Ever since the news broke that R&B singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton were getting a divorce after eight years of marriage, Robin has been very vocal about doing everything he can do to reconcile their relationship. And his latest approach has everyone buzzing.
At the Billboard Music Awards, Robin debuted his new single called "Get Her Back." And even though he doesn't mention Paula's name specifically, the lyrics are dead giveaways: "I should've kissed you longer. I should've held you stronger. And I'll wait for forever for you to love me again."
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Sure, this grand, romantic gesture is sweet, but does it mean they should get back together? It's something you've probably wondered yourselfÃ¢â‚¬”even if you aren't dating an A-lister: Do large-scale apologies and major displays of love and devotion mean a person has changed and you should give it another shot? They may be great on YouTube, but these huge gestures can actually mask the real problems of a relationship, says marriage and divorce counselor Robert Buchicchio, author of Taking Space: How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship.
Getting Caught in the Moment
Whether you're a celebrity or not, over-the-top gestures to win back an ex are uncomfortableÃ¢â‚¬”especially for the person who's trying to be impressed. Think about it: There's an intense pressure on you when a former S.O. surprises you with, say, a puppy or a candle-lit dinner in a spotless apartment on a random Tuesday night. When you're taken aback by something romantic like this, it's totally normal to get overwhelmed and let your guard down. Many people are flooded with emotions and quickly remember all the great, blissful memories that this gesture may bring back. The issue is, this can cause you to forget about the problems that actually contributed to the breakup in the first place, says psychologist Joseph Burgo, Ph.D., and that's exactly what you should be addressing in these moments.
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This spur-of-the-moment event may unleash romantic feelings you forgot existed, but once that love high fades, you're faced with reality, and you have to ask yourself: Why did you separate in the first place? Has anything really changed? You may jump right into old habits without realizing a month later that your relationship dynamic is the same as when you broke up.
Of course, there are exceptions depending on your circumstances, says Buchicchio. Perhaps you ended a long-distance relationship because of the separation and your ex decided to move closer to you. Or maybe they landed a higher-paying job so that they could finally pay their fair share of the bills. "If the underlying issue truly has been addressed, then yes, the grand gesture could be a healthy move," says Burgo. But watch your next step. These meaningful acts may just be bandages that temporarily disguise your real problems, says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., founder of Loveology University. This one instance doesn't determine how your relationship will play out in the long haul.
The Right Way to Salvage a Broken Relationship
You need time to reevaluate your feelings and what went wrong in the relationship in order to make a rational decision, says Buchicchio. Out-of-the-blue gestures are adorable and exciting, but they can't erase all of your previous problems in an instant. What you have to do is engage in a conversation with your old partner about the issues you two have experienced. Were you feeling disrespected? Financial troubles? Opposing views on parenting? It's naÃƒÂ¯ve to overlook these things just because the person took your breath away for a brief moment, says Buchicchio. A spontaneous move may get your attention, but it's important to not feel ambushed for an immediate answer before you really have the chance to talk things out, adds Buchicchio.
If you're caught in this unexpected situation, don't feel bad at all for telling your ex that you need time to think about what's best for you. Weigh the pros and cons, and if you think your relationship is worth a second shot, give yourself a "trial union," suggests Buchicchio. In this scenario, you're "together" but wading the waters to see if both parties have truly made the changes necessary for a reconciliation (or at least made steps in the right direction). It may take weeks or months, depending on your situation, but eventually you'll be able to see if the grand gesture was a sincere step towards fixing the relationship or just a ploy to win you back.
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