Relationships Advice Paper: Dr. Roof Letter "Should I Give my Ex a Second Chance?"

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Dear Alex,Thank you for writing me with regard to the issue of giving your ex - boyfriend a second chance or not. According to your letter, you and your ex - boyfriend were really in love since you two both decided to move together from L.A. to San Francisco for school. However, your relationship was broke up but you didn't mention in your letter what causes this. So I assume that your ex - boyfriend cheated on you and you no longer want to keep the relationship and decided to break up with him. But now you are confuse of giving him a second chance or not and you wrote in your letter that you still have some feelings for him. From my point of view, it always come a time in every relationship where a breakup has occurred and a need by one or both partners to try it again.

Thus, now I'll explore several reasons why you should reign in that urge to jump right back into a relationship with the man that you just stepped out of relationship with. Regardless who did the breaking up, there's always a reason why the relationship itself went sour so it's just as important to go slow when it comes to thinking of jumping back in. As Ivy Chen, an MPH, points out that "our first loves are idealized. Purity of loving someone without having been hurt before" (Lovers from Friends; Friends with Benefits; Long - Lost Love Reunions Lecture, 9/15/2008). As he is your first really serious partner, I think you would like to keep the relationship with him. Here is my advice, as you still have feeling with him, you should give yourself and your ex - boyfriend a second chance to see what have changes after your reunion.

Right from the beginning, it's important for you to be honest with yourself as to what caused the relationship to disintegrate. If the problem was something easily fixable then it's probably wise to go forth and give him the benefit of the doubt and go with your heart, but if the original breakup involved something more difficult, then make sure that you keep both eyes open and take your time to evaluate your need to remain in a relationship that wasn't working in the past. As I assume that in the beginning your ex- boyfriend cheated on you which caused the relationship to end, I will tell you how to deal with it. First of all, your ex has cheated but why did he cheat on you? This depends on what type of cheat it is and I'm going to talk about one-time cheats. One-time cheats make a real mistake. He regrets it and he hates himself for the fact that he have cheated. He is frightened by what he have lost or nearly lost - the person he truly love, which is you! Whether you caught him or not, he won't do it again. Since you said your ex - boyfriend is a commitment - phobe, but he did talk something that he had never mentioned before, and I think he really wants to get back with you again. So in this case, you should consider getting back with your ex even though he has cheated. There is no doubt you will be experiencing a deep sense of betrayal, hurt, anger, confusion, and doubt about your ability to ever love and trust again. After all, everything you believed in has proved to be false, or so it seems. But you may also find that despite all you are feeling now, your relationship had enough value and substance that you are prepared to give it a second chance. There is never any excuse for cheating, which is why it is never your fault. But genuine remorse deserves at least a chance of forgiveness, an opportunity to turn an important mistake into a lesson to live by in the future.

To give a second chance with your ex - boyfriend you can see what he has changed. "You broke up the first time around. If you want to reunite, you must openly discuss the original breakup and figure out what went wrong" (Course Reader, p.193). In many cases, it will be because you or your partner was no longer prepared or able to tolerate certain behaviors from each other. If this is what resulted in your broke up, you need to identify what those behaviors were and avoid them, permanently and for real. As your ex - boyfriend asked for a reunion, he must have something changed. For one thing, you should not believe in your ex -boyfriend is, no one changes fundamental aspects of themselves overnight. For you consider giving your ex -boyfriend a second chance, you need to believe that change is real and lasting. So what you need to know is some solid proofs he has putting effort to change and be a better him. Of course this is something you also need to have, which means you need to improve yourself as well as your ex - boyfriend. Otherwise, if the same problem came up again, and you can be sure it will, you two would break up if you and your ex - boyfriend stayed the same. Thus it is important to look careful on how he works to be a better man for you. If both of you can get over your weakness and get along together, I'm sure you and your ex - boyfriend will have a better and more stable relationship than before. Just like Donna Hanover and Ed Oster, their reunion after their broke up which happened many years ago give them a new vision from seeing each other again. "We decided to take full advantage of a second chance together - a veritable miracle in both of our lives" (Course Reader, p.193). So getting back together can prove how you and your boyfriends have changed and in turns make your relationship stronger.

In my first relationship, I dated a guy for about two year and a half. I was really in love with him but unfortunately, he was still inexperienced with relationships and had a hard time in expressing himself. We broke up in third year and I went on to a new guy, one that was able to give me commitment. However I still thought about the first guy and decided to contact him, then I realized it was a mistake and pretty much avoided his phone calls after the first contact. After a month of this, I emailed him back and told him I made a mistake because I am now in a new relationship. He invited me to see him and have a talk for the next few months but I declined. I then went to a party of our common friend and when we saw each other, everything came back and he deeply apologized for not taking our relationship more seriously. He said he realized that I was the only girl who truly wanted him for who he was and that he was not able to find the same feeling with anyone else. I told him we could remain friends and remained in contact for the last few months but it is getting harder for me not to think about him. He also told me his feelings were very strong but that he didn't want to ruin my current relationship if I love the other guy. I told him I do have feelings for my current boyfriend but what in my heart is that I still felt a strong feeling for him. He really does seem like he has matured but I am afraid that he might take me for granted again if I got serious about him again. The problem is he is the only guy I have felt this strongly about and the only one who has truly been able to hold my interest. Although my new boyfriend was great but I didn't feel excited about him anymore after I met my ex. I didn't want to have my heart broken again by him, but he was also the only person that has stayed in my mind for that past few years. So, what did I do? At that point I didn't want to lie to my new boyfriend and stay with him while still kept contact with my ex. So I decided to get back with my first lover again and I think it's worth finding out just how much he has changed. So give him a chance.

In conclusion, I think what you and your ex - boyfriend need to strengthen are reassurance and communication. "Since the most common complaint of those couples who come for counseling is not money, sex or their children but complaints about communication problems, or lack of communication" (Elia & Chen, p.83). This is a really important issue for you two to think of if you want to keep your reunion relationship stable. "All partners, lovers, friends, and casual cuddle buddies deserve reassurance and communication time. Don't expect someone else to read your mind" (Elia & Chen, p.160). Thus keep these in mind and give it a try.

Sincerely,Dr. RoofReferences1.Chen, Ivy. Course Reader from Copy Edge, 20082.Elia, John P and Chen, Ivy. Sex and Relationships: An Anthology, 2nd Edition. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt Publishers, 20053.Lovers from Friends; Friends with Benefits; Long - Lost Love Reunions Lecture notes, 2008