Reuniting with an ex isn’t all that uncommon, but can rekindling a romance really work after multiple splits? According to one enlightening study, more than one-third of couples who break up find their way back to each other. The question is: Is it possible for these rekindled duos to make it?
Breakups are tough, especially when breaking up and getting back together becomes a vicious cycle. This unstable dynamic leaves both people on edge, constantly waiting for the next fallout.
If you and your partner are caught up in a rocky, on-again, off-again relationship, I have good news! This unsettling pattern can be broken if you and your beau are both committed to making things work by doing the necessary work.
As American author Mark Anthony famously said, “When you’re with the right one, love is still work, but the work is worth it because you know you’re building something together that will last a lifetime.”
If you’re intent on getting back with your partner, putting an end to the unhealthy break-up, make-up cycle, and staying together forever, read on. Below, I share my tried-and-true tips for getting back together after a breakup…or even multiple breakups.
Consider the Reason(s) You Want to Get Back Together
Some couples decide to give their relationship another go because they truly love and care for each other. Insecurities may have led to the breakup, or lack of healthy communication may have been the final straw. One or both partners may have made poor decisions, or perhaps one partner was more committed than the other.
Studies show that couples reunite for a number of reasons, some of which are healthy and some… not so much. Some people are emotionally invested or believe their partner has changed since their breakup. Others feel a sense of duty to their significant other, or they have a deep-seated fear of venturing into the great unknown, aka: singlehood.
It’s important to reflect on the reason(s) you and your partner called it quits and to evaluate why you’re considering rekindling your relationship.
Ask yourself the following questions before initiating a reconciliation:
- Why did our relationship end?
- Are the same issues likely to be a problem if we get back together?
- What did I learn during the breakup?
- What should I have done differently during our relationship?
- What aspects of my life have changed since our breakup?
- What will I do differently if we get back together?
- Am I willing to do the work to fix the problems that led to our breakup?
- What do I need from my partner if we decide to get back together?
When Getting Back Together is Harmful: A Note on Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics
Fear should never be a reason for rekindling a relationship. If you feel panicked or anxious envisioning a life without your beau, your emotional response could be a sign of codependent behavior.
Codependency is the reliance on a partner to meet your emotional or psychological needs. This behavior isn’t normal, but it’s surprisingly common. If your desire to reunite with your ex is fear-based, I highly recommend exploring the reasons behind your codependent tendencies. There are many great resources that can help improve your life from the inside out before venturing back into a relationship.
Figure Out if You’re Both on the Same Page
You may have the best intentions and be willing to do whatever it takes to make your relationship work, but what if your ex doesn’t share your optimism or level of commitment?
It’s essential for both you and your ex to be on the same page, as getting back together means working through problems that previously existed in your relationship and learning what you both need to move forward. In some cases, couples need therapy to work out the kinks. Are both of you willing to seek outside help if you can’t resolve your relationship issues on your own?
An open, honest conversation about these difficult topics is a must before getting back together. Problems that aren’t dealt with have the tendency to reappear.
Don’t Rush It
Whether you dated for just a few months or were married for several years, taking things slowly may be the key to breaking the on-again, off-again cycle. Talk openly and honestly with your ex about easing back into the relationship, and discuss what you both need to feel reconnected. Communication can make or break any relationship—especially rekindled romances.
Trust Your Intuition
After breakups, both men and women often admit that something felt “off” throughout their relationship. There may have been red flags from the beginning, or they may have noticed a pattern of destructive behaviors a few months into dating.
Pay close attention to your gut instinct. While logic and reflection are certainly helpful when making relationship decisions, your intuition should be an important consideration when making your choice.
While you’re weighing your options, you’ll likely receive advice—both welcomed and unsolicited. Guidance from loved ones—and even professionals—can be incredibly helpful, especially when strong feelings are involved; however, the decision to get back together or stay broken up is ultimately yours.
No one can truly understand the dynamic of your relationship besides you and your partner, so unless abuse is a concern, no one should push you toward one decision or another. Autonomy is essential in virtually every area of life—especially in romantic relationships.
