Yes, you CAN make a relationship work the second time around: As Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck reunite, experts share their tips – from brainstorming your future to ‘scoring’ your bond on a 6-point quiz
- Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck enjoyed a couple’s getaway to Montana
- The couple have apparently rekindled their romance 17 years after they split
- Relationship experts have revealed how to make it work the second time around
- Explained there are six questions to ask and shared a compatibility quiz
News that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have reconnected after 17 years has sparked a discussion on whether you can ever make a relationship work the second time around.
The former celebrity couple – who were engaged in 2002 but postponed their 2003 wedding and officially split in 2004 – were spotted on a romantic getaway in Montana just weeks after JLo, 51, announced her split from Alex Rodriguez, 45.
Speaking to FEMAIL, British relationship experts explained that, contrary to popular belief, rekindled relationships like JLo and Ben’s can work, as long as both people are willing to put in the effort.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck – who were engaged in 2002 but postponed their 2003 wedding and officially split in 2004 – were spotted on a romantic getaway in Montana (pictured) just weeks after JLo, 51, announced her split from Alex Rodriguez, 45
‘The reason you’re drawn back to your ex is because there was some superglue there in the relationship that is calling you back,’ explained relationship expert and life coach Carole Ann Rice.
‘Maybe it’s time to wave the white flag and say, “I surrender”, and admit that you did wrong and what you wish to change. If you’re both really keen to make it work and love and miss each other, there is a very strong chance it could work.’
While any deep rooted issues might require couples therapy, there are also practical steps couples can take at home if they want to get their ‘relationship 2.0’ off to the best possible start including brainstorming shared goals.
Here, the experts shared the tips you need to know…
Speaking to FEMAIL, British relationship experts explained that rekindled relationships like JLo and Ben’s can work, as long as both people are willing to put in the effort. Pictured, in 2003
Reflect on exactly why the relationship ended
Relationship experts agree that the first step is to reflect on why the first relationship ended so you can avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Margaret Bankole, a relationship expert with over 25 years experience, said: ‘Why did the relationship break down in the first place? You need to look at that first, and see whether you are willing to work through those reasons.
‘If you don’t, you could find yourself bickering about the same issues, and it could lead to heartbreak again.’
Ask yourself these six questions
Relationship expert Neil Wilkie, founder of online couples therapy platform The Relationship Paradigm, shared these six questions everyone should ask themselves before rekindling a romance.
The answers will help you determine whether enough has changed to make it work.
- How did the relationship end and was it your decision, their decision or a mutual decision?
- If it was your decision, was it a mistake?
- If it was their decision; have they changed their mind?
- From what you know now, would anything have changed?
- Are you now both in a fundamentally different place where the relationship could work better?
- If you met your ex today as a complete stranger would you be attracted to them and want to start a relationship with them?
If the answer to all of these is no, then nothing has changed and going back would be more than disappointing.
Score your previous relationship out of 10
Neil explains it is important to assess your original relationship.
Write for 15 minutes about your ex-partner
Neil also suggests trying this task to assess your previous relationship:
- Get lots of paper and find a space free of interruptions.
- Think about your ex and write non-stop for 15 minutes (that means you are not allowed to stop writing.)
- At the end of 15 minutes, stop and take a break of at least 5 minutes.
- Come back and read through what you have written and see what themes have emerged.
- Then take that paper somewhere safe and burn it.
- Reflect on what that has told you about your ex.
The temptation and convenience of reigniting the flame might mean you are viewing it through rose tinted glasses.
Try scoring the relationship on each of these six key elements. Mark each out of 10 (where 10 is perfect) and see what pattern emerges:
- Communication – were you able to talk, express your feelings and be truly listened to?
- Connection – how strong was the feeling of connection or had you drifted apart?
- Commitment – were you both truly committed to the relationship or going through the motions?
- Fun – how much fun did the two of you have together?
- Growth – were the ‘You’, ‘Me’ and ‘Us’ all growing or stuck in a rut?
- Trust – did you trust them totally?
If many of the scores were 7 or below then why would this be better in the future?
Check you’re not being lured in by the sense of comfort – and never do it on the rebound
Margaret warned against being lured in by the automatic sense of comfort that comes with reigniting an old flame.
‘Getting back with an ex might seem like a good idea, but I would advise you to think very carefully before you do so,’ she said.
‘When you re-connect, especially after breaking up with someone else, the familiarity might seem welcoming and comforting.
‘There might also be a newness. However, the thing that you need to remember is that they are an ex for a reason.’
She added: ‘Finally, when you come out of one relationship, it is always advisable to go through a period and time of healing before you jump in to another relationship, so I would definitely advise against getting back with an ex on the rebound.’
Get creative to see if your future goals are aligned
Neil said: ‘Getting back with your Ex will not be pressing the ‘Play’ button having paused the old relationship.
‘This has to be looked at as a new and better relationship not the old one with a sticking plaster on. Life has moved on and you are both older and different.
‘This is an opportunity to create your ideal future relationship, not to replay old dreams. A great way of getting clarity on this can be to get a large piece of paper and some coloured pens.
‘Let the thoughts and feelings flow and draw a representation of what your ideal future relationship will be, not just the person, but how you will feel and the life you will be having. Look at this and see what it is telling you.
‘Maybe ask your ex to do the same so that you can compare and see what is different and how well aligned you are.
‘Then work out what you need to do to allow this to happen. Is that desirable and achievable?’
Spend some time getting to know one another again
Match’s dating expert, Hayley Quinn, said it is important to get to know this version of your partner because they will have changed over time.
She explained: ‘People’s characteristics can change over time, so even if you’ve dated before don’t assume you know who they are now. Take into consideration that you’ve also changed too.
‘Take the time to date each other and enjoy rekindling/getting to know each other again.
‘You can never beat the value of quality time, especially as so often the passion drains out of our relationships, not because it is inevitable, but because we don’t take the time to nurture our bond, so going forward put in the time and don’t skip this step out.
Sometimes it’s time to admit you did wrong
Relationship expert and life coach Carole Ann Rice (www.realcoachingco.com) explains sometimes time away from each other just makes you stronger.
She said: ‘Sometimes, when you’re in a relationship, it can be a tug of war and you’re in a bubble of blame and confusion and it can take a bit of distance to realise the dynamic was toxic at the time. Having a second go can be a good thing.
‘The reason you’re drawn back to your ex is because there was some superglue there in the relationship that is calling you back. Maybe it’s time to wave the white flag and say, “I surrender”, and admit that you did wrong and what you wish to change.
‘If you’re both really keen to make it work and love and miss each other, there is a very strong chance it could work. Learn from what went wrong.
‘Sometimes, relationships can get into a toxic muddle that in hindsight you do regret and wish you could have done things differently.’
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