When Should You Give Your Ex A Second Chance? It'll Only Work Out Under This One Condition, Experts Say

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Giving someone a second chance isn't usually an easy decision. Even if that person has really hurt us, we're often so eager to make it work, that we overlook huge, glaring relationship incompatibilities. And by "we", I mean "me" — I am so guilty of this. My first two relationships involved me getting back together with each ex over and over so many times that I didn't know if I was coming or going. It was exhausting. And there was no good reason for it.

Now, there's always the argument that you sometimes need to get a person out of your system. “If you still see a future with your ex after you’ve broken up, you aren’t giving yourself the opportunity to let someone else fill that role in your life," matchmaker and dating expert Sarah Patt tells Bustle. "You might be closing yourself off to new loves without even realizing it.” And I get that. Sometimes you need to know that you have really tried everything before you can let a relationship go. But whenever I've said, "I just think I need to try it one more time..." that time has always been awful. And it's actually been like 10 more times, TBH. They've always said they'd change. I always said I'd change. Neither of us ever did.

But that's not to say it never works; that's just been my experience. You might have a lot of history with someone, a lot of time invested. Maybe you broke up in the heat of the moment or because of circumstances that no longer exist — like distance or career issues. There are some occasions where giving someone a second chance, even if they hurt you, makes sense. But it only works under one condition.

Only If You Are OK With This One Thing

People don't change. Not really. So you can only give them a second shot if you're OK with who they are — and maybe even with why you broke up in the first place. “The only reason you should ever get back together with an ex is because you’re willing to accept them exactly as they are,” sex and relationship expert Ravid Yosef tells Bustle. “Acceptance, no matter the circumstances, is the only way that you can make it when that thing that was wrong in the first place creeps up again.”

I watched too many friends be so sure that things are "going to change"— and I have been that friend myself. And you know what? I've never seen it happen. Not once. So it shouldn't be a second chance for them to change. It shouldn't be a second chance for things to be different. It shouldn't be a second chance for you to be with the person who they are, the person who they've always been. If you're OK with that, then there may be a reason to give them a second chance.

And you might be. Because the truth is, all relationships have problems. You need to decide if you're OK with theirs. "According to the well-known couples researcher Dr. John Gottman, 69 percent of relationship conflict is about perpetual problems — and ALL couples have them," she says. "It's inevitable that there are ongoing issues in any relationship, and this is OK (although not easy), as long as they are things you can live with. If the issues are problematic, be honest with yourself about this. Even better, get an outside perspective from someone you trust." If you find that their issues are compatible with yours (I'm really resisting the urge to quote Rent here, but all of my fellow geeks out there know who I am), then feel free to give things a second chance.

Choosing whether or not to take someone back is a tough call, and only you know what the right decisions is. Just remember that promises come easily, but changes usually don't.