When I was a 19-year-old college student, I fell in love with someone I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I relished in the little things he did to make me feel special and how he looked at me. He made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world and he was my best friend. We were different and really cared and respected each other. I genuinely just wanted to keep him smiling because he made me so happy. We had a connection and a bond that I thought could never be broken. As we both started getting closer to graduation, he freaked out about the future and we broke up. I was devastated and my world came to a screeching halt. I was too much, we were too serious.
It has almost been two years since we broke up and just recently we started talking again about missing what we once had. We live states away and have career paths that are moving in completely different directions. However, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to cave and give him a third chance. Biased caveat, it didn’t take much convincing. He has always been my weak spot, and I agreed to go down to visit him and see where it could go. The weekend brought a lot of emotions and taught me seven things I should have kept in mind before ever boarding a plane to Dallas. (Insert an “all my exes live in Texas” irony reference here)
1. Just because you once had an amazing relationship, doesn’t mean you can use it as the ultimate arsenal for excusing their behavior now. Actions really do speak louder than words. If they love you, they will show it. If they truly want to make it work, they will go all in.
2. After you break up, your ex has the right to date and hook up with other people. However, that doesn’t give them license to not be honest with you about the seriousness of those relationships or the right to continue talking to them as “friends” while you two are trying to start fresh. Don’t fall for that excuse ladies.
3. Knowing what each other likes and dislikes isn’t an excuse to not put in effort. Compromising and going out of the way for the other person is essential in healthy relationships. Sometimes it’s about the we, not about the me. This truly goes back to actions speaking louder than words.
4. Don’t go into the potential relationship with the past in mind. Time has passed, you have both grown and changed. For example, I now love green olives and can run more than a mile at a time. Life changing things really.
5. Trust and respect doesn’t carry over like I thought it did. They’re earned and people can change. Trust me, you don’t want to be sitting next to him at 3 am and notice he’s texting an old hook up. Not a fun feeling.
6. Go in with open communication. There is a reason why you broke up the first time and those issues didn’t disappear. Make sure you’re both on the same page and want the same things.
7. When you start questioning getting back together, make two lists. On one list, write out all the little things you loved about them when you dated the first time. On the second list, write all the things you currently love about them from what you’ve experienced since trying again. My lack of ability to write more than two things down on the second list was a huge wake up call.
Timing is crucial. Who knows, maybe giving your ex another chance when you’ve both matured and are more open to the relationship is a good idea. Sometimes it works. Some people need to break up and date other people to really appreciate what they once had. But sometimes, relationships are meant to stay in the past and it’s better to just close the final chapter for once and for all. The only thing I know for certain is that only you know what your past relationship was, and only you can make the decision on whether it’s worth rehashing. Closure is a funny thing when hope gets involved. It can take a lot of heartbreak and excuses before you stop living in denial, but we all get there eventually and it’s incredibly freeing.