There are times in your life when you wonder if you could ever really go back. Could you rekindle that old flame? Is it ever really possible go back to the place that you’d been and somehow make it better the second time around?
I’ve been thinking about this lately and I’ve come to the conclusion that no, you can never really go back to what was. But you can go back to that person and start anew if you have both transformed.
Because there was a reason that relationship broke down the first time. It didn’t work. Whether you or they broke it off, there was something wrong. So walking back in and thinking you can just start again where you finished is naïve and potentially disastrous.
More importantly, you played a role in that relationship and if it didn’t work, part of that responsibility lies with you.
Did you honour yourself in that relationship? Did you speak your truth or did you bite down your words to keep the peace? Did you put the needs of others above your own? Were you fearful of connecting with someone honestly so you always held back a little?
You can point your finger as much as you like at the other person but they reflected something in you. And that’s something you need to look at. If you don’t, you will probably repeat the experience again with someone else. If you don’t take responsibility for the role you played you won’t have learned what you needed to learn.
So as you look back and point the finger at the other person, know that you are really pointing at yourself.
It’s challenging to think like this because it means we have to take ownership of what has happened. Usually it didn’t just happen to us. We made choices that led us to that point and we attracted what was within us.
I’ve been doing my own self-assessment about a previous relationship recently and it’s been an eye-opening experience. I’ve realised that I didn’t always honour myself and I watched as he did the same.
I put his emotional needs above my own, just as he did with others. I wanted so much for him to be happy that I didn’t say, ‘Hey, that’s not cool,’ when he leapt over a boundary. And in return, I watched as he allowed every person in his life to overtake his boundaries again and again.
I judged him harshly when he pulled back. I saw beyond his words to his fears of intimacy and blamed him for the way things ended without acknowledging that in many ways he simply reflected a whole raft of my own fears.
I was angry because he didn’t want to let go of control or the way things had always been. But I didn’t see that all I wanted was to control how it would be. I ran from or blocked conversations because I was terrified of rejection and realise now that he was terrified too. We were too fearful to look each other in the eyes, be fully exposed and work it out. So in the end he decided to get in first and reject me before I could reject him. And so he did what I feared most and left.
It’s like a curtain has been pulled away and suddenly I see how responsible I am for the outcomes I’ve created in my own life. It was never really about what he did to me, after all. Instead it was a reflection of me and that’s why it was so painful because it’s hard to face what’s inside of you, those things you try to hide from yourself.
So can you go back? Can you reconnect to that old relationship and make it work a second time around? Yes. I believe it’s possible. In fact, I believe it with my whole heart because when things are meant to be, they will be. And you will be drawn back together because it is right.
But both parties must have done the work to transform themselves in the meantime. They must be prepared to look at themselves honestly and realise the other person was a reflection of them. You were drawn to that person to learn what you needed to learn. So learn the lessons and then, you may come back together and move forward in a completely different and stronger way. Or you may not. The choice is really up to you and them.