This is the 38th installment of Barren Advice. You can ask questions that are fertility or non-fertility related.
Barren Advice is posted each Tuesday-ish. If you have your own question for Barren Advice, click here to learn how to submit. Please weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section and indicate which question you're addressing if there are multiple questions in the post.
My friend told me about your blog and I decided to write you with my dilemma even though it is not infertility related.
A while back, I went through a divorce. There was no big drama. We had simply grown apart until we weren't communicating at all and I realized it would be better to be alone with myself than to feel alone in the relationship. Since the divorce, I have dated a bit, though the relationships have sort of made me look at how much I miss my first husband. We recently got back in touch and though we're in the initial stages of talking, some information has surfaced that makes me think that we made a mistake. At the time. we were both unwilling to go through marital counseling. I think we'd both embrace the idea now.
I guess my question is what do you think of giving people second chances and how do I tell people in our life (friends and family) that we want to try again when they helped me emotionally through the divorce and will probably see this as a step back rather than a step forward?
Giving second chances is sort of like shopping. Whenever I'm in a store and I have the impulse to buy something, I ask myself two questions: do I need it and what does it cost? And you can apply those two questions to this situation as well. Do you need it--meaning, what do you get out of being with him and is it worth taking him into your life. If you can point to the benefits of having him around--and those benefits can only be determined by you--then he needs to move on to that second question: what does it cost?
Since you don't mention anything that would warrant paying the price of self-esteem (if he was belittling) or safety (if he was dangerous), is sounds like the largest cost will be pride. You touched on that with the second part of your question: how do you tell friends and family who are going to pass judgment if you return to the relationship.
But here's the thing about pride--it's sort of the same thing as money. People think they need to have a lot of it, and they horde it, and they refuse to spend it even if it could possibly get them more pride down the road (I swear, I'm going somewhere with this analogy). But in the end, what is pride? What is money? We assign it worth, but does pride keep you company or make you laugh? There is a difference between setting limits that protect your heart or taking a stand on what matters to you.
Is it hard to swallow your pride and put your heart out there again after it's been trampled on? Most certainly. But based on your question, I am guessing that you see a worth to putting yourself out there again and the damn tether that is holding you back from leaping off the edge and trusting that either something good will happen or you'll still be able to fly away again if your needs are not met, is pride. A desire to not look like a fool or love someone more than they love you or to be embarrassed when friends and family pass judgment on your choices. Pride is only beneficial when it's protecting your boundaries rather than locking you in.
If you do decide he would make a great addition to your life again and he's worth the cost (because he's got to be both--he can't look pretty in the living room and be out of your price range nor can he be clutter who is also too cheap to remain in one piece after three uses), I would give the information as matter-of-fact as possible because I think many times, the people who are on the fence will follow the underlying message they get from the way you tell the information. If you're apologetic, they will pick up on it and take away the message that you think there is something wrong with this so perhaps they should think there is something wrong with this too.
So say it confidently. Write it in an email if you don't think you'll be able to get it out of your mouth in a phone conversation or over the dinner table. Tell them that life has a funny way of coming full circle and you're lucky enough to have found each other for a second chance. You can admit that the news may be a bit shocking if they weren't expecting it and you may want to fill them in on how you connected again. But make sure you keep it light, have it reflect how you feel.
Er...assuming that your heart is feeling light and there is no buyer's remorse. Because listening to how the information sits with you once you need to release it to others is a good barometer of how to answer those two purchasing questions.
No really, the beauty of a blog advice column is that you get to weigh in with your two cents too. Let the questioner know if you support the advice, add to the response, or dispute it completely.
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