Deciding whether to give a relationship a second chance is a difficult task. It often depends on how deeply fractured the relationship has become and what manner of breach of confidence or trust led to the breakup. If lying and deceit played a part in severing ties, then it would be all that much harder to pick up the pieces and move forward.
In newer relationships, the infractions of the errant partner might not be all that bad and the ill effects not that long-lasting. However, most breakups and the need for second chances come about because of more serious occurrences, arguments, and disagreements.
Reasons for breakups in dating relationships can be small, such as not calling or texting following a date, or missing a date entirely. Other minor offenses can include forgetting a birthday or an anniversary, or rude or inappropriate behavior either toward the partner or a partner’s family or friends.
Remember, the larger the offense, the greater the penance!
1. Apologize, Sincerely
Apologies work for major or minor infractions in dating situations or most any kind of committed relationships. Saying you’re sorry and meaning it can go a long way in soothing hurt feelings and neutralizing anger.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Actions
Explain why you behaved the way you did and assure your partner that, because you care, you will control your behavior in the future so that you don’t repeat your missteps.
3. Come Back Bearing Gifts
If your loved one lets you back into his or her life, show your affection and esteem. Sometimes flowers or a box of candy is sufficient. Even a card with a handwritten note can show your partner that you are truly sorry for whatever you’ve done and looking to start fresh with a clean slate.
4. Make It Up to Your Partner
If your partner takes you back, make it up to him or her. Renew the joy each of you felt at the very beginning of your relationship. Rekindle the honeymoon period where you were just getting to know one another and you both believed you were perfect for each other.
5. Follow the Golden Rule
Always treat your partner in a relationship as you would want to be treated. Of course, if you had followed the Golden Rule, you wouldn’t have gotten into trouble in the first place. To restate the Golden Rule, you should treat your partners in a way that they would expect and want to be treated themselves.
6. Be Honest
Honesty is always the best policy and partners that are caught lying or cheating can be very hard to forgive. Granting a cheater a second chance is iffy. Even if the cheater stays on the straight and narrow, the relationship is seldom the same. People lie for different reasons, however, and lies, once uncovered, can be put to rest in many instances.
7. Work Together and Talk It Out
Whatever the relationship’s problems may be, the only way to give it a second chance is by working together. Experts say that, for whatever reason a couple may have separated, whether that separation is voluntary or not, it can be difficult to get back together.
It’s most important to communicate openly about what has transpired and work together, not just on how to put the fractured pieces back together, but how to affect meaningful change that will insure the relationship has a reasonable chance to succeed a second time.
8. Decide What to Change and What Not to Change
If you’ve been apart, ask yourself these questions regarding what you may not want to change if you decide to take your relationship forward. During your partner’s absence, what did you miss the most? What did each of you honestly miss about your relationship together? Discuss the best memories you each had of your time together and what parts of the relationship worked the best.
It also helps to discuss what about the relationship or your partner needs to change in order for a second chance to meet with some measure of success. What changes would you and your partner suggest? Which parts of your relationship could stand improvement?
Which behavior or behaviors would you like to see your partner extinguish? What would you have your partner do differently? This last question could apply to things both large and small. Finally, what shared responsibilities should be renegotiated so as to distribute the load more equitably?
9. No Second Chances for Abusers
If you’ve been abused, physically, sexually, or emotionally, don’t give your partner another chance. He or she doesn’t deserve it! And if your partner has committed a criminal offense against you or your loved ones, turn the sucker in! There will always be time to forgive and forget, but punishment for abuse should be meted out quickly and effectively by the criminal justice system.