Does your ex deserve a second chance?

Jan 31, 2012, 06:37 IST | Aviva Dharmaraj
If rumours of Katrina Kaif and rumoured ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor getting back together are to be believed, Kat is allegedly giving 'relationship claustrophobe' Ranbir his space, this time around. Does love always deserve a second chance? We ask the experts

Rumour has it that alleged exes Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif are keen to give their relationship a second chance. According to reports, the couple is alleged to have broken up over 'trust' issues. This time around, however, both parties are willing to give each other more 'space'.

Actors Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor at the premiere of Prakash Jha's Rajneeti on June 3, 2010. The couple are rumoured to be getting back together again

In a California State University survey (2004) of 1,300 adults, one third (33%) claimed that they would reunite with their first loves if they could. While this is not the first relationship for either Ranbir or Katrina, the lure of an ex is still powerful, according to clinical psychologist Mansi Hasan.

"Emotional dependency is a big aspect of wanting to get back together and work on a past relationship," says Hasan, adding that contributing factors include the sense of comfort, 'belonging' and the fact that the couple has already been through the teething stage.

Couples hoping to give their relationship a second chance, however, need to be alert to reactivating certain 'conflict patterns' or habitual ways of reacting within the relationship.

"When a person feels insecure, they are likely to feel threatened and view the situation as a win or lose one," explains integrated healing coach Ameeta Sanghavi Shah. The important thing is for each partner to be able to step out of set ways or patterns of thinking.

Set ground rules
The first step in that process, Sanghavi Shah says, is to remember that "no one is winning or losing". "There needs to be respect-based communication with certain ground rules: No use of abusive language, no threatening, no ultimatums," she suggests.

Another indicator of whether or not an ex-couple is likely to have a successful relationship the second time around is analysing the reasons they broke up in the first place.

According to data by Nancy Kalish, professor of psychology, California State University, of the 2,500 couples who had reunited, almost 84 per cent got back with someone they had been involved with before the age of 22 and had broken up with for reasons ranging from age ("too young"), distance or lack of parental approval, as opposed to those who broke up based on compatibility issues.

"If there are certain dysfunctional behaviour patterns, such as addiction, impulsivity, or physical or verbal aggression, then it might not be such a good idea," says Hasan. Aside from these issues, which she categorises as "extreme", the odds are stacked in favour of the couple.

"They have already worked through the teething stage, so the fact that they are willing to get back together is already a positive sign." Self-reflection matters too, as Sanghavi Shah says, "Therapy or introspection is important, so one knows how to deal with conflicts when they arise."

2 guaranteed romance killers
Going back to the past If you have both decided to give the relationship a second chance, avoid referring to past behaviour. Repeating old patterns Since you are likely to already be aware of behaviours that have hurt your partner in the past, try not to repeat them.

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