If you find yourself wondering whether or not your ex deserves a second chance, it may be a good idea to pause and consider the pros and cons before making any big decisions. Getting back together could be a great thing, or it could mean undoing a lot of healing, or even finding yourself back in an unpleasant situation.
That's why it'll be up to you to consider what you're looking for, and why you may want to give it another go. If you think the relationship could be different, and your ex has made some changes, it may be time to talk to each other, and figure out your next move.
"Second chances can work," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "But usually only with major growth in both partners. If that happens, it’s possible to build a better relationship." You'll just want to look for signs of actual change so that things really can be different, and then work together to maintain those changes.
"It’s easy to fall back into old patterns when getting back with an ex," Bennett says. "To make the relationship actually work a second time, both partners will have to be vigilant to make sure that neither side returns to old behaviors." Read on for some signs it may be worth it to give your ex a second chance, according to experts, and see where it will lead.
1. You Notice A Change In Their Actions
It's one thing for an ex to swear they've changed, and to talk about how they've learned from mistakes, or how they've grown as a person. But what you really want to look at are the things they do on a daily basis, and the way they live their lives.
"Actions, not words, are important when looking for true change in another person," Bennett says. "If you have solid evidence that your ex is making better choices and acting differently, then it could be safe to give another chance."
This might mean they've clearly overcome bad habits, or picked up healthier ones, and there's been a decent chunk of time for these habits to officially sink in. If you notice this type of significant, actual change, the relationship may deserve a second try.
2. They Offer Specific Apologies
Let's say your relationship ended because your ex cheated, or because they lied. Instead of apologizing in general for "everything they did wrong," it's a good sign if they apologize for these specific things.
"If your ex acknowledges where [they] went wrong and owns up to it, then it could indicate a genuine desire to change and make a new relationship work," Bennett says. "If the apology is too general or seems insincere, then it’s likely just an act."
By apologizing for a specific problem, they're not only acknowledging why it was wrong, but also the impact it had on the you and the relationship. If all of that happens in combination, it may help you make a decision.
3. They've Learned A Lot Since The Breakup
If your ex hasn't done anything new since your breakup, it's unlikely they've grown as a person, or learned anything about themselves. And that means, if you do end up back together, there's a good chance they'll make all the same mistakes.
So look for signs they've done their own thing for a while, had new experiences, and learned more about themselves. You may find that, now that you've both had space to grow as individuals, things really could work out.
"Sometimes people just aren’t ready to be in a relationship together," Bennett says. "But, as time progresses, they mature and are able to fully love each other." And that could certainly be the case with your ex.
4. They Want To Find Solutions For Old Problems
Building off that, it can be a positive sign if your ex is willing to come up with a game plan so you don't end up going down the same road, and having all the same problems. If they've grown a lot as a person, this will be even easier.
"If an ex comes back with better habits that keep the relationship loving, caring, and stable, they definitely have the potential for a long-term commitment," Cherlyn Chong, a breakup recovery and dating coach for professional women, tells Bustle.
5. You're A Different Person Now
Since relationships consist of more than one person, consider how you've changed as well, and what you'd bring to this second-chance relationship. Have you gained some perspective? Or learned new things about yourself?
"If you’ve made a lot of personal changes," Bennett says, "and feel like you can handle a relationship with an ex, then trust yourself and see what happens." You may find the old problems that kept cropping up are a thing of the past, and that you're ready to try again with fresh eyes.
6. They Are Willing To Take It Slow
Even if you do get back together, you can't expect to pick up right where you left off. And your ex should understand that.
As Chong says, "If a person is truly genuine about getting back together, they will understand that it’s important not to rush things. They should want to put your needs first now, and are proving it to you by giving you the space you need to rekindle that spark again."
That might mean dating all over again, as if you just met. Or setting up certain boundaries, so that you can proceed without feeling rushed. They should be cool with whatever it is you need to do in order to consider being together again.
7. They're Willing To Keep Trying
As mentioned above, you'll both have to be on the lookout for old patterns, in order to make sure you don't fall back into the rut that broke you up.
And again, "in order for a relationship to truly work," Chong says, "the both of you must have significantly changed and be able to leave the dynamics of your old relationship behind. This is a new relationship, and should be treated as such."
Your ex may deserve a second chance if they feel the exact same way, and are willing to start this whole thing over from square one, and do what they can to help prevent old problems from forming.
If you notice these signs, and generally feel good at the idea of rekindling a relationship with your ex, it may be worth it to step back in and see how it feels. Because if you're both on the same page, and want it to work, there's a good chance it can.