Relationship Redo – Is It Settling or a Second Chance?

Timing is everything

You miss the commuter train by 5 minutes. There’s another 30 minutes later, but now you’re hurrying and anxious; you have a first date this evening. You leave the station, heading for home, take a turn too quickly, and blow your tire on a curb. You never make it to the date, and you never manage to reschedule. You’re out a few hundred for the tow and the new tire. And you wonder.

* * *  Life gets complicated. Couples drift apart.

You said “I love you,” and he said “me, too.” You talked about moving in together – his idea – but then he dropped it, and you thought maybe it’s better that way. Blended families, complications of older parents in another city. Work, money, life spilling over. You drift apart. And you wonder.

* * *

The lanky musician with wild hair was your secret crush in high school, but you never said a word. Ten years later, you run into him on the street and then chat over a cocktail. He says: “You know, I wanted to ask you out ten years ago. But I wasn’t confident enough to really talk with you, and I thought you weren’t interested.” He takes out his wallet and proudly shows off his wife and baby daughter, and you wonder.

Can a Relationship Do-Over Work?

Sometimes star-crossed lovers find each other again years later. Sometimes divorced couples remarry. Stormy relationships in a cycle of break-ups and reuniting may eventually quiet; at a different stage of life, they form more stable unions.

We hear plenty of tales of second chances at love, a sort of relationship redo. Is it just the stuff of movie plots or popular fiction? Are these tales urban legend?

Do we actually get relationship do-overs? Karmic opportunities that make up for those that were missed based on timing, maturity, or circumstances? Can people change on their own in ways that make relationships succeed years later where they didn’t previously?

Risking Relationship Round Two

An old boyfriend got in touch not long ago. We had drifted apart, having once enjoyed a truly lovely relationship.

We were a yes for each other, and through difficult times; then we floated in a haze of maybe, and found ourselves in a presumed no. At the time, we had insurmountable logistical challenges – money, kids, and other constraints – the typical issues that come with life after divorce. There were also differences in nature and desire, some that were problematic, which I set aside. Eventually, those bedroom issues weighed heavily when it came to the maybe, and the ultimate no.

But without question, there was love. Full-on, believe-in-each-other love. At one point, I would’ve moved my share of mountains so we might be together. Is rekindling possible under these circumstances? Can you refashion passion? What if you can find the love, but not the heat?

We stayed in touch; we ran into each other in the past year. And then, a few months ago, the phone call that gently proposed we consider picking up where we left off. All the children were older. We knew each other well, trusted each other – and could even help each other in this difficult economy by pooling resources (and living together).

Pragmatism or Love? Second Chance or Settling?

What was once a relationship with intimacy, trust, shared habit, and love is now in the past. For me, it was a lovely past, but something I put away on a shelf, in a private place of memory.

Start up again? Is it tempting in some ways and impossible in others? Sure – the thought of falling into something known and comfortable has appeal. And practical aspects for both of us. We’re both older, in a way more isolated. We know and trust each other. But is that enough?

  • Do you believe that a relationship re-do is possible?
  • Would you “settle” for companionship?
  • What if it were friendship, trust + occasional benefits?
  • How much of our lives comes down to timing?

 

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Comments

  1. I think timing is HUGE. Sometimes you can’t move mountains to be together. And I’m not sure you should, even if you could. Because usually that involves huge sacrifice for one person in the couple…and that can cause stress and resentment and displacement.

    But I also can’t believe I just said that. Because *someone* sold her home, quit her job and moved to a new town to follow her fiancee, who’d gotten a great job.

    Awesome. Now I’m a hypocrite. That’s a hard thing to face before 7:30 in the morning.

  2. Sometimes all the “parts” can be there but you may be on different pages emotionally – meaning you want/expect different things from the relationship. My Man and I were like that for a long time; we were “together” but never really on the same page at the same time emotionally and then one day…we were. :)

    I do believe in second chances. And that timing IS everything.

  3. I believe in second chances and that timing is everything. I also believe that sometimes a higher power knows more than we do about where we are ultimately headed.

    I have settled for companionship in a relationship. I should not have as it was one of the relationships that, for whatever reason, did not last in the long run. I have also had the friendship, trust and occasional benefits. I don’t know if either is good ultimately. Both were perfect for me at that point in my life. Whether they would be again at some future point in my life has yet to be written.

