Second Chances

brad womack

Just because he shows up with roses doesn't mean he deserves a second chance. Even The Bachelor Brad Womack. (ABC: I'm talking to you. Cut the cord.)

I had a LONG conversation last night about second chances. Second chances in the vein of when you think the he or she in your life deserves one. I’ve given a second chance – even a third and fourth – several times in my life. They haven’t worked. None were disastrous per se, but we mostly ended up re-enacting the orginal relationship we had–the one that didn’t work the first time. The second time around ended in exactly the same way as the first along with the compounded fatigue of having to work so hard just to make it…work. So much emotional labor.

My mom and dad always say dating relationships shouldn’t be that hard. The true trials and tests come along when you get married. Yes, relationships take work and sacrifice. But it should be feel good to put out that effort. The relationship should not want to make you stab out your eyeballs and/or need three naps a day because you are worn out from trying so hard.

But then, second chances to work for some people. I know they do. When is it right? Anyone have any stories?

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19 responses to “Second Chances

  1. Yes, I gave my fella a second chance and our relationship the second time around is completely different – it is honest, equal, and positive. I know exactly WHY it is different and better though, because of some real changes. The second chance would not have worked if those changes had not been made. Every situation is different though. Luckily he was always the same awesome guy underneath – it also wouldn’t have worked if that weren’t true too.

  2. Funny you should write about this! Dave bought a copy of your book the other night and read it pretty much in one fell swoop, and his first comment to me was, “You broke one of Rachel’s rules; you got back together with an ex.” It has been different for us the second time around, too, which I attribute to the fact that when we first got together, I was the one who pursued him. After we broke up, he had to work to win me back. So in a subtle way, things feel more balanced now. Yes, some of the same problems still crop up, but we’re both willing to work on them because we’re both fully invested in the relationship.

    Perhaps the solution with Bachelor Brad, then, would have been not to make him The Bachelor again, but to throw him into the dating pool on The Bachelorette. Hmmm.

  3. The Single Scientist

    Carrie and Clare: I love your responses! And having witnessed (or partially witnessed) the getting back together process with both of you, I can see why it worked. You were both very clear about what you wanted and patient to ensure you’d get it.

    And Brad. Yes. He totally needed to be thrown back to in the pen! That hot Texan cad.

  4. No second chance story here, but I agree that while dating, it should feel good to put out the effort – if it starts feeling like work too soon, it’s just downhill from there. I can’t imagine giving any of the prior men in my life a second chance – not that I hate them – it just didn’t work and that knowledge of how and why it didn’t work is enough to warn me away.

  5. Let’s define “work”. I’m always hearing that relationships require hard WORK, WORK, WORK. I disagree! A healthy and satisfying romantic relationship should be, for the most part, a breeze. I like the comparison: a relationship is like a garden. You have to tend the garden and weed a little bit every day to keep it beautiful. In fact, time spent tending your garden can be enjoyable! It’s when you neglect the daily weeding, that problems grow and take over. So, in my opinion, “tending to your garden” is what people mean by “relationships take work”. If the relationship you’re in is exhausting, leaves you drained and feels like WORK, then you are in the WRONG relationship! If it depletes your happiness instead of adding to it – if you are twisting yourself into a pretzel to make a square peg fit into a round hole, move on! I’ve always said that it’s easy to fall in love – people are lovable. BUT, it’s hard to fall in love with the RIGHT person. You’ll know when it’s right because you’ll be able to relax, enjoy and be yourself. The RIGHT relationship won’t feel like work. I agree with your parents, Rachel (Mine told me the same thing). It just shouldn’t be that hard! Second chances? Well, if it was WORK the first time, what makes you think it will be easier the second time? If one of you is willing to make some major changes, well then maybe… But all in all, I think closed doors should stay closed. Take the lessons you’ve learned, then go out and find the RIGHT partner for you.

  6. i came across your blog a few weeks ago and i wish i had found it sooner! i was in a 4 1/2 yr relationship that ended very badly… we have been broken up for a year now and he has slowly made his way back into my life. not in a relationship but wanting to be friends. friendship with him is not working for me because its stalling the moving on process… should i allow him to be friends with me or is cutting him out of my life the only true way to move on and be happy?

