your Ex?

Before you get back together with your Ex, there are some questions you need to ask yourself as part of your decision making process:

1. Are you going back for all the right reasons?
Many a time we think we want this person back or that we love them when in fact it is more the companionship and having someone around that we miss. Often after a break-up we feel ‘lost’ as we’ve been part of something (i.e. a relationship) and filled our time doing things together, sharing experiences etc. Now after the break-up, we have all this spare time on our hands so we tend to dwell on the past and the times with our Ex. Over time all the negative issues and frustrations seem to fade and we start to question ourselves as to whether it really was all that bad?

2. What do you really love about this person?

If you really love this person, what is it about them that you love? You should be able to list at least 5 things about them ranging from their quirky traits, personality, physical appearance, things they do and how they make you feel. If you can only list a few things (e.g. I enjoy being with this person) then you may want to question whether it really is love or more companionship, lust or infatuation that is driving your decision.

If you’ve answered the above questions honestly, and you’re still want to get your Ex back, you need to ask yourself:

3. How badly do you want to fix this relationship?

Rate this question on a scale of 0-low/10-high. Anything below a 6 and it’s going to take a lot more effort to fix this relationship – it’s not impossible, but it’s not going to be easy either.

4. What is your level of commitment to making the relationship work a 2nd time round?

Rate this question on a scale of 0-low/10-high. If you are not 100% committed to do what it takes to make it work then it’s going to be a bumpy road ahead.

Your level of commitment and how badly you want to fix your relationship will determine what you are prepared to stop doing/start doing differently to ensure your relationship is a success the second time round. In this instance, you need to reflect on the relationship issues/frustrations (watch the video clip below on the Relationship Cycle) that caused you to break up in the first place. for example: if your partner regularly complained that you were always working late and never home, are you prepared to balance your working schedule so that you can spend more time with your partner?

If you’ve got this far and you’re still determined to try again, the next step is having that honest conversation with your Ex as to where you are at, why you want to try again and what you’re prepared to do to make it work.

Some questions you need to ask each other are:

  • How will you both keep each other accountable to uphold your end of the deal and keep your relationship from slipping back into the way it was before which resulted in you breaking up in the first place?
  • What are your relationship boundaries going to be? (i.e. what are the deal breakers/non-negotiables). This ensures you both know where you stand with each other and as a couple.
  • How will you respect, honour and support each other in your relationship, your respective families and different backgrounds? (usually we see differences as something to fix instead of that’s what makes us different and how can we learn from each other).
  • Are you really willing to make a conscious contribution to changing things and helping each other succeed this time round?

If you both decide thereafter that you still want to pursue the relationship and get back together, you both need to understand that it is the little things done daily that will result in the long term success of your relationship. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a relationship – you need to work at it every day.

Should you decide not to pursue the relationship, you need to determine:

  • What do you need for you to gain closure and to be able to move forward and start a new life
  • Do you need answers to any unanswered questions you still have?
  • What if you never get these answers? Can you make peace with that and move on?
  • Do you need forgiveness – for self, from her, from you?
  • What needs to happen for you to move on e.g. having no contact with your Ex at all?
  • What do you need to do to keep yourself busy to not dwell on old times and to move forward in your new life?

Even if you are in a relationship right now, asking each other these questions can help you breathe new energy into your relationship. We seldom review our relationships as to what’s working and what’s not working and only realise that something is wrong when we’re heading down the rocky road to break-up or divorce.

If you would like to know more about how to avoid a break-up/divorce or if you would like to shift your current relationship into a healthier space, check out the workshops and programs on offer that can help you with tools and insights to succeed.

A version of this article also appeared in Celebgossip.co.za

Paula Quinsee is a Relationship Expert in Johannesburg. She teaches individuals and organisations how to cultivate healthy relationships in their personal lives and workplace using EQ skills, Imago Therapy and NLP principles. Paula is also the author of Embracing Conflict – a self-help guide filled with practical tools and insights. Attend one of her regular monthly workshops for great empowering tools.

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