How to Make Love Work the Second Time Around

2015-07-15-1436994428-5151802-Howtomakeloveworkthesecondtimearound.jpg

Young love - remember how good it felt? Maybe it was your high school sweetheart or the boy you fell in love with at college, but things didn't work out. You graduated and went your separate ways, always wondering what could've been if y'all had followed through and said "I do." Now you're a little bit older and wiser, and you're ready to give it another shot.

So, you reached out, reconnected with him and those feelings came rushing back to remind you of what you felt for each other back in the good old days. But maybe you're worried that it won't last, or that rehashing old fights will lead to you getting your heart broken again. Well, I'm an optimist and believe that you can do anything you set your mind to, and true love is no exception.

I do have three rules for you to follow while you're getting reacquainted that will help make this second chance at love work out better than it did the first time:

1. Be honest with each other. Communication is the key to making sure your relationship goals line up. Knowing that you both want the same things at this stage of life is crucial to making things work this time around. Talk about what's different now versus the first time you were dating. There are really only two reasons why couples break up: either the relationship wasn't right, or the circumstances weren't right for the relationship. If the relationship wasn't right, you're probably both mature enough to work through any old issues now. Even better is if the two of you broke up due to circumstances beyond your control. Maybe he entered the military or got a job offer in another city; maybe your family wasn't cool with you getting married so young or wanted you to finish medical school first. Those things aren't in your way now, and aren't you glad?

2. Take things slow. If things are going so well that you hear the Commodores' "September" in your head every time this man says your name, you may be tempted to go to the courthouse and get married just to make up for lost time. But this second chance is a blessing, and it's an opportunity to get to know the man he is now, not just your "old flame." Take time to really enjoy your second courtship by flirting, doing nice things for each other and going on dates, just like you would with someone new. This way, you've got time to catch any deal-breakers or issues and work through them together before making a lifelong commitment to each other.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff. Sure, we all have little things that annoy us - maybe he whistles in the car or jingles the change in his pockets when he's nervous. Don't you think Rita Wilson has to put up with some mess from Tom Hanks now and then? Nobody's perfect, including you. Focus on the important things he's doing right: Does he make you feel good, especially about yourself? Is he respectful and kind toward your family and friends? Are you both willing to do whatever it takes to be together? Can you find ways to compromise on the make-or-break issues? Keep your standards high without being too nitpicky, and the rewards will be worth it.

If you're still nervous, check this out: Dr. Nancy Kalish found that 72% of couples who reconnected after at least five years apart stayed together the second time around. Sounds like pretty good odds to me!

In addition to being a world-renowned comedian, talk show host, philanthropist, husband and father, Steve Harvey is the Chief Love Officer of online dating site Delightful.com. He draws on his personal experiences and the stories that millions of people have shared with him over the years to help more people find and keep the love they deserve.