Starting over in a relationship with the same person must feel like a daunting task. You’ve been wondering, “Will it be wise to hit the reset button or is this just a giant mistake?” However, the fact that you want to know how to start over a relationship clearly shows that your partnership is worth more than a misunderstanding or fight.
As you are considering giving it a second chance, we can assume that you both are on the same page about moving forward with a clean slate and clear expectations. Now you need a thorough relationship review, because you can only leave the difficult times behind once you have that awkward conversation about what drifted you apart in the first place. Make peace with your previous relationship status. And with a little bit of faith and a lot of effort, you can write a new story with your existing love life.
What Does It Mean To Start A Relationship Over?
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To reset a relationship means to be happy in the same relationship again by letting go of the negativity, unhealthy behaviors, and past issues. It means you are willingly and consciously agreeing to give your relationship another chance. You and your partner have decided to focus on the brighter side by agreeing to work through the problems. Now, when we talk about how to start a clean slate in a relationship, the first thought that comes to mind is of patching up with an ex or maybe fixing a broken relationship.
But a fresh start doesn’t necessarily have to be between two ex-partners. Here are a few scenarios where a couple would want to reboot a relationship:
- Hard times: A couple whose relationship has seen a hard time in the last few months might want to start anew. They may want to forgive and forget about the unpleasant experiences instead of breaking up
- Post-cheating: You can also start over in a marriage after infidelity or a recent betrayal. But you and your spouse need to do your best to make sure that you both are a part of the recovery process. When it’s only one partner making all the effort and never the other way around, you can’t revive an old relationship
- Drifting apart: In long-term, old relationships, partners tend to grow apart. It could be a physical or emotional disconnect but it so happens that they can barely recognize or understand the other even after being together for so many years. When these two people give another shot to getting to know each other all over again, you can label it as ‘starting over in a relationship with the same person’
How To Decide If You Want To Start Over In A Relationship
It’s true that we often cringe at the prospect of giving a toxic/broken relationship a second chance. Why walk backward and throw yourself in the same muddle when you should be moving forward toward better things? While this idea holds good for most couples, to some, a fresh start might feel like the only or the best way to navigate the current situation with their partner.
As your relationship coach, Bonobology wants to make sure you are not hitting the reset button out of sheer desperation and this is actually the right move for you. For that, it’s absolutely important that you figure out why you want to make this relationship work. One has to be in a healthy emotional state to be able to decide what they want from their partner and if you need to seek professional help for that, then so be it.
However, if these are the main reasons behind this new beginning, then we say it’s bad news:
- You think you will be alone forever if this person leaves you
- You selfishly want them in your life, even though they don’t love you back
- You shouldn’t give the same relationship a second chance just because you find the living-with-them situation too convenient
- You think you are ready to compromise on many aspects even though they don’t want the same things in life
- Beware of these red flags: You don’t care deeply about this person but you don’t want to break up either, because they fulfill your sexual and financial needs
- If your heart is not in it, you shouldn’t start over in a marriage after infidelity only because you are afraid of what people will think of a broken marriage
On the other hand, your relationship is worth fighting for if:
- Both of you sincerely love each other and see a future together
- You are ready to meet halfway and have open communication about your issues
- You and your partner have taken accountability in the relationship for the things that went wrong and have mutually decided to begin anew
- You genuinely believe there is a misunderstanding between the two of you that can be fixed if you improve communication
- You’re ready to restart a relationship after cheating, and are ready to forgive the other person for the hurt and betrayal
- You both are willing to visit a family therapist or a couples counselor and do whatever it takes to make this marriage/relationship work
How To Start Over In A Relationship — 13 Tips
New relationship same person — Sounds a bit challenging, doesn’t it? But don’t worry. You are at the right place today. As we were saying, couples counseling is the best way to go about it, no contest. What most couples often overlook is the little changes you can bring into your equation that can create a big difference and give you a clean slate moving forward. We have compiled some helpful tips to take you one step closer to the new beginning:
1. Practice self-compassion and self-love to start over with someone you love
Scientific data shows that self-criticism makes humans weaker in the face of failure, more emotional, and less likely to learn lessons from failures. Studies show that there is a far better alternative to self-criticism, which is self-compassion. Here are some things you can do to be kind to yourself while you navigate this relationship turmoil, even if you’ve caused hurt to your partner in the past:
- Avoid negative self-talk. Whenever it happens, replace it with a positive thing about yourself and the efforts you’re making
- Don’t make your past actions and judgments your sole identity
- Try to journal your negative thoughts or pursue some other kind of journaling every day
- Set emotional boundaries with people who hurt you, bring you down, and make you question your self-worth even if that means distancing yourself from some of the family members or close friends
- To be your best version, allow yourself to make mistakes. This self-compassion will extend to your partner too
2. Identify past mistakes in your current relationship
How to start over in a damaged relationship? A relationship review has to be your first order of business to identify what went wrong and what are the main reasons behind it. Here are some questions you can answer about your previous relationship status:
- Did the two of you have a habit of fighting just to win and prove the other person wrong?
- Did you always speak to each other in a condescending way?
- Were you and your partner critical of everything?
- Did a physical or emotional affair take place?
- Did either of you stop making efforts toward intimacy?
- Were they unsupportive of your ambitions?
- Did they try to control you or vice versa?
- Was the relationship heavily codependent?
Any of these recurring problems could have caused your relationship to fall apart. Once you find out the mistakes and try to improve communication and talk openly about your emotions, you can be happy in a relationship again.
3. Don’t dwell on past mistakes
How to start a clean slate in a relationship? Well, the trick is to stop living in the past and get over the difficult times you have faced together. For a fresh start, let go of the negative thoughts and negative feelings and focus on the good parts. What’s the point of dwelling on the things that drove you both apart? Thinking about them makes you and your partner feel worse about your relationship even after you have apologized to each other and made amends.
When asked on Reddit how to stop dwelling on past mistakes, a user (profile deleted) said, “Staying in the present moment helps. I’ve found that not only do I not think of past mistakes while embracing the present moment, I rarely make them while I am focused on the present. Just try making peace with the past. The brain is not our friend. It is only trying to keep us alive on a basic level. We have to train our minds to maintain our perspective.”
Another user in the same thread said, “I find it helpful to tell myself ‘I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time.’ And remind myself that mistakes are human, if you never made mistakes you’d be a robot.”
4. Stop the blame game right away to start anew with an ex-partner
According to extensive research conducted by Harvard Business Review, “People who blame others for their mistakes lose status, learn less, and perform worse relative to those who own up to their mistakes.” As long as you keep pointing fingers at each other, you can’t expect to make a relationship work, at least not a healthy one. After all, to begin anew, you have to be empathetic and patient toward each other’s point of view and keep an open mind.
If you spend time just blaming each other for everything that went wrong in the relationship, how will you ever resolve any conflict? Here are some helpful tips to put an end to the blame game and walk in the same direction hand in hand:
- Look at the situation from each other’s perspective
- Don’t take everything personally
- Think about your own actions that have led to this predicament
- No name-calling in the relationship, and avoid talking about their character
- Stop comparing yourselves with other couples who seem to have a picture-perfect relationship. Be grateful for the positive traits in your dynamic
- Appreciate each other. Mention what you absolutely adore about each other, and do it often
- Recognize that you’re both trying to solve the issue. You are not standing on the other side. Rather, it’s a team effort
- Try using “I” statements more. For example, say “I feel unloved” instead of saying “You don’t love me anymore”
5. Start talking again by partaking in each other’s interests
When you are starting a relationship over as friends, take small steps. Don’t rush into the hot and heavy stuff like moving in together, constantly having sex, or getting engaged. Try to be each other’s best friends before lovers. Take an interest in the things they like. It will give you an opportunity to spend time together and rebuild the connection that was on the verge of a breakdown.