Is Your Relationship Worth Rekindling?
So, can a relationship work after a breakup? Absolutely! Both people just have to be willing to do the work and consider their partner’s feelings throughout the rekindling process—and beyond.
If your ex isn’t truly invested in reuniting, you may be setting yourself up for further heartache by getting back together. As dating expert Matthew Hussey says, “How much you invest in someone should be based solely on how much they invest in you, not on how much you like them.” I couldn’t agree more.
How to Make Your Relationship Stronger After a Breakup
You and your partner have decided to work things out? Congratulations! The following relationship-rekindling tips will help the two of you become stronger than ever:
1. Be Honest
To make your relationship thrive, consistent honesty is essential. Remember: Transparency is key in any healthy relationship.
2. Offer Reassurance
It can be difficult to imagine spending forever together when your relationship has suffered several breakups. Offering reassurance on a daily basis can help strengthen your bond and make forever seem possible.
3. Don’t Make the Same Mistakes
Awareness helps build healthy long-term relationships. If you’ve made mistakes in the past (and who hasn’t?), being aware of your shortcomings will help you avoid repeating problematic behaviors. Being mindful of your tendency to fall back into unhealthy patterns can lead to lasting change.
4. Make Time for Each Other
So many relationships suffer because couples stop prioritizing together time. Scheduling dates is great, but stolen moments are just as important. Enjoy a cup of coffee together each morning, or connect over a glass of wine and music in the evening. Small gestures, like surprise texts or an extra-long hug, can also build intimacy.
5. Learn Your Partner’s Love Language
You may prefer receiving words of affirmation from your partner, while he may get that warm, fuzzy feeling from physical touch. I highly recommend taking Gary Chapman’s free 5 Love Languages Couples Quiz. The results will help you and your partner connect on a whole new level.
How to Save Your Relationship from a Breakup
If you and your partner are on the verge of a breakup and you’re looking for ways to save your damaged relationship, there are several steps you can take:
1. Own Your Mistakes
It’s important to take full responsibility for any issues you caused in the relationship. Refrain from downplaying your actions, and never transfer the blame onto your partner. Owning your mistakes and making an effort to correct them will show your significant other that you’re serious about mending the relationship.
2. Give Your Partner a Chance
If your partner hurt you and you’re still reeling, give yourself time to begin healing. To salvage your relationship, it’s also essential to give your beau a chance to make amends. Playing the blame game day in and day out will only create more space between you. When insecurities arise, be honest with your partner. Open communication is much more effective than a perpetual guilt trip.
3. Be Completely Transparent
For the very best chance at mending your relationship, you and your partner must get real with each other. If trust was broken, the partner at fault must fess up to the reason(s) behind the betrayal. If you’ve pulled away from your significant other, explaining your reasoning can help move the relationship forward. Transparency can be scary and uncomfortable for individuals who tend to hide their feelings and emotions, but being open with your partner could play a big part in saving your relationship.
4. Be Compassionate with Your Partner—and Yourself
When you hurt the person you love, feelings of shame and worthlessness are completely natural, but beating yourself up won’t heal the relationship. It’s important to practice compassion with yourself, as well as your partner. Forgive yourself for your wrongdoings, and vow to not make the same mistakes in the future. This approach to healing is much more effective than falling into a shame spiral.
5. Reach Out for Help When You Need It
Not all couples are able to save their relationships without help from a professional. As humans, we often develop unhealthy thought patterns that can have a massive impact on our relationships and how we view the world.
If you believe you may be struggling with problematic patterns of thinking, I recommend devouring this amazing article written for Psychology Today by “The Angry Therapist,” John Kim. If your relationship issues feel beyond you, reach out to a couple’s therapist, who can help you view your relationship from a fresh perspective.
A Final Thought on Lasting Love
My #1 tip for anyone considering rekindling a romance? Follow your heart, but don’t ignore your gut. Love is fantastic, but a mutual willingness to do the work it takes to keep the flame burning? That’s what it takes to create a love that’s unstoppable. That’s what you deserve.