This past spring, one of my best girlfriends reconnected with a former flame who had broken things off abruptly a year back. When the two reunited, he finally explained his reasons for the split: he had just lost his job, he had to move home, and meanwhile, his parents were going through a nasty divorce. Sometimes, in the wake of major difficulties, we push people away instead of drawing them close. Ideally, if you were in a long-term relationship, you would be able to lean on your partner during a challenging time. Still, you may have felt like you had to get through something on your own — and that’s totally understandable.
“Tragedies can work in two ways: they can snap us awake to loving someone fully and right now, or they can make us shut off and back out,” says Trescott. “Especially if the tragedy was centered in an unexpected loss, it’s likely that you broke up with your ex for fear of growing to love them too much as well as feeling like this breakup, on your terms, was the one loss you could control.”
Now that you’ve hopefully worked through your tragedy and begun the process of healing, you may have realized that your bond with your previous partner is worth salvaging. If that’s the case, Trescott, advises being honest with your ex about your confusion and fear during your time of tragedy — a supportive, understanding partner will likely be able to empathize with the difficulties you faced that may have led to a premature breakup.
It can be rather challenging to assess whether a breakup was a mistake or not — mainly because it’s typical to have some regrets after ending a relationship, even if it wasn’t a healthy or totally happy one.
“The most common mistake post-breakup is to confuse emotions with signs that you should be back together,” says Trescott. “Missing your ex and refreshing their Instagram feed every few hours — or minutes — isn’t a sign that you lost the love of your life. It’s a sign that you’re experiencing the very real and natural tensions of heartbreak — emotions like longing and fixation that skew our perspective and hold our attention at a backwards glance.”
If any of these signs sound familiar, however, Trescott advises reaching out to our ex and asking to meet in person or at least talk on the phone about your revelations.
“If you’re coming from a place of clarity, self-responsibility, and you feel healed and capable of returning to the relationship in a new and improved way, then the best move to make is to speak from your heart,” she says. “Be genuine, revealing, and compassionate as well as patient to where your ex might be at. And at the end of the day, rush nothing because if you really feel like breaking up was a mistake, forcing your ex to see that on your timeline would only be mistake number two.”
As humans, we all make mistakes — and that is certainly true in regards to relationships. There are many reasons why we might break up with someone. Sometimes, we realize in retrospect that our relationship was worth fighting for despite those reasons. Take some time and space to honestly reflect on your relationship (perhaps even with a therapist), and evaluate what led to your decision to end things. At the end of the day, it's important to trust your instincts: if it feels like your love story is unfinished or was ended too hastily due to insignificant factors, then it may be worth working to rewrite the ending.
This post was originally published on Oct. 18, 2018. It was updated on Aug. 26, 2019 by Elite Daily Staff.