If they love working out, try going to the gym with them. If they love watching movies, stay in and watch their favorite movie. Celebrate each other’s hobbies. Take an art class together if they love making art. If you can’t seem to grow interest in the same things as them, then find a middle ground. A relationship expert would suggest you enhance the bonding experience like this:
- Plan date nights more frequently
- Spend quality time with each other
- Perhaps run errands or do the house chores together as it will help the hard time fade away from your mind, and you would start enjoying each other’s company all over again
- Create shared goals and work together in the same direction to achieve them as a couple
- Make sure to use words of affirmation to remind them that you love them, no matter what
6. Practice compathy to be happy in a relationship again
Compassion and empathy are your best friends when you start over with someone you love. One of the main reasons people can’t seem to resolve issues and misunderstandings in a relationship is because they tend to focus more on who was more wrong and how to hold it against them. As a consequence, they never appear on the same page for a fresh start, with no resentments in their hearts.
We understand how difficult it is for a betrayed person to restart a relationship after cheating. But think about it, if the cheating partner spends all their time blaming the other person while also doing activities to rebuild trust at couples therapy, will the relationship work? Nobody can go back in time to change what happened. So if you’ve decided to give this another try and your partner has been making amends, then you need to find a way to stop holding grudges. The only way to reboot a relationship is with compassion, empathy, forgiveness, compromise, and positivity.
Related Reading: 7 Things To Do When You Fall Out Of Love With Your Husband
7. Appreciate the little things they do for you
Why is it that when some think of rekindling love, they think about grand gestures and expensive gifts? This is where they go wrong when starting from scratch in a relationship. Those grand occasions are undoubtedly exciting and fun. However, this doesn’t keep two people together in the long run. Love always lies in the little things. Remember your partner’s meaningful small gestures for you over the years.
Even research backs this theory. In a survey that included over 5,000 participants, it was found that small acts of kindness were greatly valued. Those simple acts were as trivial as making a cup of tea for one’s partner. Gifts like flowers and chocolates were considered less important than the thoughtfulness behind the gesture. The survey also found that simply saying “I love you” helped provide affirming feelings and reassurance that made couples feel more loved and wanted.
8. Set boundaries with your partner for round two of your relationship
If you want to know how to start over in a broken relationship, learn how to draw boundaries with a partner. Many people assume that setting boundaries is unhealthy but it actually helps you love each other better. Strong boundaries would make sure you retain your personal space and identity and not lose yourself in the relationship.
For many of us, being our authentic, best version becomes a source of pure joy and confidence which, in turn, impacts the health of all our relationships. Your relationship coach, Bonobology, shares some helpful tips on how to maintain healthy boundaries when you start talking again with the intention of getting back together with your partner:
- Spend more time with your close friends and family members
- Look for different ways to date yourself – Learn to love your own company
- Open communication is important but texting/calling/Snapchatting each other every waking minute of the day is not
- You can’t go through their phone, diary, emails, or belongings. Especially when there’s no good reason to be suspicious
- Talk to them about major life decisions that impact both of you (i.e., taking a job that would involve relocating, having a child or more children, or marriage)
- Give each other space when needed, to deal with problems and bad moods
9. Don’t involve others in your relationship
If you let other people inside, you will only weaken the foundations of your relationship. It will also break your partner’s trust when you tell your private affairs to the world. A relationship is about two people only.
Avoid talking about your relationship drama with others who have nothing to do with your bond, except when you need guidance from a trusted friend or family member on a recurring issue. However, it’s important to note that you should seek professional help immediately when your romantic relationship is physically or emotionally abusive.
10. Keep your demands on the table to start mending you bond
Here is how to start over in a relationship — Be precise about your wants and needs. Realistic and clear expectations are one of the first things you should discuss when you are about to reset a relationship. So you have to let it all out. Talk about the negative aspects of the relationship that have bothered you in the past and the things you are expecting from them in the future if you really want to hit the reset button.
