NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love: Is It Really Better The Second Time Around?

Is love really better "the second time around," as Frank Sinatra says in his song.  

As a therapist, who has worked with individuals and couples who have rekindled relationships with exes, I've seen couples who were able to successfully reconnect and work out their differences.  I've also seen couples who got back together after a breakup and tried to work out their differences, but they continued to have the same problems.  So, it all depends on the two people.

Love: Is It Really Better the Second Time Around?

Going Back into the Relationship the Second Time Around with Your Eyes Wide Open
When you go back into a relationship that ended because the two of you couldn't or wouldn't work out the problems, you're going back in (unless you're in denial) with your eyes wide open.  You both know what the problems were, how you tried (or didn't try) to work things out and that it resulted in a breakup.  You know what you're up against and, for whatever reason, you and your partner or spouse feel you have the wherewithal to overcome the problems this time.

Reasons Not to Get Back Together
People often get back together again because they still love each other.  It might not be that heady "in love" feeling they had for each other when they first met, before the problems started.  Usually, it's a more mature love, and the feelings are strong enough that each person feels it's worth the emotional risk to try again.  But there are also reasons not to get back together:
  • You're too afraid to move on and meet someone new.
  • You feel "the devil you know" is better than "the devil you don't know."
  • You're "use to" your ex and don't want to have to go out and meet someone new.
  • You heard your ex started dating someone new and you couldn't stand the thought of it.
  • You lack confidence to date again.
  • You feel you don't deserve anyone else.
  • You're afraid you'll never meet anyone else new.
  • You feel you should get back together again "for the sake of the kids."
I'm sure there are lots of other reasons not to get back together again, but these are some of the reasons I've heard from clients who mistakenly return to their ex, only to discover that nothing has changed.

Simply Saying "We're starting over again" Doesn't Solve Your Problems
If you and your spouse or partner had serious problems that led to your breakup, just saying, "Let's start over again" doesn't automatically resolve all your problems.  I know this might sound very simplistic, but I've heard couples in couples therapy tell me that they think they can just "put everything behind" them and "start over" without doing any work on their relationship.  It's not surprising that I hear from these same couples a few months later that they're still having the same problems as they did before the breakup.

Being in a relationship is not like playing a game where people call out, "Do over" and everything is erased.  You might want to "put everything behind" you, but that doesn't change the fact that there's a history of problems, and hurt, resentment and anger that led to the breakup.  Avoidance, in terms of working out these problems, isn't going to magically make them go away.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you weren't able to work out your problems the first time without couples counseling and you want to give the relationship another chance, you owe it to yourself and your relationship to get professional help this time.  

A skilled couples counselor, who is objective, can help you navigate through the difficult emotional problems in a way that's often not possible to do on your own.  

By participating in couples counseling you both can also learn relationship skills that you might not have had before and that might make the difference between your relationship succeeding or not this time.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more but me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.