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What does reconciliation actually LOOK like?

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I guess this is a fluid question based on so many different factors but it’s one I find very interesting……

Not relating this at all to my last BU but the topic got me thinking to what has happened to me previously……about 12 years or so ago I was with a man for 5 years. Loved him. He broke up with me over some very wish washy reasons and then 15 months later ended up blowing up my phone begging for me to take him back and to become his wife ….I was far far too gone and healed by that point to consider it. 

So, this question made me ponde. For those who have done it and got back together, what did it actually look like? Was it one of you coming back (like my ex from many moons ago) with huge regrets, wanting the other back etc or was it much more nuanced in terms of slowly talking again, maybe meeting up for a drink/dinner and slowly evolving? 

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29 minutes ago, WintersDay said:

. He broke up with me over some very wish washy reasons and then 15 months later ended up blowing up my phone begging for me to take him back and to become his wife ….I was far far too gone and healed by that point to consider it. 

Sorry this happened. Whenever an ex contacts you it's for their own agenda. Lonely, bored, randy, just got dumped, on the rebound, etc. 

So it's a good thing you didn't consider it. 

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What it looked like.  

First time - I ended things but it was also mutual.  6-7 weeks before the wedding. I just had too many doubts, I was in panic mode.  A month later I wanted him back.  We met for dinner.  He said no - it would be really romantic of course but then I know we'd be in the same situation again.  No cheating or lying or betrayal.  No abuse in the least. 

For the next 7 plus years we emailed a few times a year -mostly impersonal stuff.  No phone calls.  We had one fast dinner after 5 years or so when he was in town (he moved away about a year after we broke up). Platonic.  Then after almost 8 years he emailed me that he'd be in my city (where we both grew up) over the summer -did I want to meet for dinner.  We'd emailed a bit more in the past year because my dear friend and relative tragically passed away.  I'd told him as he had known her.  We emailed about her.  

I ended a long term on and off again 7 year relationship about 4 months before he emailed me asking about dinner and we met over a month later. I assumed it would be another platonic catch up dinner -I was single.  Didn't know if he was -didn't ask.  Sparks flew.  And they weren't mentioned but it was obvious.  He'd recently ended a one year serious relationship -he had to tell me that as I saw a dress in his apartment she hadn't yet picked up.  (I walked him back to his apartment and stopped in for about an hour -totally platonic). 

The next week he called and asked me to dinner and theater and I figured it was with a group -I literally had no clue he was interested.  We had a lovely -platonic -evening.  Then almost two weeks passed and I started dating someone.  We emailed a few times and he was going to be leaving town in about a month.  He then called to see me again - platonic I assumed.  Another lovely evening - and that night he asked me to get back together.  I hesitated-for about 60 seconds? -it was -amazing but also overwhelming -we'd failed so colossally years ago.  I said yes and we have a brief discussion about what we wanted -marriage and family- that we would likely be long distance, that I likely would have to relocate if we got married for his career.  I idd tell him I was a a little scared! - I think he was too! - but we went for it.

We got married 3 years and 4 months later.  Same engagement ring!  The wedding that did happen was 11 years and one month after the first cancelled one.  We've been married 15 years and we're happy.  We both had changed in ways that complemented each other.  I didn't settle.  We were 39 and 38 when we got back together.

That's what it looked like!  

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Even though my story is not the same as yours,  usually reconciliation expectations include efforts to make amends,  remorse,  verbally saying sincere apologies and genuine change for the better now and in the future.  Talk is cheap unless there's action to back it up meaning real change and improvement in behavior. 

Reconciliation requires very mature adult conversations to clear the air,  both parties truly listening with zero distractions and the desire to resume the relationship (or friendship) with concerted efforts put forth. 

Reconciliation requires tremendous amounts of humility.

What did it look like?  Reconciliation includes healthy conversations without interrupting,  being great listeners,  desire to resolve issues and taking baby steps.  Communication is key.  Empathy is a must. 

Trust takes a long time to rebuild.

I've been very bitter and resentful regarding the past.  However,  if the perpetrator humbly apologizes,  I will accept "I'm sorry for . . ."  My former frostiness begins to thaw.  It is rare though.  Most people are in denial mode,  couldn't care less how you feel and they'll never apologize in a million years.  You're expected to move on and play "nice" while knowing there's high risk of offensive and abusive history repeating itself. 

If you're one of the lucky few to experience emotional intelligence from those who've wronged you sorely,  consider yourself very fortunate. 

Good times and wonderful memories are often reminisced.  However,  never allow nostalgia to cloud your judgment.  Never allow your emotions to cancel your realistic common sense.  Be practical.  Use your mind.🫢

I see good in a lot of people.  However,  it's those bad memories which will cause you to look at the facts.  Most of the time,  if you allow certain people back into your life,  there is a strong possibility for the relationship to go awry again.

I can be soft on people,  take them back and then I'm sorry I did because the breakup or estrangement occurred for a reason.  There were personality and character differences which can never be overlooked.  There was huge lack of empathy which was the deal breaker.

Also,  it depends if you really want reconciliation.  Often times,  years have since passed,  you've carved a new life for yourself,  grew accustomed to your freedom and significantly reduced your stress.  I generally err on the side of caution.  If people are red flags or they gave me a very painful,  negative and extremely stressful experience,  I tend to be very risk adverse.  I don't take yet another chance of getting hurt again.  I've gambled in the past and lost badly.  ☹️It's not worth experiencing pain all over again IMHO.  Once bitten,  twice shy.  Fool me once,  shame on you.  Fool me twice,  shame on me. 😒

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I have only seen this be successful once.   They were HS sweethearts.  She dumped him early freshman year of college because he wasn't mature enough.   Around age 22-23 they bumped into each other at a party.   They started dating about a year later.  They dated for 5 & have now been married for 6 years with two cute toddlers.  


I only tried to reconnect once.  We broke up then tried to get back together a few months later.  Something was just off. . .that magic, that sparkle was gone.  25 years later we still sometimes bump into each other at professional industry events.  We can manage a polite conversation for a few minutes.  We sent each other cards when various parents have passed away over the years but we are each married to other people.  

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