  4. BLW — What a teaser! Have you made up your mind? Or are you still thinking about it? :-)

  5. Husband and I have been together for 12 years – with one significant, critical break in the middle. Without that time apart, we would never have learned to compromise, to be the strength in the other’s weakness. I personally would never have figured out some important lessons about myself. Would that road map work for every relationship? Certainly not. But I am a firm believer in the potential of the “not right now” to become the “yes, now” and maybe even the “yes, for a long, long time.”

  6. CONGRATULATIONS, BLW! Clue: check out WE magazine. ;-)

  7. On the ex-boyfriend thing, I always felt like the thing that broke us up in the first place would rise its ugly head again and break us up again. But then again, there were those guys who “weren’t ready” for a relationship or the myriad reasons that can actually be grown out of.

    I came to believe that when it’s right, it’s right. I took their words at face value, even if I wanted to psychoanalyze them to death and hope for the best. If I knew what I wanted my life to look like in the future and they didn’t see their life looking like that, even if I thought they’d change their mind, it had to end. I’m not in charge of raising all the men in the world.

    And congrats on the bloggers to watch list!

  8. relationship do-over…interesting…and very intriguing re: the former boyfriend who’s reappeared..you must fill us in ;-)

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Re the former boyfriend. There are temptations, but mostly around very pragmatic issues. I’ve been under the weather for awhile. He would be another adult to help, and we know each other so well. Friendship was always at the base of our relationship. But as I gave it some thought – that’s not a reason for us to get back together, or even to give it a try. He should want more. And I do want more. Linda said something – that what breaks up a couple may rear its head again. I think she’s right in this case. But the irony – he was coming around to where I thought we would be a couple of years ago. Timing, in this instance, really is everything. 3 years ago, it would’ve been a yes. Now? I don’t think so.

  9. Yeah, congratulations!! That is awesome!

  10. I too have had an encounter with a “past love.” It was at a time when I was in severe pain and change and had no idea how to react or respond. She was my “first love.” We lost our virginity together way back when I was 17 (she was 16.) In reconnecting with her, I fell horribly and inappropriately in love with her. It took her kind hand to make me understand that it was not her that I longed for, but a new change in a horrible life situation. In hindsight, she was totally right. I do still love her but it is a richer, mutual respecting, close friendship relationship. She is my mentor and I still go to her for relationship issues and general ‘change’ advice. I will never regret what we shared together as young lovers and I will always appreciate the close relationship we share today. As for timing, I could have easily been one of her ex-husbands and I really don’t think that we would have the close friendship we have today if I was. Timing? Perfect!

    More of my thoughts on timing in relationships can be found here http://jassnight.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/it-is-all-in-the-timing/

  11. I think timing is everything…or at least…more than we often recognize or realize in life. This was one of my favorite ever posts that you’ve done, because this very issue has come up in my life so often over the years. Timing…here’s one for you…the high school crush that turned into a post college romance that ended up failing to blossom because of a missed phone call, due to my mom being on the phone for hours (and my mother was never, ever, ever on the phone). One call, one missed evening, a complete series of events and misunderstandings transpired as the result and, well, I just can’t help thinking that it was divine intervention somehow.

    Amazing post, and I love the dialogue that has followed. I love digesting all this on my Sunday morning before my life goes completely nuts and I have to disappear for another week. I’m ready for summer!

  12. Interesting post. The heart wants what the heart wants and logic is not really a part of that. But timing is critical because there are so many little things that can influence and push a relationship one way or another.

    I believe in second chances, most assuredly I do.

  13. Timing. I do think its all about timing. Sometimes you can spin your wheels trying to move things along- whether its work, love, kids- but when the time is right things fall together almost by themselves. I’m not saying that relationships are effortless but only contrasting the ones that require huge sacrifice, or huge amounts of whatever to those that don’t.

    I certainly don’t have it figured out. I wouldn’t be alone if I did!

  14. Yes, I have to believe in relationship do-overs. In fact, at this point, I need to believe in it. Slowly but surely, it seems like it can work out, but only time will tell. For now, I take comfort in the fact that we can afford a do over and that we are, and that this person I thought couldn’t change is now changing – and this applies to the both of us – so it’s definitely looking like a do over is possible. Except this time, we hope for a “do better”.

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