There are many different reasons why a relationship falls apart: a fight, a divorce, a falling out, a misunderstanding, or any combination of these things. Reconnecting with a loved one after going through all of that can be extremely difficult.

Whether connecting with a young or grown child, an estranged parent, a spouse, or other family member, it’s important to keep these things in mind:

Prepare emotionally: Carefully think through the reasons why you should or should not reconnect with an estranged loved one. What are the implications? Why did you stop talking in the first place? If you and this person were estranged because of an abusive situation, take extra caution. Your safety and well-being are the most important things, and your decision should not be made lightly.

Set boundaries: If you are meeting with your child that you haven’t seen for a while, talk with the child’s other parent first. Make sure they feel safe with you being alone with the child; if they don’t, suggest a meeting while the other parent is also there (your child might want the other parent there anyways). Establish yourself, and demonstrate that the child will be safe when with you.

Keep it simple: Plan to catch up for a short time in public upon your first meeting. Being in public makes the meeting seem safer and less threatening. Maybe you meet for coffee or over your lunch break at a restaurant.

Reconnecting can be an opportunity for healing. It’s important to go slow. Keep your expectations low.

There’s also the kind of reconnecting that happens with your partner after the two of you have drifted apart; maybe there wasn’t a fight or exact moment that set the two of you on different paths. This kind of drifting happens gradually.

Communicate: Talk about what’s right in the relationship first. Build up your foundation first, and establish grounds where the two of you can openly and honestly talk about your relationship–both the good and the bad. Recognize that the both of you have played a part in the drifting, and try to find a solution that works for both of you. Communication takes work; don’t give up just because the two of you are a little out of practice.

Be positive: It’s important to encourage your partner. Look for the good, and tell your partner those things. And perhaps most importantly, keep it in perspective: the most difficult problems arise when someone you love passes away or is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Everything else should be viewed as an obstacle to try and overcome.

If you and a loved one are trying to connect and would like some help, consider therapy. It might be a good idea to have an objective, third-party member there to help both you and your loved one reconnect on equal grounds; a therapist can also help reduce tension.

To set up an appointment to see Reka, you can reach her at 402-881-8125. You can also email her at, or connect with her via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc