Throughout a relationship, tons of “should I or shouldn’t I” questions arise: should I give it up on the third date? Should I say “I love you” back? Should I eat that second piece of cake in front of him?
They’re all equally important — at least in their own way, at their own time. But perhaps the most pressing question some ladies deal with is the one that comes after the end of a relationship: should I get back together with him?
Let’s recognize one thing. Her Campus loves love. We do. There’s no denying it. But we aren’t going to give you a flat out “yes” just for the sake of undying romance. We’re also not going to tell you the answer is an unequivocal “no.” Sometimes taking a second go at a relationship actually does work.
So, here’s what we will say: this question isn’t easy. It takes a whole lot more analysis and introspection than debating whether or not to indulge in another slice of funfetti cake (you obviously should).
But with advice from one of our favorite experts, Dating and Relationship Coach Lisa Shield, and stories from real college girls across the nation, we’re about to make the process a whole lot easier for you.
Recognize the Reasons for Your Break-Up
He wasn’t good enough for you may have gotten you through the tough times following your split, but it’s not exactly a reason for your break-up. The quicker you can pinpoint exactly why you broke up, the quicker you can determine if getting back together is a good idea.
It can help to get your thoughts out of your head and onto some paper. Try making a list of the issues that plagued your last relationship, and think about how (or even if) they can be changed. Be careful that you don’t focus only on what you think your ex did wrong, though, Shield warns.
“When there’s a conflict in a relationship, there's a chance that both of you are doing something to cause it,” she says. “If you don't look at your part, you are sabotaging your relationship. So before you get back together, also take time to reflect on what you can do differently and less on what you think your ex needs to change.”
“I recognized the reasons and realized it wasn’t worth it,” says Nicole from Wake Forest University. “I recently broke up with someone because he cheated on me, and I would never get back together with him. I initially wanted to see if things would work out between us because I missed physically being with him. But I knew I would be much happier with the next person who treats me the way I deserve to be treated, rather than stay in a relationship full of problems and lose my self-respect. Realizing how little he cared taught me to wait for someone who will actually put effort into a relationship.”
Get an Outside Opinion
Depending on friends and family to make a decision for you isn’t what we’re suggesting. Ultimately, that’s up to you. But hearing their thoughts on a possible reconciliation between you and your ex can be helpful.
“Everyone has blind spots and it can be hard, especially when we are going through something as emotional as a break-up, to see things clearly,” says Shield.
While there’s a chance you won’t like what they have to say, getting input from a trusted friend or family member will bring a new perspective to your dilemma. Limit the number of people you seek help from to two or three, though. Hearing too many opinions will muddle your thoughts even more than they were in the first place.
“If you’re too embarrassed or don't have anyone you feel you can talk to, you might seek the counsel of a good relationship coach,” adds Shield. Check your campus health center; many offer counseling services free of charge.