Deja Voo : Is it ever a good idea to date your ex?

Love, the second time around
By Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro


Who’s ready for a replay?
Two sorts of duos are most likely to reconvene successfully. 

  • First, there are those relationships that ended amicably, usually due to such things as youthful inexperience, job relocation, or bad timing. During the intervening months or years, both parties have moved on, yet remain in touch, so the door to a future together is definitely ajar.
  • The second type is the twosome that lost touch long ago, but after a serendipitous meeting or Google-inspired rendezvous, the players soon discover that an unquenchable flame has been re-lit. With schedules and hearts open wide, a love blossoms with new and improved vigor as if hit by a fertilizer truck.

In either case, a replay works best when it’s a natural process involving two kindred souls with unfinished business, rather than one lonely whiner breaking down the other’s door during a desperate hour of bachelorhood. If one person is pushing for the reunion and the other is thinking, “Well, my dance card is empty…” this is not a recipe for success.

Rosé-colored glasses
It sounds nice, reuniting over Reunite on ice, but is it a good idea? Some critics groan, “If it was bad enough to fail once, why bother again?” Bear in mind, romance is influenced by external forces. Maybe it wasn’t all your fault—or your sweetie’s. Here are some issues that may have caused a rift in the past—but can be remedied so love can thrive the second time around:

  • Clock management. Last time around, were you three months into bankruptcy while she was three days removed from a beloved pet’s death? Did a lurking ex or rebound factor throw a wrench in the works? With no recent crashes or other baggage in the way, this time you may well be ready to run full throttle under green instead of limping by under a caution flag.
  • Well-seasoned. Was the first time a case of “too much, too soon?” Young lovers just out of grad school don’t always recognize a soul mate, but now that you’ve sprouted the romantic wisdom that a few gray hairs bring, couplehood just might work. This holds doubly true for newfound sexual confidence and bedroom mastery, particularly if shortcomings in the boudoir doomed chemistry before.
  • Facelift (figuratively speaking). A Queer Eye-esque makeover can help rekindle a romance. Huge improvements in appearance, style, and habits can be head-turning (“Hmmm…what happened to the chain-smoking, portly laze-about I used to date?”). An investment in manners, Italian shoes, and a haircut might jumpstart Round 2 of a relationship and make you more bankable in the long run.
  • Soul shift. Finished with their bad-boy/naughty-girl phases and week-by-week personal growth adjustments, maybe both parties are finally ready for something substantial. Perhaps a few extra years on the single scene has induced an embrace of matrimonial thoughts and opened your heart to the love that was waiting there all along.

Upping the ante
Getting back together and revisiting the same middling romance from before is pointless. When starting a second time, prepare for a turbo boost of intimacy and consciously commit to besting previous efforts. Discuss this with the renewed object of your affections: “What happened to us? And why are things so much better now?” is a fair starting place for such talks. Besides, the most effective way to quiet any naysaying eyewitnesses to the first break-up is to lift this love affair to new heights. After jumping back between the sheets, address the hang-ups that tainted the first time while rebuilding the relationship on a plateau of earnestness, refashioned and recharged for the second haul.

Will it last this time?
After the initial honeymoon-like opening, perform a review 90-120 days later to see if prior problems are truly history. Are the old habits that doomed the first relationship beginning to resurface? Is his booming temper back in force? Is her anal-retentive sock-drawer fetish still as irksome as her whiskey breath? Has the constant arguing and nitpicking started anew? Unless a personality overhaul and new-found maturity occurred in the interim, behaviors that were anathema before won’t magically improve just because it’s a new fiscal year. If it’s starting to look like a bad rerun… don’t hide from that truth. Though it would have made a great story to tell at cocktail parties, if it’s not working, own up to it and move on. On the positive side, if love and stability bloom, smile in the fact that those old maxims can indeed ring true… sometimes, good things come to those who wait.

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One Response to “Deja Voo : Is it ever a good idea to date your ex?”

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