Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook, reuniting with a long lost love is becoming more and more common. As a woman who re-dated a man I married after several years apart, I confess to being part of this growing trend. However, most "rekindlers" as experts call it, are folks who get together after decades apart.
Re-dating an old flame can initially feel more comfortable than getting to know someone new but depending on how long you dated, how well you knew one another and the intensity of the past romance there could be a highly charged emotional outcome. Unlike a new relationship, old issues could begin to surface. If the break-up was caused by deception or cheating, it's often hard to move on. If the separation was due to a change in distance, parental approval or during childhood, the chances of a successful reunion are better. If you recently rekindled with an old love and want it to last, follow these tips so that you both have a chance at making it work out the second time around.
Out with the old
After the initial excitement of reconnecting wears off, don't begin overanalyzing the past mistakes or reasons for the break-up. If he cheated on you when you were 17, it doesn't mean that he'll do it again at 37. If her father didn't like you when you were in college, maybe he won't feel that way today. It could have been the fact that he wanted his daughter to finish school and explore the world before she got married. No matter what the past situation, start fresh, and approach the reunion with the same outlook as you would a new relationship. You owe each other that much if you've decided to give it another go.
Danger of "I know you"
Ken and Eve met during their first year of college and dated for three years. When they re-met in their late forties, they discussed old memories as if they still knew one another in the same way. "Ken loves having his friends over to watch the Miami Dolphin games but he's unmotivated about cleaning up the after party mess." Ken remembered that Eve was dedicated to her three-mile walks everyday and her fitness routine took precedent over their time together. These patterns took place long ago but each of the ex's was still convinced they knew the other person's likes and dislikes. Although some of what they remember about one another could still be true 25 years later, people change a lot over the course of their life. Throw away your preconceived thoughts about who the other person is and enjoy taking the time to get to know them again.
The Cover Up
Before getting serious about your blast from the past, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Evaluate your current situation and ask yourself why you want to reconnect. Maybe you just came through a divorce or death or your last child moved out of the house leaving you by yourself. If you're feeling lonely inside and longing for a companion, it can often feel easier going back to a familiar lover rather than moving forward to someone new. Sue, a widow and mother of three, was an empty nester for six months when she began dating her old college friend, Bob. They'd remained in contact over the years but she never considered a romantic relationship until her youngest son left for the Army. Bob and Sue dated almost a year before she realized that Bob was a just a replacement for the loneliness and that she was happier being by herself. The relationship ended badly, taking with it the long-term friendship. Unfortunately, Sue made the mistake of masking her real feelings by connecting with someone familiar without taking the time to heal first. Evaluate your current situation and make sure your intentions are real before seeking out a past lover.
Despite the potential issues that could arise, rekindler romances have a high success rate. The Lost Love Project, a study out of California State University, surveyed over 1000 men and women who tried a reunion with an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend and found that 72% of couples who reunited after more than five years apart, entered into long-term relationships with two-thirds resulting in marriage or engagement. Considering the high rate of divorce, it looks like these types of relationships stand a much better chance of working out.
Lori Bizzoco is a writer, journalist and blogger living in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently working on a memoir detailing how she found love in less than a year.
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