Five Stages Where Trying Again Makes Sense

“It’s the end,” we said in anger. And now we regret it. What if the other person doesn’t want it anymore? What if we have caused too much damage? Does it make any sense to try again?
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Arguing. Separating. Sulking. Wounding.

But, in the depths of our soul, loving.

And desiring to return to each other.

There are a lot of couples that have undergone a storm in a teacup, perhaps even a breakup, and now—they don’t know what to do.

They feel the same way as when they smash a vase on the ground at home and then, after a while, it occurs to them that they have to clean it up. They threw someone out/ran away from someone they love but without whom they do not want to be.

The whole of my last book The 100 Shortest Ways to You is, as the name indicates, about HOW to find the shortest way to another person and to yourself, if your current relationship does not suit you. But today we will answer the question WHEN: When it makes sense to return.


In general, I can answer with a short example.

When I was little, there was a period when I really wanted a puppy. My neighbour’s dog gave birth to five and he knew I wanted one. He invited me to his place and let me choose.

“Just not this one. One paw isn’t sufficiently developed and my son wants him.”

I was surprised. “But this one won’t be able to run and play as much as any of the others,” I objected.

My neighbour smiled at me sadly. “My son has a prosthesis instead of one leg. He can’t run. And, he also knows that this dog needs someone to understand him.

Do You Understand Me, Then?

As I write in my books, everything that is important in a relationship has twelve or thirteen letters. Com-mu-ni-ca-tion, un-der-stand-ing, com-pro-mis-ing…

This is because we are all different and we need to understand where another person’s limits are; what hurts them, even though it doesn’t hurt us; what they can bear, what is too much; up to what point we can allow them to sacrifice and where they lose themselves for love; where it is a good idea to maintain a non-functional relationship and where we are already treading water because we want to hurt each other more than understand each other.

When I meet my readers, I often feel that—disappointed by mistakes made by previous partners—they are looking for a consistently better, almost perfect person. But a healthy relationship is not about finding a perfect person—no such person exists. It’s about finding an imperfect individual with whom we will be able to work on perfecting our relationship.

Because we will understand them, like the limping puppy, and they, in return, will understand our bad leg.

Work on it with me, please…

I used the key word: work. Everything that is worth it in life is about work. Success, career and health. We have to create everything that is worth it.

In every society there are people who will never work. They want a free ride. They want to get benefits, but don’t want to give anything back. (As you can see, relationships are the same as employment.)

Keeping hold of a partner who wants to build a relationship TOGETHER WITH US, but is currently angrily panting round the corner with a cross face and a growing ego, is, believe me, a treasure. There are problems in every relationship, but in healthy relationships you can manage them TOGETHER.

Where should the boundaries be when we can say: “OK, it’s worth trying again with you,” or “You’re worth taking back!” or “It’s worth going back to you!”?

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