    • The Single Scientist

      Melissa – Ya know, I think you answered your own question. Friendship with him is not working for you. That’s all you need to know. It doesn’t matter why or what you think you should be able to do. You haven’t fully moved on and you’re still recovering from the relationship, so being friends with the person you’re healing from is pretty much going to be impossible. This is not to say it’s not possible to be friends after the fact. But you want to start with a clean slate with no residual feelings of anger, sadness, regret, jealousy. Sounds like you’re not quite at this point. Cutting him out of your life is THE BEST way to move on. This doesn’t have to mean forever. Just til you’re healed. And if he truly wants to be your friend, he will understand and he will wait until you are ready. Take care of yourself – you don’t owe him a friendship just because you dated for a long time. Hang in there and email me if you need a pep talk!

  7. Aside from my high school boyfriend (with whom I broke up and reunited more times than I can remember), I don’t think second chances work. And obviously they didn’t work out all that well for my teen-aged bf and I either! Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” comes to mind (Anne and Captain Wentworth would have never gotten back together if not for second chances) but the thing about Austen (which I and millions of Darcy fans always manage to forget) is that she wrote FICTION :( Sigh…

    By the way, I just started your book earlier this evening and I love it!

    • The Single Scientist

      Kat – Glad you’re enjoying my book! (Who am I kidding? I’m just glad you’re reading it.) :) I believe I’m much more practical than Austen, though she definitely has me beat in the genteel-romantic-male-character department. Nothing of the sort living up in here. So sad.

      • Indeed, they just don’t make guys like they used it :( Have finished you book and will be bringing it to work tomorrow for a co-worker who’s already requested it :)

  8. I love your blog. It’s heart warming to read the women’s perspective.

  9. I’m a HUGE believer in second chances. That is why my site is all about second chances… every single aspect of them! I was given so many second chances and it made me feel different about the situation (each one different). They are truly a blessing, especially those in a relationship context. It can change the other person completely and, like the first reply, change the dynamic of a relationship too. This, coming from a guy.

    -Tony

    • Rachel Machacek

      Thanks for that reminder Tony. I think you are absolutely right. Though I really believe someone would have had to demonstrate “proper” relationship behavior in the past to get that second chance, ya know? Like if the person was always a shitty BF or GF, why would someone go back to that (even though people do ALL THE TIME)? But if someone is wonderful and so is the relationship, and they have a hiccup, then yeah, second chance. All the way.

  10. I was with someone for 9years, broke up last year. practically thought i was gonna marry him and throughout the 9 years we both had doubts, me especially but yes relationships take work and it was towards the end of our relationship taht we both had no respect for each other to the point where we would yell, i was verbally and physically abusive to him pushing him- it was unhealthy. there was no love. we tried again to make it work a month after we broke up- but it just wasn’t there anymore. we were emotionally drained. i found out a couple of months later there was someone else after our first breakup- who turned out to be a good friend who i helped through a painful breakup (her bf who happens to be my ex’s friend cheated on her with their friend)- the same girl he asked me if it was ok for him to talk to since he had no firends to talk to about our problems- it wasn’t the fact that he may have had a physical rel with her (which he denied) but that emotional attachment they developed and the efforts they took (she moved from the east to the west coast) and they constantly spoke to each other, he may have even visited her-meanwhile trying to make things work for me. ultimately we ended it (I didnt know yet thay they were talking at this point) but it was hard- the man i thought I would marry. Nothing. We were in a gray area for a long time. he even helped me move across the country (one of the reasons being moving away from him). I haven’t spoken to him in a couple of months but when I went home a couple of months ago, he found out I did and had the nerve to email me saying he felt humiliated that I didn’t tell him of my visit. Ultimately, you can’t be friends with your ex. Not while you’re healing. Being single is like learning to walk again- and I’m still falling , but don’t ever be disheartened. Always pick urself back up. To all those recovering from a heartbreak: You owe it to urself.

    • Rachel Machacek

      Damn straight. And I’ve been single for a while and I still fall. A lot. It’s just part of the process when it involves emotions. (p.s. I moved my blog to a new URL. All the old posts are there along with new ones. Hope you stop over: rachelmachacek.com

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