3 Times Your Relationship Deserves A Second Chance — And 5 Times It Definitely Doesn’t

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Taylor Tobin1.84k
April 19, 2024 at 2:21AM UTC

It’s not uncommon for a breakup to come with conditions (even if they only exist in your head). Yes, you needed to cut your S.O. loose for numerous solid reasons...but then you may find yourself reconsidering and wondering: is it worth giving them a second chance?

In the interest of guiding readers through this difficult flip-flop, Bustle published a story listing useful signs that a relationship isn’t worth reviving, bolstered by expert commentary. We’ve pulled five especially relevant indicators that a romantic Hail Mary isn’t a wise move, along with three signals that revisiting this particular love could be a beneficial move.

Signs a second chance might not be in your best interest: 

1. You’re afraid you won’t meet anyone else.

Fear can be a powerful motivator, and when you’re newly separated from a romantic partner, the concern that you’ll never have a relationship of that nature with anyone else is often a tough one to push aside. However, relationship coach Kari Tumminia tells Bustle that this worry isn’t a good enough reason to stick with an unsatisfying dating situation: “If you only find yourself considering your ex in times of crisis, it's probably a better idea to check your fear and not go running back. This too shall pass, as they say."

2. You’re focusing on memories of the good times rather than the issues that led to the split.

If you spent a significant amount of time with your ex-partner, you likely have a plethora of memories in your mental stores featuring the two of you. However, it’s a common tendency after a breakup to hone in on the happy recollections, which can cause you to paint the relationship in an unrealistically-positive light within your own head. Instead of losing yourself in a wormhole of fond remembrances, Tumminia advises also keeping the cause of your breakup in the forefront of your mind, which will help you gain a realistic perspective on why the relationship ended in the first place.

3. They get along well with your family and your social circle.

While it’s a huge plus to have a significant other who fits in with your group of friends and with your family, it’s important to remember that the crux of the relationship rests on you and that person, not on the other folks in your life. Your friends and family want you to be happy, and if your relationship isn’t fulfilling that need anymore, they won’t want you to stick with it, no matter how much they may enjoy your former S.O.’s company.

4. The thought of them with another partner makes you angry or upset.

It’s never easy to see your ex dating someone new. Even if you know that you ended things for solid reasons, that first coupled-up Instagram or Facebook post can seriously sting. However, mental health counselor Michelle Henderson tells Bustle that this reaction is normal, adding the following advice: “Remember that the relationship didn't work out for a reason. Even though it stings seeing them with another person, someday you will find someone who will make you happier than they did."

5. You still love them, but the problems between you aren’t going anywhere.

Love doesn’t vanish just because a relationship goes south, and if you’re still harboring affectionate feelings for your ex, you may feel tempted to let those emotions override the factors that precipitated the breakup. But relationship expert Davida Rappaport cautions Bustle that “love alone does not indicate that things will be different, especially if your relationship was unhealthy." Don’t second-guess your decision on that basis alone.

Signs a second chance may be worth it:

1. When the issue at hand doesn’t shake the core of your foundation.

If your split happened because of a fairly-trivial argument or an issue that seemed important at the time but doesn’t ultimately have a large effect on your overall happiness, you may want to look at the situation with fresh eyes and consider whether this disagreement justifies abandoning a relationship that generally brings you satisfaction and fulfillment. 

2. When you both fully commit to addressing each others’ concerns and fixing the problems.

Even a massive relationship issue may not be a total dealbreaker if both parties can sit down and engage in an honest discussion of the problems at hand and what needs to happen to turn things around.

3. When their apology also indicates that they’ve learned a clear lesson from their mistakes.

Apologies can easily sound hollow if the apologizer doesn’t seem to have a full understanding of what they did wrong and what they need to do going forward. However, if your S.O. offers a sincere apology and has obviously learned a lesson from their error, then that’s an “I’m sorry” worth taking seriously. 


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