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One of the big “question mark” situations that is quite common among singles is when their ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture.
Sparks start flying again and you both begin to ponder the possibility of reconciling and starting a new relationship with each other.
You feel torn because you’re feeling a renewed attraction with someone familiar and have a resurgence of fantasies of what could be, while at the same time you recognize that you broke up with him once before for a particular reason.
This internal battle in your head leaves you confused, anxious and vulnerable.
But it is going to require some pre-emptive strategizing with lots of introspection and communication for it to get off the ground and maintain over the long haul.
It will be important for the two of you to engage in some lighthearted, casual dating with each other initially, using all of the screening skills you now have to ensure he still meets your personal requirements for a partner and relationship and there’s really something there of substance beyond all of the chemistry and sexual attraction.
Once this has been established, it will be important for the two of you to sit down and have a communication session (more likely a series of them).
Below are some questions you will want to ask yourself and each other during one of these “coffee talks” before proceeding to a commitment level of your relationship.
Before investing your heart, you want to make sure a relationship will be viable.
Why now? Why him?
What attracted us to each other? What worked, and what were our strengths? What do we most like about each other?
Why did we break up? What was each of our personal contributions to the relationship problems (this helps with taking personal accountability and avoids blaming and finger-pointing)?
“Redesigning a new relationship
with an ex is a complex process.”
This helps with free expression of emotion, facilitates grief over issues where closure wasn’t achieved and allows an opportunity for partners to try and support each other and seek restitution.
It also helps to see if there are areas of forgiveness that need tending.
What is your vision for the future as potential partners (this will help to determine if you have compatible values and philosophies because people change over time and you are both different men than you were in your prior involvement)?
What will that look like? How will we respond?
The biggest factor that will dictate the prognosis of your relationship is how you respond to conflict.
In your prior involvement, there were certain triggers that resulted in each of you engaging in an interpersonal dance or a behavior chain with each other that resulted in overt conflict or emotional withdrawal and disengagement.
As a team, you will need to identify what these triggers are and write a new script or behavior chain of what you will do differently this time when these triggers get activated so you don’t keep re-enacting your old drama.
Together you will create an action plan for how you handle past and future sources of upset so you can foster more intimacy and less resentment.
Additionally, you can conduct a ratings exercise on various dimensions of your relationship: household management, quality time, friends and family, quality and frequency of sex, affection, communication, conflict negotiation, compatibility, trust, support, values, commitment, etc.
Then you can rate your satisfaction levels with each of these domains on a one to 10 scale.
You’ll be able to pinpoint your strengths as well as create action plans for managing any areas of discrepancy that might exist.
If during this process you discover either of you are unwilling to budge on any of the differences, or if you or your ex appears defensive and doesn’t take responsibility for their behavior from the past, then the likelihood of a successful pairing is probably low.
Redesigning a new relationship with an ex is a complex process. This article just scratches the surface, but following this foundation will help give you enough insight with your decision-making to make the best choice for you.
Have you ever reconciled with an ex? How were you able to successfully merge again? What additional advice can you offer to others in this situation?