When things go wrong in a relationship or when an ex comes back begging to make amends, we’re tempted by the thought of giving second chances in relationships. And most of the time, the temptations seem too strong to ignore.
In fact, a study claims that around 70% of people have some level of regret in their life. The same study also found that men are more likely than women to want another go at a romantic relationship. Trust us when we say that a lot of people have been in the place you’re currently in.
Before you take the plunge and consider giving a second chance in a relationship, there are a few essential things you need to take note of, a checklist of sorts. With the help of Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, let’s take a look at all you need to know before giving second chances in relationships.
9 Step Checklist Before Giving Second Chance In Relationships
“Why should I give you another chance?” This was unfortunately a question that Ginny, a reader from Wisconsin, didn’t ask her ex, who was pleading for a second chance a week after they broke up.
Little did she know, the only reason he wanted to be seen with Ginny again was to try and make his latest pursuit, Amanda, jealous. “I felt used, betrayed, and disappointed in myself. I was too enamored with our memories and let him back into my life too easily than I should’ve,” Ginny told us.
Giving second chances in relationships can get tricky. Are you setting yourself up for disappointment, or should you take the plunge? Are things going to get better or is it just another disaster waiting to happen? Shazia shares her views on the same.
“Many times, giving second chances in relationships can be a good idea. That’s because sometimes it’s not the people who are bad but the situations might not have been favorable. A case of the right person, wrong time, so to speak.
“Perhaps they acted out of anger or rage, or they were not able to express themselves appropriately. If both partners genuinely feel that they can make things work in the long run, giving a second chance in a relationship might be a good idea. Of course, you need to take into account a few factors before you do that.”
Just so you don’t end up diving straight into the deep end of the pool all over again, what are the things that you must keep in mind? Here’s a checklist of all the things you need to consider:
Related Reading: 13 Ways To Get Back With Your Ex
Step #1: Can you forgive your partner?
“Forgiving someone before giving second chances in relationships is an absolute pre-requisite,” claims Shazia, “You’ve got to keep in mind that when you forgive someone, you’re not necessarily doing it for them. You do it for your own mental peace so that you’re able to function properly.
“After you forgive them, let go of the negative feelings and the hatred that you’ve been harboring. That then acts as the basis on which you can rebuild a caring and nurturing relationship, devoid of resentment and unresolved feelings.”
Before you mull over questions like “Why should I give you another chance?” or “Should I give him another chance after he hurt me?”, you need to decide whether you can forgive and forget their wrongs. Unless you’re unable to accomplish this, attempting to rekindle things may be futile.
Step #2: Consider if this is actually what you want
When you’re caught up with idolized memories of the times you both spent together, it’s easy to get lost in the daydreams and get carried away. However, make sure that you are capable of making this decision from a practical standpoint.
“Once you’re able to forgive a person, you’ll have a clear picture in your mind and your heart about what you must do, even if you need to move on from them. You won’t be lying to yourself, and your decision will be long-lasting.
“To achieve that, you need to make sure that there are no negative emotions involved in the decision-making process. Once you’re on neutral ground and non-judgmental space, you’re on the right path,” says Shazia. The signs s/he deserves a second chance can wait, make sure you’re truthful with yourself about your decision before you consider anyone else’s feelings.
Step #3: Find out your reason behind giving second chances in relationships
Are you considering letting go of how this person hurt you because you’re petrified of being single? Or are you doing this because your friends commented, “My one true pair!!”, on your Instagram couple pictures and they’d want you to be together? If so, you need to think again.
“Don’t give chances just for the sake of it, for the sake of society, or anyone else. In cases where your friends or family want you to be together, give more importance to what you want. Love needs to be surrounded and supported by many other things to survive, so make sure your decision isn’t based on something trivial,” says Shazia.
Step #4: Ascertain if this person genuinely wants a second chance
You can’t really prove if someone deserves a second chance, but you can make sure they’re genuine about it. According to Shazia, one of the most important things to consider while you’re giving second chances in relationships is if the person you’re giving it to is actually remorseful about what they’ve done.
“If a partner comes back to you and you feel that they actually regret hurting you, in my opinion, there’s a good chance that it’s genuine. Of course, there are exceptions that you need to consider.
