When you should give a broken another try.
My friend Naomi breezed into my flat the other day, smiling broadly after a marathon 36-hour date. “I think this could really work,” she mused. “I feel like I’m ready and so is he. He was so open and really loving.” Was I hearing right? Wasn’t this the same guy she’d dumped a few months earlier, hissing that he was “difficult and self-obsessed”? What happened? “Well,” Naomi explained, “we thought things over and decided to give it one more try.”
I wasn’t convinced. How likely was it, I wondered, that he’d managed a complete personality change in such a sort time? And what chance was there that Naomi – a woman who remembers the exact position of an indelible stain that turned up on her favourite jumper after her sister borrowed it six years ago – would be able to put the past behind her and begin afresh.
Naomi however was brimming over with enthusiasm, and she’s not the first girl to feel that way. Many women are willing to give a relationship a second (and maybe even third) try. Once in a while these women are right or, at lease, some of them are right enough times to make the rest of us believe in the possibility of successful reunions. So, we agree to a romantic dinner, and are thrilled by the words, “God, you look great.” We promise to stop being so bossy if he’ll try to stop looking bored and, hey presto, a relationship reborn.
But, as the Germans discovered after the Berlin Wall came down, reunification can be complicated. “once the dust has settled,” Say Alicia, another friend of mine, “and the drama of getting back has passed, you invariably suffer a nasty jolt when you get back to reality.” “Oh, that’s right,” you think, “now I remember – he puts me down in public.” This isn’t to say that the only time you should get back together is when one of you has only six months to live. But before you face the heavyweight question- should I take him back? Perhaps you should go a few rounds with some preliminary issues.
First, it’s not enough to forgive each other for the past crimes. You have to be willing to revisit the scenes of those crimes, to provoke his jealous rage to find out if it’s still there. And he may have to invite his mates over so you can see if you still hate them. This is where the fun ends and the dirty, sometimes painful, work begins!
Don’t get distracted by big speeches, grand gestures, or the sparkling diamond in the velvet box proffered by a seemingly humble male on bended knee. These ploys can be impressive, but you’re required to rule on evidence – that he’d changed, you’ve changed, therefore the relationship has also changed for the better.
Sometime the price of a reunion is too high. I remember a time when I badly wanted to get back together with an old boyfriend who’d dumped me for some months earlier. Now dumped himself, he called hoping we could try again. “So tell me,” I asked him after hours of discussion, “what was it about her that you found so attractive?” His answer: She was quite, sporty and didn’t waste time on psychological analysis.” In short she was complete opposite of me. Our relationship could work again only if I had personality transplant, and I was nowhere near desperate enough to consider that.
Maybe your ex wants you just the way you are/were. Or maybe you’re convinced that Mr. Right, The Sequel will be an improvement on the original. Proceed, then, but do so with caution. Don’t give up even a promising blind date to be with him, because resurrecting a relationship, like buying a bikini by mail order, requires a willful disregard of the odds. All you can do is wonder whether hope will triumph over experience.