Like everyone else, I’ve been glued to the Chris Brown/Rihanna debacle, and was saddened when I read reports that she might get back together with someone who left her so bruised and battered.
But here’s the thing: loads of couples break up and then make up and sometimes things work out great. But knowing when, and under what circumstances, to forgive and forget is key, and most of us won’t know until we’re thrust into that situation. Here are six scenarios to consider.
Timing: Sometimes one (or both of you) just isn’t relationship-ready and the romance falls apart for no other reason than wrong place/wrong time. My friend C. left her man when it became clear she was ready for something more permanent and he was more interested in, er, impermanence. A year later they ran into each other and he was older, wiser, and ready to tie the knot.
Distance: He got a great job in L.A., but you’d rather bathe in carpet tacks than spend one minute in the land of implants and tan lines. But now he’s back and wants to pick up where you left off. If, after all that time apart, you still have the hots for each other, why not see how it goes?
Drunky/Junky: Few things are less hot than a boyfriend who prefers booze or drugs to romancing the one he “loves.” You did the right thing when you dumped his wasted butt! But now he’s clean and sober and calling you for coffee dates. If he’s seriously sober (and that means for over a year) and has a program or therapist helping him stay that way, you can test the waters (if you’re still inclined). Otherwise, keep reminding yourself of the time he projectile-vomited at your sister’s wedding.
Infidelity: Cheating seems like a no-go—and it is hard to recover from—but many couples reconcile after one person has strayed. (Often much to the dismay of their family and friends.) This is one of those situations that pretty much demands couples counseling, which is way too much work unless you’re already married with kids. But if you insist on forgiving his lying and indiscretions, please make sure to have your doctor give both of you a full spectrum of STD tests before you really reunite.
Ticking Clock: He’s never gotten over you and now you want a baby, but bad. Though the way he says your name makes your flesh crawl, you know he’d be a fine baby daddy. No. Just, no. This is the reason there are sperm banks and gay best friends. Whatever you do, don’t force yourself into a relationship with someone you don’t love for procreative purposes.
Violence: Obviously, if someone hurts you, you should run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. But as we’re seeing with thousands of women each year, this seems to be easier said than accomplished. If you’ve been the victim of violence, at least seek out some counseling before you consider returning to the perpetrator. Hopefully a licensed professional will help you see the light.