Getting back together with your ex? How to make it work second-time-around

Dr Pam Spurr
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake(PA)
MSN's relationship expert Dr Pam Spurr offers advice for couples getting back together.
Memo to Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel: photos of you from this week's New York Met Gala show a couple besotted with each other. Getting back together ignites so many powerful feelings. But if it's just the passion playing out here, there are many other things you two must consider.
You're not the only celebrity couple rekindling romance as rumour has it Russell Brand's contact with Katy Perry is hotting up. This is practically to be expected as relationship research suggests around 80% of couples try again.
Granted, this is usually straight after the initial breakup. Both feel shocked it's come to an end. They quickly grab hold of each other again and only time will tell whether their second stab at love is successful.
Celebrity couple, or not, here are six steps for a successful second time around:
Second time tip 1: too hot to handle
One or both of you might be ecstatic about getting back together but beware of putting too much pressure on each other straight away. It's far better to approach being together again slowly but surely. This is especially true if one of you is behind driving getting things back on track. You don't want to frighten off your ex by expecting to jump straight back in 150%.
Second time tip 2: picking up where you left off
When you think about it logically (rather than with your broken heart) where you left off was actually one big messy breakup. So what's changed since then? Why are you two convinced that it's going to work this time when it didn't work last time?
And do you really want to do things as you were doing before? Even if getting back together is potentially the best choice you could ever make, you need to start thinking about relating in a fresh way.
Second time tip 3: only the lonely
If loneliness is driving you back to your ex's arms then you have to re-evaluate what you're doing. Being lonely is never a good reason for rekindling love. You can be just as lonely in the relationship when things are going wrong again.
You need to be honest with yourself if lonely nights sobbing into your pillow, after a glass too many of chardonnay is really behind your eagerness to see your ex.
Second time tip 4: those rose coloured specs
It's important to take a realistic look at what broke you two up - and it might've been a number of things piling up over many months rather than one big issue. That means taking off the rose coloured spectacles and looking square on at what happened. The problem with those specs is they often mean you only remember the good stuff. Instead you should focus on the bad stuff and what you can do to ensure it doesn't break you up all over again.
Second time tip 5: the blame game
When you broke up you were probably both pointing a finger at each other, blaming the other for it falling apart. Now it's crucial you both accept what responsibility you had for your relationship breaking up. If you're both prepared to own up to things you didn't do well then it's an excellent sign for your future.
Accepting blame - rather than pointing the finger of blame - creates a two-way street between you. And love is a two-way street where its success depends on you both having a responsible attitude.
Second time tip 6: did you become strangers
Something that kills off many relationships - but that can be solved - is when you have experienced 'relationship drift'. This is where you both got lazy and let things slide. You will have ended up feeling like strangers who were sharing a life.
Recognising that you took each other for granted means you can get super-practical about carving out couple-time from here on in. Check in with each other regularly to make sure you're feeling valued and loved. Keep those 'date nights' coming even once you're securely back together.
Good luck with it this time around. Those who succeed in their second attempt often find their relationship is stronger than they thought possible.
For loads more advice follow Dr Pam on Twitter @drpamspurr or visit www.drpam.co.uk . You can also buy her new love and sex guide here .
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