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Caroline posted a comment asking for advice as to whether she should rekindle a relationship from the past. Regular readers may remember her from a few weeks back when I posted a response to her highly dysfunctional relationship with a manipulator suggesting she take time out, getting to understand herself and her love choices. Since then Caroline has ditched the manipulator but has found herself spending time with an ex boyfriend.

In short, they spent several months together but his baggage (an ex wife, a kid, another ex wife, another kid, plus a vasectomy that may not be reversed) and they seemed not to be on the same page. Caroline at the time wanted children, needed to feel secure about her place in the relationship and struggled with feeling second place to his the commitments to his past life. It’s difficult to watch your man go rushing off at the beck and call of his ex wife. Things didn’t end well and she started going out with the manipulator, but now she is seeing the ex as a friend and thinks that she is feeling more than friendship towards him. Is she? And can people rekindle relationships?

Honestly speaking, I don’t think it’s a good idea to leap from a particularly destructive relationship into a new relationship. The fact that it’s with an ex is all the more reason why I think she should take her time. We have to be careful when we’ve been hurt because it is easy to see the wonderful in someone else and rationalise the things that gave you a reason to break up in the first place.

“Having had both relationships close together, I cannot say I regret ending this one, I feel that I have had to go through what I have to understand the true meaning of love, the irony is that what we had was more real than anything I’ve ever had before, or had with the manipulator.”

One of the mistakes we make as women is comparing experiences to determine if something is good love. But here’s the conundrum: If you’re comparing very bad (the manipulator) to what you used to think was not so great but now you think it may be OK, it’s not a fair comparison.

ANYTHING that’s an improvement against the manipulator looks good at this stage, but it doesn’t make it right.

Here are some things to think about if you are considering rekindling a relationship:

1) It broke for a reason! There is a reason for the demise of the relationship and unless the issues that existed before have been addressed, you will find yourself with the same problem all over again.

For Caroline: It sounds like a lot of things have changed, but deciding that a massive dream like wanting kids is not that important makes me feel nervous about this relationship.

2) Be careful of slipping into similar or exact situations. You need to put some distance between your previous relationship and the one you’re considering so that you can be objective. It’s easy to ignore similarities that could be crucial to your future happiness.

For Caroline: On the surface and underneath, there are some uncomfortable similarities between the two relationships. The excess baggage, the child issue (last time he wanted one, in the previous one you wanted one and now you’ve done an about-turn and are willing not to have one at all).

3) People often rekindle relationships because there is a familiarity that makes them feel secure. This doesn’t make it a reason to go back.

For Caroline: I don’t doubt that you get on with this guy, but you’re around each other at a vulnerable time.

4) Get happy, secure and over the previous relationship for a sufficient period of time and THEN see how you feel. You’d be surprised at how many people feel different.

For Caroline: Ideally after such a serious break-up and fallout, I would recommend a 3 month break at the bare minimum to get on track and do some serious soul searching. Ask yourself if you really think you’ve done everything you need to do in a matter of weeks.

5) Don’t start something unless you’re absolutely certain. Once to break up is one thing but to put you both through the pain all over again is not a risk you should take lightly.

For Caroline: Take your time!

6) Don’t make someone your rebound!

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