Being single at the holidays is emotional for most, but it also gives you the chance to reflect on relationships of your past.
If you're thinking of reconnecting with a former love at the holidays, you're not alone.
As a dating expert and relationship coach, many of my clients and their friends are telling me they've reconnected this holiday season with long-lost loves. Yes, you're recycling an ex, but why not give it a shot again with someone you have a history with and still have fond memories of?
Perhaps it starts off innocently in November with a text message or email saying "Happy Thanksgiving." It's a safe way to reach out and reconnect without feeling you'll get rejected by picking up the phone.
Often, you may receive a favorable reply, which makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
The next thing you know, you're projecting into the future wondering if you should ask him or her to the office holiday party. What are their Christmas and New Year's plans? Could you be kissing under the mistletoe?
With holiday break-up season at its peak, it's normal to wonder if he or she is in a relationship or still thinks about you from time-to-time.
What are the rules and proper etiquette for recycling an ex at the holidays?
Here are five tips on how to reconnect or attend a special holiday event with your former beau or girlfriend, to make it a better experience for all involved.
1. Don't talk about what went wrong. You know the reason you broke up. He or she knows the reason you broke up. There's no need to rehash the past and spend time going down memory lane.
2. Don't talk about your dating history while you were apart. Perhaps one of you had a lusty affair and the other never got over your initial break-up. There's no reason to compare bad date stories or wonder how many people your ex went to bed with. Keep the conversation on a need-to-know basis. They simply don't need to know what happened during your hiatus.
3. Do keep the conversation light and easy. Just like your initial first dates, remember to leave the drama behind. You might think the familiarity should allow you to accelerate things, but being a "Debbie or Donnie Downer" will turn him or her away faster than you can imagine. Ask about his or her family and how work is going, or talk about the latest accomplishments of your children. If your former love interest says they're seeing someone, respect their relationship status and don't try to talk them out of it.
4. Don't try to pick up where you left off. Don't assume your ex wants to get back together long-term. Try and look at this as a new friendship or the beginning of a new relationship that just happened to resurface during the holidays. Don't start planning your future all over again and keep the expectations low. Live in the moment on your first date together.
5. Don't sleep together. Avoid being overly affectionate in public the first time you see each other after a break-up. Unless you really want a friends-with-benefits relationship, don't immediately end up back in bed. You may wake up regretting it in the morning, when your emotions are at an all-time high, as your mind wanders off thinking where the relationship is headed.
If things go well when you reunite over the holidays and you decide to start dating your ex, keep the communication going. Sending only a text message to say that you had a great time instead of calling the next day won't win her heart. If you're truly interested in pursuing the relationship again, pick up the phone and call to set up another date.
If you have personally experienced recycling an ex, feel free to share your stories and comment.
Julie Spira is an online dating and relationship expert. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. Julie's the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. For more dating advice, visit CyberDatingExpert.com, where you can sign up for the Weekly Flirt. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.