Should You Rekindle an Old Flame?

WebMD Blog:

Should You Rekindle an Old Flame?

By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD


You haven’t seen each other in years, but when your eyes met again (or Facebook brought you together), it sparked memories – and dormant feelings were revived. You began to wonder whether you could rekindle old flames, or if the thought of doing that was just a fantasy.

Of course, neither of you is who you were back then, so the idea of returning to a previous relationship isn’t realistic. Still, those memories might provide excellent kindling to build a new fire.

To make the current relationship work, consider the following suggestions:

Enjoy the memories, but keep them in perspective. It’s fun to bask in the glow of your happy memories. But if you are seriously considering moving forward, it’s a good idea to also remember the painful times. They might tip you off to problematic differences between the two of you that might still exist. As you reflect on the past, just make sure to remember that, going forward, your relationship is built from your current reality.

Explore how each of you has changed. Moving forward means updating each other on what has gone on in the years since you were last in contact. This will help you to not only learn the facts of each other’s lives, but it will also offer you an understanding of each other as the people you are now.

Consider whether you like this “updated model.” Just as you would do with someone you were first meeting now, it is essential that you think about the person who is in front of you. If you want a committed relationship, then as the relationship deepens, it is important to ask yourself questions, such as: Do I enjoy our time together? Do I respect and feel attracted to this person? Is this someone who I can imagine having a happy future with?

Listen to feedback from friends. While it is ultimately what you think and feel that matters, close family and friends might help you to stay grounded in assessing the relationship. They might see things you are blind to, especially if the pull of the past is strong.

If you do all of this and still feel an attraction and potential for you as a couple, then let nature take its course. As you laugh together, flirt, and just have fun, those old flames will be rekindled. New adventures together will create a new fire that might warm the two of you for years to come.


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