How to make your relationship work second time around

Dr Pam Spurr
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What are the odds of things working out? The odds are good but only if a couple follows some important rules. Here are the rules for relighting the fire between you:

Relight Rule No.1: The pressure's on — so your ex is putting enormous pressure on you to get back together — phone calls, texts, wanting to wine and dine you — but you both have to want it. Yes, one of you may be the instigator, coaxing the other along, but it shouldn't take huge pressure to do so. If there's loads it's a sign that person desperately wants to control you and get you back under their thumb.

Relight Rule No. 2: Only the lonely — are you tempted to try again because you're so lonely or feeling insecure and nobody else is ever going to want you? These are definitely bad reasons to try again. Going back to your ex full of insecurities will only compound your previous problems.

Relight Rule No. 3: Honesty is the best policy — be honest with yourself and ask if the annoying issues that broke you up in the first place have changed. If in your heart you know these issues are still hanging over your heads this is a bad basis for getting back together.

But if things have changed — e.g., one of you used to party too much, causing rows, but now has calmed down — then you have a chance of it working.

Relight Rule No. 4: Rose coloured specs — is hindsight playing tricks on you making you think your old relationship was actually pretty rosie? If this is the case think again. Take some time, close your eyes, and remember the last couple arguments. The problems you two had will probably come flooding back — it might make you re-evaluate your desire to go back.

Relight Rule No. 5: Take the blame — are you both ready to hold your hands up to the part you played in your relationship breaking up? If yes, that's an excellent sign that you realise it's a two-way street when relationships end. Use this new, responsible attitude that you both have to work out how you can do things differently.

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Relight Rule No. 6: Strangers in the night — did your relationship finish because of "relationship drift", i.e., you let things drift apart and became strangers. If you both recognise this you'll take more care a second time around and not take each other for granted.

Relight Rule No. 7: Let's get physical — are you missing the hot sex you had with your ex? Often major relationship issues are ignored because fantastic sex can keep a couple together for a time. Having been apart for a while you might be missing that sexual compatibility you had and end up tempted to try again. If nothing else has changed, though, great sex won't make it work second time around.

Relight Rule No. 8: Let's get practical — in discussing trying again have you both made suggestions of what might help make it work this time? It's all well and good thinking you can rekindle your love — and that love will conquer all — but it won't. As well as realising you still love each other, you both must think practically about what things you should do differently.

Relight Rule No. 9: It's a whirlwind — do you both feel like rushing back into a full-on, living-together relationship? Think again — it's far better to rekindle things through a slow build-up, and to date again, rather than jumping in head first to a fully fledged relationship.

Relight Rule No. 10: Proceed with caution — finally, are you getting back together for the sake children? Think long and hard. Of course your children would've taken your breakup badly. And maybe they're finding it hard to adjust to the status quo.

But getting back together again without ensuring it's going to work will only make things worse for them. If you've considered all the above rules — and think you've got an excellent chance — then go for it.

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