Second chances. Who doesn’t love a good redemption story? As a divorced person, I believe in second chances. I believe in starting over. I believe in growing, change and learning from your mistakes.
But how do you honestly give someone a second chance especially if trust is an issue and what are some good reasons for doing so?
I recently read an article about some couples who broke up and then got back together after either realizing what they gave up, a lot of internal reflection, personal growth and some groveling.
I think if two people honestly want to give something another go, why not go for it? But the key word is “two.” Do both people truly want the other person or is just because someone is lonely or just craves company or attention?
I know couples who have divorced and remarried and made a successful go of it. I know couples who have been on the brink of divorce and worked things out. Many of these couples say the key to their success was a variety of things but open communication was consistently the common denominator.
There’s a ton of advice and articles written on the subject. Some say you should work out your problems. I think in some cases (especially in infidelity) that is certainly viable. But I think a lot of issues between couples come down to communication, trust and differing expectations or places in life.
No matter the problem, if both people are willing to put in the effort, and personally work on self-awareness and growth, it has the possibility to work. But if one person isn’t “all in” or isn’t willing to commit the effort, the possibility of success seems unlikely.
I went through an exercise of a pros and cons list to determine if I wanted to give someone a second chance. I wrote out all of his characteristics, values, habits, etc. and divided them into the two columns. It wasn’t as simple as adding up each side to see which was longer because sometimes, those things in the “con” column carry a lot of weight and are big deals.
We all make mistakes. I know I have. Sometimes I don’t communicate effectively. Sometimes I get emotional.
In the end, I determined I didn’t have sufficient information to make an informed decision.
But how do you build trust?
Truth About Deception gives some great tips on rebuilding trust:
- Create Understanding
- Apologize effectively
- Explain point of view
- Make promises
- Follow through on promises
- Discuss how promises are being kept
Pyschology Today has additional suggestions:
- Forgive yourself
- Forgive the other person
- Trust yourself
- Trust the other person
What I learned after my divorce is to trust myself and know my own truth. After the lies, deception, cheating, manipulation and gas lighting during my marriage, it’s been hard to figure out if I’m seeing something through that filter or if something is really off. Sadly, I know many women in that same boat. Experience with dating and talking to tons of people about their relationships has helped immensely.
I believe that a person’s actions speak louder than their words and if a person shows you they want another chance and puts in the effort, then it may be worth a second look especially if their plus column is pretty long.
I think in the end, we all want someone who can appreciate us for who we are, short-comings and all. Someone who can see our weaknesses and love us because of them not in spite of them. Someone we can grow with and do life with. Someone who challenges us to be better and explore the things we love. Someone who excites us and creates energy. Someone who has a similar or complimentary vibe.
I have a sign in my house that says “we do second chances.” Sometimes I ask my boys if they want to try something again or rephrase something especially when they get cheeky. We get do-overs because that’s how we learn and get better. It seems that applying that same mind-set to relationships would be beneficial. Extending grace to someone else who is equally imperfect but still lovable seems like a win-win in my book.