Why is it that some people want to reconnect with partners from a past relationship?
I recently taped a segment for It’s About You with host, Alexa Lee. The conversation was about why people sometimes want to reconnect with partners from past relationships, even though the relationship ended badly.
Below is the Q & A:
Q: People know the relationship ended in the past – so why do they want to reconnect? Why do they think it will be different?
A: If anyone has an ounce of imagination, his or her brain likes to fantasize. Our imaginations can help us rationalize why a relationship that didn’t work out in the past might be different the second time around. Also, thinking about getting back into a former relationship can be like getting pregnant again. We contract amnesia on the pain that was involved. The difference is that with birthing a baby, we know the outcome is worth the pain. No guarantees when getting involved with a past relationship
Q: Has the pandemic had an effect on this type of thinking? How so?
A: Yes! Loneliness and isolation can mess with our thinking. Left to think in a vacuum, we can convince ourselves of a lot of things we might not buy into when we have the ability to socialize and hear ourselves talk, with another person as a sounding board. Also, the idea that clearly anything can happen in our society that can be devastating on a national and global scale, can lead us to believe that we need to “go for it” now. And if “it” means reconnecting with a former partner and taking the risk that we might recreate a negative history, why not?
Q: What should people consider before deciding to reach out?
A: They need to ask themselves, “Am I running away from something or running toward something?” In other words, what is my motive for trying to reconnect with this person from the past? If they are running away from loneliness and want to fill up the hole or void in their lives, stop! As hard as it is to feel empty inside, we have to find a way to fulfill ourselves from the inside out rather than the outside in, including expecting another person to do it for us.
Q: If someone decides to pursue this after thinking all that through, what should they keep in mind?
A: Keep in mind that you bring yourself to every relationship. So it’s important to be brutally honest with yourself and ask, “What part did I play in the demise of this relationship the first time around? Am I willing to change or adjust to show up differently?”
Realize that the other person may not have changed the things he or she did that contributed to the demise of the relationship. For this second-time-around relationship to have even a sliver of a chance to make it, each person has to OWN their part in what went wrong and be willing to adjust.