Should I give him a second chance?

© Christine Schneider/cultura/Corbis

I’ve been in a relationship with this guy for nearly 4 years. Everything was perfect between us until about 6 months ago when he was faced with a choice to make. He preferred to choose the other option rather than our relationship, and I decided to break up with him, given that it hurt too much.

2 months had passed since our break up (in which we had relatively no contact) until we met up again, just to settle some things. Since then he seems to be caught up again, and he keeps telling me that he has made a mistake not choosing me, and that it was when he saw me again that he realised how much he missed and loved me.

We have started dating again, and it feels just like the first time we met with all the fireworks and stuff. But is this the best choice for me? Should I give him a second chance, even though he didn’t think twice before choosing something else over me?

Dear Raisa,

This seems to be an issue of trust. The bond, the chemistry is still there, however, your feelings have been hurt and being dropped so casually in favour of an option that was causing you pain must have stung your pride too, impacting your self-worth. No wonder you are thinking twice about resuming your relationship, tempting as it may be!

Rather than viewing this situation from the perspective of him choosing something else over you, let’s consider some factors that may bring some clarity to the situation.

You made a mature, and probably difficult, decision to break-up before because his behaviour was an absolute no-no for you. Whether it was an addiction, or whether it was, say, him playing in a band and causing you to feel jealous is irrelevant, as you know what you want and took appropriate action.

The difference is that with an addiction he is harming himself and consequently you, as his partner. So he’d have to do the main work at overcoming the addiction while you’d ideally work at not enabling it. On the other hand, something like, say, playing in a band is a positive action for him where jealousy and insecurity from your part would cause him to resent you for preventing him from partaking in his passion. In this instance most of the work would need to be done by yourself by working on becoming more self-confident and secure to repair the relationship, if that’s what you’re considering. These are only examples, but you get my drift – you can draw parallels as appropriate to your situation.

Stopping a certain behaviour for someone else may be perceived as a threat, ultimatum or blackmail. It is more effective for both of you  to examine the issue – see if your expectations of each other are reasonable, consider which factors you individually can and cannot compromise on, then set your boundaries and stick to them. Don’t let the lure of the positive aspects of the relationship compromise those boundaries as you will very possibly find yourself in the same place as before the break-up.

Mending a relationship is possible, however, though it might be triggered by an other, the decision to change or stop a behaviour must come from within the individual not from outside influences. Keep in mind that even positive changes are stressful as it takes some adjusting to, both personally and within a relationship. You might find the help of a therapist beneficial if you still have lingering doubts or if you need some guidance.

What’s your opinion?  Comment in the box below.