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Has your partner done something to really upset you?
Has it forced you to consider whether or not they deserve to be with you?
This could be something big or small, but, if they’ve crossed a boundary and are making you question things, you might want to consider a few ‘tests’ they need to pass before you give them a second chance.
Here are 10 simple questions to ask yourself…
1. Have they acknowledged their mistake?
Step one is acknowledging that they’ve done something to hurt you.
It sounds simple, but many people are too proud to admit that they’ve done something wrong.
They might make out like you’re being very dramatic by being upset about ‘nothing.’
Or they might try to brush it under the carpet.
If your partner can acknowledge that they messed up, this is a really good sign.
After all, nobody wants to be with someone who’ll pretend not to notice how they feel.
2. Have they apologized?
Apologizing shows that they’re not gaslighting you or dismissing your feelings.
They’re taking responsibility by saying sorry for how they’ve made you feel.
In an ideal world, they will apologize off their own back, without you needing to tell them that they upset you.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case, so you need to think about how they apologize and how that makes you feel.
Don’t just rush into accepting an apology. You can’t take your acceptance of it back.
You can’t throw what they’ve done back in their face or continue to resent them once they’ve said sorry and you’ve accepted it.
Take your time – if the apology is genuine, it’ll still be there when you’ve had some time to process how you feel.
3. Can you work through this together?
It’s easy to think that giving your partner a second chance means they have to do all the work to regain your trust and prove that they care…
…but there are two of you in this relationship.
If you can’t see yourself working with them, communicating more openly, and having difficult conversations, maybe things won’t work out.
It’s easy to think that by letting them back into your life, they’ll quickly make every change needed and things will be fine.
You also need to be part of that process and you’ll need to be open about sharing your real feelings with them.
If you’re not ready to be vulnerable with them and don’t think you can work through this with them, maybe it’s best you part ways now.
Alternatively, you may find it much easier to discuss the situation and work your way through it together with the help of couples counseling. If so, we recommend Relationship Hero – the online service where you can connect with an experienced relationship expert, talk about things in a safe environment, and get practical and tailored advice to help you salvage your relationship.
Click here to start your counseling journey.
4. Are they showing remorse?
Saying sorry is all well and good, but actions speak louder than words!
Maybe they’ve said sorry, and you feel good about it, but they continue to do things that upset you.
Or perhaps they joke about whatever they did to upset you.
Their apology will feel very empty if they’re not acting like they feel guilty for hurting you.
They need to show that they regret their actions and feel bad for what they did.
That doesn’t mean they need to go into full martyr mode, but they should display some remorse.
5. Are they trying to change for the better?
If they’re carrying on as normal, you will probably feel normal…
…which, these days, may mean you feel on edge or nervous that they’ll cheat again, or lie again, or whatever it was that upset you in the first place.
To avoid that feeling, you need to see them actively making an effort to show they’ve changed for the better.
That might mean no longer going out drinking with their ex (if they recently cheated on you with them, for example) to show that they are putting you and your feelings first.
It might mean no longer lying about small things to show you that they can change and be more honest.
Either way, they need to show that they’re invested in being with you, and can change their bad behavior.
6. Are they committed to making things work?
You’ll be able to tell pretty early on if their behavior is half-hearted.
Sure, they might make an effort to show they’ve changed for the first week, but they need to prove themselves as worthy long-term partners if they’re going to get a second chance.
That means making bigger changes and for longer.
They need to show that they’re emotionally invested in your relationship and want it to work, whatever that means to you.
They should be checking how you feel, asking how they can do things better for you and how they can make you feel secure.
They’re being given a second chance, after all, and they need to show you (and make you feel) that they deserve it.
7. Is this a pattern?
It’s time for some tough love, sorry!
Is this the first second chance they’ve had, or is it technically their fifth chance?
If the behavior that’s upset you this time is something that has upset you in the past, this may be a pattern.
Maybe they’ve cheated on you or lied to you before – if you forgave them once, they may think that they can keep getting away with it.
For them to truly deserve a second chance, the thing that upset you needs to be resolved.
For example, if they’ve cheated once, make it clear that any future incidents will be a breaking point for your relationship.
They don’t deserve to be with you if they repeatedly do things that they know upset you.
8. Are they willing to make compromises?
Let’s say your partner cheated on you with a colleague or ex – are they now willing to either stop seeing that person or to enforce new boundaries?
If they refuse to stop seeing their ex, even though they cheated with them, you’ve got your answer and it’s probably time to call it quits.
If they can agree to see the coworker they cheated with in a strictly work way (so no longer staying late for drinks in the office, not meeting up outside work for coffee, etc.), that’s them showing that they are willing to compromise and do things that will hopefully make you feel more secure and confident in the relationship.
9. Can you trust them?
Boy, this is a biggie!
Trust is everything in a relationship – and if it’s already been broken once, you need to seriously consider if you can trust them again going forwards.
If you can trust them and you believe that whatever they did to upset you is in the past, they probably deserve a second chance.
However, if it’s not something you think you can get over, it’s probably a sign that things aren’t great between you.
It means you won’t have a solid foundation to your relationship – and that you’ll probably find yourself checking up on them, maybe even looking at their phone, etc.
That will lead to a lot of resentment from both of you and may just make things even messier further down the line.
If you can’t trust them, you won’t be happy with them.
10. Was the relationship that good anyway?
We’re not saying that a partner doing something to upset you is because of you at all – people cheat and lie because of their own feelings about themselves, not their partner.
However, it could be a sign that things weren’t that great between the two of you anyway.
It’s easy to put on the rose-tinted specs when you’re looking back at a relationship that’s not yet over – you may only remember the good bits.
If they’ve cheated, however, things probably weren’t that great in the run-up to the incident anyway.
Maybe you’d stopped sleeping together or were fighting more.
Or maybe you never made time for each other anymore.
If the relationship wasn’t in a great place anyway, does your partner deserve a second chance?
And do you even want to give them one?
Take some time to consider why you want to give them a second chance.
Is it because you miss them and want to work things out, or is it because you don’t want to be alone?
Do second chance relationships work?
Honestly, there isn’t a yes or no answer to this question. Some will, others won’t.
To put it briefly, it depends on your feelings and your partner’s actions. If those two things align in a positive way, the second chance you give them will be worth it.
If not, the relationship will probably unravel at some point down the line.
You must decide whether the reward of a renewed (and hopefully better) relationship with this person is worth the risk of further hurt and betrayal if they go and do something that you can’t forgive again.
Still not sure if you should give your partner a second chance? It’s an important decision that will affect your life in one way or another, so you will want to get it right. That will be a lot easier if you have someone to guide you through your feelings and the choices you have in your situation. So why not chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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