“So, if someone’s coming back to you, make sure you listen to your gut as well. Do you get the feeling that this person is truly apologetic? What does your intuition tell you?”
Related Reading: 15 Simple Signs Your Ex-Boyfriend Wants You Back
Step #5: Think about if you were in a toxic relationship
What does it mean to give someone a second chance? It means that you’re looking forward to a future where you’re happy in the relationship, one where you’re both committed to making things better. But if you’re re-entering a toxic relationship by saying yes, you definitely want to reconsider giving second chances in relationships.
Toxic relationships have a way of staying rotten. Though your toxic partner may paint a rosy picture of the future in your head and tell you everything you want to hear, it’s not always that simple. If you were in a relationship that was damaging your mental or physical health in any shape or form, it’s best to move on.
Step #6: Do you think it can work again?
Before you answer that “asking for a second chance in a relationship” text, make sure that the reason for your problems can be tackled effectively. For example, if the reason things didn’t work out was because of the distance between you two, you need to make sure that you’ve now got a plan to either meet each other somehow or to cope with the distance between you two.
Similarly, if a recurring fight was the biggest issue, you need to make sure that you’ve got a game plan in place. You may see all the signs s/he deserves a second chance, but unless you decide what to do about the fight you keep having every two days, things may not work despite your best intentions.
Step #7: Think about if you and your partner respect each other
“Should I give him another chance after he hurt me?” can sound like a very direct question, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. As Shazia pointed out, love needs to be surrounded and supported by many things to survive, and respect is unquestionably one of them.
What does it mean to give someone a second chance? It means that you’re confident in the fact that the things that make a relationship work are ever-present in your dynamic. That you both respect each other, support each other whenever you can, and can communicate through your problems.
Step #8: Are you both willing to make it work?
Before giving second chances in relationships, understand that a relationship simply cannot work unless everyone involved is one hundred percent committed to making it last. “If two people are promising to put effort into their dynamic, it needs to be evident. That is the only way to make things work.
“Many times, two people can be deeply in love but the other aspects of it may not be favorable. As a result, they end up getting separated. If you say that you want to give things another go, it’s vital that you both put the effort in to make sure the other aspects all align for you. Your efforts need to reflect in your actions and through your words,” says Shazia.
Related Reading: 13 Reasons To Never Take Back An Ex Who Dumped You
Step #9: Understand that rebuilding trust is not going to be easy
You’ve got all the “I’m asking for a second chance in this relationship!” texts, and you’ve decided to take the leap of faith. However, one of the most important things you need to keep in mind is that rebuilding trust after it has been broken is an uphill climb.
“You have to have lots of patience and you need to give time and space to the relationship for it to be able to breathe. Make sure you do not repeat past mistakes and never bring up the past scenarios in the current discussions.
“Always try to be neutral, and have some empathy for your partner. When all your effort begins to pay off, you’ll see things will start falling into place and form a clearer picture. Whether it’s working out or not, whether you’re able to regain the trust or not, or whether things are going in the right direction or not. You’ll be able to figure it all out if you give the relationship time and consistent effort,” says Shazia.
- Giving a second chance in a relationship is normal, but you need to put your self-respect first
- Ask yourself, is there a chance that this “new relationship” can flourish?
- If you’re trying to get out of a toxic relationship, don’t consider giving a second chance
- Only when both partners are willing to put in effort can a second chance work out
- Couples therapy can greatly improve the chances of a second-chance relationship surviving
You can’t really prove someone deserves a second chance and when someone doesn’t, the best thing you can go by in this situation is your gut feeling. Giving second chances in relationships is never easy, so make sure you take your time with your decision and only do something that you’re completely on board with.
If you’re struggling to figure out what to do with this dilemma that you’ve come across, Bonobology’s panel of experienced dating coaches and psychotherapists can help you figure out what the best course of action could be for you.
If you think you’ve found yourself in a “right person, wrong time” sort of situation, or if you think that there’s genuine hope for your relationship if you give it another go, or if your gut tells you that it’s worth another try, it’s probably worth giving people second chances. However, if you risk re-entering a toxic relationship by giving someone a second chance, it’s wiser to move on.
In a relationship, you need trust, support, communication, love, and respect for it to thrive. If you believe that the second chance will help you get a step closer to these fundamentals, there’s a chance it can work.