For some of us, recycling our trash can be our least favorite chore. Yet when it comes to recycling relationships, we’ve got a pile of former romances composting in our backyard. If your favorite break-up line is “I’ll be back!” chances are you’re a recycler.
You’re not alone. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. Heck, even our most beloved Carrie Bradshaw and Big!
And then there’s the serial recycler:
Our friend dated a guy. They broke up. He got back with his X-girlfriend. He married her, divorced her, remarried her and divorced her again.
We weren’t surprised when he contacted our girl on Facebook and asked her to meet him for a drink. We knew he’d be back in her life at some point. He simply couldn’t resist the urge to recycle.
Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. Some would agree. One friend sums it up like this: if you take out a smelly bag of garbage, why would you ever bring it back into the house?
We’re not saying giving your romance a do-over is necessarily a bad thing, with one caveat. Never recycle hazardous materials! Toxic relationships that pose a threat to your physical or mental well-being belong in a landfill.
Should you recycle your romance? Before you start picking through your recycle bin of past relationships, ask yourself a few questions.
• What’s changed?
Sometimes the relationship failed the first time around because of outside influences or circumstances that got in the way. Perhaps it was a rebound or one of you was dealing with a crisis and not capable of giving the relationship your all. Yes, timing is everything.
• Are you doing this for the right reasons?
Do you hear yourself saying “I am so miserable without you that it’s almost like having you here?” Loneliness and boredom are not the reasons to be in any relationship – new or recycled. Check yourself into Relationship Rehab before you get back in the dating game.
• How eager are both of you to make the relationship work?
The most successful partnerships happen when both people are committed to giving the relationship the time and nurturing it needs. If one of you wants to rekindle more than the other, you should not recycle.
• Can you let go of the past?
You wouldn’t rehash the pain, anger and disappointment of your last relationship with someone new you are dating (we hope). The same thing holds true for a recycled romance. If you aren’t able to forgive, forget and start fresh, you must move on.
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And just remember that when it comes to finding the one, he or she is out there. After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!