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Mulligans: Should you date your ex again?

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Mulligan is an interesting word. Your golf-obsessed father thinks of it as a second chance with a nine-iron, but it can also describe something volatile, explosive.

Dating someone for the second time can be another shot at success, or invitation to disaster. Answer these questions if you're considering a "retry" with your ex:

What Went Wrong The First Time?

  • If long distance was the only reason you broke up and now he's moving back to Seattle, it's worth contemplation. But an abuser or cheater will likely abuse or cheat again. Rihanna 101.
  • Reflect on previously-exposed differences in communication, sex, and lifestyle before you date again.

What's Different?

  • Don't entertain a second round if you see no measurable change in previous problems. You may miss his companionship, but that's no excuse to tolerate clinginess or neglect.
  • Make sure your skills have improved, too. In what ways are you a better partner?

Are You Friends?

  • If you answered no, abort mission. Friendship is the foundation of successful relationships.
  • If you answered yes, carefully deliberate what that friendship means to you. Another failed fling will jeopardize it, or you could develop your friendship into a loving bond. Visualize how a do-over would likely play out.

What Do Your Friends Say?

  • Your friends have their own biases, but they aren't clouded by your fears or sex drive. Heed the advice of your wisest, most supportive friends.
  • Talk to people who know your ex well.

What's The Point?

  • Fiery sex? Not a reason to rekindle a relationship. Laughter? Watch fail videos. Terrified of dying alone? Relationships are not required to be happy, nor are they reliable symbols of success.
  • Do you really miss her, or do you miss the idea of her? Do you miss who you were with her? This may indicate you're seeking something in yourself, not in your ex.

Do Your Intellect, Heart, and Body Say Yes?

  • If so, talk to your ex about it. The odds are stacked against relationship mulligans, so it will take observable differences in behavior and communication to create a new dynamic.
  • Hold off on any status updates or family announcements until you're certain it's a better fit than before.

Relationships are chemistry experiments with very real emotional consequences. The most important ingredient is trust. If you have faith in your mutual commitment and improved ability to love each other, give it a shot!

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