- Do you want to get more attention or time from your partner? State it clearly
- Do you want them to stop criticizing you constantly? Let them know that these criticisms hurt you and your self-esteem
- Do you want your partner to join support groups for their alcoholism? Tell them that you can’t see them suffering and that it’s affecting your bond severely
- You can’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. So demand what you want, gently
Related Reading: 12 Realistic Expectations In A Relationship
11. Support each other’s personal and shared goals
Ever heard of the phrase “grow together and glow together”? That’s exactly what you need to do when you are trying to start over with someone you love. Many couples fail to support their loved ones and try to undermine their goals and ambitions. Don’t be that person. Their goals and dreams may not be relatable to you but they mean a great deal to them. They give your partner’s life a purpose and meaning.
Stand by them and even if you can’t do anything to help them achieve their dreams, use some positive words of affirmation and encourage them throughout their journey. It will make your bond even stronger if you create shared goals for yourselves as a couple, such as travel bucket lists or buying a property, and work hard toward fulfilling these dreams for a better future.
12. Express appreciation when they change for the better
When you have decided to move forward and let the conflicts stay in the past, then you need to acknowledge their new changes. If you sense them changing even a little bit for the better, then appreciate that. You can even thank them for trying to become a more understanding partner and for growing along with you in the relationship.
According to research, expressing appreciation toward one another increases mutual regard and comfort in voicing relationship concerns. This helps both parties express their thoughts and perspectives freely in a comfortable setting.
13. Follow the three C’s to create a healthy relationship this time round
The three C’s of every healthy relationship are:
When you are trying to find out how to start over a turbulent relationship, inculcate these three C’s in your dynamic. Communication will help you and your partner avoid misunderstandings. Compromise will build the relationship stronger by respecting each other’s needs. Commitment is all about letting your partner know that you will be there for them in sickness and health, and through thick and thin.
- Starting over in a relationship means letting go of the feelings of mistrust, negativity, and resentment
- You can try starting a relationship over as friends so the two of you can spend quality time together
- Don’t start over a relationship just because you can’t see them with anyone else, or for the fear of being alone, or because you are jealous that they will move on before you
- You can start a relationship over by learning healthy communication and trusting without inhibitions through couples therapy
We hope our suggestions sew the loose threads in your relationship and bring you and your partner closer than ever. But then, there is only so much you can do on a personal level. Sometimes relationship problems are so complicated that the intervention of a relationship expert or a family therapist becomes inevitable.
Joel Block, Ph.D., psychologist and author of The 15-Minute Relationship Fix, says here, “Couples who are struggling are wise to consider therapy early on, since it will only get worse over time and without intervention, will likely end badly.” As per this Forbes article, research shows that couples counseling positively impacts 70% of people. Seek professional help without any hesitation whenever it seems to be the need of the hour.
Both of you should be willing to compromise, communicate, and be willing to accept that no relationship or human is perfect. It’s all about finding peace in each other’s chaos. As a final thought, a state of happiness is important in a relationship. If you aren’t happy with them, instead of figuring out how to start over in a relationship, you’ll need to let go of them.
It’s absolutely okay to start over in a relationship if you genuinely love them and can’t stand the thought of being without them. If you know in your soul that they make you a better person and that the two of you are perfect for one another, then go ahead and try to find contentment in the relationship again.
It can only work when both the partners are willing to do their share of the work. You can’t be the only one putting in your all or vice versa. This is a major red flag and soon you will realize you are sacrificing a lot to keep this person in your life. Relationships, especially starting over in one, should be 50-50.
Yes, you can. You can start over if you genuinely see a happy future with them. If you believe you are meant to be, then try to let go of the past. However, don’t start a relationship if you think you won’t find anyone better than them.